I just returned from a cruise to St. Thomas (February 13, 2013) and decided to purchase a day excursion with Virgin Islands Ecotours in the Mangrove Lagoon. It was an incredible experience and a nice change from the bordumb of the cruise. The kayak experience was great... wear sunscreen! The hike was nice... short, and easy and ended with a beautiful view looking at St. John's. The snorkeling was good. Although only my second time snorkeling, it pails in comparison to other areas in the Caribbean. The coral area is small. I wouldn't recommend it for those experienced snorkelers as I think they may be disappointed but still a great experience for those novice to beginner snorkelers. We saw a barracuda, a parrot fish, a porcupine fish, a bunch of smaller fish the names of which I don't recall, and we had the opportunity to see the biggest sea urchin I've ever encountered.
The best part of this entire trip was the staff. They were extremely knowledgeable, very passionate about what they are doing, highly qualified, and very conscious of the environment and the importance of educating the public on the impact that environmental change is having on sensitive areas such as the Mangrove Lagoon and its sea life. They also were able to drive home the important role that the Lagoon has on the Island, from protection from storms to economic opportunity through tourism etc... these people were a refreshing change from the riff raff that you encounter on other very touristy types of excursions that the cruise offered... they are down to earth, very friendly, funny, and knowledgeable to the point of being over qualified for what they're doing! Nonetheless, they loved what they were doing, were very passionate, and all have a very bright futures!
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