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beginner snorkeling s. Caribbean

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Hello, I will be cruising the southern Caribbean in early May. I've never been snorkeling but would like to diy it on this trip. Am hoping to find a beach to rent equipment and just tool around casually. I am looking at St Thomas, Barbados, and St Kitts. What would you recommend?

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You have multiple options. As a beginner you might want to just spend the "big bucks" an book some of the cruise ship snorkel excursions. They will always include equipment, safety briefings, a BC (an inflatable life jacket) and an expert that can give you guidance (if needed). Otherwise you could book some private snorkel excursions (best to do this online in advance, but sometimes you can find a tour pierside). On St Thomas we would probably recommend a first timers take a snorkel excursion to the island of St John and snorkeling in the National Park. There is a beach we like to snorkel from on St Kitts (near Shipwreck Bar) but I would not normally recommend it for beginners. But you could ask a taxi to take you to "Shipwreck" and the café/bar on the beach does rent snorkel equipment.


We do have our favorite snorkel spot (off a beach) in Barbados but it is just not suitable for beginners. So you might want to consider a tour here or just make it a nice beach day.


If you find that you enjoy snorkeling we strongly recommend buying your own equipment (mask, snorkel and fins) which you can do at any decent dive shop. Personally we prefer to buy online (from good dive shops) where we can get exactly what we please rather then what happens to be available in a shop.



Edited by Hlitner

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We were just on the Royal and made this our snorkel cruise. We did it at every port!


We couldn't understand why we had never snorkeled before, so we went to a sporting goods store and bought a cheep package that included fins, snorkel and mask. ($50) each. We then took the gear to our gym and pool and learned to swim laps with the equipment. It was a good way to learn what to do.


Now our gear goes with us on all our warm water trips! We have upgraded to to a pro shop where we got better snorkels, masks with out prescriptions put in the lens, gloves so we don't tough the fire coral (Almost happened this winter!:eek:) and now even have our own vests after another sad trip out in the water!


This last trip we took a private tour to St. Johns on a catamaran through Daydreamer and Coconut Cruises. It was wonderful!


In St. Lucia, we went on another private trip with Mystic Man Tours. This was the best trip ever! We spent about an hour chasing a pod of pilot whales and then were taken to an inlet where we got to snorkel. Never saw so many varieties of sea life before. Very nice!


On both these trips, we had small numbers onboard and were fed lunch as well as beverages all the way back.


On Barbados, we took the turtle encounter, shipwreck snorkel, and beach tour. (We were on a Princess cruise) Being with the turtles was fantastic and the shipwrecks were good too, but you really needed to have good swimming abilities. They packed A LOT of people in the boat too. When you go on a ship tour, you will find that you go with the masses. And when you snorkel, doing that makes it easier to see feet, hands, and other body parts more than you see fish.


We took another ship tour on St. Kitts to snorkel. That one too was overcrowded. There were so many onboard that there weren't enough seats inside the boat in case of an emergency.


Good luck choosing your tours. Have fun!!! It's a great sport!

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Just returned from S Caribbean. I would recommend that you consider Coki Beach in St. Thomas. There is excellent beach-entry snorkeling here. When I was just learning, I loved beach entry snorkeling. That way, you control how far out you go and the depth of the water. You can start out in water that you can stand up in. It can help you build your skills while keeping the risk low. This is a particularly good spot and there are a lot of interesting fish to see. Enjoy!

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If you do go off by your selves or even if you are on excursion and you are doing a shore entry in sand, shuffle you feet as you cross the sand between the shore and when you start snorkeling so that you do not step on a sting ray. If you shuffle the rays can feel you coming or you will nudge them as you shuffle and they will swim away. If you step on one it may feel threatend and use it's tail in defense.

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Thank you to the OP for asking and for all the answers. Neither my husband or I have snorkeled and I was thinking our trip in November might be a good time to learn. So I appreciate the answers that have been given.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Something well worth considering would be to look for a dive shop in your area, and take some snorkeling lessons. On its face snorkeling seems like swimming with some equipment, but there's much more you can get out of it with just a little training. Generally a class would be less than $50.00. Considering what you'll likely spend on the excursion, this is an investment that will really pay off.


When I see snorkelers the vast majority of them may as well take a glass bottom boat trip. They simply swim along the surface. The real point of snorkeling is to dive down and get a closer look at the reef.


Look in your area for a dive shop with their own pool, take a class, and you'll get much more out of your experience.



Denver, CO

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