Snorkeling in the Caribbean: 5 Top Islands to Visit

Snorkelers watching colorful fish in Cozumel, Mexico.
Snorkelers watching colorful fish in Cozumel, Mexico.

Dreaming about snorkeling in the Caribbean? If you've ever wanted to grab a mask and flippers and explore exotic marine life in the Caribbean Sea's stunning turquoise waters, consider some of these exotic Caribbean cruise destinations. All of these top snorkeling destinations offer fantastic opportunities for snorkeling, exploration, and adventure.

A Snorkeler's Dream in Antigua

Many people don't know that Antigua happens to be one of the top destinations for snorkeling in the Caribbean. Wade into calm waters with your snorkeling gear on, swim along the breathtaking shoreline, and see some of the most colorful tropical fish in the Caribbean such as angelfish and barracuda. Snorkeling in Antigua is especially unique because of the brain coral and differently colored anemones all over the bottom of the ocean floor there.

Shore Snorkeling at St. Maarten

Once you snorkel in the warm and sparkling waters of St. Maarten, you'll want to return each year. The Dutch side of St. Maarten is popular among vacationers looking for snorkeling fun. Underwater adventures await off the shore of this island where you can explore tropical fish, various coral formations, and other marine life. You can always take a snorkeling shore excursion and see various rocks and reefs, or tag along on a scuba diving boat to get to some of the most popular snorkeling places.

Some of the best areas for snorkeling are Mullet Beach, Simpson Bay, Dawn Beach, and Friar's Bay. If you head over to St. Maarten Marine Park you can see bright, stunning schools of fish at such sites as Creole Rock, Pinel Island, White Rock Reef, and Anse Marcel Reef. The most common marine life you will see includes leatherback sea turtles, shrimp, crabs, noisy parrot fish, and surgeonfish. Don't forget your waterproof camera!

Snorkeling at Princess Cays, Eleuthera, Bahamas

Climb aboard a 42-foot snorkel boat and enjoy a tranquil cruise along the southern coast of Eleuthera, where you will arrive at the Princess Cays snorkeling site. As you explore the crystal-clear waters and check out new coral formations and shallow reefs, you will see exotic fish, stingrays, and — if you're lucky — some sea turtles.

A Snorkeler's Paradise in Cozumel

Cozumel has attracted snorkeling lovers for years because of its breathtaking exotic reef and fish-filled shoreline. On the north end of the island, you can swim through sparkling Caribbean waters and see sponges, large schools of rainbow-colored fish, grass, bright coral, and stingrays.

On the south end of the island you will find some of the best snorkeling and fish sighting opportunities near the Playa Corona Beach Club and Plaza Las Glorias. Some gorgeous snorkeling spots around this area are tucked between Playa Caleta and the Snorkel Center. Watch out for the currents around here, as they are quite strong and can be dangerous for those who are less experienced. Snorkeling here is for intermediate to advanced snorkelers.

Snorkel Off Punta Placer, Costa Maya, Mexico

The variety of fish that you'll see in this charming Western Caribbean destination is unparalleled. You'll have the opportunity to see French grunt, angelfish, blue tang, barracuda, goatfish, and yellowtail, as well as elkhorn coral, fire coral, and gigantic brain coral. After a morning of seeing the ancient Mayan ruins and exploring the exotic jungle areas, spend the day snorkeling off the Costa Maya shores and see phenomenal fish and underwater wonders.

The Caribbean is full of snorkeling destinations, and almost every island has a popular snorkeling hot spot. If you love to swim through the shimmering warm Caribbean waters and have a passion for seeing everything that lies and lives on the ocean floor, don't hesitate to put any of these snorkeling spots on your travel "to-do" list.

Booking a cruise is the perfect way to explore the Caribbean. Many Caribbean cruises offer snorkeling excursions at different ports of call. If you haven't seen colorful schools of fish before, the Caribbean is the place to go!