The United States Virgin Islands consist of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. While the central hub and capital of this Caribbean paradise is Charlotte Amalie, on St. Thomas, the largest of the islands is St. Croix. Each of the U.S. Virgin Islands has it own distinct charm and sensibility. From the 100-plus jewelry stores that line the Dutch influenced main street in Charlotte Amalie to the acres of national park and eco-friendly tourist spots on the less populated island of St. John, the U.S. Virgin Islands has sights, sounds and adventures for all types of travelers. Snorkeling is your passion, then there is no better place to swim with the fish than off of the island of St. Croix.
For some people, the Caribbean is about basking in the sun and working on that golden, nut-brown tan. It is about spending lazy days sipping rum runners and reading the latest mystery novel. It is about savoring the trade wind as you spend your days stretched out like an iguana on your beach towel. For other people, the Caribbean is about adventure, exploration and getting in the beautiful blue waters. If you find yourself happily marooned on the island of St. Croix, then it is imperative to grab your pair of fins, snorkel and mask. From turtles and parrot fish to schools of fry and blue tangs, the snorkeling in St. Croix is world renown. After you strap on your gear, be sure to check out the following beaches, hideaways and the underwater environments.CANE BAY
Cane Bay is a great place to get your feet wet. Locals and guidebooks both proclaim this to be one of the best snorkeling and diving sites on St. Croix. It is home to what is referred to as the Cane Bay Wall. When you swim out into the ocean about 100 yards there is a sudden drop. The wall plummets from 40 to 3000 feet. The site is a haven for all types of marine life from multicolored fish to brain coral and sea fans, Cane Bay is snorkeler's paradise.JACKS BAY & ISAACS BAY
Located on the southeast tip of St. Croix, Jack's Bay and Isaac's Bay are both remote and hard to reach destinations, but they are worth the extra effort it takes to find them. Both of these beautiful and pristine bays are part of the East End Marine Park. Isaac's Bay is well known for its extraordinary barrier reef. This is how snorkeling in St. Croix should be, the bays are quiet, secluded and free of bustling tourists.JACK ISLAND REEF NATIONAL MONUMENT
Some the best snorkeling in the Caribbean can be found at the Buck Island Reef National Monument which is a short boat ride from Christiansted. This 176-acre island is surrounded by a coral reef ecosystem. Take a dip and explore the grottoes and you will see an array of reef fish, sea fans, sea whips and gorgonians. Back on dry ground you might get lucky and see a brown pelican or a hawks bill turtle. Both species are considered to be threatened, but they continue to nest on Buck Island.
Whether you follow a guidebook or explore on your own, snorkeling is a highlight on the island of St. Croix. From Tamarind Reef Beach to Green Cay, the clear and tranquil Caribbean Sea is teeming with a majestic, underwater kingdom.
By Cathy Aggelopoulos
Written September 17, 2013