Compare Snorkeling In St Croix and Culebra, Puerto Rico?

by Jim, Avid Adventurer
(Somerset, KY)

Can anyone compare the snorkeling in St Croix and Culebra, Puerto Rico? We are avid and experienced snorkelers who have done St. John, Roatan, Kauai, Eleuthera, The Keys etc. We are trying to choose between Culebra and St. Croix for our next trip in late December 2016. I've read a detailed trip report on this site about St. Croix and would like a similar discussion of Culebra sites.

Many thanks.

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Jan 11, 2016
Comparison of Cuelbra and St. Croix
by: Susan B

My husband and I have spent several months on St. Croix and a few weeks on Cuelebra snorkeling almost every day.

On Cuelebra we enjoyed Melones and Flamenco the most. Melones has an amazing sea garden of plants and fans, probably some of the best we've seen, Flamenco covers a larger area with lots to see and explore although a little harder to get to and with more current.

Tamarindo has some nice reef to the north but is mainly grass.

We found ourselves going back to Melones mostly as it is easy to get to and relatively shallow.

St. Croix is very different from Cuelebra. Our favorite spots were Cane Bay, the Fredericksted Pier, west of the Carambola Resort beach, and the beach ledges south of Cottages by the Sea.

There are also other places like Punnett Point accessed through the Buccaneer entrance and Jacks and Issacs Bay but these are very dependent on weather for visibility. Punnett Point can be wonderful, lots of fish and coral but frequently the visibility is not good.

I think Cane Bay is one of my favorite spots in the Caribbean. The snorkeling is varied from very shallow to relatively deep - 30+ft. Visibility is usually good with lots of coral and fish. When you enter at the boat launch, stay to the right. This is a large area, going all the way out to the drop off and north past the beach cafes.

Snorkeling off Carambola, there is some wonderful coral to the west very close to shore.

If the wind is up from the east or north with rough seas, we would go to the Pier [not on cruise ship days] or the ledges.

Each island has it's charms, both worth exploring.

Jan 11, 2016
Culebra or St. Croix
by: Jim, Avid-Adventurer

Susan B.,

Thanks so much for the detailed response to my question about Culebra versus St. Croix snorkeling.

Can one park at the Carombola to access the snorkeling west of their beach?

We spent a week on Culebra about 20 years ago but were fairly novice snorkelers then. We only tried Tamarindo where we were staying and Cayo Luis Pena. How is Melones accessed and which end of Flamenco Beach?

Also I'd like to pick your brain about accommodations on both islands. We generally stay in rental villas but have done the full gamut over the years. I'm on Tripadvisor as Avid-Adventurer. Thanks again.

Jan 11, 2016
Correction on Culebra spots
by: Susan B

Hi Jim,

It wasn't Flamenco we enjoyed in Culebra, it was Carlos Rosario. We only snorkeled the east side of Flamenco and didn't find much there.

Melones is a short way from town, just drive to the park at the end of the road by Melones point (don't continue up the steep road to the right) and snorkel on the north side to the right. You can rent a golf cart or a car to get around but I would recommend a car as some of the roads are kind of rough for the carts.

In St. Croix, a car is essential. There are many wonderful places to explore and drive through on the north side of the island including the rain forest. The north side roads leading through Cane Bay and to Carambola are spectacular.

There is free parking at the Carambola Resort and public beach access. The beach and scenery should not be missed. There is incredibly easy and free beach access to almost all the beaches on St. Croix.

In Culebra we stayed at a villa very close to Melones but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless you enjoy camping as it was about one step above.

On St. Croix, we have rented places all over the island mainly through Home Away or VRBO.

On either island we make sure to get a place away from the roosters (unless you are a really sound sleeper) and definitely stay away from the town areas as even the locals sometimes have problems with the noise from the bars.

There are some decent rentals around Cane Bay. Just check all the vacation rental sites and something should turn up. If you are staying for a month or more, good deals can be had through the real estate rental companies.

Jan 18, 2016
More Culebra Info On This Site
by: Nicole & Galen

Hi Jim, we wanted to bring your attention to the snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico page on this site. There is a lot of info on that page about snorkeling in Culebra.

Jan 20, 2016
Cane Bay Villas
by: Jim, Avid-Adventurer

Hi again Susan,

Thanks for sharing your knowledge of St. Croix. Are you familiar with either Villa Dawn or Willie's Wish near Cane Bay? Since there are 6 of us, we need at least 3 BRs. We are also looking at a couple on the southeast shore east of the Divi within walking distance to Jack Bay.

You mentioned Jack and Isaac are weather dependent. Have you successfully snorkeled either of those?

We were in Roatan (tremendous variety of high-quality sites) a month ago and we likely will return to the Caribbean next Christmas, so do you have tips on St Croix weather during late Dec.? North or south shore? 😎🐠

Thanks.

Jan 20, 2016
Re: Cane Bay Villas
by: Susan B

Hi Jim,

We've never stayed at Willie's Wish or Villa Dawn but Willie's Wish is right on the water and looks amazing where Villa Dawn is a set back a little up Vallee View Rd but very close to snorkeling. I'm sure either place would be great.

We have spent time in St. Croix in the spring and fall into November but never during December.

We hiked into Jack Bay twice but both times the rough surge made snorkeling untenable.

You need some local knowledge about parking and finding the trail to hike into Jack.

The wind in St. Croix seems to come from the east most of the time leaving spots like Jack pretty exposed.

South shore is mainly very dry and scrubby where the north shore is lush, tropical rain forest.

Also, it's a long drive from the south shore near Jack to most other spots on the island.

We spent last winter in St. Thomas and during December the wind was mainly out of the east.

Sep 06, 2016
Culebra
by: Bill Bryans

I agree with most of the post that Melones, Tamarindo, Carlos Rosario & Soldado are all good snorkeling sites. Flamenco & Zoni have little snorkeling opportunities & the most people.

I would add Tamarindo Grande & Larga as good snorkeling sites. On the hike to Carlos Rosario, Tamarindo Grande is the beach just before. Larga is a little hard to find, but well worth the effort. At Larga, head straight out into the water through the channel at the small pier. Once you get out to the drop-off, swim left along the it (15-30 feet deep). After a fairly long swim, there is a smaller channel back to shore. After a nice rest, you can either walk back along the beach or reverse your swim back to where you started.

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