St John / Snorkel

Feb 24th, 2000, 08:21 AM
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St John / Snorkel

My husband and I are planning to visit St. John and we both like to snorkel. Is one part of the island better than the other to stay if snorkeling is main interest. Also, what are best villas for under $175 nite. Only need one bedroom, but want it to be clean and not too hard to get to.
Also, has anyone been there in late June / early July?
Thanks for your help!
Feb 24th, 2000, 01:18 PM
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We were in Cruz Views which was right in your price range, other places may be also but Cruz Views was one of the few villas that had less than 1 week rentals. I suspect you will want to check out many of the beaches and great snorkel spots when you are there, so no place is really best. See my trip recent trip report and others regarding places to snorkel.
Feb 24th, 2000, 05:00 PM
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Check out the St.John websites for places to stay. There are quite a few. I prefer staying near Cruz Bay and walking into town, rather than trying to find a parking space . Take the relatively inexpensive shuttle taxis to a different beach each day , as all are pretty good, as long as there is not a surge from the north. Have a great trip, you will love it!
Feb 24th, 2000, 06:17 PM
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When are you planning to visit? During the off-season (May-Nov) $175 goes a lot further.

The best snorkeling can be found off of the north shore beaches, and because this area is primarily national park there are not many properties available for rent on the north shore. Most people rent elsewhere and travel by car or taxi to the various beaches during the day.

Your choices for a rental properties include big resorts (Caneel Bay or the Westin), condo units, guest house rooms, and private vacation villas many with private swimming pools (my favorite).

In addition, you can choose from accommodations located in town (Cruz Bay), on the south shore (Great Cruz Bay, Chocolate Hole, Rendezvous Bay, Fish Bay or Reef Bay), on the hillside or mountaintop (Gift Hill, Ajax Mountain, Estate Catherineberg) on the east side of the island (Coral Bay), or the very expensive Peter Bay on the north shore. There are other locations, but this highlights the majority.

I think it is more important to consider location and view rather than access to beach when choosing a rental. Most south shore villas that advertise access to the beach tend to exaggerate the ease of access (long steep overgrown paths to rocky beaches) and because the south shore beaches do not compare with the north shore beaches, it is unlikely that you would choose to hang out at these beaches.

A rental car is almost a necessity to be able to explore St. John, however taxis are plentiful. If you opt for a rental in town, it would be possible to do without a car, but depending how much you like to "go," a rental car could be the more economical choice (about $350-$400 per week).

My favorite snorkeling spots are Hawksnest, eastern side of Maho Bay, and Waterlemon Cay. "The St. John Beach Guide," by Gerald Singer is a very good reference and it is available through

Once you decide when you will be going, the type of rental, and the area that you would like to stay, I will be glad to make a few villa recommendations.

Hope this helps.
Feb 26th, 2000, 06:51 AM
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We spent a day on St Johns (a port on our cruise). It was about 8 years ago. We rented a jeep and drove around the island. We stopped at several beaches and snorkeled. I have been to several islands since and have never had a snorkleling experience that compares. The entire island is like a post card!
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