You don’t always need a boat to appreciate the Caribbean’s underwater wonders. Because some of the Caribbean’s best snorkeling spots are right on the sand.
At these snorkel-friendly beaches in the Caribbean, you can wade right in and enjoy some of the best submarine sights simply by dipping your face in the sea.
Klein Bonaire, Bonaire
It’s a 15-minute kayak ride from Harbour Village Resort on the mainland, but once you reach the beach of this uninhabited west-coast islet (part of Bonaire’s marine park) you’re mere steps from the pristine coral reef that surrounds it.
Champagne Reef, Dominica
Just off the sand in the southwest of Dominica is Champagne Reef, perhaps the most unique snorkeling experience in the Caribbean. Thanks to underwater geothermal springs, the water is filled with bubbles, making you feel like, well, you’re snorkeling in champagne.
The Baths, British Virgin Islands
Wade into the warm waters of Devil’s Bay or Spring Bay to snorkel the crystal-clear pools formed by the giant granite boulders that are the Virgin Gorda’s marquee attraction.
Cane Bay, United States Virgin Islands
St. Croix’s most popular beach earns this distinction not just for its silken sands but also for its proximity to the seven-mile-long coral reef just a few yards from shore.
La Chiva Beach, Puerto Rico
On Vieques, the water at the eastern end of the playa also known as Blue Beach features fish-filled sea grass flats, and there’s plenty more sea life secreted around the small cay just offshore and within the rocks at the end of the beach road.
Smith Cove, Cayman Islands
The tiny twin beaches just outside George Town, Grand Cayman are popular with locals, who come to snorkel the parrotfish-filled crevices of the ironshore that give the cove its heart shape.
Arashi Beach, Aruba
Easily accessible by public transport, this north coast beach has shallow waters that make it beginner-friendly, and a profusion of small colorful fish (look out also for palometas and bottom-feeders) with universal appeal.
Trunk Bay, United States Virgin Islands
The calm and clear waters off this St. John beach are perfect for newbies, and feature a sign-posted snorkel trail so you know exactly what you’re seeing.
Anse Chastanet, St Lucia
Just 15 yards offshore from the brown sugar sands of Anse Chastanet resort is a thriving reef where snorkelers can spot sea horses, turtles and octopus.
The Bight, Turks and Caicos Islands
Known locally as Coral Gardens beach (after the nearby hotel), Providenciales’ most popular and accessible snorkeling spot is ideal for beginners, with a rope-marked trail and plenty of tame fish.