St. John Snorkeling

Old Mar 9th, 2000, 05:12 AM
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St. John Snorkeling

Does anyone know how much it is to rent snorkeling gear on St. John? Please forgive my ignorance, I've never been snorkeling! Should I just buy the gear here? Please help! Thanks!
Old Mar 9th, 2000, 05:45 AM
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You can rent masks and snorkels, fins, and inflatable snorkel vests on St. John. The cost for the mask and snorkel runs around $5 per day, the fins about $3 and the vest around $5. In addition there is a cheaper weekly rate.

We usually bring our own mask and snorkel from home (cost about $15) to ensure a good fit. Sometimes a mask that fits in the rental shop leaks in the water. If you purchase one at home, be sure to test it out before you pack it.

The fins are really optional, but can really boost your kicking power if you will be swimming out to snorkeling locations.

If you are not a strong swimmer, I recommend an inflatable snorkeling vest or some other flotation device. We pack some of those "noodles" (foam sticks) purchased from Wal-Mart. If we can't fit them back in our suitcase at the end of the trip, we donate them to the "villa."

You can rent gear from several locations in Cruz Bay as well as a few other locations on the Island.

Have fun
Old Mar 9th, 2000, 07:55 AM
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We rented from the place near Chilly Billy when we arrived, a few blocks from Cruz Bay. The gear was fine.

We love to snorkel and have thought about buying. For us, it would have paid for itself by now. The downside is one more thing to pack and carry. The upside is 1) longterm cost saving versus rental and 2) you know the last person to use the snorkel tube!!!
Old Mar 9th, 2000, 10:08 AM
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Thanks for the info! Obviously you have both been to St. John. Where did you find the best snorkeling? I understand that Trunk Bay is great for beginners, but where did you find the best beach for snorkeling?
I appreciate the comment about the snorkel tube - didn't really think of that! I think I'll get one here. Any suggestions on brand names - or will probably anything do? Sams they had a package deal that had fins, mask, snorkel, mesh bag, and plastic keeper for about $40. Is that too much to pay?
Old Mar 9th, 2000, 12:34 PM
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Sam's has a good set and the price is great, but the fins really take up a lot of packing room. We do very well without the fins and for that reason only bring our masks and snorkels. If you have the room and think that you will need them, go ahead and pack them. However, you could rent a set for a day or two, if needed. I prefer my own mask and snorkel, but don't mind renting the fins if needed. If you take a day sail, snorkeling gear is usually provided and you could use their fins.

As for good snorkeling spots, my favorite is Hawksnest. The beach is 50 feet from the parking lot and the coral reef begins 20 feet from shore. It is a great area for beginners or if you are not a strong swimmer.

Maho Bay is another easily accessed beach with good snorkeling along the eastern edge. Coming from Cruz Bay, the road runs along the beach (there is a picnic shelter). If you park at the end right before the road turns away from the beach, you will be very close to the snorkeling area.

If you are adventuresome and don't mind a hike, waterlemon cay (small island) is a considered to be one of the best snorkeling areas and because it is not as accessible as some of the other beaches, it should be relatively secluded. If you decide to go and are not a strong swimmer, be sure to use a vest or some other type of float.

On St. John, you will run out of vacation days long before you run out of great beaches. Try to see as many as you can--but don't forget to "chill."
Old Mar 9th, 2000, 02:52 PM
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Our first year in the Caribbean we went on a day snorkeling trip and equipment was supplied. They said they sterilize it, but who know? Anyway, we fell in love with snorkeling based on that one day and treated ourselves to our own equipment. Last year we stayed on Culebra, which is halfway between PR and St. Thomas (it is nicknamed the "Last Virgin" because of its proximity to the USVI. Since we flew to Culebra on a 9-passenger plan we were only allowed about 30 pounds of luggage each. I weighed my snorkeling gear BEFORE anything else, that's how strongly I feel about taking and using my own gear!!! And, too, since I've made the investment (about $100 in all) it makes me sure I'll be going back to the Caribbean -- wouldn't want to waste my equipment! I like knowing the feel of my own stuff, whether it's tube or fins or mask. I don't like pre-packaged stuff -- yes, you can save money, but sometimes it's not worth it because you can't try on the mask for true fit. f you are only going once or twice a package might be OK, but we LIVE in the water! A leaky mask can really spoil your day.
We're going to St. John in late June and -- again -- I'll pack my snorkeling gear first!
Cara, when are you going -- maybe we'll see you there. Good luck!
Old Mar 10th, 2000, 06:00 AM
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Thanks for all the info! I'm going to St. John in July for a week. I can't wait. I'm not sure how I will like snorkeling, but if your info is any indication, I know I will love it! Thanks again for all the advice - I'm looking forward to the adventure and also some rest and relaxation!

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