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 want to experience below the water's surface you might want to visit . 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. This snorkeling site is situated in northern Cruz Bay.

is another place you might enjoy. 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.

A third place to consider is Caneel Bay. 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 fourth location where you can go snorkeling is . 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. If you want to check it out, this site is found within Cruz Bay.

Henley Cay is a fifth option to consider. 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.

Be sure to look through the following table to learn more about 9 of the best locations to go snorkeling in this area.

Snorkeling Sites Near Cruz Bay
Site Location
Salomon Point Snorkeling 0.8 mi. North of Downtown Cruz Bay
Honeymoon Bay 0.8 mi. North-Northeast of Downtown Cruz Bay
Caneel Bay 1.0 mi. North-Northeast 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

Kekoa Sailing Expeditions

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

If you'd like to go snorkeling during a boating adventure, you might want to check with Boat Day V.I.. Some recommended excursions include exploration of St. John's many beaches, or trips to Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and Peter Island and the many popular beaches, bays and bars they are known for. Both boats include snorkel gear, a variety of liquid refreshments including world famous painkiller cocktails, a private restroom, flotation devices and a Bluetooth sound system.

Another option to investigate is Kekoa Sailing Expeditions. White sand beaches, pristine bays, and the warmth of the Caribbean Sun await you aboard the 55' Kekoa catamaran. They're located in downtown Cruz Bay.

A third good option 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.

Some details about boat trip providers that provide snorkeling opportunities can be found in the chart below.

Day Sails and Boat Trips In Cruz Bay
Name Phone Location
Boat Day V.I. (855) 262-8329 Downtown Cruz Bay
Born to Rhumb Charters (340) 514-0834 Downtown Cruz Bay
Calypso Charters (340) 777-7245 Downtown Cruz Bay
Cloud 9 Sailing Adventures (340) 998-1940 Downtown Cruz Bay
Copeland Boat Charters (340) 690-9988 Downtown Cruz Bay
Island Roots (340) 643-5000 Downtown Cruz Bay
Kekoa Sailing Expeditions (340) 244-7245 Downtown Cruz Bay
Lion In Da Sun (340) 626-4783 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 Downtown Cruz Bay

Snorkeling Services

If you're looking for someone that offers snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other 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 found within downtown Cruz Bay.

A second company worth knowing about is Low Key Waterports. There are several different options for their full day sailing and snorkeling tours, but they usually include snorkeling at several different cays and reefs, lunch, and an open bar. Half day excursions include on stop for snorkeling, an open bar, and snacks.

A third company worth contacting is Just BEach!. Just BEach offers swimwear, t-shirts, flip flops, swim suit cover-ups and beach bags. Stop here for everything you need for a day at the beach! They're located within downtown Cruz Bay.

The following chart offers some details concerning 3 companies that provide snorkeling services.

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

To learn more about snorkeling, including useful tips and suggestions for both "old pros" and beginners, check out this exhaustive 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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