Snorkeling Around Cruz Bay

As the island's major port, Cruz Bay is both the place most sailing and snorkel tours from St. John depart from and more commonly, the point of entry for boats bringing tourists from other islands in the US Virgin Islands over for a day of exploring the island's unique and pristine underwater world.

The verdict is still out on where the best snorkeling on the island is. Certainly the north coast is the most popular, though experienced snorkelers always point to the east coast as having the most diverse landscape.  The truth is, pretty much every is great for snorkeling, and those in Cruz Bay are no exception. 

For the most part, snorkeling conditions in Cruz Bay are excellent, though you will need to keep an eye on the surf in some areas.  At Dittlif Point, for example, the east side of the peninsula is known for its often choppy waters, while the west side at Rendezvous Bay is usually calm enough that families with children can snorkel with confidence.  It is important that you treat each day and each beaches as a unique experience.  The overall experience for snorkelers in Cruz Bay, however, is gentle surf, waters that range in temperature from 78 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and crystalline visibility even with the constant comings and goings of sail boats and ferries.

Snorkeling Sites

If you're looking forward to exploring below the water's surface you might enjoy Salomon Bay Beach. A popular choice, this locale is home to a diversity of marine life including angel fish, sting rays, and sea turtles. However, it is also a popular destination for Snorkel Excursions coming out of St. Thomas, so it can get crowded when a cruise ship is docked in Charlotte Amalie. This snorkeling site is located in northern Cruz Bay.

Caneel Bay is another place you might enjoy. This spot is favored because both beginning and experienced snorkelers enjoy it. Coral lines the shore where you'll encounter bright fish, while sea grass throughout is where you may see rays and sea turtles.

A third place to consider is Henley Cay. The reef here sits in between three and 15 foot deep water with excellent visibility, allowing you to easily see the gorgonian coral, sea fans, and schools of colorful reef fish. If you continue out past the jetty, the number of coral increases significantly as does the amount of sea life you'll see. Sightings might include blue tang, surgeonfish, parrotfish, angelfish, wrasses, an more.

A fourth place to go snorkeling is Salomon Bay Beach. This popular snorkeling spot is home to an array of marine life, and a great place for anyone hoping to spot fish or turtles. It is also close to shore, making it a good spot for beginners or families. If you're interested, you'll find this site located in northern Cruz Bay.

Frank Bay is a fifth option to consider. The bay was named for a four foot barracuda called Frank that lives here that usually hands out under the swim platform. There are many other sea creatures that live out among the elkhorn coral including french angels, spotted moray eels, tarpon, octopus, porcupine fish, rays, and sometimes nurse sharks.

Glance through the following chart to learn more about 9 of the best locations to enjoy snorkeling in this area.

Snorkeling Sites Near Cruz Bay
Site Location
Salomon Bay Beach 0.7 mi. North-Northeast of Downtown Cruz Bay
Caneel Bay 1.0 mi. North-Northeast of Downtown Cruz Bay
Salomon Bay Beach 0.8 mi. North of Downtown Cruz Bay
Frank Bay 0.4 mi. West-Southwest of Downtown Cruz Bay
Scott Beach 1.2 mi. North of Central Cruz Bay
Henley Cay 1.5 mi. North of Central Cruz Bay
Hawksnest Bay 1.6 mi. Northeast of Central Cruz Bay
Oppenheimer Beach 1.6 mi. Northeast of Central Cruz Bay
Jumbie Beach 1.8 mi. Northeast of Central Cruz Bay

Snorkeling Boat Trips

For some people, the best snorkeling is experienced away from the shore.

If you want to go snorkeling during a boating adventure, you should consider Kekoa Sailing Expeditions. Excursions to Jost Van Dyke, full and half day charters to St. John, Sunset Sails, and Sunset Excursions are offered by Kekoa Sailing Expeditions. Private charters may also be reserved for larger events, including weddings, family reunions, and corporate groups.

Another option to consider is Cloud 9 Sailing Adventures. Indulge as you sit back and relax on Cloud 9 above turquoise Caribbean waters. Watch in awe as you pass by beautiful uninhabited islands, majestic rocks, and tropically lush Cays. They're located within downtown Cruz Bay.

A third option is Singing Dog Sailing Day Tours. Departing from St. John and St. Thomas, Singing Dog Sailing offers private sailing excursions aboard their luxury catamaran. Trips to both the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands may be arranged.

Some information about boat trips and day sails that provide snorkeling opportunities can be found in the following table.

Day Sails and Boat Trips In Cruz Bay
Name Phone Location
Calypso Charters (340) 777-7245 Downtown Cruz Bay
Cloud 9 Sailing Adventures (340) 998-1940 Downtown Cruz Bay
Copeland Boat Charters (340) 777-1368 Downtown Cruz Bay
Island Roots (340) 643-5000 Downtown Cruz Bay
Isle-mon Charters (207) 475-8578 Downtown Cruz Bay
Kekoa Sailing Expeditions (340) 244-7245 Downtown Cruz Bay
Lion In Da Sun (340) 625-4783 Downtown Cruz Bay
Mermaid Charters (340) 642-1998 Downtown Cruz Bay
Palm Tree Charters (340) 643-4239 Downtown Cruz Bay
Sadie Sea Charters (340) 514-0778 Downtown Cruz Bay
Sail Safaris (340) 626-8181 Downtown Cruz Bay
Singing Dog Sailing Day Tours (717) 602-3536 Downtown Cruz Bay
Southern Hospitality (340) 998-4399 Downtown Cruz Bay
Wayward Sailor (340) 473-9705 Cruz Bay

Snorkeling Services

If you looking for someone offering snorkel rentals, excursions, or similar services, you can check with Arawak Expeditions. You can rent or purchase snorkeling gear here from a team that is extremely knowledgeable in helping each individual find the right fit for them. They are also happy to make suggestions about where you should snorkel. They are located within downtown Cruz Bay.

A second company worth knowing about is Low Key Waterports. Offering daily excursions no matter what watersport you're interested in, this operator give you and your group the opportunity to choose from one of their regularly scheduled sail and snorkel trips, or work with them to create one that will better suit the needs of your group.

Take a moment to read the table below if you want information about 3 firms that offer services of interest to snorkelers.

Snorkeling Services In Cruz Bay
Name Type Phone Location
Arawak Expeditions Snorkeling Tour Operator (340) 693-8312 Downtown Cruz Bay
Just BEach! Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (340) 776-6256 Downtown Cruz Bay
Low Key Waterports Snorkeling Tour Operator (340) 693-8999 Downtown Cruz Bay

For more information about snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for beginners and "pros" read this extensive Caribbean snorkeling page.

A day of snorkeling in Cruz Bay is a magical experience filled with colorful coral, lively fish, and sightings of more elusive sea creatures that will take your breath away.  Whether this is your first or your fiftieth time snorkeling, you are sure to be amazed.


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