Snorkeling and beaches

Old Feb 7th, 2022, 06:28 PM
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Snorkeling and beaches

First World Problems! I cannot pick a Caribbean island. I’m looking at Usvi/BVI, curaçao, Turks, Antigua. I want lots of great snorkeling and beautiful beaches. Off shore snorkeling is fine but Fiji spoiled us with snorkeling right off the beach. We are not the sit on the beach and drink type. I want to hike, kayak, snorkel, eat some yummy food and see any wildlife. We had booked bvis and moved the trip around several times during COVID. The island hopping/ferry/catamaran aspect of the usvi/BVI seems more problematic during a pandemic. We are traveling from Austin, TX. Up for other suggestions too. Thank you
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Old Feb 8th, 2022, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by gingerbane1805 View Post
First World Problems! I cannot pick a Caribbean island. I’m looking at Usvi/BVI, curaçao, Turks, Antigua. I want lots of great snorkeling and beautiful beaches. Off shore snorkeling is fine but Fiji spoiled us with snorkeling right off the beach. We are not the sit on the beach and drink type. I want to hike, kayak, snorkel, eat some yummy food and see any wildlife. We had booked bvis and moved the trip around several times during COVID. The island hopping/ferry/catamaran aspect of the usvi/BVI seems more problematic during a pandemic. We are traveling from Austin, TX. Up for other suggestions too. Thank you
If by Turks you mean Turks & Caicos, you can snorkel right off the beach at Smiths Reef or by Windsong Hotel. There’s nothing much else on Provo than beach, good food but the other islands I believe might fulfill the kayaking requirement. I’ve only been to Provo.

Antigua isn’t the greatest place for snorkelling but the beaches are beautiful.

Curaçao also has great beaches but you have to drive to them and snorkelling is fairly good, Bonaire is much better but no beaches. Curaçao has a great national park for hiking etc.

USBI/BVI haven’t been to yet but have read a lot of great things about St John in terms of beaches & snorkelling right off them.

Grand Cayman has great beaches, snorkelling, good food etc but not sure about kayaking, it’s flat so guess not much hiking. But the Cayman Islands are worth looking at.
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Old Feb 8th, 2022, 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by balthy View Post
If by Turks you mean Turks & Caicos, you can snorkel right off the beach at Smiths Reef or by Windsong Hotel. There’s nothing much else on Provo than beach, good food but the other islands I believe might fulfill the kayaking requirement. I’ve only been to Provo.

Antigua isn’t the greatest place for snorkelling but the beaches are beautiful.

Curaçao also has great beaches but you have to drive to them and snorkelling is fairly good, Bonaire is much better but no beaches. Curaçao has a great national park for hiking etc.

USBI/BVI haven’t been to yet but have read a lot of great things about St John in terms of beaches & snorkelling right off them.

Grand Cayman has great beaches, snorkelling, good food etc but not sure about kayaking, it’s flat so guess not much hiking. But the Cayman Islands are worth looking at.
thank you for your reply. We loved the Caymans, but have been twice. Your comments pretty much reinforced my own research which has me at 2 again- Virgin Islands and Curaçao. I’ve read that Curaçao has cove beaches versus long stretches? We’re you disappointed in them compared to other islands? I’ve been to a lot of beautiful beaches so I have high beach standards. I would say snorkeling and beaches are the top 2 things we are seeking. Bonaire looks lovely for diving and snorkeling, but my friend did warn me of the lack of beaches. Thanks again
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Old Feb 8th, 2022, 05:51 AM
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I wasn’t disappointed in the beaches in Curaçao, I knew they’d be different, I thought some like Kleine Knip were beautiful. Bonaire is lovely though, no beaches but there are access points into the water and there is a National park as well.

What time of year are you travelling? Not in the Caribbean but Bermuda is just gorgeous, beaches are wonderful, great snorkelling and lots to do but it’s a summer destination if you want to be in the water.
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Old Feb 8th, 2022, 05:58 AM
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St. John US Virgin Islands would fit most of your "wants".
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Old Feb 8th, 2022, 06:29 AM
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Another vote for St. John - the island has some very nice cove-like beaches with very good to excellent walk-in snorkeling and 2/3's of the island is a National Park so you'll have plenty of places for hiking.

I'd also suggest Virgin Gorda (if you are willing to comply with their Covid testing, etc.) - wonderful island with plenty of great beaches with very good to excellent walk-in snorkeling, a variety of good restaurants and all manner of hiking. Plus, you can easily take boat trips to nearby islands and cays for more terrific snorkeling. It ticks off all the boxes on your wish list.
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Old Feb 8th, 2022, 07:17 AM
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Great thank you for the suggestions. We are going in May. I think Bermuda could be a little chilly. There are a lot of positives to USVI and traveling to BVI if able.
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Old Feb 8th, 2022, 07:30 AM
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Bermuda will be definitely be too cold. Last time we were there it was beg June and just at the limit of what I could bear in the water.

USVI and/or BVI sound perfect.


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Old Feb 8th, 2022, 12:58 PM
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We’ve been to St. John several times and just returned from St. Croix. If you don’t have to stay on the beach and don’t mind driving to them St. John IMHO has the better combination of from shore snorkeling and beaches. Nice thing about St. Croix was staying on the beach and some decent snorkeling. Also been to Grand Cayman twice and though they have the great 7-mile beach you can stay on didn’t think the snorkeling as good as St. John. All three have very good dining options. USVI also much easier to get to in these Covid times, just a negative test up to 5 days prior to visit (it was 3 days when we went last month).
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Old Feb 8th, 2022, 05:06 PM
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We just returned from two weeks in St John where our main emphasis is always snorkeling. It wasn’t as good this year as past ones because of some rougher water in our second week but we still saw octopuses, squid, turtles, barracuda, sharks, spotted eagle rays, etc. My favorite snorkeling Waterlemon Cay. We also like North and South Haulovers, Francis, Hawksnest and Salt Pond.

Not to hijack gingerbane1805’s post but for those of you that have snorkeled St John and other islands, where would you go as an alternative to St John? We’re thinking of a different snorkeling destination next year. Is Curaçao really comparable as far as snorkeling goes?
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Old Feb 9th, 2022, 03:51 AM
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I’m using my chase reserve points to book this trip and sadly there aren’t great options for St John. St. Thomas has better options but then I’d be taken a ferry to visit St John. I also don’t see great options in the bvis. Last year when this was booked I was staying in airbnbs, but will be using hotels this time. Lots of great hotels in Curaçao. How is St Thomas?
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Old Feb 9th, 2022, 04:18 AM
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There is a very recent trip report on TA from someone who has just returned from Curaçao and went snorkelling.
It’s hard to find somewhere with everything.T&C has great snorkelling but it’s concentrated in certain areas but you can take snorkel trips to West Caicos & other islands. I think you can do activities on North Caicos a ferry ride away from Provo.





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