Snorkeling Salt Pond Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
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Snorkeling Salt Pond Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

Salt Pond Beach is a great snorkeling destination for those on St. John looking to mingle with sea turtles, Barracudas, and diverse schools of colorful tropical fish.

Snorkeling Salt Pond Bay

When entering the water at Salt Pond Beach, consider wearing some footwear as there is a bit of coral rubble. This area is best swum as a circuit, beginning to the left and circling around to the shore on the right side of the beach. You will start swimming along the left side, where it is rocky, and continue for about 1,100 feet until you reach an area filled with huge boulders and deep valleys. Here you will see healthy coral and larger fish species like Barracudas.

Once you are done exploring that area thoroughly, try swimming to the two rocky islands that sit towards the middle of the bay. You will pass over patches of sea grass where turtles frequently relax and swim about. Keep your eyes peeled since they can be hard to see when nestled in the sea grass. Once at the outer island, you will see a variety of healthy, colorful corals such as, Elkhorn, Staghorn and Pillar. There are not many fish here, but the coral life is vibrant, large and definitely worth exploring.

You will then swim towards the island located closer to shore, where there are plenty of fish swimming about. It is a bit shallower here and you can follow your way back to shore along a broad shelf that stretches the distance. Pay close attention and you can spot fish like Angelfish, Filefish, Lizardfish and many other species. You might even see some urchins or crabs scuttling about.

How to Get to Salt Pond Beach

snorkeling salt pond bay

Salt Pond Bay is located on St. John, which does not have an airport. You will need to fly into Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas and from there, take a boat to Cruz Bay in St. John. From Cruz Bay, you will need to rent a car and head east on Route 10. Follow this until the intersection with Route 107, where you will turn right. The road will curve right and there will be a parking area with a sign for the Salt Pond Trail. You will take this larger, obvious dirt trail from the parking lot down to Salt Pond Beach. Note that while it is only a quarter mile long, it is quite steep so make sure you have the proper footwear.

Best Time For Salt Pond Beach Snorkeling

While you can visit year round, consider traveling between April and June to visit Salt Pond Beach in St John. During this time, you will see milder temperatures and little rain. You will also be avoiding the busy, costly tourist season, while still experiencing temperatures in the high 20s C (mid 80s F).

The entire circuit for snorkeling Salt Pond Beach will have you swimming just over 1,600 meters (3,500 feet), but is definitely well worth it for the variety of coral and marine life that you will see!

Snorkeling Salt Pond Bay
Salt Pond Bay Snorkeling
Underwater Life: 
Snorkeling with turtles
Coral reefs
Tropical fish
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