Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Caribbean Islands
Reload this Page > Snorkeling @ Port Stops: Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Barts, DR & Barbados

Snorkeling @ Port Stops: Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Barts, DR & Barbados

Reply

May 17th, 2010, 09:59 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,771
Snorkeling @ Port Stops: Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Barts, DR & Barbados

We are taking a 24 day cruise to the Amazon and while that is our objective it does spend 6-9 hours in a number of Caribbean islands ports where we have not snorkeled except for Barbados 30 years ago and T&C 18 yrs ago.
Compared to Curacao, Grand Cayman (now not 7-8 years ago when it was much better), and St. John are any of the below listed islands really worth my arranging in advance for a snorkel trip? If some are, what spots have you snorkeled at in the past 2-4 years that you would recommend? I do not know just where the ship docks at each island therefore in Barbados it may be too far to get to but maybe not on the smaller islands I can make advancd arrangements for a 4 hour snorkel trip with my wife rather than the "lame" one, if any, the ship offers. But then again I do not need to snorkel where the coral is not healthy and there is not a reef system with a large variety of fish and sea fans. etc.
1. St. Barts-Gustavia
2. Barbados-Georgetown
3. St. Lucia-Castries
4. Dominican Republic- Cayo Levantado (I doubt)
5. Dominica- Rosseu
6.Grand Turk,Turk and Caicos
7. Tobago-Scarborough.
Thanks.
StanKase is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2010, 10:33 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,952
St. Lucia, yes (go to the Pitons by sea). Dominican Republic (no, but consider a kayaking trip in Los Haitises or in season go whale-watching), Dominica (possibly at Champagne, but if you like hiking, that's a better choice, in my opinion), Grand Turk (yes, yes, yes).

In St. Barth, I'd just enjoy the vibe and have a nice lunch ashore, in Barbados I'd do something on land, and in Tobago, I'm not sure, but many people do go snorkeling there.
doug_stallings is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2010, 02:22 PM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,771
Doug; We intended to go to view the Pitons and thought if their was quality snorkeling on that side we could have double pleasure. In Grand Turk just where is the quality snorkeling. We were at the Meridan Club so our frame of reference was just around the key which was not very good. In Barbados we have visited the the various parishes though it was 30 yrs. ago and a turltle farm I think. it was back in the day when the Paradise Island Hotel was a 4 star hotel and it was good to visit with children. I rather not rent a car though I can drive on the other side of the road I often screw up on the turns and rather not cause an accident. To see the local foilage would be nice if we had not just returned from Indonesia and it's magnificant natural undulating mountains, terraced planting of rice, tea, cobbage. etc. I hunderstand what you are saying about St. bart's for I have heard it is very quaint but we ran into a few people 4-5 years ago who I thought compared the snorkeling to St.John. I know if I contact a local vendor in any iof these places they will tell me how wonderful the snorkeling it is and that is why i tap into the Forum where avid snorkelers can hopefully give me some guidance.
StanKase is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 18th, 2010, 05:04 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,952
There are certainly plenty of beaches in St. Barth, but I don't know if the snorkeling is as good as on St. John.

In Grand Turk, you'll need to take a boat excursion to get to good snorkeling spots. These will be offered from the ship. A lot of people go to Gibb's Cay, where you can swim with stingrays, but I don't know if the snorkeling is any good there. Hopefully, Blamona will jump in and give some specific recommendations. She knows Grand Turk. I didn't take a snorkeling excursion when I was there, but I know it's very close to amazing reefs. Frankly, the beach is so beautiful, you may just way to lie on it.

In Barbados, I don't know that I'd rent a car. It's expensive, and you can usually take a private excursion for not much more than the same price. But there is also a good bus system that will help you get around cheaply. I don't know how many of the tourist attractions you can hit on the buses, but a tour of one of the large plantation homes there would be nice. I really love the east coast of Barbados. It's stunningly beautiful.
doug_stallings is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 15th, 2011, 12:06 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 4
There are some fantastic snorkelling sites in Dominica. Best of which I can remember is called Champagne Beach. The reef at Champagne Beach lies under a sulphur spring which drops bubbles up the surface. This place is seriously amazing and is worth a visit: http://www.traveldominica.net/champagne-reef/
caribbeanexpert is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2011, 06:27 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,765
hi stan, good friends took a boat tour to the pitons that included snorkeling, when they cruised 3 yrs ago. i have a call in to see if they can name their tour opertor.
virginia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2011, 07:00 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,771
Actually St. Lucia is a waste of time based on a visit there 4 years ago when we stayed at Ladera resort. It is better to tour with Fabian Tours. He charges $200 USD for 6-7 hours for up to 4 people in a comfortable private car doing both the northern and southern coasts.If you offer to pay him $20 extra if you get Curtis as your guide do so because Curtis was very good. He was quiet until we began to ask questions and then he was a fountain of interesting information.
In Dominica you can charter a boat with a canopy and sturdy ladder and snorkel guide for $310 USD and get another couple to join you as we did for 3.5 hours including a pick-up at the port. Champange in our opinion is worth 15-20 minutes tops but Ken Watt has 2 good places one with huge barrel sponges that he will take you to plus one other and he will add a stop at Champagne in the 3.5 hours. Contact is [email protected]
In Barbados the snorkeling is o.k., not real good, but there is a sail,lunch and snorkel that was worth going on for $100/person. She takes 12 on a 42ft. sailboat, a little crowded but not bad, serves a surprisingly very good lunch,snacks, soft drinks, beer and a little too much rum which we just avoided. She goes to 2 spots but 4 other boats go there and often they are at the same spots at the same time. If I were to go again I would ask her to reverse course, I do not know if she would would because she sails back vs. motoring, and go the the second one first so we would be there with one or no other group. Because as it was there were 40++ people in the water at one time. But it was worth doing because some of the other guests were interesting and we had nice weather. At the first stop when we saw all the people we chose not to quite follow the group and snorkeled nearer toward shore but only when about 100 yards and the snorkeling was decent though the owner may not have been thrilled. We bring our own life vests,masks and snorkels so we were not worried. If you are interested contacted her by Googling "Calabaza Charters or Calabaza Sailing Charters and Barbados and it pops-up.She books up sometimes 2 months in advance. By the way she picks you up outside the port at 9 and brings tou back at 3:15-3:30.
You should not miss snorkeling in Virgin Gorda. It isamong the 4-5 best places left in the Caribbean. But you have to know who to go with and it involves work on your part. Dave Irwin owns DoubleD charters. He has a 50ft. sailboat and 2 35ft. power boats. But we wanted to be assured he would go out and though he charged $110/person for 3.5 hours (from meeting to return to marina which is 150 yards from the Regatta)he requires $660. We went for it because Monkey Point and the Dogs are 2 of the best places in the BVI's. We counted on getting at least another couple and as it was we were able to get 2 other foilks. so we had 6. we could have had 4 more but we did not want to be crowded and Dave would then charge each $110/person anyway. the only thing you need to do is get his word that he will take you to Monkey Point for 45-50 minutes of snorkeling and to the Dogs for 20 minutes. that's about all the time you have because they are well off the mainland of VG.We were unable to find any provider in Grand Turk that we trusted and had plans to go on oceania's Ultimate Snorkel with the normal huge number of 35-40 they take. But the Captain claimed the waters were too rough and he could not dock yet we found out a Princess ship docked 1 hour earlier and a Holland American ship docked less than 2 hours after our scheduled docking time. It sounded like a way to save fuel and they headed directly back to Miami but at a slower pace. By the way there is absolutely nothing to do in Port of spain, Trinadad. Consider it a day on the ship because the we took a walk which in the swealtering heat was a total waste in a undesurable area and folks that took the Oceania bus tour said it was almost a waste of their time and money. I hope some of this helps.
StanKase is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 21st, 2011, 04:20 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,765
well stan it was fabian tours my friends used. i guess you've already taken the cruise though.
virginia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 23rd, 2011, 06:37 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,771
Yes, we have. It was enjoyable but a few too many at sea days for us. If you wish advice on private guides in the Amazon give me an email address and I will give you details. Actually thatvwas the primary reason we took that cruise. Our excursions in Santerem, Manaus and Parintins were excellent.
StanKase is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 24th, 2011, 11:22 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 4
If you are in St Lucia, definately the Pitons. You might want to get a local guide as they can point out the best dive sites and also inform you of any risk. Sounds like you are anchoring in Castries and the Pitons are in Soufriere. Which is about an hour or so by mini van. Which can be quite costly. Try Marigot bay, which isn't too far away or pigeon island. If you do venture to Soufriere there is a company called Salt rush tours they have their own boats and can take you to the best dive sites without wasting time.
Island_flower is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 25th, 2011, 06:28 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 92
St. Barth is really not that great for snorkling, although people snorkel around the small reef right along Anse de Cayes, or if you are agile, take the 20 minute hike down to Columbier (the lookout at the top of this hill has a great panoramic map of the surrounding isles) and snorkel, picnic etc here. There are no services, though,(or shade) so be sure to bring water and whatever else you will need at the beach.
elisemf is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
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



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:22 PM.