Best Snorkel Tours out of St. John

Old Jan 13th, 2009, 06:14 PM
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Best Snorkel Tours out of St. John

Hi All -

Looking for recommendations for great snorkel day tours or tours around the islands on a catamaran or the like.

Thanks!
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 04:33 AM
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What makes St. John such a great destination for my family is, IMHO, that it's shore snorkeling is awesome. There is no need to take a tour. Where are you staying and for how long? What's your experience snorkeling. Some good spots are:
Hawksnest - Beginner, easy
Denis Bay - Intermediate/advanced
Caneel Bay, Caneel Beach - Beginner
Hooneymoon Beach - Beginner
Trunk Bay - Beginner
Maho Bay - Beginner
Francis Bay - Beginner
Francis Bay/Mary's Pt. - Intermediate
Waterlemon Cay - Walk/swim - Advanced/intermediate
Chocolate Hole(around point left) - Intermediate
Reef Bay - Intermediate
Haulover Bay - Advanced with waves
Rainbow Beach - Intermediate longish swim from shore
Salt Pond - Beginner
Kettle Bay - Advanced

I could add a few more but these are some of my favorites. After 14 trips to St. John I've yet felt the need to "take a snorkel tour".

Have a great trip!!
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 07:01 AM
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There are so many tour operators down there and as Pulley said, you really don't need a tour to get in some great snorkeling, but if you do want a tour, a good idea is to find one down there that will take you to spots which are not accessible by land such as the Indians, or other offshore spots. Norman Island is where Robert Louis Stevenson reputedly based his book "Treasure Island" and you can snorkel the so-called treasure caves. There are also other places like that and some which are on St. John like Hurricane Hole where you can snorkel the mangroves (really neat, I recommend). There's a nice catamaran trip out of the Westin which will take you to a couple of snorkel spots and out to Jost Van Dyke (not a snorkel destination). I would look around once you get there. There's an information kiosk in Cruz Bay as well as an information center called Connections where you will be able to get info. on all the operators.
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 08:02 AM
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I totally agree with Pulley. We did one from the Westin on our first trip to STJ and hated it. They took us to the Baths and we had no time there. It is better to do day trips to the BVIs on your own via the ferrys, whether it be Jost Van Dyke or the Baths. It is cheaper also and you have more time.

Rent a car go to the beaches and jump in and start snorkeling.
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 01:38 PM
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Great - thanks. We are renting a villa for a week. We've been all over the Caribbean (never to St. John, though!) and have snorkeled many times - both off the beach and out on sea. We've been to the BVIs, but never to Jost Van Dyke and I was thinking that it might make a nice day trip, but wanted to find a good tour operator. When we were on Tortola last, we sailed with Patouche, which was a great experience. Our family of three and another couple were the only people on board, the crew was wonderful, and the snorkeling pretty good. I think we're more interested in getting out on sea, than the snorkeling.
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 03:07 PM
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Hi. We visited St. John last April. While there we did a 3 hour sail on a catamaran called Bread on the Water. For us it was the highlight of the trip. We found their name and number on a flier inside our villa rental. They did a snorkeling stop which was great but we enjoyed the "getting out on the sea" part a lot, as well!
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Old Jan 14th, 2009, 04:35 PM
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As mentioned I would check the Westin options plus the kiosk in Cruz Bay. Access to the first several are off Caneel Bay Resort and except for Caneel Beach you are expected to be a guest at the resort. Obviously you could sneak in, but why do that on vacation. For $75-$80 in Shoulder and low season you can take a 6 hour power boat snorkel trip, make suire it is at least 35ft. and no more than 15-18 people, and you can get to 3 of the spots Pulley mentioned. I think Watermelon, Hawks Nest and Francis Bay if you can get that combination would be great. Just make sure you see the boat before you pay to make sure there is adequate cover(canopy) to be out of the sun part of the time. Enjoy!!
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 08:19 AM
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Hi everyone,
Our family and others are going to STT late March with a couple of day trips to STJ. Is there snorkel equipment to rent at STJ beaches or should we bring our own fins (we've all done some snorkeling 2-3 times and don't own anything.) How much would it cost or should we just get some cheap stuff at Target?
Thanks,
Carla
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 10:01 AM
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Carla,

You can rent snorkel gear on St. John in Cruz Bay at Low Key Watersports or Hurrican Hole in Mongoose Junction. You can probably rent gear for a week on STT for around $35. If you think this will be your first of many trips to "blue water"(after seeing STJ I know it will I would invest in mask, fins and snorkel. It's nice to have your own stuff that fits properly.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 03:31 PM
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I agree with Pulley. You can get a good mask and snorkel for $40. Don't buy a $25 rig you will be throwing your money away. Buy at the dive shop near you you can try it on to make sure you can get it air tight and it is comfortable. As for flippers I used to carry my large diving flippers that took up a lot of room and were heavy and since we snorkel 2-3 times a year I bought shorties for about $35 as I recall. But, you can rent flippers for $10 tops and 99% sure you will get a pair that are comfortable. Life vests will be supplied by the boat and if not don't go on that boat for they are requuyired to have 1 per passenger.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 06:32 PM
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http://www.palmtreecharters.com/

Is it just the two of you? I highly recommend Palm Tree Charters if you want to splurge or have a larger group. Captain Brandi is the best. You choose what you want to do for the day.
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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It will be the three of us. We were thinking of a cruise to Jost Van Dyke and don't want to spend more than $150 pp.
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