Looking for a way to spend your days soaking up the Caribbean sun? Take a refreshing dip into the ocean and marvel at the stunning variety of fish and corals that inhabit these crystal-clear waters.
Below is a list of some of the best snorkeling spots in the Caribbean. Depending on your experience level and the type of adventure you’re looking for, there’s something on this list for everyone.
1. Virgin Islands
The U.S. and British Islands are made up of around 90 different islands of varying sizes and populations. So, there’s plenty to explore!
The larger islands such as St. John, St. Thomas, and Tortola are full of relaxing resorts and entertaining nightlife, but they also feature splendid white beaches and crystal-clear snorkeling spots. If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, it’s easy to hop on a boat and sail to one of the hidden gems located off the smaller, uninhabited islands.
Waterlemon Cay can top any snorkel bucket list. It’s one of the most popular attractions on St. John’s Island and draws travelers from near and far with its stunning diversity of marine life. Suitable for snorkelers of any level, you can expect to see schools of fish, rays, and colorful coral.
Trunk Bay is perfect for first-time snorkelers. It has a self-guided, 673 ft. trail with underwater signs identifying all the different coral species and marine life that inhabit the pristine waters.
The Caves is a protected snorkeling site located off Treasure Point on Norman Island. Bring your flashlight to explore hidden underwater gems in this bay that pirates once frequented
2. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is full of once-in-a-lifetime snorkeling experiences. The water clarity is generally excellent, with an average visibility of 45-65 feet. And while the climate is tropical all-year-round, the best time to avoid getting rained out is between December to March.
Mar Chiquita is located just 45-min from San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital city. This snorkel spot is famous for its natural pool beaches which create flat, calm conditions.
Cayo Diablo National Park is the perfect place to go if you want to swim alongside sea turtles. Not only does it have a healthy population of turtles, but this top-rated location boasts some stunning Elkhorn and Staghorn coral formations as well.
Culebra may be one of the best-kept secrets for snorkeling in the Caribbean. It features unpolluted waters, healthy reefs, and you might have the entire reef to explore for yourself.
3. St. Lucia
St. Lucia may be famous for its spectacular volcanic Pitons. Still, it’s also home to some beautiful coral reefs that will delight any snorkeler. Most of the best spots can be found on the island’s west side, sheltered from the northeastern trade winds.
Anse Chastanet Beach is one of the most popular snorkeling locations on the island. The reef has something for everyone, with depths ranging from 5 to 150 feet. With plenty of vibrant coral formations teeming with fish, octopus, turtles, and other sea life, it’s easy to see why most visitors to St. Lucia make sure to stop by this beach.
The Pitons are located near the base of St. Lucia’s breathtaking Pitons. So, after marveling at these volcanic formations, why not take a look under the water as well?
4. St. Martin
St. Martin is home to Dutch and French-influenced cultures, making it an interesting holiday destination. And since it’s in the Caribbean, you’ll be sure to find a good number of top-rated snorkeling areas to visit.
The best spots are generally found on the French side of the island, where the government does an excellent job of protecting its waters.
Happy Bay is a secluded snorkeling spot located off a clean beach that is so secret many locals might not be able to tell you where it is. As a result, you’re free to explore the reefs on both ends of the beach to your heart’s content.
Turtle Reef is another great location recommended for people who want to see both Green and Hawksbill sea turtles. Even if you don’t run into these species, plenty of other marine life will keep you occupied.
Cuba is known for its rich culture, delicious food, and beautiful scenery. It also has countless snorkeling places for anyone looking for their next adventure. For the best snorkeling conditions, be sure to visit between December and April.
Bay of Pigs is a world-famous inlet that features several different beaches and snorkeling holes. Take a trip to Caleta Buena for turquoise waters, underwater caves, massive coral, and amazing beach-side restaurants for relaxation. Playa Larga and Punta Perdiz are two other spots worthy of a visit.
Maria la Gorda is a protected biosphere reserve on the island’s western end. It’s much less frequented due to its location, which means it’s one of the most pristine underwater landscapes on the island. Besides thriving marine life, including reef sharks, intrepid divers can also explore historical shipwrecks.
Guadeloupe is the largest coral reef found in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles. Made up of seven different islands, the reefs here are so beautiful that legendary French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau spent a significant amount of time here conducting his underwater research.
Petite Terre is a snorkel spot that is not to be missed. It’s a shallow marine reserve that gives you the chance to swim with sea turtles, barracudas, eagle rays, and lemon sharks. Nature lovers will be delighted at the beauty found here.
Plage de Malendure is a large beach famous for its dark sand and excellent snorkeling. It’s an ideal place to catch a glimpse of sea turtles swimming among the meadows of seagrass.
Jamaica is one of the top destinations in the Caribbean. But it’s not all about the incredible nightlife and island culture. There are plenty of vibrant snorkeling spots for anyone looking for their next underwater adventure.
Negril is a town in Jamaica that boasts a seven-mile stretch of white sandy beaches that offer endless options for beginners and experienced snorkelers alike. Explore gorgeous locations like Bloody Bay and Half Moon Beach – just watch out for the sea urchins. Or, take a boat out to Booby Cay Island and experience the water teeming with aquatic life.
Ocho Rios Marine Park features several different reefs perfect for cruise ship visitors, located near the cruise port. In addition, the marine park has some of the most diverse coral reefs on the island, so be sure not to miss it.
Bonaire is the second-largest Dutch Caribbean island and one of the region’s top tourist destinations. Since most of its waters are part of the National Marine Park, vibrant coral formations and thriving biodiversity of marine life are abundant.
Most of the snorkeling spots are accessible from the beach, but you can charter a boat to take you to more advanced locations as well.
Bari Reef is an excellent place for novices because you can see a lot of fish and coral right near the beach. Keep an eye out for eels, octopus, and corals like elkhorn and fire coral.
1000 Steps is a small beach that’s only a 15 drive from downtown, so it’s a great spot for a quick afternoon swim. Your climb down the 1000 steps is rewarded by some stunning coral and the chance to see the turtles that regularly hang out around 70 m from the shore.
Klein Bonaire is a small, uninhabited island located half a mile offshore of the main island. For more advanced snorkelers, this is an underwater paradise. You’re sure to see plenty of fish, including butterflyfish, damselfish, and groupers. If you swim out to where the reef drops off, you might also catch some turtles and rays.
Roatan is a small island off the coast of Honduras located along the second-largest barrier reef in the world. As a result, there are over 20 unforgettable snorkeling spots for watching marine life to your heart’s content. If you’re lucky, you may even run into a whale shark – the gentle giants of the sea.
West Bay hosts the world-famous annual Freediving Competitions and is among the best snorkeling spots in the Caribbean. Its crystal-clear, calm water gives you an incredible opportunity to see multi-color coral, angelfish, parrotfish, and more.
Maya Cay might be the best Roatan snorkeling location with shore access. The reef here is extensive, and you won’t run out of things to discover. From dazzling coral to schools of tropical fish, Maya Cay is the place you want to go if you’re going to snorkel until you’re sore.
Curacao is another excellent snorkeling destination in the Caribbean. The best beaches for snorkeling are found on the island’s west coast. Relax on white-sand beaches, swim with sea turtles, and explore iconic shipwrecks.
Playa Caracasbaai is one of the best spots for experienced snorkelers, featuring a fantastic array of coral species.
Tugboat Beach is a top snorkeling spot on the island because it features a sunken tugboat. Plenty of exotic fish are attracted to the wreck, making for some interesting snorkeling.
Klein Curacao is a small island off the coast of the main island. It’s mainly uninhabited and has an abandoned lighthouse, but underwater it’s as lively as ever. You’re likely to come across eagle rays, and it’s one of the best places to spot green sea turtles among the wispy sea grass
Belize lies along the world’s second-largest barrier reef, which makes it one of the highest-rated snorkeling destinations in the Caribbean. There are hundreds of underwater caves to explore. The clear, turquoise water is home to an abundance of tropical fish, whale sharks, and the West Indian Manatee. Try visiting between November and May for the best visibility.
Glover’s Reef Atoll is a UNESCO world heritage site, thanks to its incredible biodiversity and stunning underwater cliffs. There are few better places to gaze in awe at the variety of fish and coral you can find under the surface of the ocean.
Shark Ray Alley is located in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. If you’re feeling adventurous, hit up this spot to swim alongside harmless nurse sharks and stingrays.
Caye Caulker is the place to go if you want to join a manatee-watching tour. But even if you don’t run into one of these gentle creatures, there is plenty of other sea life to see.