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Mangrove Lagoon
Mangrove Lagoon

Mangrove Lagoon

Saint-Jean a peut-être la part du lion des attractions naturelles des îles Vierges, mais l'extraordinaire concentration de flore et de faune dans la lagune de mangroves de Saint-Thomas en fait une destination écotouristique de premier plan.

De petits groupes de kayaks parcourent les minuscules îles de mangroves rouges du lagon, avec des guides soulignant l'immense diversité d'oiseaux qu'ils attirent, notamment des hérons, des aigrettes et des canards.

L'itinéraire vous emmène sur l'île déserte de Cas Cay, où les bernard-l'ermite se baladent parmi les racines des mangroves. Au cours de vos voyages au rythme doux, vous verrez de jeunes poissons se précipiter autour de ce lieu de reproduction naturel. La plongée en apnée à faible impact vous rapprochera encore plus et vous apercevrez des raies, des anguilles et des méduses ainsi qu'une foule de poissons tropicaux colorés.

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The basics

Small kayaking groups thread through the lagoon’s tiny red mangrove islands, with guides pointing out the diverse birdlife, including herons, egrets, and ducks. The route takes you to deserted Cas Cay island, where hermit crabs dart among mangrove roots. On your leisurely-paced travels, you’ll see young fish swimming around this natural breeding ground. Low-impact snorkeling gets you even closer, and you’ll spot rays, eels, and jellyfish amid the shoals of tropical fish.

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Things to know before you go

  • Rent a single or double kayak on site to explore on your own.
  • Remember to wear a swimsuit and sunscreen.
  • Some cruise ship passengers recommend booking a tour independently, as opposed to through the cruise ship, for a more personalized experience.
  • Tours are typically suitable for novice and experienced kayakers.
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How to get there

Mangrove Lagoon is located in the southeast of St. Thomas, less than 15 minutes away by car from the capital, Charlotte Amalie, which is where the cruise port is found. Taxis are readily available at the airport, cruise ship dock, resorts, and beaches; keep in mind that the taxis are not metered and that rates are set ahead of time. Ferry services are also available between islands.

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When to get there

Take a guided tour of the lagoon in the evening to watch the sunset and to see plenty of bird activity. Overall, expect to encounter the biggest crowds in the US Virgin Islands during the winter, from December to March. To score the best deals, plan to travel from April to June, after peak season.

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Magens Bay

The most popular, picturesque beach on St. Thomas (and perhaps all of the US Virgin Islands), Magens Bay boasts calm waves for swimming and kayaking, along with white sands and turquoise waters. Facilities here include lifeguards, showers, snack stands, and windsurfing rentals. There is a nominal fee to access the beach, and it’s about a 20-minute drive across the island from the lagoon.

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