Good snorkeling near a good hotel?

Old Aug 26th, 2003, 02:35 PM
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Good snorkeling near a good hotel?

Can anyone recommend a good hotel where there is good snorkeling right from the hotel grounds (or a short swim or sea kayak ride?) Sometimes we take a charter sorkeling boat, or find a good beach. BUT, there are times when laziness strikes, and it would be heavenly to just wade right in and see lots of fish, or take a short sea kayak ride (like we've done from the Reefs Hotel in Bermuda to Church Bay.)

I know that many Carribean and Bermuda resorts have SOME fish near many beach hotels, but I'm looking for a rather nice snorkel experience. Price is no object, although the Diseyland-like hotels (e.g. Atlantis) do not appeal. A decent on-site restaurant is also a plus.
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Old Aug 26th, 2003, 02:42 PM
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Excatly what you are looking for can be found in Cozumel at the Hotel Presidente Intercontinental.
Another choice would be Coral Gardens on Provo, but both the hotel and snorkeling are much better at the IC.
You can wade into where the reefs start from the beach, or land right on top of them via ladders off the ironshore.
Beach is great, hotel is wonderful, and the staff is a delight.
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Old Aug 26th, 2003, 05:39 PM
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Ms. MadameX, may strongly suggest Caneel Bay on St. John. They have 7 beaches and at least 4 of them have very good snorkeling. You can walk from your room enjoy nature at it's best. I'll be there in 4 days!!!!!!
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Old Aug 26th, 2003, 11:50 PM
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Diana,

I know very little about the Caribbean (never been) but am hoping to visit Coral Gardens on T&C in Dec. I am also familiar with the IC on Cozumel as it is considered a premier scuba/snorkel resort; and I consider myself an avid snorkeler. Could you elaborate on why you felt that the IC was much better than the Coral Gardens?

Also, could you provide add'l descriptions of the snorkeling at Grace Bay in Provo. Are there plenty of hard coral formations and sponges to admire? Or is it the abundance and variety of fish that draws snorkelers?

I know I should discover such things on my own; but having perused your very insightful posts, I sense I can connect with your views. So I'm sure any comments you offer will certainly help steer me in the right direction. Thanks.
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Old Aug 27th, 2003, 05:47 AM
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bluefan,
We are divers, and pick many of our destinations based on the diving/snorkeling to be found.
IC has a much more extensive reef closer in to shore in front of the resort than Coral Gardens.
There is so much to see that we have been going every year for 10 years and have not covered all of it just snorkeling in front of the hotel.
I spent a lot of my time looking for fish/reef at Coral Gardens once I exhausted the small patch in front of the place. It was very good, but it was not extensive enough to keep me entertained for too long.
Plus, since it is so close to the shore and to the surface, they have roped some of it off, and you cannot really hover over it like I like to. (Some people went under the ropes.)
Plus, since the IC is private, there are usually very few people out there snorkeling with you, as opposed to Coral Gardens sometimes having quite a few people/kids in from Beaches and other areas. (I've heard varying reports of just how many people there are from 20 to 50, but I like to have a relatively private snorkeling location, and that many people is too many for me.)
During last October, when we were there, only 8 or 10 others were there, but I am sure it depends on the time of year you go with Provo. Mid to late December would be high season.
One of the reasons the beach and water are so stunning on Provo is that there are few coral formations close to shore, so there is an unbroken view of white sand and blue water.
We stayed at the Sands, and there was NO snorkeling there.
I may not have completely explored snorkeling sites while on Provo, and maybe someone else can tell you, but I think most sites are a boat ride away.
The diving was excellent, and there was plenty of fish life and healthy reefs, but again, none of it was close to shore.
We did see Jojo, and more sea turtles than we have ever seen anywhere! By the end of the trip it was like, Oh, another turtle...
Grace Bay and Provo are perfect for beach lovers who want a beautiful relaxing getaway, or divers who don't mind a boat ride, or people who are not hard core snorkelers.
If it's your first time in the Caribbean, and you don't want to spend literally hours of your vacation snorkeling, it would most likely be fine.
If you found you did not get enough from shore, there are plenty of catamaran trips to take you to offshore reefs.
Provo and Cozumel are very different from wach other, but based on what you said you like, I am sure you will enjoy Provo.
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Old Aug 27th, 2003, 06:22 PM
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The Plaza, Bonaire. Walk right in, tons of fish.
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Old Aug 27th, 2003, 06:54 PM
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Reef Resort on the East end of Grand Cayman.
 
Old Aug 27th, 2003, 07:04 PM
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Thanks so much Diana for your very detailed response...very enlightening.

If you're ever interested in Hawaii or French Polynesia, don't hesitate to ask. I hope to someday return the favor!
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Old Aug 27th, 2003, 09:41 PM
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Already, my thanks to so many informative responses!
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