Diving and Snorkeling

Although just about every beach has nice snorkeling—Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Waterlemon Cay at Leinster Bay get the most praise—you need a boat to head out to the more remote snorkeling locations and the best scuba spots. Sign on with any of the island's water-sports operators to get to spots farther from St. John. If you use the one at your hotel, just stroll down to the dock to hop aboard. Their boats will take you to hot spots between St. John and St. Thomas, including the tunnels at Thatch Cay, the ledges at Congo Cay, and the wreck of the General Rogers. Dive off St. John at Stephens Cay, a short boat ride out of Cruz Bay, where fish swim around the reefs as you float downward. At Devers Bay, on St. John's south shore, fish dart about in colorful schools. Carval Rock, shaped like an old-time ship, has gorgeous rock formations, coral gardens, and lots of fish. It can be too rough here in winter, though. Count on paying $90 for a one-tank dive and $120 for a two-tank dive. Rates include equipment and a tour. If you've never dived before, try an introductory course called a resort course. Or if certification is in your vacation plans, the island's dive shops can help you get your card.

Cruz Bay Watersports. Cruz Bay Watersports offers regular reef, wreck, and night dives and USVI and BVI snorkel tours. The company holds both PADI Five Star and NAUI-Dream-Resort status. There's another branch at the Westin St. John. Lumberyard Shopping Complex, Boulon Center Rd., Cruz Bay, Saint John, 00831. 340/776–6234; www.cruzbaywatersports.com.

Low Key Watersports. Low Key Watersports offers two-tank dives and specialty courses. It's a PADI Five Star training facility. 1 Bay St., Cruz Bay, Saint John, 00831. 340/693–8999; www.divelowkey.com.

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