Make a Splash on St. Thomas

June 12, 2014 No Comments
st. thomas-snorkel

From the highest heights to the deepest depths, there’s so much to see, do, and explore below sea level on St. Thomas. With abundant marine life, calm currents, average water temperatures of 82 degrees, and visibility that exceeds 100 feet, St. Thomas offers plenty of reasons to hit the water. Top snorkeling sites include Honeymoon Cove, Sapphire Beach, and Turtle Cove. Choose from a selection of sailing and snorkeling shore excursions that conveniently depart from the cruise ship dock or the Charlotte Amalie Harbor.

Some of the top snorkeling sites within easy access of Charlotte Amalie harbor include Sapphire Beach and Christmas Cove on St. Thomas; Honeymoon Beach on Water Island; and Turtle Cove and Shipwreck Cove, both just off the coast of Buck Island. Also of note is St. John’s world-famous Trunk Bay, a near-perfect white-sand beach that boasts a marked underwater trail maintained by the Virgin Islands National Park.

The best beach on the island without a doubt is Magens Bay beach. Located just a quick scenic ride from Charlotte Amalie on the northern coast of the island, the public beach is a one-mile stretch of sand surrounded by the calm, heart-shaped Magens Bay. Beach chairs and floating mats are available to rent, and lifeguards are on duty every day. The beach and adjacent arboretum was gifted to the island by Arthur Fairchild in 1947 as a public park.

Along St. Thomas’ northern coast, Coki Point Beach is a favorite beach spot for locals and visitors alike. The small, rocky outcrop is full of coral formations, which, when combined with the crystal-clear waters, make for some of the island’s best snorkeling conditions.

Coki Point Beach is also home to Coral World Ocean Park and Observatory, a four-and-a-half acre marine park that was recently voted the foremost tourist attraction in the Virgin Islands. The park includes an 80,000-gallon coral-reef tank with an underwater observation tower, which allows guests to stay dry while getting an up-close look at beautiful species of coral, tropical fish, barracuda, moray eels, sea horses, crabs, and even some species of sharks, all in a natural setting.

If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at scuba diving but never had the time or opportunity to do so, St. Thomas is a good place to learn the basics. At St. Thomas’ scuba-diving facility, a certified PADI instructor leads guests on underwater explorations to depths up to 40 feet.

Power snorkeling is another fun water-sports option. Adventurers can glide through the underwater world with minimal effort using specialized Seadoo handheld power scooters that plows through the water at speeds up to two knots. Another options is to hop on a BOSS (Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter), the underwater vehicle with a bubble-like sealed helmet that keeps the rider’s head dry.

For a real thrill, climb aboard the Screamin’ Eagle, a 650-horsepower turbocharged jet boat that zips along the water during an adrenaline-pumping tour. On this wet and wild ride, an experienced captain maneuvers the vessel at exhilarating speeds through 180-degree spins, then slows to a halt to describe historical sites and local points of interest before whizzing the boat off again. And the best part: all excursions on or under the water in the U.S.V.I. are monitored and certified by the rigorous standards of the U.S. Coast Guard.

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Catamaran to Buck Island nature sanctuary and get ready to explore with National Geographic Snorkeler gear. Then, sip delicious rum drinks and munch on snacks as you sail back to the harbor.

Discover two unique islet destinations on this combo boating, snorkeling, and beach excursion.

Sail on a pirate schooner to Buck Island, an uninhabited preserve. Drop anchor in beautiful Turtle Cove and snorkel. Then, celebrate your day in paradise with music, snacks, and tropical drinks.

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