Northeast of Cruz Bay on the northshore of St John, the snorkeling in Caneel Bay is popular for its clear and calm conditions over sea grass and sand flats. The best Caneel Bay snorkeling is on the right side of the beach away from the old pier rather than on the left side of the beach. You will want to snorkel about 100 feet offshore in 10 feet deep water where you'l...
Northeast of Cruz Bay on the northshore of St John, the snorkeling in Caneel Bay is popular for its clear and calm conditions over sea grass and sand flats. The best Caneel Bay snorkeling is on the right side of the beach away from the old pier rather than on the left side of the beach. You will want to snorkel about 100 feet offshore in 10 feet deep water where you'll see plentiful old coral formations and minimal small marine life.
The September 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria destroyed the old resort located on the bay. With fences around the property, there is not any parking currently, so the only option is to hike in or boat in (no docking). The resort will most likely never open again since it looses it's lease to the National Park Service in August 2023.
Most of the coral surrounding St John is dead from the 2005 bleaching event and the post-bleaching disease known as white plague. Hundreds of years of coral growth was destroyed over a few months in September and October 2005 across all depth zones. Some estimates are that over 90% of the coral experienced bleaching with 60% coverage was lost. New growth has been hampered by run-off polution from construction, septic and fertilizers along withsand smothering following storms such as the September 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria. Oddly though, there are a few very small patches of extremely healthy coral growth, such as at the Cruz Bay entrance, Gallows Point, southeast tip of Cinnamon Cay and the northeast side of Watermelon Cay.
To reach the Caneel Bay snorkeling from Cruz Bay, head east along North Shore Road (Route 20) to old Caneel Bay Resort. The resort used to offers public parking at a steep rate of $20 per day, but since the last rounds of hurricances, the resort has been closed indefinitely. The parking situation near the bay is uncertain at this point.
Another good snorkeling option from Cruz Bay is to hike the Lind Point Trail west along the bay over to Salomon Bay, which can only hiked in.
To reach the snorkeling on St John by air, you will need to first fly into the island of St Thomas using Cyril E. King Airport (STT). Then, you will need to take a taxi to one of the two docks with ferries heading over to St John, preferably Red Hook (30 minutes from airport). The hourly ferry lands in Cruz Bay (15 minutes) where there are plenty of taxis to the beaches and numerous independent rental car companies. While the taxis regularly serve all the beaches, if you do prefer a rental car you'll need to reserve several months in advance. The minimum reserved rental is a week. It is unlikely you'll be able to find a car available for a day when you walk up. When renting, you'll noticed that most tires are bald which makes driving the steep roads challenging especially when wet. The best bet for good tires is on the newer 4 door Jeeps, but don't expect much. Just take a taxi to the beach.
Note: When snorkeling off St Johns USVI, be aware of potentially dangerous marine life including lionfish and sea urchins. Also, the coral reefs are in distress so be careful not to walk on or touch the coral. The best St John snorkeling for water clarity and sunny weather is from February to May since it can be quite rainy during other months.
Overall, Caneel Bay is the 10th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 18 snorkeling dives in St John.
© 1997-2021 · SNORKELINGDIVES.COM · All Rights Reserved.