When you go snorkeling, you don’t need a lot of equipment and don’t have to be so brave. Take a mask and a tube, two pairs of flippers, an inflatable life jacket, and a spirit of wonder. A lot of people will say “Wow!” when you add snorkeling to the sun, the sand, and the sea. You’ll see spectacular underwater landscapes, a few shipwrecks, and schools of vibrantly-colored tropical fish swimming in clear, serene water.
There are so many reasons why floating near the top of the sea is a great way to spend your vacation on an island. It’s easy to learn and so much fun that you might not want to miss out.
Read more: Best resort for snorkeling in Punta Cana
10 Best Caribbean beaches and islands for snorkeling
A small island called Booby Cay is off the coast of Negril. It’s also one of the top locations to snorkel for people who aren’t sure if they can swim in deeper water. Gilligan’s Island is called that by the people who live there. The aquamarine water is full of aquatic life and an old anchor and cannon that washed up on the shore. Booby Cay is named after the white and gray terns with blue feet that return each year to lay their eggs.
Many scenes from the 1954 Disney movie “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” were filmed there. For people who want to see the coral reefs and rainbow-colored fish that live between them, local companies like JuJu Tours take them through the caves under the water to look.
You can snorkel at Port Royal in Kingston, where colorful fish and old shipwrecks meet. You can also visit Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay Marine Park; Treasure Beach on the south shore; Runaway Bay in the parish of St. Ann, where you’ll find sea urchins and sea stingrays; and the beautiful reef at San San Beach in the countryside of Port Antonio.
2. U. S. Virgin Islands
Trunk Bay in St. John, the smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, is a 673-foot-long self-guided snorkel route with submerged signage that tells you about the different kinds of coral and fish that live just 20 feet below the surface.
On the eastern suburbs of the tiny little island, Haulover North is less popular with tourists. It borders the Virgin Islands National Park and is the favorite snorkel spot for locals. It’s a lot more fun to go snorkeling and look for a bottle of Cruzan Rum in St. Thomas, which is the biggest of the Virgin Islands.
At the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, the Snorkel Booze Hunt has been a huge hit every Thursday for three decades. Visitors put on snorkel gear and search the water for hidden bottles of Cruzan Rum, not as huge as the shipwrecks,, but big 200 mL containers distilled next door in St. Croix. The winners carry their bottle haul to Iggies Beach Bar, where bartenders mix things up for the winners.
There are a few fishermen, an old lighthouse, and a few huts covered in fronds on the island of Klein Curacao, or “Little Curacao” in English. You can get there by taking a 90-minute journey on a Catamaran. Make up for what it doesn’t have in amenities by taking a trip to the bottom.
At first, the 1-mile-wide piece of land was used as a German naval base. It was built in 1888. Today, the windward side of the land is a place where boats that have lost power are buried and a watery dreamscape of rainbow-colored fish and sea turtles.
For the bravest, swim out to the reef for 10 minutes, and you’ll see purple coral between maize-colored plants, tiny striped fish, and friendly eagle rays. You can go on a tour, like the nine-hour Bounty Adventures trip that leaves at 7 am and includes breakfast, a barbecue buffet lunch, and a tour guide.
In the Caracas Bay Peninsula, you’ll find two great snorkeling sites called Tugboat and Director’s Bay. You should go and check them out! There are moray eels and lobsters in the crevices of the old ship that sank 25 years ago. Starfish relax on the rocks and take five. Check out the island on your own, book a tour at one of the island’s many resorts, or register for an Ocean Encounters underwater expedition.
Shoal Bay East, another of the lengthiest seashores on the tiny British island, is a great place to snorkel because it has calm water and a lot of fish, wrasses, and sea fans that reside on the upper rim of the coral.
Tourists can rent rental gear at the beach in huts. Jump on Junior Fleming’s glass-bottom boat for a visit to the reefs on the other side. Sandy Hill Bay, which is on the windward end of the island, isn’t very popular, so it’s excellent for snorkelers who don’t want to be around many people.
Among the coral, there are parrotfish, translucent tang, and gentle stingrays. They swim through the small spaces, and the coral keeps them safe. Little Bay can be reached by boat or by carefully scaling down the cliff.
It’s a good place to spend some time alone to think. People who just like the Robinson Crusoe ambiance should go to Sandy Island on Sunday, when there’s an all-day snorkel party with rum punch and giant buttery lobsters, after swimming, of course.
There are more awards for great snorkeling on the reef-lined shoreline of Bonaire than you can wiggle a flipper at. There are a lot of different kinds of fish in the water, from angelfish and sergeants majors to grunts, gobies, and groupers. Coral Restoration Foundation is a group of people who work for a non-profit to build and repair elkhorn and staghorn reefs that have been damaged.
Since the Coral Restoration Foundation started in 2012, more than 9,000 coral fragments have grown in nurseries, and more than 8,000 have been moved. Snorkelers can go into the reef from the beach towards the front of most of the hotels all over the island. They can see a firework show of underwater color as they do. A lot of people want to go snorkeling with the pros. Compass Bonaire takes people on sunset cruises and day trips.
With 700 islands and cays spread out over 100,000 sq miles, snorkeling is great almost anywhere in the Bahamas. Visibility can go as far down as 100 feet, and the water stays near the 90-degree mark all year. Snorkeling is full of twists and turns underneath the surface of the water.
You can see sea fans, barracudas, and manta rays in Peterson Cay National Park, a small national park on Grand Bahama Island. The simplistic bars and coral reefs are great places to look for these fish. Grand Bahama Island also has a lot of angelfish, parrotfish, and squirrelfish, which are small redfish with white stripes. Paradise Cove and Deadman’s Reef are also home to these fish.
Great Exuma Island has a long, narrow piece of land called Stocking Island. This is where you’ll see starfish perched in the azure blue water of the ocean. Island Routes has a tour called the Stocking Island Sea Escape that is great for people who like to go to the beach and look for things under the water.
After snorkeling, the sea has a bunch of seashells that you can pick up. In the Bahamas, Green Turtle Cay is just a short boat ride from the Treasure Cay Airport. It’s a dazzling barrier reef where dolphins live in the open sea. People who want to learn how to snorkel should go on a tour organized by Brendal’s Dive Center.
7. Cayman Island
This is a perfect place for tourists who like to look at old cargo ships and the fish in them. It’s in Grand Cayman’s capital city, George Town. During the 1940s, the hull of the boat started to leak while it was transporting 30,000 bags of rice. This caused the rice inside to grow, which caused the ship to split in two. There are sea urchins, eels, and octopuses in the shallow water near the shore where the freighter is today.
One hundred fifty yards off the north edge of George Town is Cheeseburger Reef, full of sea turtles, snapper, and butterflyfish. They swim around the reef in 10 feet of water right next to the shore. With a sandy walk-in, snorkelers of all age ranges can play with the sea creatures who don’t seem to be afraid of humans.
Stingray City in Grand Cayman is a great place to go snorkeling, even though it’s a lot of people. You can swim along a shallow sandbar. There are stingrays that are friendly to people who like to pose and look for food in the warm water. Don Foster’s Dive Cayman is about a 15-minute stroll from the cruise terminal next to Devil’s Grotto, where marine animals hide in the submerged tunnels. On Sundays, the company often runs a boat to Stingray City.
For people who want to see some hidden snorkeling spots, check out the less-crowded eastern suburbs of Grand Cayman. The reefs there are home to conch, sea fans, tarpon, and lobster.
There is a 2-mile-long coral reef on the other side of the island from St. John’s, which is the capital city. There are numerous things to see under the water at Cades Reef. The coral is pink, and the fish are blue and yellow. The show is awe-inspiring. Reef sharks, nurse sharks, spiny lobsters, loud parrotfish, slippery moray eels, and agile barracuda all live on the reef, and they all come out from time to time.
Snorkelers will find it very easy to get around because it is little or no current. The water temperature is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the underwater clarity varies from 50 to 140 feet. Explore on your own or book a tour like Tropical Adventures’ “Sail and Snorkel,” Island Routes’ “Sail and Snorkel,” and Treasure Island Cruises’ “Cades Reef Tour.”
9. St. Martin / Saint Maarten
The isle of Saint Martin / Sint Maarten is partially French and a good chunk Dutch. You can quickly go to two nations in one day and feel like you’re in the tropics at all times. It sounds like a fantasy, doesn’t it? St. Martin is a dreamy place to go, especially if you want to go snorkeling or see underwater animals. People who sail, snorkel, and enjoy the beach at Caribbean cruise ports will have fun.
Some of the top locations to snorkel in Saint Martin are on the French end of the island. Tintamarre Island is located at the Saint Martin Nature Reserve. It’s a fantastic spot to snorkel. Toward the east of the island, there’s a rocky area that isn’t good for swimming. However, it’s a sanctuary to a fish nursery, where you can see a wide range of fish species.
This is another place where you can go snorkeling in the marine park. Creole Rock is yet another site where you can go. Above ground, it’s a place for pelicans to lay their eggs; below the surface, it’s one of the best places to dive and snorkel in the Caribbean.
10. Turks and Caicos
While we rode scooters around the island of Grand Turk, the nation of Turks and Caicos is among the most excellent spots to go snorkeling. It’s possible to rent a snorkeling trip in Grand Turk to have a great time in the water. There are some great places to go snorkeling close to the beach on Grand Turk. The west and northwest parts of the island are good places for this.
In the south of Grand Turk, there’s a place called Boaby Rock Point. If you’re on a cruise ship, you can spend the day there. Laid aside your towel and have a good time at the beach. There are two coral reefs in shallow water 700 feet and 900 feet away from the southernmost point. You’ll see a lot of different kinds of coral and fish.
Explore options to stay here by reading our guide on the best all inclusive resorts in Turks and Caicos.