Favorite off beach snorkel spot???

Old Jan 4th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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Only on St. Johns for the day off cruise ship,but would like to snorkel there. Can you rent equipment on Caneel Bay Beaches and which one? Also a place to change clothes? I know you can on Trunk Bay,but would like to get to a beach less crowded where it would be available.
maryanne1 is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2007, 01:03 PM
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hi, i would absolutely recommend the area for your 5 and 8 year old. they will love xel-ha. it is very kid friendly. they provide life jackets for everyone too. there are several places to eat and you can buy all an inclusive ticket which includes ALL you can eat and drink - booze too, large locker - good for storing snorkel gear, and all the towels you want. there is shopping on site too. also, x-caret is another much larger glitzier eco-water park in the area.
we stayed in a villa which i think would be great for you but there are loads of all inclusive resorts around akumal and up and down the coast. i would not look further north than playa del carmen as it gets more crowded. take a look at locogringo.com for a variety of accomodations. the only club i can recommend is akumal beach club where friends went a couple years ago. the section of beach is nice - we walked by after lunch down the beach this past fall.
if you repost with kidfriendly resorts on maya riviera you should get some more informtion.
the house we stayed in on tankah is casa cavu (on lg site) has a pool, wonderful housekeeper (meticulous) and a cook when requested. need rental car. best grocery in pdc. others in tulum and very small in akumal.
virginia is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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I suspect that you cannot rent equipment at Caneel. Maryann: In fact, the only beach open to "visitors" is the main one. Plenty of good snorkeling right there though, both to the left, along the edge of Little Caneel (and around to Honeymoon Beach) and to the right, out around the point to Paradise Beach. You could telephone Caneel and ask that question directly; it costs no more than any other state-to-state call.
Perhaps you can borrow snorkel equipment (you wouldn't even need fins) from your cruise ship?)
poss is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2007, 02:36 PM
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virginia: thanks you so much for the information you posted. I appreciate it. I will look into xel ha also...we are soooo very confused right now wether we should go to the carribean (T&K or GC) or the Mayan Riviera...it appears that there is no really good off beach snorkling in that area of Mexico. Do you agree?
The house you stayed in sounds great...housekeeping, cook when needed, pool, etc. Sounds perfect!
i will check out locogringo.com right now. Thanks again, Val
snorkelfamily is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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hi val, i absolutely disagree. there was excellent snorkeling from the beach directly in front of casa cavu. it is the main reason we choose the house. friend says she snorkeled from akumal beach resort as well.
if you look at the aerial photos on locogringo you can see alot of dark areas in the water. most of these are coral and anywhere there is coral there are fish. if you were to contact locogringo by email and tell them you want a resort that is child friendly, and has at least some close in beach snorkeling they will recommend several. they are THE most helpful ppl.
turks and caicos and mayan riviera area both have good live coral to see. bvis have had major bleaching in past few years. don't know about caymans. cozumel had outstanding snorkeling in a park but now is not so good due to wilma.
considering the age of your kids (ie - no snorkel experience) i would look hard at royal west indies and the sands and ocean clubs on provo (all 4 are condo style resorts). grace bay beach is known to be calm and in front of one of the hotels (coral gardens) as previously mentioned is an excellent area in shallow water. it starts about 10' off shore. this might be more fun/safe/enjoyable for kids than covering large areas in a bay.

and back to your original question another friend has just returned from palm island in st. v&g's and reports an excellent experience at nearby tobago cays - but it is a go by boat trip so doesn't count in the voting...
virginia is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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While we have ventured to other caribbean spots, we are self proclaimed St John addicts-so I'll stick to here. Waterlemon is awesome- lots of turtles and starfish! but we have to say we think Haulover is underrated. Maybe not the best spot for abunance of color-we have seen plentiful barracudas, stingrays and sharks here.
Kberbones is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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We have stayed in villas in st john, cayman, tankah and great guana. The one I would never go back to was tankah. Sorry but felt unsafe their, especially with kids around. Also every villa came with a guard dog or two(ours included) couldnt walk down the beach without a dog chasing you. We just returned from guana(thanks robert for advice given a while ago) nicest people we have met on any island, and felt very safe. I didnt snorkel because it was pretty rough, but my sons and dh scuba'd with troy at dive guana. They had a great experience!!. We also love the northshore of cayman, it really does have great snorkeling right before rum point.
suanniammsncom is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2007, 05:27 PM
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I've read these posts...and frankly...st john wins hands down.

Its a US territory. Its safe.

It has the best off shore snorkeling as voted by many at various web sites.

Check out this site and scroll through "news and current events" site listings.


marbleheadguy is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2007, 06:24 PM
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susan i'm sorry you had a bad experience on tankah. which villa did you stay in? was your trip recent? i would love to go back to casa cavu.
when we went this spring i walked the beach daily and was never bothered by dogs. actually it did not seem that most of the houses had dogs - a few did - ours did not nor did our neighbors on either side. i rather enjoyed that a couple of dogs went walking with me. one cute one in particular stopped to wait for me when i stubbed my toe... but i like dogs a lot!
our villa did come with a casita where caretakers (most of houses had casitas) lived with their daughter. and a gaurd came at night, so apparently there is some concern by the owners or locogringo. no bars anywhere. we left doors and windows open some nights for the breeze and felt perfectly safe. never saw anybody who didn't belong there. we were a group of 3 ladies. we did not drive around at night though and stayed in populated areas.
personally i was much more uncomfortable on st. thomas and of late there have been several posts about crime on st. john (villa break-ins, restaurant holdup) here on fodors.
my point in not to promote any area as safe. there is crime in my tiny town in maine too. but rather - just to relate my experience and say that people have different experiences doing the same thing on the same day....
susan, i would love to hear about your villa on great guana. i love provo so think i would like gg too.
virginia is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2007, 08:27 PM
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Here are my pics from my trip last May. Most of the underwater pics are from the beach at coral Gardens! Enjoy!

VegasM is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2007, 10:35 PM
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Having stayed many times on cayman, I was very impressed with the beautiful water of great guana. We loved exploring the very small island in our golf cart, no shopping at all, but my teen dtr never was bored. We seen many sharks in the water and we rented a boat any my dh and two teen boys caught many fish and 4 sharks. The boat was a great idea because it allowed you to explore other islands close by. In tankah, our villa had security lights, bars and two guard dogs which we were not made aware of prior to renting it. When we pulled up they were jumping on the car growling at us, but we eventually befriended them because we also are big dog lovers. Also, the villa owner told me to keep my doors locked at all times and that there had been many break-ins.
suanniammsncom is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2007, 05:32 AM
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Val; My only suggestion in making a final selection is to ask the forum participants who like one island over others where else they have snorkelled. For if they have not also snorkeled at St. John,Belize, Tobago Caye (Grenadines), Hawaii or S.E. Asia or Australia their frame of reference may be limited to only 2 or 3 places.
StanKase is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2007, 06:32 AM
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StanKase, Good suggestion, but I have found that the day to day weather changes (even from far destinations) can change one's perception of any snorkel site. This has certainly happened to us. Owa

Old Jan 7th, 2007, 08:43 AM
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owa; I agree to a point. But, you have to play the lsaw of averages. If 8 of 10 travelers speak highly of health of coral and they were there in past 12 months you probably can bank on it being good, if not every day but most days, except for a period of a tropical depression which can kick a lot of sand over coral and it takes several days for the waters to wash most of it off.
StanKase is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2007, 11:04 AM
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Hi there, sorry if this is slightly off topic...I am fairly new to snorkeling and diving and we are going to Caneel Bay the first week of April 2007. I find I am quite afraid of sharks. Are there sharks at Caneel,and have there ever been any guests bitten by a shark? Finally, what do you suggest to get over this fear? If I can get over it, I'd like to get dive certified. Thanks!
styleoracle is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2007, 02:16 PM
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Virginia and everybody else, The first time I snorkeled was at Sting Ray City off Grand Cayman over 10 years ago and was stunned by the colors of fish, coral, and other things (maybe sea anemones???). I have been trying to recapture that experience at Anguilla, St. Lucia, and Xel Ha (2 years ago) without success. Most of the coral or whatever the surface is that the fish are swimming around is a muddy yellowish brown instead of orange and blue and bright yellow and flaming red. Snorkeled Trunk Bay on St. John. It was pretty, but much smaller and not quite as dramatic as Sting Ray City.(For me, the drama was in the light, color and movement of the fish and plants, not the sting rays) Is Tankah Bay comparable to Sting Ray City in its color and variety of fish and plants? If not, what do you suggest? \
I'd love to find a place in North America or Central America or the Caribbean that has the lushness of St. Lucia and the snorkeling of Grand Cayman. Does such a place exist??
indianastatefair is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2007, 03:33 PM
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hi statefair. no. st. lucia is a volcanic based island thus lush, hilly but beaches not so stunning and not much coral. caymans are coral based thus flat, scrubby but with the gorgeous beaches and wonderful snorkeling.
now from pictures i'd say your (maybe all of our)dream island may exist in the indian ocean. perhaps thailand?? sigh...
cannot compare stingray city to tankah as i have not been to caymans - yet. i have heard that tobago cays in st.v&g's is very good, but to go soon as somebody wants to put some crazy developement out there.
i agree with those above that one day in a spot can be amazing the next day lousy... and then there's the "first time" thing. don't you think we all treasure our first look at what's underneath??

histyle - i had to do some serious hunting but i found a little shark info for you : http://www.vinow.com/wwwtalk/read.php?4,23664,23724
it seems they are not a problem in these waters. if you plan to dive i advise you take your certification course at home before you go. then maybe do the actual dive test in the islands. many boats will take you for the test, but the course takes a few days and why burn beach days being indoors ??? to get over the fear you probably need to learn about them. learn to identify what you are seeing as most sharks are not interested in people. and learn how not to attrack them in open water if you are going to dive. as an example do not let anyone chum near you. (don't laugh > ppl did this in turks & caicos - ppl were diving with chum and one was snorkeling above them - snorkeler was badly bitten but lived) oh yes and quit watching jaws.
virginia is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2007, 04:07 PM
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heck the link doesn't do what it should! the question asked is "on average, how many shark attacks occur in st. thomas each year? what is the most commom reason for the attacks?" and was entered on july 26, 2004 at 10:11pm by harperkimberly.
ok - i see it on page 186 under the title 'sharks'...about 1/2 way down the page.
virginia is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2007, 06:03 PM
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thank you!
styleoracle is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2007, 07:23 PM
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Have ittle fear. In 6-7 visits of 7-10 days each norkeling almost every day I saw a small nurse shark once. They are HARMLESS and will not even approach you. The only thing I might suggest is off the 7 beaches go out 100 yards without a worry in the world.
StanKase is offline  

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