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guided nature tours St. Thomas Virgin Islands

Because we have both options available here in the Virgin Islands, we are often asked if it’s better to rent your own water sports gear such as fins-mask-snorkel and kayaks, or if we recommend taking a guided tour instead. Our advice is really dependent on the guests and what it is you’re hoping to get out of your experience.

Here are a couple of things to consider when choosing to rent equipment or take a tour:


What experience do you have?

Have you ever snorkeled or kayaked before? If there’s anyone in your group who is unfamiliar with the equipment, sticking with a guide can help everyone feel more comfortable in the water. A guide can give you tips and tricks to overcome stumbling blocks like keeping water out of your mask, not inhaling water in your snorkel, and how to pivot your kayak.

Do you know the area? How familiar are you with the USVI waters? If you haven’t explored the sea here much yet, going on a tour with a guide will better familiarize you with not just how to navigate your way around, but also teach you about the flora + fauna around you – especially what NOT to touch.


kayaking St Thomas mangrove lagoon


Are you wanting to learn or just relax?

If you’ve got questions, our expert guides have answers. A guided tour means you get the insider scoop on the islands’ plants, animals, history, local secrets, and more. Our guides are also excellent wildlife-spotters, pointing out creatures your untrained eyes may miss.

But if you’d rather just leisurely float without an agenda (no judgement here!), renting your own gear will be a great fit for you.


Are you wanting to document your adventure?

If you’re in it for the Insta, going with a guide means you have a built in camera-person for those action photos your selfie stick can’t reach. If you’re more of a nature photographer yourself, renting gear to explore at your own pace and birdwatch for hours makes for an amazing day.


Cas Cay tour St Thomas Virgin islands


How long are you in the Virgin Islands?

If you’re visiting for more than a couple of days, we always recommend that you do both! Start your trip with a guided tour so you can familiarize yourself with the waters and the equipment. Then, rent some gear and expand on your experience with fresh confidence over the rest of your trip.


Whatever you choose, we know you’re going to have an amazing time and we’re here to make that happen! The Virgin Islands are an incredible destination for exploring the natural world. Visit our Home page to view all of the tours and equipment rentals available by island.

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