Experience the Best Snorkeling in St. Thomas
Exotic tropical fish, vivid multicolored coral, and playful sea turtles: you’ll find some of the best snorkeling in the world here in the Virgin Islands. One of my favorite parts of living in the USVI is that snorkeling in St. Thomas is a regular part of my life, and no two snorkeling trips are alike. There isn’t a beach or snorkeling spot that I’ve ventured to that didn’t have something unique to offer: a first-time encounter with a fish species, a beautiful cluster of coral reef, a sunken piece of history; there’s always an experience to be had if you know where to look. With incredible snorkeling sights like this off virtually every shore, the bar is certainly raised to be the best snorkeling in St. Thomas. If you snorkel off any of our breathtaking beaches or world-class sailing trips, you’re sure to experience amazing snorkeling sights, but if you’re looking for a St. Thomas Snorkeling encounter that’s rare, remarkable, and one-of-a-kind, I have your answer: the St. Thomas mangrove lagoon. Allow me to take you on a journey through this exotic location as I show you why I believe the best snorkeling St. Thomas has to offer is right here in the mangrove lagoon.
The only St. Thomas snorkeling tours that operate in the mangrove lagoon are the St. Thomas Mangrove Lagoon Snorkeling and Kayaking Tour, St. Thomas Mangrove Lagoon and Cas Cay Ecotour, and St. Thomas Mangrove Lagoon and Cas Cay Ecotour with Lunch; while it’s technically possible to snorkel the lagoon on your own, it is a fairly large area and is best explored with a guide for safety and to ensure you experience the best spots. The journey through the mangroves begins with a kayak trip to more open waters. When a snorkeling trip requires you to get off the beaten path a little, chances are it’s going to be something special. Remote St. Thomas snorkeling spots tend to be more lively as the fish and coral are less affected by human contact and exposure to chemicals such as sunscreen or litter. Using kayaks is just one of the many ways ecotours help to preserve a clean environment for the ocean.
The further we got into the lagoon, the clearer the water became. As we paddled on, our guide pointed out unique sights like this rare upside down jellyfish; this particular species is only prevalent in the St. Thomas mangrove lagoon. There were so many of of these jellyfish, and we could clearly see them right from our kayak.
We beached our kayaks on the uninhabited island of Cas Cay located just off the southeast coast of St. Thomas. The crystal blue waters were begging to be explored!
The particular tour that I went on was the Mangrove Lagoon and Cas Cay Ecotour which included a scenic hike and exploration of the secluded little island, but there are multiple ecotours available that include snorkeling in St. Thomas’ mangrove lagoon. We hiked Cas Cay before we went snorkeling, and even from land, you can see that the mangrove trees and their wild roots are truly remarkable.
Our group swam out to the middle of the lagoon to begin the snorkeling tour. As you can see, there was no shortage of fish, and our guide was happy to answer any questions about the various species swimming along with us.
The lagoon is known to be a nursery for various marine species because of the protection offered by the mangrove roots. We saw many baby fish like this juvenile Beaugregory, and they weren’t afraid to get up close and personal.
We even spotted some more uncommon species like this French Angelfish.
But we hadn’t even reached the main event. These mangrove trees are what crown this lagoon as the best snorkeling in St. Thomas, and their roots are the stars of the show.
Their filtering roots keep the surrounding waters crystal clear reaching the ideal clarity for snorkeling on St. Thomas.
The mangrove roots create an eerie underwater scene you won’t snorkeling anywhere else in St. Thomas. The strange collision of land and sea is truly a one-of-a-kind, spectacular sight.
The vibrant coral growth on the roots is my absolute favorite. The strange collision of land and sea is truly a one-of-a-kind, spectacular sight.
Fish and coral alike thrive in the healthy environment provided by the mangrove roots. Large fish could be seen lurking in the dark shadows between the roots while baby fish swam energetically in groups around the coral clusters. This weird combination of trees and coral and the many fish finding shelter among the shaded roots is so unique; you won’t find sights like this snorkeling just anywhere in the Caribbean. An encounter like this is rare and special which is precisely why the mangrove lagoon is the best snorkeling in St. Thomas.
Be sure to check out our Local's Guide to St. Thomas Snorkeling for more information about snorkeling in St. Thomas, and visit our Snorkeling page for the best St. Thomas snorkeling tours and excursions! If you have any questions snorkeling in St. Thomas’ mangrove lagoon or any inquiries about the island, call or e-mail us for authentic local insight!
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