What is best island for snorkeling vacation?

Jul 20th, 1999, 09:43 AM
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What is best island for snorkeling vacation?

My husband and I are planning a trip for January. We both love to snorkel, and spend a great deal of time doing just that. Any recommendations on where to do with that being the primary focus of the vacation?
Jul 21st, 1999, 07:29 AM
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The Cayman Islands are renown for their great beaches (i.e. 7 mile beach) and the underwater beauty. Some say it's a divers and snorkellers paradise.

Check out www.caymanislands.ky

Jul 21st, 1999, 08:36 AM
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If you're a snorkeler, Bonaire is your paradise. It is the #1 snorkeling destination in the world. No where else will you ever find an island or a destination where the coral reef is so close to the shore.

I have scuba dived for week-long trips in Virgin Gorda, Tortola, Bonaire, Curacao, Belize, and Grand Cayman. I have a ton of literature on Caribbean destinations, and I subscribe to numerous publications, and no where promotes itself for its snorkeling and shore diving more than Bonaire. It consistently ranks in the top three destinations in polls taken in Rodale's Scuba Diving magazine. There are over 90 marked dive sites that you can get to right from the shore... all of which are marked with big yellow numbered rocks. FYI - in other destinations, the coral reef lies offshore, sometimes a mile or more. On Grand Cayman's famous seven mile beach, it's a beautiful beach but it's not good for snorkeling because the coral doesn't start until you're a mile out to sea... all you'll see near the shore is sand. And you won't see the infamous Stingrays unless you are taken to Stingray City by boat, an hour ride!

Get your hands on Bonaire literature, it talks extensively about snorkeling as well as diving. There's also kayaking and windsurfing, etc. there.

One drawback though, don't go there if you're looking for high-rise hotels, tons of nightlife, or shopping opportunities.... or lush tropical scenery. Bonaire lies 30 miles off the coast of Venezuela... where ya don't ever have to worry about hurricanes or even rain, but the scenery is more like what you'd see in Arizona. It's beautiful, but it's not waterfalls and lush tropical stuff. One side of the island features crashing surf like Big Sur almost. One end of the island has 20,000 resident flamingos.

Good luck.

PS You should try scuba diving while you're there. It enables you to be a part of the scenery that snorkelers only get to view from above.
Jul 22nd, 1999, 09:05 AM
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Have been to and snorkeled over 50 islands. Bonaire wins my vote hands down.
Jul 25th, 1999, 05:04 PM
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My sisters and I went to Grand Cayman this winter and absolutely loved it! you can step into the water anywhere on 7 Mile beach and swim out to snorkel. It was wonderful! Lots of fish, and close to shore. I would recommend going to Stingray City for a day. We took an all day excursion, and it was one of the highlights of our trip. I can't even describe the experience of actually having a stingray rub your leg like a cat. (They're very soft on the bottom!) Have fun!
Oct 9th, 1999, 01:27 PM
Joe Raphael
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Can't beat Buck Island off St. Croix U.S.V.I. Just can't beat it. Period.
Oct 9th, 1999, 08:40 PM
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The only island in the Caribbean that we have been to is St. Croix. We stayed at the Buccaneer and had a room right on the beach and could walk out and snorkel anytime. There was a lot of interesting fish and it was very nice. Our beach was almost deserted but we went in early May so it was off season. We took a sailing trip to Buck Island and the snorkling was great. I would recommend this trip. The town is nice and the hotel was also very nice. Michael Jackson showed up for a couple of days or R&R, and it was still very peaceful.
Oct 13th, 1999, 08:06 AM
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While not "officially" Caribbean, I think you might love Akumal, on the Mexican Yucatan coast not far from Cancun. You can snorkel right off the beach, and in several outstanding coves. Take a trip to the inland cenotes where you also can snorkel. A very unique experience! You can probably take a daytrip to Cozumel from there for another astounding snorkeling site.
Oct 13th, 1999, 02:06 PM
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Never tried Bonaire, so I can't comment on that, but we had a fantastic time snorkeling in St. John. We tried the "touristy" places like Trunk Bay, but preferred the less traveled areas of the island. One spot, I think it was called Leimaster(sp.)Bay, you could take a short swim to snorkle around a small island. There were many fish, squid and sea turtles. There's definite advantages to St. John: USA National Parks, good dining, no language problem / no customs, etc. Going back in December to check out more snorkeling spots.

Good Luck!
Oct 15th, 1999, 05:58 AM
cAROL Carol
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Hi! My family loved Grand Cayman and the beautiful, calm waters so much we all took lessons and became certified Scuba Divers! It is a great family island - safe, clean, friendly....It would be a good choice. Have fun!!!
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