We cruise a lot, like twice a year, and next January will be our 39th cruise. But earlier on we did quite a few land tours to countries in Europe.
The Caribbeans is where we’ve been the most. My husband keeps looking for an island we haven’t been to yet, but I keep telling him it hasn’t come up from the bottom of the ocean yet!
Since we go back to the same islands and have visited them in depth, we now go snorkeling and have found some pretty great spots, mostly not well known.
I would say it’s got to be my number one on my list.
And here’s why:
Easy and cheap to get to: Just hop on the bus, I’m serious.
If you’re on a cruise, walk out of the cruise port and cross the Main street and behind the building you will see the bus terminal. It will cost you around $2.50US each round trip. I think it’s bus no. 10 but you can ask the driver of the bus waiting to make sure. It is a 20 minutes ride so you’ll get the chance to look around the island while being driven.
If you’re at one of the hotels, there are bus stops somewhere near yours.
You’ll be going to Boca Catalina Beach, which is nestled between Arashi and Malmok along the Northwest coast, it is mostly for snorkeling. There is just a small area to walk in the water, the rest is a rocky beach with a few palapas, no chairs, no facilities and a little layer of sand.
Just put your gear on and swim towards the right at an angle to the shore and if there are catamarans already there, aim to get there (the people who booked their tour on these catamaran have paid a lot more than you have and yet end up at the same spot, love it!). You will see fish from the start.
Now this is a very unusual destination. The snorkeling is done on Klein Bonaire, which is a small uninhabited island, no trees, just low vegetation and white sandy beaches.
What makes this spot unusual is that first, you need to buy transportation from the main island to it by water taxi, it’s only about 20 minutes away.
Second, there is a reef about 50 feet from shore and you need to find a passage through it and make it on the other side of the reef.
So you just walk along the beach some distance, and put your gear on and just walk into the ocean where there are markers for a trail through the coral reef.
You will let the current take you along the reef, parallel to the beach for quite a distance and then go back on the beach, walk back to where you had started and do it all over again and enjoy this beautiful spot. It is amazing!
Some years ago, we had booked online a small catamaran snorkeling tour, there were just the captain (oh so cute) and the 3 of us (daughter, husband and me) and he took us to 3 different spots, but the one that we just loved was where the turtles were! Yep, I took that picture at the top here. I was that close to this gorgeous turtle.
So the next time we were in Barbados, we asked around and found out we could take a taxi to Turtle Bay beach and again swim from the beach towards where the turtles hang out and again you can tell because most of the time you’ll see a few boats and catamarans.
It’s a bit longer swim to get there, but if you have fins like we do, it’s easy and well worth it.
Most people end up going to Coki Beach but we didn’t like it. Too crowded as the snorkeling is just one limited spot on the right. We used to go to Sapphire beach because it was quiet but now it’s been discovered and also it can get very windy at times.
Someone told us about Secret Harbour and it’s perfect. A small resort where you can rent a chair and umbrella if you want, but we don’t since we’re in the water most of the time we are there. Once the taxi gets you there, you just go down to the beach and go right all the way to the end and leave your stuff high on rocks, or rent a chair. The snorkeling is all along the right side, and you can go pretty far and see lots of fish.
The first time we were on this island we weren’t sure what to do as the beaches are far from the port.
It’s called the Nature Island so to appreciate it you should definitely take a tour. We did that the first time and met Levi, our tour guide. He is wonderful and very knowledgeable and I highly recommend him. He told us that when they filmed Pirates of the Caribbean, he was hired to drive some celebrities around and he showed us a specific place where a scene was filmed.
Anyway, the next time we went, we got in touch with him and he took us snorkeling at Champagne Reef. This is a very unusual spot, it literally feels like you’re in a champagne bottle, as you can see in the picture.
Bubbles come up from the ground all around you while you get to see some amazing fish. It’s not a beach though, you have to slide on a rubber mat to get in the water, it’s not high, it’s just easier that way because of the rocks.
If you have any questions about cruises or snorkelling in the Caribbeans, give me a shout or use the comment form, I would be happy to help.