The best places to snorkel in the Caribbean right now
Uncover the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean right now and enjoy kaleidoscopic views of the ocean floor
The Caribbean not only offers some of the best beaches in the whole world but it also is home to a spectacular array of aquatic life. From rainbow-colored coral reefs to exotic, tropical fish snorkeling in these shallow waters is nothing less than a cinematic experience. It is no surprise that this pocket of paradise is a top vacation destination for travelers visiting from the USA and the UK. Discover it for yourself and while you are there, uncover the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean for an unforgettable underwater adventure.
Where are the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean?
From the warm, shallow waters of Booby Cay in Jamaica to the immense biodiversity of marine life found in Bonaire there are a wealth of excellent dive spots in the Caribbean. The best snorkeling in the Caribbean is commonly considered to be found in the ABC islands as the waters are shallow enough for beginners and there is always an exciting exhibition of marine life at your fingertips. Yet. further afield in the Dominican Republic you can snorkel to underwater caves, pristine coral reefs, and marine nature reserves. In Mexico’s Isla de Mujeres, it is possible to catch a glimpse of whale sharks while out on your snorkeling adventures during June and August. With so many great snorkeling Caribbean places to choose from, it can be hard to know where to pick. So, we have compiled a list of the top diving hotel destinations that we think are worth a visit.
Aruba: One of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean
Best snorkeling in Aruba
Aruba’s rich and vibrant marine life makes it one of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean. Plus, this Dutch Caribbean island has the added benefit of all-year-long fabulous weather making snorkeling in Aruba Palm Beach a fun activity to enjoy whenever you choose to visit. Float above technicolor coral reefs, explore abandoned shipwrecks, and then relax afterward in one of the island’s luxury all-inclusive hotels. Plus, if you were ever to tire of the beauty of Aruba, hop on a boat and venture to the neighboring islands of Bonaire and Curaçao.
Aruba shipwreck snorkeling: Antilla
Shipwreck snorkeling is the ultimate bucket list activity for your Caribbean adventures. Leave Aruba’s best beaches behind you and dive into the turquoise water to explore the 400-foot-long SS Antilla. The SS Antilla is one of the largest shipwrecks in the Caribbean and a sought-after dive site for explorers of all abilities.
The SS Antilla is one of the largest shipwrecks in the Caribbean and a sought-after dive site for explorers of all abilities
One of the best ways to see this landmark is to join an Aruba catamaran snorkeling tour, many of which leave from Palm Beach, one of the snorkeling resorts in the Caribbean. The wreck is submerged under the water with a maximum depth of 60 feet, yet there are areas that reach the surface making it a great spot for snorkeling at all levels. Study the colorful coral that now grows on the ship’s surface and admire the lobsters, moray eels, and tropical fish that frequent this diving zone daily.
Best places to snorkel in the Caribbean: SS Antilla shipwreck
Best places to snorkel from the beach in the Caribbean: Arashi Beach
Aruba, contrary to popular opinion, is not all flat, white sand beaches. For those in search of an active adventure, an outing to Arashi Beach is a must-do. From the beach, you can easily hike twenty minutes up to the picturesque California Lighthouse where you can take in the 360º panoramic views of the island and the piercingly blue ocean. It is a very romantic activity at sunset and it is also ideal for families. Walk twenty minutes back downhill and cool off with a snorkel in the waters of Arashi beach.
Cuba is widely considered to be one of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean
Uncover the best snorkeling spots in Caribbean Cuba
Cuba’s rich and vibrant historical culture makes it a destination in itself. In fact, this Caribbean island is home to an astonishing nine UNESCO world heritage sites. But Cuba is also one of the most underrated and best places to snorkel in the Caribbean. This beach-fringed island boasts approximately 3570 miles of picture-postcard coastline so you won’t be short of good snorkeling in the Caribbean here. Stay in one of the island’s top all-inclusive resorts and venture off on day trips to explore the island’s exotic landscapes and colonial cities.
Best shore snorkeling in the Caribbean: Playa Coral, Varadero
If you are looking for top snorkeling destinations in the Varadero region, Playa Coral is your best bet. Located just a stone’s throw from the area’s top hotels, this beach provides a relaxing, family-friendly snorkel spot to enjoy. Explore the beach’s shoreline and view over 300 species of tropical fish as you swim in and out of coral reefs and schools of fish.
Explore the beach’s shoreline and view over 300 species of tropical fish as you swim in and out of coral reefs and schools of fish
You can access these calm waters directly from the beach but it is safer and easier to do so via the Flora and Fauna nature reserve between the hours of 8 am-5 pm.
Best places to snorkel in the Caribbean: Jardines del Rey, Cuba
Snorkeling destinations Caribbean: Playa Jibacoa
If you are looking for the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean that are off-the-beaten-track and only visited by locals, Playa Jibacoa is an excellent choice. Located between Varadero and Havana, this patch of paradise is perfect for those wanting to enjoy their vacations in the slow lane.
Located between Varadero and Havana, this patch of paradise is perfect for those wanting to enjoy their vacations in the slow lane
Take in the natural beauty of the beach with the green vegetation contrasting against the white sand. The turquoise waters are teaming with life and the vast coral reef makes Playa Jibacoa one of the best places for off-beach snorkeling in the Caribbean.
Best places to snorkel in the Caribbean: Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic best snorkeling
For many, a Dominican Republic vacation is the perfect excuse to check into an all-inclusive luxury hotel, lie in a lounger, and never leave the poolside. But, for those with an adventurous spirit, the beaches of the Dominican Republic are home to the most spectacular marine life. If you are looking to spend a week in paradise, check into one of the best snorkeling resorts in the Caribbean, all found within a few miles of Punta Cana.
Best snorkeling spots in the Dominican Republic: Catalina Island
Fancy trying some Dominican Republic coral reef snorkeling? Spend the day floating in the clear, sapphire blue waters of this Dominican island off the coast of La Romana. One of the standout features here is a drop-off point known as “The Wall”.
One of the standout features here is a drop-off point known as “The Wall”
This sea wall is now home to a diverse ecosystem where you can easily spot vase sponge, fire coral, sea fan coral, black coral, green parrotfish, moray eel, scorpion fish, snapper, and green angelfish among other things. It is considered by many to be one of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean and it is certainly one to add to your list when visiting the Dominican Republic.
Top snorkeling destinations in the Caribbean: Cayo Levantado
Ever daydreamed about visiting the perfect-looking beaches that you only see in television commercials? Well, now you can. Cayo Levantado is not only a fabulous snorkeling spot for beginners, but it is also the protagonist of a Bacardi commercial. Because of its 1970s 15 minutes of fame, the island is now also known as Bacardi Island. Head to the west side of this island to discover the best snorkeling spots, away from the tourists. Be prepared to see angel fish, cushion sea stars, and other tropical wonders deep below.
Mexico- One of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean
Best places to snorkel off-beach in Caribbean Mexico
Mexico’s Caribbean coast is a must-visit destination where white sand beaches, ancient culture, and delicious food await. Immerse yourself in the Mexican way of life and enjoy the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean. From mystical underwater caves to dazzling coral reefs in water as clear as glass, Mexico is bursting with places to admire its marine flora and fauna. And, when you are all snorkeled out, rest and unwind in one of the luxury all-inclusive hotels and sample local delicacies or enjoy a relaxing spa treatment.
Snorkeling resorts in Caribbean: Tulum Reef
If you are a fan of snorkeling, do not pass up the chance to swim at the Tulum Reef. This natural wonder forms part of the Mesoamerican reef system which is the second largest in the world and extends 1000km across the coast of Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. To enjoy these waters, it is essential to book with a local guide who will take you in a boat to the safest spot in the Tulum reef to snorkel. Expect to be amazed by the sea grass, barracudas, parrot fish, and more exotic sea life.
Visit MUSA in Isla Mujeres, one of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean
Best places to snorkel in the Caribbean side of Mexico: Cenote Pet Cemetery
Cenotes, or underground lagoons, are a must-visit when discovering the Yucatán Peninsula. Not only do the rocky cave walls provide sufficient protection from the sun, but they are also incredibly stunning. The Pet Cemetery gets its name from the sightings of animal bones on the cenote floor.
The Pet Cemetery gets its name from the sightings of animal bones on the cenote floor
These are thought to originate from sacrifices, sometimes of animals that are long extinct, providing a glimpse into Mexico’s ancient past. Since there are no fish in the cenotes, here you can discover the gravity-defying stalactites and stalagmites that make this an awe-inspiring snorkel destination.
Best snorkeling from beach in Caribbean: Manchones Reef (Isla Mujeres)
Manchones is one of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean thanks to the incredible underwater museum of MUSA. Over 500 sculptures await you on the ocean floor and they are visible from above as you snorkel past them. Access to this snorkel spot is via boat and it is worth booking a tour to be taken to this area directly. Once done exploring the art, check out the coral reef which is protected by a national park. Then explore the small but picturesque island of Isla Mujeres before heading back on a ferry to Cancún.