ST. THOMAS, U.S.V.I. – JUNE 12, 2017 – With miles of coral reef, excellent visibility and calm waters, the Virgin Islands are a snorkeler’s paradise, with snorkel spots for all skills levels making it an ideal destination for families. This summer, the concierge team at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas is sharing their five favorite snorkel spots in and around St. Thomas. All of their suggested spots are day-trip distance from the luxury resort, with a trip on Lady Lynsey, the resort’s own luxury catamaran, a day trip to Virgin Gorda, or via private day charter.
This off-the-beaten-path spot is considered some of the best snorkeling on St. John. A 20-minute flat, but a scenic hike along Leinster Bay winds around to the cay, with a healthy reef that is home to rays, turtles, blue tang and large cushion sea stars. Local tip: right across the street from the trailhead is the trail to Annaberg Plantation, some of the best-preserved plantation ruins on St. John. Take the walk to see it and the stunning views of Tortola in the distance.
The most photographed beach in the Virgin Islands is also one of the most popular, and for good reason. The cay off the beach features a self-guided underwater snorkel trail, so snorkelers learn about the sea life as they snorkel. Local tip: make the worthwhile stop at Trunk Bay Overlook to get a shot at one of the island’s most renowned photo ops.
The Caves of Norman Island
Thought to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, the caves are part of a 620-acre uninhabited island in the British Virgin Island chain. Snorkelers will want to keep their eyes open for the pirate’s treasure that is rumored to remain in this spot. Either way, explorers will see colorful rock walls and formations, as well as an abundance of sea life in the caves. Local tip: For guests on a private day charter, also check out the Indians (at Pelican Island) right next to the Caves for even more incredible snorkeling.
Named by Christopher Columbus himself when he spent Christmas here 400 years ago, the grassy bottom and calm waters of Christmas Cove make it a habitat for sea turtles. Even before jumping into the water, snorkelers will see the heads of sea turtles popping up for air. Local tip: Pizza Pi, the island’s first floating pizzeria, is moored in Christmas Cove and makes some of the best New York-style pie in the islands.
Solomon Beach is only accessible via hike or boat, so it is less crowded than other beaches on St. John. And unlike other hikes in Virgin Islands National Park, the Lindt Point trailhead is right at the National Park’s visitor center in Cruz Bay, so there is no need to take a taxi. The 20-30 minute walk drops nature-lovers at a beautiful and secluded beach, with a sandy bottom that is a playground for rays. The reef between Solomon and Honeymoon Beach is a prime viewing spot for French grunts, blue runners, moray eel and healthy coral. Local tip: Ferries leave on the hour, so hikers can stay a little longer than the crowds to have this Caribbean paradise all to themselves.
For a complete sailing schedule, more information on these or any other beaches in the Virgin Islands, please contact the concierge at 340-775-3333. For room reservations, please call 1-800-542-8680 or visit ritzcarlton.com/stthomas.
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