Where to Snorkel in the USVI

Stay close to the surface or explore the deep - either way, these Caribbean islands are outfitted with underwater eco-systems that wow.

Where to Snorkel in the USVI | Things to do in the USVI
St. Croix : Cane Bay Start by parking at the lot shared by Eat at Cane Bay restaurant and Cane Bay Dive Shop, just west of the island's north shore midpoint. If you need loaner snorkel gear or info about counting waves for a smooth entry, stop by the open-air dive shop. When you're ready, cross the street and you're on the white-sand beach. Walk roughly 20 yards to the sea and fin alongside fish as soon as you reach knee-deep water. Then it's only 250 yards, or a leisurely four-minute swim, to Cane Bay Wall, where the reef drops to 3,200 fee. Among sea fans and mounds of brain cora, you'll spy peacock flounder, a tan flatfish that flushes turquoise when disturbed, as well as schools of purple, oval-shaped Creole wrasse. If you see heaps of shells near a small hole, peer in and you could see a pile of tentacles. Odds are it's a midden, aka the lair of a Caribbean reef octopus. Surprises like these will keep you in the water longer than you might have anticipated, so slather on that SPF 50, especially on the backs of your knickers.Shutterstock
Where to Snorkel in the USVI | Things to do in the USVI
St. John : Leinster Bay Drive or take the taxi bus to the crescent-shaped beach midway along the island's northern coast. Here, no vendors lend gear or sell snacks; the upshot is that you can often find crowds nearly nonexistent, especially if you're willing to walk farther east along the coast. When you're ready for a dip, it's with trumpetfish, angelfish, Southern stingrays and possibly a sea turtle or two. The bottom stays shallow, never reaching a big drop-off, making this site ideal for families and anyone else with swim skills more akin to a minnow than a marlin. Waterlemon Cay, an offshore spit of land, is a seven-minute swim from the beach - or save energy for the snorkel and take the water taxi instead. A slight current sweeps past the island, so circle counterclockwise for easiest passage. keep an eye toward deeper water; that's where the magic, in form of eagle rays or barracuda, will likely appear.Zach Stovall