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Top places for snorkeling in Caribbean

Discussion in 'Snorkeling / Freediving' started by sportyluis, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. sportyluis

    sportyluis Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Canada
    looking to do a trip end of January and looking for a nice beach destination with great snorkeling. Family of four( my wife and I plus her parents) and we’ll rent a car as well as an Airbnb most likely.

    We went to Curacao last year which was amazing! I know it’ll be hard to top but I thought I’d see what options people can think of?

    Couple of ideas we’ve had was Cayman Islands (besides stingray city is there any other good snorkeling?) and Grenada

    Any thoughts on the snorkeling there and any other places you can think of?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. cpace

    cpace Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Seattle
    I have snorkeled in Bonaire, Roatan, Philippines, Mexico and Hawaii. I thought Roatan (North/West side) had the best snorkeling. Calm water, typically sea grass and coral to edge of wall, plenty of sea life (within the marine park). Bonaire, in my opinion, the worst (we were there for the diving).
    FezUSA likes this.
  3. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
    Why so? I think that Bonaire is even better than Curacao (I have been several times to both).
  4. cpace

    cpace Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Seattle
    The places where we did snorkel on Bonaire were mostly coral rubble until you got above the sloped walls. By that time the water depth was beyond that for decent snorkeling. Also, little life in the rubble (at least from a snorkeling perspective). The diving was fabulous however. If airfare was not so damned expensive I would love go back and dive Bonaire.
  5. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    There are very nice beaches and great snorkeling on Grand Cayman, see @Testudo snorkeling guide at the link below. No matter where you go in the Caribbean, late January is the high season so things will be expensive.


    St. Croix has some nice beaches and the Fredricksted Pier is a fabulous snorkeling spot, you could go there again and again and never see it all.
    Testudo likes this.
  6. Testudo

    Testudo Manta Ray

    While I'm partial to Little Cayman and Grand Cayman as having some of the best snorkeling from shore in the Caribbean, I think overall, Roatan was the best for the mix of healthy coral and marina life within easy reach. I've also snorkeled in Curacao (thought it was OK), the Grenadines (OK with the Tobago Cays being very good); St. John (Great), Antigua (not so good), Anguilla (more not so good), the BVI (Good), Barbados (not good) and Grenada (OK, but that was pre-Ivan). Hear good things about Bonaire and really want to get to some of the Cayes of Belize, like Turneffe and Water Cay, but none of those will provide the better half with what she likes from a holiday.

    Ranking my favorites:
    1. Roatan
    2. Little Cayman
    3. Grand Cayman
    4. St. John
    KathyV likes this.
  7. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Look at idivecayman.com as they also have videos of god snorkel spots among the dive site listings.

    Assuming you're there a week it should be possible to visit a different site - maybetwo -- per day. Some to check:

    Turtle Reef - nice stairs plus the mini-wall starts about 50? yards out.
    Lighthouse Point - ladder off the dock and there's a historical site in 8' in the bay.
    CemeteryBeach - better snorkel than dive.
    Smith's Cove - nice family beach
    Eden Rock/Devils Grotto on non-cruise arrival days since it's 100' from the cruise tender port.
    Maybe Sunset House since it's so easy to get in there from their saltwater pool (open on one side)
    The dive attractions are pretty deep but I floated a little north and in one area thought I might scrape the coral.
    If you do Stingray City note there's two locations - SRC and Sandbar nearby. Check with some of the dive operatyons as some take snorkelers also - it's 14' deep. Sandbar is more like a chest deep wade where you'll be joined by lots of other boats and hundreds of people - it's a popular cruise excursion.

    I would consider the BVI's also - esp Virgin Gorda. Most of the resorts are fronted by massive shallow coral growth - we went into Little Dix Bay on a dive boat to pick up divers there and they had to keep to a channel to keep from scraping the coral heads. Also every time Turtles dove for the bottom. Aquarium is a shallow shore accessible dive site, there's the World famous Baths which are all snorkeling - even the cruise traffic from Tortola goes there - and DiveBVI does all day snorkel trips to Amegada and elsewhere. Anegada is a BVI marine sanctuary, IIRC much of it surrounded by a shallow fringing reef just offshore. One of my buddies brought her husband - he only snorkels. He went out on the boat a couple days and swam towards the islands to snorkel while we went away to dive. You should be able to find a lot of snorkel chartters there - it's very yachty. Some sites like Seal Dog or Thumb Rock break the surface so there's good snorkeling around them also. Very pleasant there, no crime, not many people and it;s always windy. I rented a villa in the hills, they couldn't provide door keys - never needed them. We also didn't use the A/C - in fact maybe there was none.

    Curacao would be good also. Most beaches are snorkel/dive sites. The west side of Playa Jeremi is on Frommers Best Carib snorkels list. The Tugboat - a sugnature dive - is 17' deep. At Varsenbaai we swam with turtles in 8' off the beach - shop owner said they've been there for decades. Playa Kalki off Lodge Kura Hulanda going north was a good snorkel - I swam with flounder in water so shallow I could stand up. Most of the beaches there also are shallow dive/snorkel sites, some inside protected coves. Most have ab onsite operator and some sort of food.

    my .02
  8. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

    Obviously Grand Cayman is Pretty high on my list. Also love Virgin Gorda, St Lucia but by The Pitons, Peter Island and even parts of B’dos. Didn’t think St Thomas was anything special. However for an overall family holiday with a mix of interests I would put Grand Cayman and Virgin Gorda on the top of the list. There is just more for everyone.
  9. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
    I have never thought of Grand Cayman and Little Cayman as places to go snorkeling at all. I have been there few times and I don't think that they come even close to Bonaire and Curacao. Roatan isn't even on my to go back to scuba dive list at all.
    Kharon likes this.

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