Waiting beneath the surface is a whole new world. Here’s a short list of some of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean. For more ideas, consult your travel agent.
Stingray City may just be the best place to snorkel in the Caribbean, and possibly the world. Here, you can meet passive stingrays and touch their underbellies and wings as they glide through the water. It can get fairly busy so check cruise ship schedules to avoid the crowds, but don’t miss out on this spectacular once-in-a-lifetime experience.
At the small Bimini Island, you’ll find everything from sea turtles to mantas to colourful corals underwater. You’ll also find historic ship wreck sites. But, the most compelling reason to explore this underwater world is the wild dolphin habitat, or maybe for some, it’s to spot the limestone blocks said to have led to the lost continent of Atlantis.
Located off the Venezuela coast, the second of the ABC islands features over 390 tropical fish species, large sea creatures, and colourful coral in its pristine waters. Many of the sites are accessible right from the shore, and it’s easy to spot rock formations, reef fish, squid, and octopus with the great year-round visibility. Further down, you’ll see small turtles, eagle rays, and the trumpetfish, a relative of the seahorse. Watch as trumpetfish camouflage into the coral lines before preying on smaller fish for a uniquely memorable experience.
Founded in 2009, this eerie underwater sculpture garden by artist Jason de Caires Taylor is a museum called MUSA (Museo Subacuatico de Arte). Comprised of 450 life size human figures, the sculptures serve as a complex reef structure for marine life to inhabit and promote coral life. The 420 square meter installation is truly breath-taking.
Cozumel’s clear waters have visibility averaging 100 feet, but can reach up to an astounding 200 feet. There are many famous spots to experience the 230 fish species and coral growth, from the shallow cove at Chankanaab Lagoon, good for beginners, to Paradise Reef with its multi-coloured fish, lobster, and interesting toad fish swimming around.
Along the southeast coast of Curacao is the 20km-long Curacao Underwater Marine Park. Water visibility is usually over 100 feet providing good views of decaying remains of sunken ships, coral gardens, and millions of fish in every colour. The small cove of Playa Kalki is popular for snorkeling and spotting eels, dolphins, and turtles along the cliffs.
St John, Virgin Islands
Trunk Bay is a calm, clear beach good for first-time snorkelers. There’s a marked snorkel trail that follows a course in 3-18 feet of water. There are also 15 underwater plaques explaining the ecosystem and marine life for people to learn along the way. Octopuses and crustaceans can be found in the shallower areas while blue tang, yellowtail snapper, parrotfish, and butterfly fish can be found in deeper waters.
For details on these destinations or to learn about some of the other best places to snorkel in the Caribbean, call 1-800-665-4981.