For many, snorkeling in the Caribbean’s crystalline turquoise waters and swimming with some of the world’s most fascinating underwater wildlife encompasses the perfect getaway. However, as there are so many incredible snorkeling spots offering a myriad of marine wildlife, choosing where to go can often cause more stress than bliss.
Contrary to popular opinion that snorkeling in the Caribbean can equate to a small fortune, the opportunities are varied and feasible for everyone regardless of budget. Simply by ducking your head under a breaking wave along a sandy beach in Antigua will immerse swimmers an exciting underwater world predominantly occupied by dozens of rainbow fish, turtles and other sea life. Depending on budget, the opportunities are endless and the Caribbean has so much to offer. To find out more click here.
As the majority of the best, unmissable spots in the Caribbean are only accessible by boat, there are numerous snorkeling boat trips across the Caribbean. Regularly taking small groups on a day’s extravagant underwater adventure, tourists are able to explore tropical reefs and inlets. This is particularly popular around the inlets of Tobago Cays or the US Virgin Islands due to the idyllic waters, stunning scenery and exotic wildlife. Here are 5 of the best places for snorkeling in the Caribbean.
St. John, US Virgin Islands
There are many aspects of the Virgin Islands that allure the many thousands of keen swimmers to snorkel along its shores. As the temperature averages around 80 degrees all year round, visitors can take pleasure in St. John’s coral reefs, surrounding themselves with sea urchins, sea turtles and even sharks whilst happily splashing around in the immaculate and clear waters. Throughout St. John, there are numerous spots to snorkel and enjoy an incredible underwater environment. Swimmers can snorkel among the three species of sea turtles or the beautiful parrotfish at Cinnamon Bay.
Known as ‘an island in the stream’ the black coral gardens of Bimini are accessible from the beach and attract multitudes of marine wildlife. Only 50 miles from the Florida coast, the coral reef thrives thanks to the Gulf Stream moving northwards bringing with it pods of dolphins, Manta Rays and countless numbers of sea turtles. Consisting of two islands, Bimini boasts some of the most pristine beaches in the world and is also home to the S.S Sapona, a concrete ship that ran aground during a hurricane in 1926. Said to be one of the best wrecks in the Caribbean, the Sapona has become a habitat of its own and is home to many species of marine wildlife.
Aptly named due to the bubbles of air that effervesce from the seafloor, Champagne is extremely popular. Well known for its seahorses and frogfish, Champagne is a snorkeling paradise and is guaranteed to be a highlight of any trip spent snorkeling in the Caribbean. Other wildlife often includes lobsters and even squid attracted by Champagne’s colorful coral and the bubbles of warm air. Day trips are regularly organized to Champagne’s reefs and are highly recommended as the guide’s are extremely knowledgeable about the area.
Underwater Sculpture Gardens, Mexico; Grenada
A truly unique spectacle, the sculpture gardens of Grenada are a wonderful sight and can be seen by divers, those in glass bottom boats and those snorkeling. Underwater sculptures by the artist include a circle of children holding hands, a person sitting at a desk using a typewriter and a table with a bowl of fruit and vase. Designed by British artist Jason De Caires Taylor, there are a total of 65 sculptures anchored to the seafloor creating a strange underwater gallery. It is fascinating to see the coral growth around the sculptures and how the marine wildlife has incorporated it into their habitat.
Accessible only by boat, the Cays are entirely uninhabited by people to the extent that it is forbidden by law to build structures there in an attempt to preserve the wildlife. Since the introduction of the marine park an abundance of marine creatures have made it their home. Allowing visitors to snorkel with turtles, eagle rays and a multitude of reef fish, Taboo Cays is renowned for being one of the best places for snorkeling in the Caribbean.
*Image of Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands via Shutterstock