Here’s our own list of some of our favorite snorkel spots. Great snorkeling is not limited to these spots, but this is a good start for newcomers to our beautiful island:
1. Honeymoon Bay:
This is one of our stops on our popular kayak day trips. There is a nice shallow reef on the south side of the bay towards the point between Honeymoon Bay and Salomon Bay. The house on the point belongs to the National Park, and is the residence of the park’s Superintendant. Access this Bay by hiking the Lind Point trail that starts at the National Park Visitor’s Center in Cruz Bay. This Bay can also be accessed by hiking the trail in the opposite direction from Caneel Bay. There is a $20 parking fee at Caneel Bay. This Bay is also easily accessed by renting a kayak from us and paddling around Lind Point – it will be the second white sand beach on your right.
Sea life commonly seen at Honeymoon: Sea turtle, stingray, trunkfish, schools of surgeon fish, parrotfish, puddingwife, angelfish,squirrelfish, french grunt, squid, sea urchin, filefish and more.
2. Caneel Bay – south shore
Caneel Bay’s south shore offers some nice reef. The only drawback is the $20 parking fee. You can walk into the resort for free, if you choose to hike on the Lind Point Trail from Cruz Bay. Kayaking to the beach at Caneel Bay is not permitted. The reef on the south shore offers some nice live coral structure, and plenty of fish.
3. Maho Bay
Maho Bay’s white sandy beach is the easiest beach to access by car. There is plenty of parking right across North Shore Road in a gravel parking lot. Snorkeling on the south side and directly in front of the beach will allow you to see sea turtles and stingrays. If you snorkel on the north shore, along the point between Maho and Little Maho, you’ll see live coral among the rocks. There are plenty of sea urchin in that area, so be careful where you step!
4. Leinster Bay and Waterlemon Cay
From Cruz Bay, take North Shore Road until you come to an intersection with a road that runs along the Leinster Bay shore. Take a right and go .25 mile. The paved road will end. There is a parking lot there for the Annaberg Sugar Ruins. Park there, and hike along the trail that begins at the end of the paved road. Stop at any of the beaches along the way to snorkel, you have a good chance of spotting sea turtle, eagle ray, sting ray, starfish and more. Continue hiking until the trail ends, and you’ll find yourself on a rocky beach in close distance to Waterlemon Cay. Snorkel out to the Cay over scattered reef. Once you get closer to the Cay, the water get shallower. There are some amazing examples of hard coral, soft coral, sea fans and more. This is a very healthy area, and you will see a lot of sea life, including nurse sharks, barracuda as well as a wide variety of smaller reef fish.
5. Haulover Bay
Take route 10 to get to this bay that is easily accessed from the road. Find one of the parking spots in the trees across from the rocky beach. Either side of this calm bay is nice to explore. There are plenty of rock structures, hard and soft corals, sea fans and fish. Also frequently spotted here are hawksbill turtles and trumpetfish. You might see donkeys on this beach, and they will steal your lunch, so hide it well.
6. Great and Little Lameshur Bays
Take 107 all the way to the end. The road is steep and not paved in parts. Some rental companies will not let you take their rental cars on this road. The first large by you come to is Great Lameshur Bay. There is nice snorkeling here if you head toward your left, quite a way over toward Cabritte Horn Point.
If you drive a little further, you’ll come to Little Lameshur Bay. Snorkeling there is great on both sides, and especially nice toward Yawzi Point between Little and Great Lameshur.