St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Mangrove Lagoon is located on the southeast coast of St. Thomas between Cas Cay and Jersey Bay and near Coki Beach and the Coral World Park, southeast end coast of St. Thomas and is an example of the effort to preserve the local natural wonders through an eco-tourism system.
A panoramic view of Mangrove Lagoon offers an overall sense of the tropical ecosystem of the area and a better comprehension to understand the reason why this is the largest habitat for resident and migratory avifauna on islands offering to locals and visitors the opportunity to watch and study ducks, herons, shorebirds, white-crowned pigeons, egrets, juvenile tropical reef fish, rays, mangrove crabs and many more forms of wildlife and land birds at the same time the island trees, flowers and plants tell the stranger the story of their use in cosmetics, medicine, hurricane protection and decoration through natives hands since the ancient times.
Situated in protected coves the intertwining Mangrove trees that grow seemingly from the water are the salt marshes of the tropics and serve the same purpose of filtering toxins and cleansing the environment as well as providing a nursery habitat for almost all the young fish and other creatures of the open ocean.
The main attraction here is the Guided kayak tours through Mangrove Lagoon led by experienced naturalists and biologists who are knowledgeable about the local plants and marine life which introduces visitors into an educational experience to the island's natural wonders.
Kayakers can also explore the lagoon's underwater life by snorkeling in designated areas without fins as a way to protect the delicate marine environment. Bathing suit, reef walkers or shoes that can get wet, hat insects repellent and sun blocker are required to take this a two-and-a-half-hour eco-tour in kayaks for two persons with an average cost of $50.
The Virgin Islands were purchased from the Dutch in 1917 for $25 million in gold and most places here exhibit a wide variety of architectural European influences although the majority of present-day people that live on the islands are West Indians of African descent. However, the touristy enchantment is focused on the natural beauties throughout the islands and where Mangrove Lagoon takes a special place.
Established in October 1996, the United States Virgin Islands is the world leader in the development of ecosystems and ecotourism resorts to protect the beauty of the natural environment while allowing visitors to enjoy the pristine wonders of the area and the intimate encounters with Caribbean outdoors activities at an affordable cost.
The internationally famous and beautiful Coki Beach's Coral World Marine Park and Underwater Observatory are just few steps away of Mangrove Lagoon with a spectacular view of outer islands. Opened daily from 9 am to 5:30 pm the Coral Park offers in its bottom level where the visitors can view a natural coral reef and a kaleidoscope of brilliant sea creatures through any of the 24 windows to the open sea, while in the mid-level a 50,000 gallon predator tank filled with awesome sharks, barracudas and moray eels offers a unique experience of marine habitats and behaviors, and step under the aquamarine tropical sea, while staying completely dry. The Outdoor exhibits include activities to explore the mystery of life in Mangrove Lagoon and the nature trail full of lush tropical flora, shark shallows, touch turtle and stingray pools and tropical nature trail. Amenities are a restaurant with a specialty drink or snow cone at the Shark Bar, unique souvenir gift shop and full service dive shop are available to all. The admission to this park is only $18 per adult and $9 per children from 3 to 12 years.
Visit the impressive Blow Hole and volcanic rock cliffs at Mangrove Lagoon and ask for the guidance to explore part of a sunken ship teeming with large French angel fish, squirrel fish, tang, grunts, snappers, coral, sponges, urchins and long-spined sea.
On your next visit to St. Thomas, don't miss the exciting tour aboard the open safari bus for a scenic drive through Mangrove Lagoon including the ramp access to the Marine Gardens housing more than twenty aquariums and the top level of the Undersea Observatory is open to the visitors to enjoy the breathtaking views of the neighboring cays of St. John and the not long distant cays in the British Virgin Islands.
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