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The 10 Best Snorkeling Destinations in the Caribbean

caribbean snorkeling

By any measure, it’s one of the most popular activities for travelers to the Caribbean: snorkeling. And it’s not hard to see why: it’s accessible, easy to do, and a tremendous way to experience the natural beauty of the Caribbean. 

In recent years, snorkeling has become even more popular, in large part thanks to the debut of full-face snorkeling masks, which have redefined the experience for many snorkelers. 

And while many of the Caribbean’s best dive destinations also boast great snorkeling, great diving destinations are not instantly great snorkeling spots. 

So where are the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean? They’re places where snorkeling is both easy to access and abundant; where you don’t always have to get on a boat to enjoy it; and where the island and its resort properties make a point of emphasizing it. 

So where are the best places to snorkel in the region? 

Here are our picks. 

Bonaire Nowhere in the Caribbean is there a greater surfeit of high-level snorkeling directly offshore, meaning you can just about park by the side of the road and quickly find a great place to explore. Bonaire is an island that’s all about the water, and with its meticulously well-run STINAPA marine park, it’s the perfect Caribbean snorkeling destination, whether you’re at a luxury resort like the lovely Harbour Village or the ultra-cool Delfins Beach Resort.

all-inclusive resorts
The St James’s Club in Antigua, one of the top snorkeling resorts in the region.

Antigua and Barbuda A bit of a well-kept secret among enthusiasts, Antigua is the region’s great undiscovered snorkeling destination, both onshore and offshore. And it’s not a surprise when you have 365 beaches to choose from, many of which are tucked away in secluded coves teeming with undersea flora and fauna. The island’s best snorkeling hotel? The St James’s Club.

Saint Lucia The water near Sugar Beach at the base of the Pitons is one of the great snorkeling spots in all of the Caribbean, one of a host of spectacular snorkeling options right off the beach in Saint Lucia. Whether you’re exploring the obsidian waters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site or snorkeling the reef at Anse Chastanet, you’ll find crystal-clear water and hundreds of species of fish. Anse Chastanet also happens to be the most snorkeling-friendly resort on the island.

St John While two thirds of St John is part of the Virgin Islands National Park, 40 percent of the park itself is actually underwater. That means pristine water and unparalleled sea life, from green sea turtles on Maho Bay to the tube sponges of Francis Bay. Of course, the centerpiece is the Underwater Trail at Trunk Bay, which follows the west side of Trunk Bay Cay for about 300 feet. 

A sea turtle in Martinique. Photo by Stacy Hate.

Martinique While Martinique is better known for its beaches, its rum and its rainforests, the French Caribbean island is blessed with an array of great snorkeling opportunities, with both beginner and expert snorkelers easily accessing a Technicolor undersea world with everything from lionfish to sergeant majors to flying gurnard. That’s along with an abundance of sea turtles, particularly in the snorkeling-friendly waters off Anses d’Arlets. 

Saba The Caribbean’s “Unspoiled Queen” has long been a haven for advanced scuba divers; but this island a spectacular marine park to explore and a strong day-boat snorkeling operation. If you make the trip, you’ll discover everything from sharks and rays to myriad tropical fish; visibility is outstanding, too, nearing 100 feet around much of the island.

Grenada Another hidden gem, the lovely Eastern Caribbean island of Grenada is anchored by its world-famous Underwater Sculpture Park on the west coast of the island. That’s along with several other spectacular reef sites to explore, including Grenada’s Dragon Bay and Flamingo Bay. 

caribbean photo curacao beach

Curacao While Bonaire deservedly gets much of the snorkeling and diving fame in the Dutch Caribbean, its sister island of Curacao is no slouch. There are 33 dive sites around the island, many of which are shore diving sites; that means, just like in Bonaire, you can find superb snorkeling options right off the coastline. While Curacao has several dive resorts, you can actually find great snorkeling at the Baoase Luxury Resort, the island’s leading hotel.

The wreck of the Sapona, a cargo steamer from 1926.

Bimini, The Bahamas It no surprise that one of the Caribbean’s great adventure designations should be on this list. Bimini overflows with great snorkeling options: the Bimini Road trail of monoliths; the wreck of the Sapona; the Healing Hole, the apocryphal Fountain of Youth; and the fish-filled Rainbow Reef, among others. And thanks to Bimini’s uncrowded, low-key atmosphere, you’ll always snorkel undisturbed. For a stay, your best bet is the Bimini Big Game Club, the legendary adventure resort whose on-site Bimini Scuba Center can organize rental equipment and excursions across the Bimini archipelago.

Turks and Caicos The Turks and Caicos Barrier Reef is actually the third largest barrier reef on earth; that means great snorkeling both on Grace Bay and around Providenciales (not to mention spots like Grand Turk and North and Middle Caicos.) If you’re in Provo, the best spot is Bight Reef, at the area right in front of the Coral Gardens resort, with its own marked snorkeling trail. 

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