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Where is the best snorkeling in the Caribbean to see fish?

Where is the best snorkeling in the Caribbean to see fish?

Oct 12th, 2002, 06:11 PM
  #1  
Brandy
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Where is the best snorkeling in the Caribbean to see fish?

My husband and I are crazy about snorkeling and that's all we really want to do on our vacation, but we have never been to the Caribbean and don't know the best places to go. We can't afford a lot so we want to find out where the best places are and then will look for inexpensive package deals to that island or hotel/resort. Thanks for the advice!!
 
Oct 12th, 2002, 09:27 PM
  #2  
Cathy
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Where have you snorkeled before? How much snorkeling experience do you have? I can give you better recommendations if I know this information.
 
Oct 13th, 2002, 05:19 AM
  #3  
Sandy
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Brandy,
I would highly recommend Grand Cayman for a snorkeling vacation. Many places around the island to snorkel right from the shore. Plus, there's the Stingray Sandbar tour, (a 3 stop snorkel trip) where you get to swim with the Stingrays. And that's the only time you would need to go out by boat to snorkel. All the other places you can just walk off the beach. Grand Cayman is also a great island for a first Caribbean visit. Very safe and easy to get around. Very friendly people and more upscale than some islands. Check out www.caymanvacations.com or www.gotocayman.com for more info. Hope this helps.
Sandy
 
Oct 13th, 2002, 05:28 AM
  #4  
Nancy
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Hi Brandy,
I've been snorkeling all over the Caribbean (it's one of my favorite things to do too and the best I 've ever seen has been Cozumel, Mexico.
One of the really good things about it is that you can see as much by going right off the beach as taking a trip out to a reef.
It's also a relatively inexpensive destination - especially in the off-season from April to November. (The Caymans are very expensive.)
We've seen rays and turtles and big barracuda and quenn angelfish and parrotfish and zillions of other reef fish.
There are a lot of nice reasonably-priced hotels and restaurants, and it's a fun, safe, family-oriented island with a lot of things to do and see.
 
Oct 13th, 2002, 06:53 AM
  #5  
Cathy
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Dive masters have told me the best time of the year to snorkel or dive in the Caribbean is late April to early July - this is the time between winter storms and maximum hurricane development. This is also a great time to travel because it is the off season and you can get good discount rates.

I have snorkeled all over the Caribbean as well as Hawaii and Australia. There are many excellent places to snorkel in the Caribbean, but some of them do not have conditions conducive for beginning snorkelers. For example, I loved snorkeling in Aruba. I have been to spots off the beach that had incredible coral growth and a great diversity of from squid to 3 foot parrot fish. However, the current was fairly strong - it would be dangerous for an inexperienced snorkeler. Cozumel is also an excellent place to go, but depending on the weather conditions, you can have some fairly strong currents there.

I would feel that I was giving you safe and reliable information if I knew more about your experience level. Hope to hear from you soon.
 
Oct 13th, 2002, 07:42 AM
  #6  
steve
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Hi Brandy
Another vote for Mexico here,haven't tried Cozumel yet,but spent an INCREDIBLE day at Xel-Ha which is about 45 min south of Playa del Carmen.Which is where you get the ferry to Cozumel.My wife and I are going to Fiesta Grand which is a new resort so it has some great deals,so you might want to check it out.Feel free to email me. steve
 
Oct 13th, 2002, 11:35 AM
  #7  
myadvice
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This vote is for the British Virgin Islands - it wins in my books hands down! It is a sailing/snorkelers haven. So many places to see the fish and other marine life - Norman Island is one of the more popular spots, Virgin Gorda, especially just off the Baths, then there is an area just off the Baths/Virgin Gorda called Fallen Jerusalem, Cooper Island is interesting - British Virgin Islands is not one of the cheaper destinations and is more affordable in the off-season (July to November) when hotel prices/airfares go down. But you might luck out and get a good deal in which case you should not hesitate to snap it up.
 
Oct 13th, 2002, 02:36 PM
  #8  
Bill
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I went to Cozumel three or four years ago and was very disappointed with the snorkeling. That goes for Xel-Ha, too.
The best was Bonaire - no question. It was magnificent!
A trip with Strike Zone Charters to Looe Key (off of Pine Key - just this side of Key West) is a good place to start if you want to keep expenses to a minimum.
 
Oct 13th, 2002, 03:00 PM
  #9  
Cheryl
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I love the snorkeling in Grand Cayman, St. John and Bermuda. In Bermuda although there was snorkeling right off the beach (i.e., the best at Church Bay) there are also some great off-shore reefs. St. John and Grand Cayman have both great snorkeling right off the beach as well as some great off-shore reefs.
 
Oct 13th, 2002, 08:24 PM
  #10  
Brandy
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Thanks to all of you for your input! Several of you asked about our experience level, and I have to say we are complete beginners. Both of went for the first time in Hawaii. I am not a strong swimmer and felt a little intimidated when the wind kicked up and the current started pushing us around. I was nervous that I would be pushed into some of the lava rocks, which I understand are as sharp as jagged glass! Also, we don't own any equipment, so would need to rent everything. Thank you again for all your advice!!! What a great forum this is!
 
Oct 14th, 2002, 07:34 PM
  #11  
Cathy
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Hi Brandy! I learned how to snorkel in Hawaii, so I know what you are talking about.

Many of the suggested locations are very good snorkeling spots, but they too have the wave or current conditions of Hawaii or they are expensive destinations. Cozumel can have quite strong currents and Grand Caymen and Bermuda are quite expensive.

The best place that I can think of that has good snorkeling, relatively calm water and you won't break the bank trying to travel there is the Virgin Islands, both US and British.

I would look for a package deal to St. Thomas and use that as my base island. Call the USVI tourist bureau for their complete listing of hotels and they will send you the information. Also ask for the latest edition of " This week in St. Thomas". It is actually a monthly magazine filled with information about ferries, boat trips, shopping, etc.

Go in the off season to get the best airfares and hotel rates.

Great snorkel trips I have had have been a day trip from St. Thomas to the British Virgin Islands to Virgin Gorda and then stopping to snorkel at another island. Going to St. John is also good - snorkeling from the beach at Trunk Bay or Cinnamon Bay. The National Park Service also used to run a snorkel boat trip from Caneel Bay that was excellent.

Trunk Bay is a popular snorkel stop because the water there is always calm and the beach is breathtaking.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to post any other questions.
 
Oct 15th, 2002, 03:52 AM
  #12  
denette
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Brandy,
I see where you are a beginner snorkeler, if you find that you love it more and more as we did many years ago, you might want to purchase your own gear as we have and take it with you on your travels. We take ours every time we go on a beach/water vacation and when we go out on our days exploring whatever island we are visiting, we have them and have had the opportunity to snorkel some absolutely beautiful places just on the spur of the moment. We have had the pleasure of snorkeling off of beaches where we were the only ones there.
We just returned from the Turks/Caicos this spring and found Provo to be an absolute beautiful place with several beaches to snorkel day after day.
We also found St. John and Virgin Gorda to be pieces of heaven here on earth.
Good luck in your planning and safe travel.
 
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