Snorkeling the waters of St. John, USVI is one of the most rewarding and fun things to do on St. John, it’s cheap and easily accessible for anyone, the water is warm and usually calm. You can see Angel Fish, Parrot Fish, Seargent Majors, Yellow Tail Snapper, Puffer Fish to name a few and of course Sea Turtles.
The key to snorkeling fun is having a well-fitting mask that does not leak and does not fog. Try on the mask without the strap and suck it to your face. Does it hold by itself? Then the mask has the right size. Don’t be shy of trying on many different masks to find the perfect one! You can tighten the strap as much as you want, it will only give you a headache but not stop an ill-fitting mask from leaking.
To keep the mask from fogging, spit into it, use your fingers to swipe it completely over the mask (from the inside) and then rinse a little. Sounds yucky, but this is seriously the best way to keep it from fogging. Something to do with chemicals in the salvia. Don’t breath out through your nose, that will make the mask fog! If you have never breathed through a snorkel, don’t be shy of practicing this in the pool first! Also, you might start snorkeling without fins first to focus on practicing how to breath. Going slower is not a bad thing, you will see more!
If you go with fins, put them on in shallow water (after having put on the mask and snorkel) and then walk backwards with them! Don’t walk forward or try to walk on the beach with fins, unless you want to be a source of amusement or the other people on the beach! If you are snorkeling off a boat, drop in backwards! When swimming with fins, make sure there are under water! Kicking above the water will not get you anywhere, it is just a waste of energy!
Check out this nicely illustrated Wikihow on Snorkeling Basics.
Great Snorkeling on St. John can for example be found at
- Hawksnest, short drive from Cruz Bay, good parking, nice reef, beautiful beach.
- Trunk Bay: Marked underwater trail. An online version of the trail is here.
- Waterlemon Cay. Secluded beach that can only be reached by boat or hiking
- Scott Beach / Turtle Bay (off Caneel)
- Henley Cay (the channel off Caneel Bay)
- Francis Bay (Eastern end of North Shore)
- Blue Cobblestone Beach (off Ram Head Trail)
- Oppenheimer Beach
- Whisling Cay: outside of Maho
- Mangrove Snorkel: Princess Bay (off Route 10, about 2 miles east of the Coral Bay Moravian Church)
- Jumbie Bay Beach (just before Trunk)
- Haulover (North and South Shore): This is the very narrow stretch of St. John in the East.
- Hanson Bay / La Vie’s (just East of Haulover)
You can rent snorkeling gear from Low Key Watersports in Cruz Bay or from Crabby’s Watersports in Coral Bay. If you don’t want to drive or hike and want to see something more exotic, you can have an experienced Captain take you out on the Snorkeling spot. You can for example book a half day snorkeling trip with Rockhoppin’.
An absolute novelty are the Easybreath full face masks that will convince even people who are not big fans of snorkeling. You can naturally breath through your mouth and nose and they don’t fog up. You can use them for free on Snorkeling Trips with Rockhoppin’ Charters. You can also rent them from SUP-St. John with your paddleboard or from Beach Bum.
Poll: Best Snorkeling on St. John
Check out this great underwater video:
Head over here and try to identify the fish you saw!