Waterlemon Cay and Leinster Bay panorama. Mouse-over scroll left and right!
About Waterlemon Cay
Waterlemon Cay is the #1 “St John attraction” on Tripadvisor. It’s also one of the top spots to snorkel in the Caribbean! In general, the water is clear, the reef, corals and marine life are healthy and thriving. Colorful Caribbean tropical fish of all species are abundant! Waterlemon Cay should be on every snorkeler’s “bucket list”.
#1 Snorkeling Destination on St John!
Snorkeling among the rich diversity of corals and fish is the reason so many people choose to snorkel at Waterlemon Cay. Each year thousands of people make their way here in search of the best snorkeling on St John. And Waterlemon Cay is truly one of the best snorkeling spots to see schools of fish, rays, turtles, star fish, conch as well as beautiful hard and soft coral reef formations. Access to the water is fairly easy via a sandy beach or a coral stone beach closest to Waterlemon Cay. This location is famous for the variety and density of sea life. You see lots of mustard hill coral, yellow and red sponges, huge purple sea fans, fire coral and large elkhorn. The variety of fish is equally as rich – with schools of blue Atlantic Tangs, parrotfish, blue runners, Sergeant Major Damsels and an assortment of colorful and inquisitive wrasses species. Leinster Bay and its sea grass beds are a great place to spot turtles, rays and Queen conch.
…the real draw is the panoramic view of Leinster Bay and the British Virgin Islands!
Ruins and Scenic Overlooks – so often overlooked ( forgive the pun) are the amazing ruins on the hill above Waterlemon Cay. Take a short spur trail and just a couple of hundred yards up the path are the Old Danish Guardhouse Ruins. A beautiful stone arch frames Leinster Bay. And a bit further up the trail is a destination not to be missed. The Windy Hill Ruins are an impressive collection of walls and stonework. But the real draw is the panoramic view of Leinster Bay all the way around to Tortola and the BVIs! Truly not to be missed. Check the above map for directions.
From Cruz Bay – head west ( left as you face St John) up the hill on Rte 20 ( North Shore Road). You’ll follow the twisting road for about 5 mi – passing Caneel Bay Resort, Hawksnest, Jumbie, Trunk, Cinnamon and Maho Bay beach. After Maho the road turns to a single lane. Follow it until you come to a “Y” intersection. Bear right – signs for Annaberg and Leinster/Waterlemon Cay. There is a parking area about 500 yrds down on your right. The trail starts at the end of the road nearest the shoreline. The hike is flat and approx. .5mi / each way.
The short hike takes you along the shoreline of the beautiful aqua-blue waters of Leinster Bay. The best spot to enter the water is along the coral rubble shoreline – nearest the little island or Cay just off shore. Snorkel out to Waterlemon Cay and you’ll likely see lots of huge red and yellow cushion starfish.
A Word of Caution
CAUTION! – Depending on the weather, tides and moon phase – there can be a strong current on the western edge of the Cay. Use common sense and never exceed your abilities and always snorkel with someone.
St John’s Top Snorkeling Spots
Waterlemon Cay – by far the most popular snorkeling destination on Saint John
Henley Cay – our STAFF PICK for Best Snorkeling on St John
Haulover North – on the East End but well worth the drive!
Hansen Bay – East End. Wonderful beach and snorkeling
Honeymoon Beach – Watersports “shack” with SUP, kayak, snorkel gear, etc.
Salt Pond – Very good snorkeling on the rocky patch reef in the center of the bay.
Our complete list of St Johns Best Snorkeling Locations