We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Snorkeling Report (long)

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
208 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Snorkeling Report (long)

Just got back to Tampa after 10 days on St Croix -- my 23rd trip to St Croix, my girlfriends 7th. We averaged 2-3 forty-five minute snorkels a day, and following is our report:

TAMARIND REEF - Did not spend much time here. The sea was active and water cloudy most of our trip. Bummer because we love to snorkel here. The great thing about this reef is that you can call ahead to check water conditions -- call 340-718-4455 and ask for Mimi in the Beach Shack. She will give you an honest assessment and you will not waste time driving out here only to be disappointed with conditions.

SHOY BEACH - Same as Tamarind. High seas and cloudy water. We went out but visibility was difficult.

CANE BAY - Did a number of snorkels here on relatively calm days. Water was somewhat cloudy, but the further out we went, the better. A few people we talked to were a little freaked out over the currents and did not stay out too long. We are pretty strong swimmers and did not have much trouble. We like to go out from the boat ramp and swim right once we pass the reef. We swim down the beach, and keep zig-zagging our way out toward the wall. Saw lots of sea fans, squid, rays, a turtle or two, and beautiful sponges and coral -- not to mention about every fish on the identification chart! We were here one day when there was a cruise ship in, and were dismayed to see passengers standing on the reef. I wish the cruise ship companies or volunteers would be there on cruise ship days to help instruct snorkelers and help police the reef. In one case I snorkeling by a swimmer who was standing on the reef only inches from sea urchins --a potential MAJOR ouch! I had a talk with him.

RAINBOW BEACH - A beautiful beach, but we were disappointed with the snorkeling here. It may have been that we were not in the right places at the right times. We did see and follow a huge sea turtle one day, but the bottom was mainly sand and seaweed, void of a lot of the colorful corals and sponges that can be found on other St Croix beaches.

THE PIER - Delightful! Colorful! Wow! Waters here were pretty calm during our entire visit. Colorful sponges, coral, fish outstanding. If I could build an underwater house here I would...

SAND CASTLE BEACH - Using the hotel pool as a starting point, we snorkeled points going toward Sandy Point for up to a mile from the pool, and points going toward Frederiksted for up to a mile from the pool. The word here is STARFISH! There seems to be more starfish here than ever before. Even the locals I know told be the same thing. We found starfish mainly in an area about a tenth of a mile from the pool heading toward Frederiksted in 8-10 feet of water. One island resident I know told me a friend of hers had taken a photograph of a big group of 10 starfish

grouped together here. However when we came across them, it was one at a time.

The best snorkel we had at Sand Castle was about three tenths of a mile from the pool heading toward Frederiksted. We swam out about to a depth of 20 feet, and came across an amazing barrel sponge garden. The sponges were huge. It looked like someone was sculpting big clay pots on the ocean floor. Absolutely remarkable! I dove down so many times to photograph them that I could not hear for hours when we finally got back on shore!

I hope this helps future visitors. If you are looking for additional information in addition to this forum and are book/kindle people like me, there are two books on Amazon that I would recommend:

DIVE THE VIRGIN ISLANDS by Lawson Wood - Mainly a dive book, but if you have a boat you can snorkel many of the locations on St Croix that he lists. Has good general information on the marine environment and underwater photography.

ST CROIX SNORKELING GUIDE by sarjim enterprises - A colorful, visual guide to the underwater environments of 5 St Croix beaches. Has a few words to get you going, and lots of photos to show you what's there. Looking at this book is the next best thing to being there, and boy do I ever want to go back right now! CHEERS!

Santa Monica, CA
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
Level Contributor
18,414 posts
249 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Snorkeling Report (long)

I want to be you! How nice to get to visit for snorkeling as much as you do. I really enjoyed my snorkel starting at Sandcastles (per your prior recommendation) and swimming towards the pier. While I was not as lucky as you, I will never forget the feeling - free, happy, warm, content - no waves, no current, just a pleasure. On a prior visit we snorkeled the pier and I saw my first frog fish. so will agree - WOW!

Lancaster, PA
Level Contributor
410 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Snorkeling Report (long)

Thanks for the great report

florida
Level Contributor
31 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Snorkeling Report (long)

HI. , how was the water temp? Did you wear a wetsuit? We are from Florida and are wimps to the cold. Thanks !!!

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
208 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Snorkeling Report (long)

Water temp I heard was 80 degrees. Not certain if this was actual temp, but just what someone told me. The water felt great. May have felt a little cool first getting in, but we stayed out in it for up to an hour in some cases and I was never cold. I have never worn a wet suit, and I am someone who gets cold very easily!

You should be fine.

St. Croix
Destination Expert
for St. Croix
Level Contributor
2,115 posts
116 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Snorkeling Report (long)

You were definitely not in the right place at Rainbow because this is probably one of the best places to snorkel with tons of fish, turtles, spotted eagle rays, etc.

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
208 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: Snorkeling Report (long)

Hey Crabgroupie -- It is not in our nature to give up on ANY St Croix beach, and we will be back to Rainbow in the near future to give it another try. So much of snorkeling is the "right place at the right time" thing, and we certainly enjoyed our swim with the turtle when we were there!

Georgetown, Kentucky
Level Contributor
1,337 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Snorkeling Report (long)

Thank you for reporting in. We are on island now and will use your info. We also have The St. Croix guide. Water was a little cloudy yesterday for snorkeling.

On another note Pirates buffet and entertainment at Carambola was wonderful last night.

Vice President Biden is on island again. He really enjoys it here and I was told that he went to college/school here at one point in his life.

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
208 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Snorkeling Report (long)

Thanks for the information! Wish I was there with you. When we were there last week the best snorkeling conditions were on the west end around Frederiksted -- either the Pier or Sand Castle. I reported on spots going toward Frederiksted from the Sand Castle pool, but do not forget about going up to a mile toward Sandy Point from the pool. Once you pass the condos on your right, there is a nice, wide open area that you can drive your car on, almost up to the sandy beach. Very cool snorkeling along this stretch we saw turtles and spotted eagle rays, and lots of fish. Remember that if the water is cloudy, you can always swim further out and often times it's much better. ENJOY!

Canastota, New York
Level Contributor
68 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Snorkeling Report (long)

MangOmanic,

Thanks for a great report! We will be on St. Croix in about 3 weeks, staying at Cottages by the Sea.

I'd like to snorkel at the Pier. Can you describe where the snorkeling is at the Pier, and where to park?

Thank-you

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
208 posts
1 review
Save Reply
10. Re: Snorkeling Report (long)

Sure thing. If it is not a Cruise Ship Day in Frederiksted, you can park right next to the Pier on Strand Street. Strand Street runs parallel to the ocean and there is usually a lot of free parking here. Do not walk out on the Pier and try to enter the water by way of the rocks! The rocks are slippery, and I have seen people get hurt trying to do this. Rather, there is a small sandy beach area to the left of the beginning of the Pier. There are stairs going down to the ocean about 200 feet to the left of the sandy area. Take the stairs, walk along the wall to the sandy area and this is a great entry point. Just swim along the rocks, take a right, then swim along the pier. We LOVE the old pier pilings to the left of the pier. There are three of them. They are packed with sponges and coral with colors that will blow your mind! Lots of fish too. The book St Croix Snorkeling Guide has a great section on the Pier and I would recommend it. I would also recommend eating lunch at Turtles Deli on Strand Street. Two people can split a sub and eat for 12 bucks! You will love Cottages. Enjoy your trip!

Edited: 12:03 pm, March 08, 2014
Get answers to your questions about St. Croix