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Snorkeling in Punta Cana

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Dallas
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Snorkeling in Punta Cana

We are about to book our first family trip to Punta Cana for this July (my husband and our kids ages 12 and 14). We think we have settled on Dreams Palm Beach in Punta Cana, due to past great experiences at Dreams and seems to be a "bit" smaller in scale as resorts go, and possibly not quite as close to lots of other big resorts (best we can tell).

In any case, could someone tell me if there are areas in Punta Cana that have great snorkeling just off the beach (without requiring special excursion?). The answer to this question might affect which resort we choose. Would like to be able to walk right out to reef area to snorkel. Any suggestions/thoughts much appreciated!

Rosedale, Canada
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11. Re: Snorkeling in Punta Cana

theworld2see:

Yep, Curacao is on our list of places to try. Not the easiest of islands to get to from the West Coast but one of these days we'll go for it. I have read reviews that rave about the snorkeling in front of Breezes but I think I read that Breezes has been sold or rebranded or something.

Have also read good things about San Andres (sp?) Island off the coast of Columbia.

Noblesville, Indiana
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12. Re: Snorkeling in Punta Cana

Judyper...We stayed at the Marriott and the snorkeling was just steps from the beach....It is a great island also for history and culture... Off the carribean coast of Panama was also really nice good wildlife...

Dallas
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13. Re: Snorkeling in Punta Cana

@theworld2see: Yes! We have been to Curacao...absolutely great, deep clear water, just out from the shore. Our only complaint with Curacao (other than bad resort, which was a risk we took knowing it had bad reviews, haha) was that, in general, the people were not very friendly at all. You would think that wouldn't bother you but after a week there, it kind of wore us down a bit.

@judyper: great update on Roatan! We stayed right there at West Bay Beach two summers ago.

LOVE this thread, as we seem to have some like-minded people here! For what it's worth, St. John holds the high mark for us on almost EVERTHING! And, of course, I mean the entire island, assuming you get off resort as much as possible! Incredible beauty, absolutely spoils you! Best thing we EVER did in five years of travel to Caribbean was to rent a motorized dinghy in St. John and take it out exploring the waters for the day...wow! Incredible experience, some of the most beautiful underwater adventures we have EVER had! Thanks again to all of you for taking the time to post here!

Rosedale, Canada
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14. Re: Snorkeling in Punta Cana

wsjacole:

Is St. John an expensive destination?

theworld2see:

Would be interested in researching the Caribbean side of Panama - whereabouts should I focus on for good snorkeling and also for other wildlife, birds etc?

I too am loving this thread. Always enjoy hearing about others' experiences in places that we've never been to and if there's good snorkeling to be had, well that's the icing on the cake.

Toronto, Canada
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15. Re: Snorkeling in Punta Cana

For diving I don't think you can beat BVI or Honduras. The Virgin Is are expensive... much more than Honduras.

Noblesville, Indiana
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16. Re: Snorkeling in Punta Cana

Judyper, we went to the southern area of the Caribbean Coast lesser know than the North, to a tinny Island call "Isla Grande" Its for a travlers not a tourist if you get my drift.....We had to brave strong waves in a approx. 16ft. John boat to get to are small hotel....But its a true adventure and getaway! We explored the whole country coast to coast, the people, the jungles, food, WILDLIFE! Great exploring! Search Isla Grande on the net.

Mike

Dallas
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17. Re: Snorkeling in Punta Cana

@judyper:

Yes--St. John IS expensive, but we are a budget conscious family and you CAN make it more reasonable if you try. We stayed at Westin vs. Caneel Bay...we try to eat small at breakfast and lunch by getting little groceries or sandwiches off property and only eating at resort at night (or going into town to eat, but those places are still pricey and in general, food on St. John is not too great). But renting a jeep is a MUST and the island is mainly a national park, so you have endless numbers of beaches and areas to explore, all exquisitely beautiful. Next time, we would probably also look at VRBO.com to see if we could find a reasonably priced rental/condo and try to do most of our meals on our own. Hope you find a fun place to go!

Townsend, MA
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18. Re: Snorkeling in Punta Cana

We stayed at Dreams La Romana and found the snorkelling off the beach good. The resort was great for an all inclusive plus tons of stuff for the kids.

We stayed at Breezes in Curacao. We love the island. Super safe to drive and explore. Terrific snorkelling from shore. Resort 3 star at best with mediocre food.

Bonaire has unbelivable snorkelling, but no AI.

Aruba good snorkelling, but not from the beachs by the resorts.

St. Croix is another good snorkelling area but you need to boat to the national park area.

Caymen Islands has fab snirkelling, no AI

Next on our list is Turks and Caicos - Have read wonderful things about it.

Morristown, New...
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19. Re: Snorkeling in Punta Cana

I went to St. John years ago... and the most expensive part of the trip was the airfare. For those of you that are willing to sacrifice a little comfort, there's an outstanding campground there called Cinnamon Bay. If I'm not mistaken, it's run by the US Park Service or some other federal agency. We rented one of the "higher end" accommodations, which was a room with two cement walls, two screen walls. Steps to the beach. It's been so many years, but I believe there was a sink in the room, but bathroom and showers were shared. Cafeteria served some yummy Caribbean food, and Mt. Gay rum was about $2 a bottle. The room, if I recall, was under $30 a night - and it was absolute paradise. One of the best weeks ever.

There's another eco-resort a little farther up the road called Maho Bay... a little pricier than Cinnamon Bay... nicer accommodations.

St. John is outstanding for snorkeling and chilling. And, it CAN be done, on the cheap.

Dallas
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20. Re: Snorkeling in Punta Cana

@dotneko: We went to Turks and Caicos last year...it is true the beaches there are just beautiful...the water is clear and calm as glass. That, combined with the white sands, make for just beautiful, picture-perfect beaches. (We stayed on Grace Bay Beach). Now, here's the deal...the trip was almost boring to us. Not the worst problem to have, mind you, as we had plenty of time to just relax and read. But, for example, St. John is mountainous and the views looking over cliffs down to these fabulous turquoise waters below are just stunning. Grace Bay beach and that island of Provo are just completely flat and white sands, so very pretty, but not so impressive maybe to those who like adventure? The snorkeling on Grace Bay Beach, just out from our condo at Reef Residences, is "supposed" to be "the best" on the island of Provo. Hmmmmm...little reef area that is now all roped off, and crowded with snorkelers coming down from the Beaches Turks and Caicos resort was REALLY unimpressive to us (after having been to Curacao, St. John, Roatan, Tulum, etc.) This is Mickey-Mousey snorkeling at best and the flood of tourism here has caused them to rope off that reef area, anyway. We SHOULD have taken an excursion to some of the other T & C islands where i believe there is reportedly good snorkeling. Also, my husband did get to drive to some remote and very beautiful beach areas on Provo to fly fish for bone fish, and he really enjoyed that.

@poozieny--we loved Cinnamon Bay in St. John...was actually our favorite beach, where we ended up most days after exploring other parts of the island. While Trunk Bay is famous and beautiful, it is crowded and is where the cruise ships bring loads of peeps every day, so we stayed away from Trunk Bay for the most part. In St. John, a GREAT thing to do is (you drive and park at I THINK The Annaberg Sugar Mill) then walk a mile or two to a rocky beach area, and then swim out to the cay for some WOW WOW WOW snorkeling...awesome!!