5 Exclusive Snorkeling Destinations in the USVI
When traveling to the USVI one of the first adventures you want to explore is snorkeling. With a huge variety of islands and water features to visit, you will have plenty of opportunities to create your own amazing underwater experiences. Ranging from endangered species to barracudas, snorkeling has something for everyone. We’ve collected a few of the more unique snorkeling spots available in the USVI for you to consider!
Here are a few destinations that deserve exploring:
For the Marine Conservation Biologist
Location: Located off the island of St. Croix, Buck Island is a national monument encompassed by coral reef. This unique spot has underwater trails for snorkeling. You can get there by public transport or private boat.
Species: You can find a list of species from the endangered list at this location. This is a nesting home for three varieties of sea turtles and a wealth of terrestrial plants.
Snorkeling: Great for people new to the sport as it is a very shallow dive. Impressive for anyone interested in marine conservation biology. You can visit this island on one of our Turtle Snorkel Sail Trips!
2. Oppenheimer Beach (also known as Gibney Beach)
For the Coral Aficionado
Location: Located on the North Shore of St. John, this island was established by two lovers after visiting on their honeymoon. This is a very private, exclusive spot. There are only a few houses on this island. There is a history that is rich in the bohemian lifestyle. To get to Oppenheimer Beach you can hike in, swim in, use public transport, or charter a private boat.
Species: Oppenheimer is best known for its corals, over five variations are present for exploring. Sea life isn’t quite as abundant in this area due to past construction runoff. But there are the most breathtaking, beautiful, white sands and an island charm like no other.
Snorkeling: Great for people just beginning, 12-15 feet snorkeling.
3. Waterlemon Cay
For the Sea Turtle & Marine Life Fanatic
Location: This is a very exclusive location on the island of St. John. A local favorite, Waterlemon Cay requires an easy hike of almost a mile in (the terrain is completely flat). You can drive to the trailhead and park in the large parking lot of Annaberg Ruins.
Species: There is an array of fish, sea turtles and coral in this area and can be found in the mature reefs and sea grass beds. There is a plethora of sea grass where you will find the turtles feeding and you may even see a spotted Eagle Ray.
Snorkeling: This area is prone to high winds (snorkeling is best done without the high waves) so always check conditions first. Snorkel around the Cay counter clockwise for the best experience.
4. Haulover Bay North
For the More Experienced Diver
Location: This is a thin area of land that connects the main part of St. John to the East End, a true getaway from the tourist attractions. This area has large rock outcroppings and is covered in coral and sea fans. You can get there on foot, no need to boat or hike in. It is located near the only floating bar on the island for cocktails after snorkeling.
Species: There is a huge variety of fish species in this area.
Snorkeling: This area is for the more experienced diver because it’s prone to strong currents so check conditions before you dive.
5. Princess Bay: Mangroves of Hurricane Hole
For the Conservationist
Location: Mangroves of Hurricane Hole: some say this is the best kept secret of the USVI. This is a highly preserved area that is part of the National Park Coral Reef Monument. You can access this area by car on the East End of St. John.
Species: There is a flourishing underworld that has been protected and enriched by the roots of the mangroves. Of all of the species of coral on the island, the majority can be found on Princess Bay. Bountiful sea life glide around in the warm, shallow waters.
Snorkeling: This area is great for beginners and conservationists. We recommend snorkeling without fins so you do not disturb the sediment on the sea floor.
As you’ll find out there are plenty of amazing snorkel destinations to see in the Virgin Islands including shipwrecks, unknown coves, and more. If you love wildlife and seeing the natural beauty of the islands, give yourself enough time to truly explore the underwater worlds found in the USVI. Just remember the destinations are waiting to be explored!