St. John is a beloved destination in the US Virgin Islands because of its quiet setting and the fact that so much of the island is comprised of a national park. There is more of this natural beauty to be seen off the coast and under the sea, so don't forget to bring your snorkel along with you for what will surely be the most awe-inspiring activity of your trip.
Most people have taken to snorkeling from the beaches of the island's north coast simply because the beaches are so picturesque that they assume the underwater landscape must mirror it. They are right! The constant barrage of people, however, has begun to take its toll on the coral and its inhabitants. There is still much to be seen here, but for the healthiest coral you'll want to look elsewhere. Every beach on the island is public to the vegetation line, so you can pick and choose your desired destination without having to worry about whether or nor you're allowed to be there.
The best thing about St. John, however, is that no matter where you choose to snorkel you'll be in for an unbelievable time. Temperatures are consistently between 79 and 83 degrees Fahrenheit, most beaches have extremely calm conditions and the visibility is always fantastic. You can expect to encounter various species of coral and mangroves plus rays, turtles, eels, octopus, and hundreds of varieties of fish. Every site has something new to offer so you can expect a different experience each and every time you snorkel at a new location.
If you're new to snorkeling, you may want to consider starting out at. You'll have to pay $4(USD) to the National Park Service, but there is an underwater trail set up, marking off each important site so you know exactly where to go and what to look for. Informational plaques also help you learn about the local marine habitat. You'll find information about other options below.
If you want to experience what's down below you should consider a visit to Trunk Bay. This locale is a reef full of signs with information for snorkelers to read and use to guide themselves through a tour around Trunk Bay. These signs will inform snorkelers of some of the many species around the reefs as well as conservation information. This snorkeling site is found in the northwestern part of St. John.
is another option. Snorkeling here may not be as colorful as some other sites, as the bay is very rocky. However, it is a good spot to catch some of the smaller marine animals that often make their home on or near the rocks.
A third site to consider is Lameshur Bay. Snorkelers who chose to explore this destination will be treated to a sight of sea turtles, tropical fish, stingrays and many other kinds of marine life.
A fourth place where you can go snorkeling is Maho Bay. Tucked away in a shallow cove, this snorkeling spot is the perfect place for beginners to learn the basic. The calm clear water will let new snorkelers develop a comfort that is needed for rougher and less clear dives. If you want to experience it for yourself, you'll find this site located within the northern part of St. John.
Waterlemon Beach is a fifth location to consider. With its calm, warm waters, this site is the favorite hangoutfor beginning snorkelers -- as well as stingrays and flounder.
The following table provides you with more details regarding 31 of the most popular locations to go snorkeling in this area.
|Trunk Bay||2.2 mi. Northeast of Central Cruz Bay|
|2.3 mi. Northeast of Central Friis Bay|
|Lameshur Bay||2.2 mi. South-Southwest of Central Coral Bay|
|Maho Bay||2.3 mi. West-Northwest of Central Coral Bay|
|Waterlemon Beach||1.5 mi. North-Northwest of Central Coral Bay|
|Frank Bay||0.4 mi. West-Southwest of Downtown Cruz Bay|
|Salomon Point Snorkeling||0.8 mi. North of Downtown Cruz Bay|
|Honeymoon Bay||0.8 mi. North-Northeast of Downtown Cruz Bay|
|1.0 mi. North-Northeast of Downtown Cruz Bay|
|1.5 mi. North of Downtown Cruz Bay|
|Hansen Bay Beach||2.5 mi. East of Central Coral Bay|
|2.6 mi. East of Central Coral Bay|
|Salt Pond Bay||2.7 mi. South of Central Coral Bay|
|2.6 mi. South of Central Coral Bay|
|Little Lameshur Bay||2.3 mi. South-Southwest of Central Coral Bay|
|2.3 mi. East of Central Coral Bay|
|1.7 mi. South of Central Friis Bay|
|1.7 mi. Northeast of Downtown Cruz Bay|
|Cinnamon Bay||2.3 mi. East-Northeast of Central Caneel Bay|
|Francis Bay Beach||2.4 mi. Northwest of Central Coral Bay|
|Scott Beach||1.3 mi. North-Northeast of Downtown Cruz Bay|
|Oppenheimer Beach||1.7 mi. Northeast of Downtown Cruz Bay|
|1.2 mi. Northeast of Central Coral Bay|
|1.3 mi. East of Central Coral Bay|
|Hansen Bay Beach||2.6 mi. East of Central Coral Bay|
|3.0 mi. East of Central Coral Bay|
|2.6 mi. Southeast of Central Coral Bay|
|Grootpan Bay||2.5 mi. South of Central Coral Bay|
|Jumbie Beach||2.0 mi. Northeast of Downtown Cruz Bay|
|Reef Bay Beach||3.3 mi. East of Central downtown Cruz Bay|
|1.5 mi. East-Northeast of Central Coral Bay|
Some people believe the best snorkeling is accessed away from the shore.
If you're ready to go snorkeling during a boating adventure, you might want to contact Boat Day V.I.. Whether it's just the two of you or a large group desiring to simply sightsee or snorkel the clear Caribbean waters, Captain Kevin's decades of chartering experience and personal knowledge of the islands will provide you an enjoyable sea experience.
Another option to consider is 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. They're located in downtown Cruz Bay.
Still another 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.
Look through the table below to see day sails and boat trips that offer snorkeling.
|Boat Day V.I.||(855) 262-8329||Downtown Cruz Bay|
|(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 Pepper||(340) 771-7011||Coral Bay, Central St. John|
|Sail Safaris||(340) 626-8181||Downtown Cruz Bay|
|Salty Dog Day Sails||(340) 244-7290||Central St. John|
|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|
|Wish Upon a Star Charters||(631) 946-9292||Central St. John|
If you looking for a business offering snorkeling gear, excursions or similar services, you might want to 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 in downtown Cruz Bay.
A second place 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.
A third place to consider is Patagon Dive Center. Known as the local "snorkeling authority," this shop works to assist their guests with all of their snorkeling needs, whether it be learning about the educational benefits or teaching you the best way to participate in the sport. They're located within East End, West of St. John.
View the chart below to see 7 firms that provide snorkeling related services.
|Aqua Action Dive and Water Sports Center||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(340) 775-6258||1.6 mi. East of Central Maroon Town||St. Thomas|
|Arawak Expeditions||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(340) 693-8312||Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|Blue Water Divers||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(284) 495-1200||2.9 mi. North-Northeast of Central Coral Bay||Frenchman's Cay|
|Crabby's Watersports||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(340) 714-2415||Central St. John||St. John|
|Just BEach!||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(340) 776-6256||Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|Low Key Waterports||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(340) 693-8999||Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|Patagon Dive Center||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(340) 775-3333||0.7 mi. East-Southeast of Central Red Hook||St. Thomas|
To learn more concerning snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for beginners and "pros" check out this exhaustive discussion of snorkeling in the Caribbean.
Whether you've been snorkeling for years or your trip to St. John will be the first time you try, this island really does have the perfect spot for everyone.
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