Snorkeling/Beaches - STJ v. VG

Feb 18th, 2004, 04:53 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 29
Snorkeling/Beaches - STJ v. VG

Hello Everyone-
My wife and I were fortunate enough to spend a few days on STJ last year at Caneel Bay. We had planned to expore the island and check out many of the various beaches that STJ offers. However, Caneel was so enticing that we never left the property. The snorkeling we did at Caneel (and our day trip to the Baths) was our first snorkeling experience - but now we're hooked! We were completely blown away by the snorkeling at the Baths...unfortunately we only had a few hours there. I really liked the lushness of STJ with lots of vegetation on the beaches.

We are now looking to go back to the Caribben this summer with another couple (who have never been to the Caribbean or snorkeling). We are thinking about a return to STJ (in a villa) or VG (villa). We are looking for a nice variety of beautiful beaches with good snorkeling. Which island do you guys suggest? Are the Baths the highlight of VG?

Thanks!!!
forrestg is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2004, 02:33 PM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 29
Is anybody out there???
forrestg is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2004, 02:39 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 48
For great snorkling on a great beach on a fabulous island go to VG. We rented a villa on Mahoe Bay last summer. The best snorkling was 20 yards off the beach right in front of the house. There are about 15 villas scattered beachside and hillside on this lovely beach. I think the snorkling at Mahoe Bay on VG is better than the Baths which is right down the road. Loved VG. Lots to do--but a quieter spot than STJ. If you have any questions please e-mail me.
Maryella is offline  
Feb 24th, 2004, 06:48 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 60
Have snorkeled while vacationing on St.John, St. Thomas, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, Peter Island, Cooper Island, St. Martin, St. Barts, and the Turks/Caicos. We found all the Virgin Islands to be fantastic and Provo-Turks/Caicos to be absolutely outstanding. Much more populated in Virgin Islands, we actually had beaches to ourselves, not a soul for several hours in Turks/Caicos.The water/beaches/snorkeling was knock out gorgeous,great restaurants, small golf course(if you like)in/around Provo. We went for our 25th wedding anniversary.

If you are taking friends who have never been to the Caribbean or snokeling then it would be a fantastic choice.

With all that being said, we are taking a vacation this year(my 50th birthday party) and taking extended family members who also have never been to Caribbean and have never snorkeled, and we are going to out islands of the Bahamas- Abacos.
After thoroughly researching for great/gorgeous water, ease of snorkeling-right off of beach and then easily from a rental boat, several little cays you can go to on your own, mild to gentle current for ease of swimming and snorkeling, great shelling, great little restaurants to eat, beautiful scenery/beaches and if you like bonefishing(several of us like to flyfish), then the Abacos might be an option for you and friends.

Turks/Caicos is an arid island, not like some of the Virgin Islands that are lush, and Abacos are much more lush than the Turks, since that might be a factor.

I had great advice from several posters about where to go, and we think we're headed to a piece of heaven. Can't wait. Also ease of travel and not having to spend lots of time/several diffent modes of transportation- getting to a place was a big factor for us.

We also stayed at Caneel when we vacationed on St. John, and it has great beaches, but so much more to see on St. John, and the Baths can really get crazy mid-day, they are best early in mornings and later in afternoon when lots of traffic has left or havent arrived yet.
Hope this helps and have a great time and safe travel.
denette is offline  
Feb 24th, 2004, 08:34 AM
  #5  
lvs
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 125
Denette,

Do you know if the weather is reliable on Abacos or Turks/Caicos in February? We're just back from the Virgin Islands where the weather that time of year is so reliable and the water is warm enough to snorkel in. However, the Virgin Island resorts seem to be overrun with dayboats and nonguests on the beaches, so the idea of less people is appealing.
lvs is offline  
Feb 24th, 2004, 02:06 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 60
Hope my previous reply was posted??
denette is offline  
Feb 24th, 2004, 06:16 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 60
I see my previous reply did not post, so here goes. Do not know about the water in the Abacos being suitable for snorkeling and water sports at this time, temp. reported to be in mid 70s, still too cool to be in water long, I would guess. However, the Turks and Caicos might be much better. Have friends who vacation there at Christmas time and they snorkeled.swam daily so it just might be ok. We were in Provo later April/early May and it was hot, water quite refreshing. The earliest we have ever vacationed has been in March and it was in the Virgin Islands where like you say the water and temp is great. I am sorry can not give you input for month of February.
denette is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 03:25 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 33
Denette...thanks for the info! Would you mind telling me where on Provo/T&C you stayed? We had planned on going to St. John but you make it sound like where you stayed had better off-the-beach snorkeling. Also, where in Abacos are you headed? Thank you.
gwaine is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 08:39 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 60
gwaine,
We stayed at Coral Gardens, in one bedroom luxury condo. Our particular condo was beautiful, furnished very nicely, absolutely FANTASTIC view of beach and ocean as it curved around to the left, not a single thing to obstruct our view. It was wonderful.

The coral reef at the Bight is right out in front of Coral Gardens. We snorkeled several times a day, every day. We also went to Smith's Reef, Malcolm's Road Beach and Sapodilla Bay Beach. We drove down the Blue Hills Rd. and got out along the way down around Pelican point and had the beach all to ourselves.
If you go do rent a car, drive everywhere, do NOT MISS going down South Dock Rd, and then down Chalk Sound Rd, and just taking pictures of Chalk Sound, the water is unbelievable, unlike any I had ever seen, unbelievable blue/green. We took a cooler and just drove, stopped where we wanted, swam, snorkeled had a blast.

In the Abacos, we are going to Elbow Cay. We have rented two houses,our golf carts, getting ready to book a couple of boats so we can go out and explore several of the different cays on our own and also finalize our plans for a couple of daytrips and getting one of the snorkel/scuba outfitters to take us out at least two days. We fly into Marsh Habour from Miami, (our original departure is Nashville) and then take ferry over to Elbow Cay, approx. 20 minute ride. Hope this has helps. Safe Travel wherever you go.
denette is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 11:01 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 33
denette
Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. The three main hotels I hear about when snorkeling from the beach are Caneel, Coral Gardens, and Hotel Presidente in Cozumel. I don't know any Spanish so I'm gonna skip out on the Cozumel one (though I hear it's great snorkeling). I've heard mixed reviews about the snorkeling at Coral Gardens. How big is the reef and what is the quality of the reef/abundance of fish, etc? I'm trying to find beaches right in front of the hotel b/c my fiance isn't going to want to travel to a different beach everyday to suit my snorkel needs Caneel sounds right up my alley but it's so expensive! Do you think the snorkeling right in front of Coral Gardens is better/comparable to Caneel's? Thanks again for your help!
gwaine is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 11:42 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 60
in one simple word, no, the numerous beaches that can be accessed from just Caneel alone make it the best of the two. The snorkeling is really great at Coral Gardens, but it is one reef and of course there are several places at Caneel alone. The snorkeling at Coral Gardens was wonderful though, lots and lots of fish, not a very large coral reef, comparable to some at Caneel, but not huge, and Smith's Reef was great.

When I am talking about a drive to Smiths Reef (5 minute drive) from Coral Garden or out to Sapodilla(10-15 minute drive) that is nothing. The beaches are absolutely beautiful and the water is so gorgeous and the crowds are not like they are at Caneel, nothing at all to compare.
We took a small 12 pack cooler with us, those freezable ice packs and took our Coronas down to beach, made frozen drinks in our condo and went back and forth up to our unit several times a day and what a treat to just merely go a few steps and we had fresh drinks all day long. We were in heaven.

We have been to ST. John twice and we wanted another island adventure, lots of ocean out there to explore and lots of reefs to see, so we keep on trying different islands.
I too want to go to Mexico, but we want to base ourselves out of Akumal or even a little further down. We love watersports of all types and we love the different scenery of the different islands we visit,and we prefer less crowded areas to base out of if we can. We might try to do Cozumel for a day, but there is so much down the Mexican Riviera and Maya Riviera that we would not base ourselves out of Cozumel. Now that is another place I have done extensive research on, I have tons of info, I have pulled off of several websites and message forums.
/we thought we would vacation there this past October, but had to change plans, and now we think we may go this next October when my two sons are out for fall school break.

There is so much to see within a couple hours of the Mexican coast as far as culturally and I would imagine it would be a multi-fun trip. Hope this helps
denette is offline  
Feb 26th, 2004, 03:34 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 33
Many thanks Denette! You've been a great help!
gwaine is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:26 PM.