Where to go for surf and snorkel

Oct 20th, 2004, 04:42 AM
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Where to go for surf and snorkel

Looking for a place to take the family (13 &17 yr old kids) for a vacation this summer. We want a place with great swimming beaches that have some surf. So many reviews say the water is beautiful and calm, but we actually enjoy the waves. On the other hand, we also enjoy snorkeling. Any suggestions on places that would have both good snorkeling and some wave action? I realize this would not be at the same beach, but on the same island, so we can enjoy both.

We have previously taken the kids to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica and enjoyed them all. My husband and I have also been to Jamaica, Martinique and Belize. It would be nice to try someplace new. Places I was thinking about are St. Thomas/St. John, Barbados and Playa del Carmen. Any comments or other suggestions?

I am posting this on the Carribean and Latin American boards. Thanks for any help.
jerirl is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 10:52 AM
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I have been researching snorkeling islands for awhile since my teens love it as well. We are considering eleuthera, bahamas out-island for next easter.
I read on the atlantic side their is a surfing beach, as well as great snorkeling on the caribbean side. Just wondering how safe it is with their shark population.
Good Luck,
suanniammsncom is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 12:27 PM
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I too have vacationed on Eleuthera, several times. You can rent a well-priced private home there, along with an old jalopy to get around in (a must). We snorkeled directly off the beach in front of our rental, and suanni is right, there's an official Surfer's Beach on the island. It wasn't "happening" on the day we went, but check with the locals, they'll know the best season.

Here's one of the houses we rented, actually the nicest and biggest of the three, with its own actual working lighthouse:
joan is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 12:29 PM
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Abacos (bahamas out island) has wonderful snorkelling also. We were there is April this year and the weather was great and the water was warm (I had read that the water may not be warm enough to swin without a wetsuit). I did see a nurse shark (i think thats what it was) while snorkelling and it scared me a bit but they are supposed to be harmless. Loved the abacos for its beautiful beaches and friendly people. Boating is very popular. Most people rent boats in the abacos and explore the different cays. I think your teens would enjoy the out islands. I'm not so sure I can answer the question regarding surf. Though the Atlantic side beaches are supposed to be more rough.
mnag is offline  
Oct 21st, 2004, 08:20 AM
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Hawaii would definitely fit the bill for both...
ScottB is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2004, 06:09 AM
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mnaq is right! We were on Elbow Cay this past May, and there was a "surfer's beach" there too.

Basically, you have:
Eleuthera: snorkeling off the beach in many places, more remote, a rental car is a must, real pink sand!

Abaco: the whole rental boat experience is something that everyone in the family will love. We rented ours for the whole week, spent mornings exploring different cays and snorkel sites, stopped for lunch/drinks on the way back to our rental home, lounged around the house, then headed out in the golf cart for dinners. This does add about $1000 to your vacation budget for a week (renting the boat and the golfcart vs the rental jalopy in Eleuthera).

Have fun whichever you choose. The Bahamian people are wonderful, you will love them!
joan is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2004, 10:28 AM
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Barbados would be great. You have excellent beaches with waves on the south coast...we like Dover Beach...and you have good snorkeling on the west coast...Folkstone Marine Park is great and it's free. Or you can go out on a snorkeling tour to see the turtles, etc.

Enjoy, Greenie!
greenie is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2004, 07:36 AM
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I you're thinking about a snorkeling experience in Eleuthera, I have to tell you about a budding maring biologist there, aroung your kids' age, named Louis Johnson. He snorkels constantly and maintains a Bahamas Ocean Website, which features information on fishes he sees in the bay in front of his house-

He snorkels around Gaulding Cay on Eleuthera, where his parents live. He also explores other waters close by on Eleuthera. Wow, it would be cool for your kids to give him an e-mail, and snorkel on an expedition off of Gaulding Cay. Just a thought. Robert
Robert is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 04:55 PM
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Thanks for all the input. Hawaii would be great (my husband & I have been there), but we live on the East Coast so getting there is a real drag. Barbados also sounds good. I have been doing some more reading about it on the web. The Bahamian out islands sound nice, but I wonder if they might be a little too quiet for the kids. We all love the beach, but would like to have at least a small town to look at, eat in etc. Any other thoughts on these islands or the Virgin Islands, which are supposed to have great snorkeling?
jerirl is offline  
Oct 27th, 2004, 03:46 AM
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The Out Islands are not necessarily as quiet as you think. Yes, some of them are absolutely perfect if you seek solitude and seclusion. Others are somewhat more sociable. I would second some of the others' recommendations for Abaco -- in particular Elbow Cay. There is a well-known surf break there (the Garbanzo Break, located between the Sea Spray Resort and the Abaco Inn), and lots of great snorkeling nearby. But more importantly, to address your concern that it would be too quiet for your kids, there is a charming and lively settlement at Hopetown. Small shops, restaurants, etc. And, you could comfortably entrust your kids with the golf cart you're likely to rent and let them explore on their own: safety is not a concern on these virtually crime-free cays.

Lots of families take their kids to the Abacos, especially in the summer. Check out the Abaco Community Message Board at www.coconuttelegraph.net. (Note that Abaco is still recovering from the one-two punch of Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne. But don't let that frighten you -- most tourism businesses will be back on line by mid-November, and by next summer you won't even know -- unless you'd been there before -- that those monsters had called.)
Callaloo is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 03:26 AM
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Any more input? What about St. John or St. Thomas? I know they have great snorkeling, but are there any beaches with waves?
jerirl is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 05:02 AM
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St. john has excellent snorkeling but no surf that I saw. Eleuthera may be one of the better destinations that combines snorkeling and surf.

RobertoB is offline  
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