Sunday, January 18, 2015

Snorkeling On Your Caribbean Cruise

Snorkeling is a fun and relaxing way to view the colorful and fascinating world just beneath the ocean's surface! If you can float you can snorkel! All you need is a plastic mask and a short tube to breathe while floating facedown on the surface of the water. Here are some of the best-rated snorkeling spots to check out on your next Caribbean cruise.

Belize / Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Western Caribbean cruise itineraries are known for excellent snorkeling opportunities! This 4,448-acre aquatic wonderland is near San Pedro, Caye Ambergris. Due to the protected status of the area, the fish populations have exploded. In waters as shallow as 5 feet, large schools of jacks, groupers, snappers and barracuda abound. Don’t miss Shark Ray Alley, where in just eight feet of water, you’ll get up close and personal with dozens of its namesake creatures.

Curacao / Playa Kalki

Limestone cliffs surround this small cove and the beach on Curacao’s northwest coast. The water is crystal clear, but the beach is very rocky. An entry point is marked with a buoy. With visibility of at least 100 feet you will have lots of opportunity to see green moray eels, lobsters, reef fish and beautiful star coral formations. There’s a beach bar and restaurant with simple menu and diving center where you can rent gear. Curacao is a port of call on a Southern Caribbean cruise.

Grand Cayman / Smiths Cove

Okay, everybody heads out to Stingray City and yes, it’s amazing to experience the tame, gentle stingrays that swim around you! Need a change? Smiths Cove is great for beginners because of the gentle slope leading into the water, and along the limestone edges of the 15-yard-wide cove, the water's only about 10 feet deep. This natural pool is filled with parrotfish, peacock flounder, juvenile angelfish and surgeonfish. Advanced snorkelers can head straight out of the cove to the edge of the coral reef in about 35 feet of water.

Roatan / West Bay Beach

This Caribbean beach has simply incredible, with fine white sand and clear turquoise water. The snorkeling is close to shore and the reef is teeming with life. Some of the more popular species include eagle rays, stingrays, black, gray and queen angels, various butterflies, eels, various groupers and huge parrots. Lots of beach amenities.

St. John, USVI / Trunk Bay

Taking an Eastern Caribbean cruise? Just a ferry ride away from St. Thomas, Trunk Bay is calm and clear, and there's a marked snorkel trail that follows a zigzag course in 3 to 18 feet of water. The park installed 15 underwater plaques along the trail that explain the ecosystem and identify marine life. Shallow rocky areas around the bay are home to octopuses and crustaceans, while the deeper water holds swarms of blue tang, yellowtail snapper, parrotfish and butterfly fish. Plus, the beach has showers, changing rooms, equipment rentals, and a lifeguard.

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