Caribbean snorkeling offers a great variety of terrific snorkeling and be a great activity to complement a family vacation.
Experienced global snorkelers will be quick to say that the Caribbean is one of the best regions in the world for snorkeling. The water is as clear with good visibility and the range of marine life is excellent.
This is a great place for snorkelers who want to experience a full vacation with great beaches. Most of its beautiful beaches provide snorkelers with direct access to calm waters with a good variety of marine life and coral, especially the many varieties of elk and brain coral.
While famous as a scuba divers paradise there is plenty of excellent snorkeling from the shore and excursion boats. In some areas visibility comes close to 200 feet. For beginning or intermediate snorkelers, stay on the south shore with gentler currents. The best spot for shore snorkeling in Cozumel is the Chankanaab Shallow Reef. Your apt to spot parrot fish, sergeant majors, sea fans, and octopus. If you can afford to stay at an upscale hotel, try the El Presidente. They have a beautiful beach and great snorkeling a few steps away.
This Caribbean destination offers perhaps the best in shore snorkeling. The huge shallow reef that comes close to shore providing easy access to a great variety of marine life. While Bonaire is a world class dive site, so much so the that the coast line has been designated a marine park. It's a top site for snorkelers of all abilities. Their are plenty of hotels where snorkelers are steps away from the reefs. Don't miss the 1000 Steps area where snorkelers can access the water and view a variety of sunken iron shore formations, small overhangs and small cave sections of rocks. Also be sure to check out the Front Porch, near Eden Beach and the Sunset Beach area.
Widely regarded as one of the best Caribbean snorkeling destinations is best known for Stingray City where a short boat excursion will take you to shallow waters to meet tame, gentle stingrays that glide around you in the warm waiting to be fed. On the way the Boat excursion takes you to several very good sites where you can snorkel in shallow waters up against the reef to see a large variety of marine life.
If you are a beginning snorkelers, many of the hotels have snorkeling right off the beach where you can spend time building your confidence and skills before attempting a boat excursion.
Turks and Caicos
Located just south of the Bahamas, the island of Provo is not only one of the world's best dive sites, they also have great snorkeling sites. Shore access is provided right off Grace Bay Beach, steps away from the hotels, and nearby Smith's Reef and Bight Reef. Brush up on your snorkeling skills and try one of the boat excursions. Some of the snorkeling boats stop off on the conch grounds where you can catch a conch in several feet of water and later have to boat finish off the trip by landing on the beach to extract the conch meat for a fresh conch cocktail. Delicious!
U.S. Virgin Islands
Snorkelers have plenty of options in the Virgin islands; First time snorkelers may want to test their fins at Trunk Bay, and trunk Bay on St. John with self-guided trail and underwater signs with information on species of coral and other marine life. The more experienced divers will head off to Leinster Bay and Haulover Bay. Both are accessible from shore.
Another top choices are Buck Island's 704-acre underwater national park where the reef is protected by the National Park Service; and Coki Point Beach in St. Thomas with good snorkeling right off the beach around the coral ridges near the underwater tower.