In Marinalife’s 2020 winter issue, we introduced part one in a series — the Best Caribbean Snorkeling & Scuba Diving — and showcased places in the western islands. In part two of this series, we feature the eastern islands categorized by region.
As one of the most popular diving spots in the D.R., Catalina Beach in La Romana is known for stunning coral reefs, fabulous faunas and white sand beaches. Dock 30 minutes away at Casa de Campo Marina and stay at the beautiful Casa de Campo Resort & Villas nearby.
This is one of the most unique aquatic excursions, because snorkelers don’t come for coral reefs or shipwrecks; instead they get to swim with humpback whales. Visit the Silver Bank Whale Sanctuary to snorkel with these magnificent creatures.
With two bioluminescent bays, La Parguera offers daytime and sunset snorkeling to catch the breathtaking illumination of micro-organisms that sparkle like tiny stars. This area is known for having small mangroves and shallow channels for swimming.
A picturesque marine sanctuary, this small island off Puerto Rico’s east coast is made up of unspoiled beaches and is home to wildlife including fish, turtles, rays and sharks. Check out snorkeling tours that explore both the Vieques and Fajardo regions.
St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands)
The Buck Island National Park & Underwater Monument is a dazzling site to see and a fun spot for snorkelers of all ages. They offer guided underwater trails and snorkel lessons for kids.
Located on the north shore of the island, you can dive the world-famous Cane Bay Wall, a remarkable coral reef that aligns the north shore of St. Croix. You can also find restaurants and kayak/dive shops in walking distance from the beach.
St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands)
Watermelon Cay/Leinster Bay
As St. John is home to the Virgin Islands National Park, this beautiful area is made up of protected shallow bays with small patch reefs. Watermelon Cay is surrounded by fringing reef and packed with tropical fish and pillar coral.
As one of the first underwater trails in the world, this snorkeling-only site is St. John’s most visited beach. You can spot arrow crabs, juvenile spotted drum, blue bell tunicate corals and a patch reef that encircles the cay.
For calm waters and the most fish species Anguilla has to witness, check out Shoal Bay Beach on the northeast end of the island. Visit Scuba Shack, a cool, local dive shop owned and operated by Shoal Bay Scuba
This pair of uninhabited islands, Prickly Pear East and West, is a great dive area for any skill level. Here you can find an adorable marine park and spot creatures such as butterfly fish, angelfish, goatfish, barracuda, lobster, sea turtles and snappers.
“If you’ve always wanted
to dive into a glass of
now is your chance.”
If you’ve always wanted to dive into a glass of sparkling champagne, now is your chance. Swim in the bubbly waters rising from volcanic thermal springs on the ocean floor of Champagne Beach. The volcanic crater and wondrous mountains of Soufriere Bay surround the waterways, creating an irresistible place to explore.
On the north side of the island, Douglas Bay is teeming with huge coral-covered boulders, colorful sponges, unique formations and numerous areas to snorkel and scuba such as
Five Finger Rock, One Finger Rock and Douglas Bay Point.
This award-winning marine reserve offers excellent dive programs, tours and activities — not to mention the plush, Anse Chastanet resort. Dive among miles of protected coral reef just 30 feet from the water’s edge and be sure to check out the old-fashioned river swimming hole.
Just south of Anse Chastanet lies the Piton Wall, located at the base of Petit Piton. This breathtaking coral wall drops hundreds of feet from the surface, where you can see some of the most astonishing colors of the sea.
St. Vincent and The Grenadines
Deep in the southern Grenadines, you can find the magical Tobago Cays archipelago made up of five uninhabited islands. The marine park is a 1,400-acre protected area thriving with various wildlife species and some of the most secluded beaches. The unique biodiversity of Horseshoe Reef is one of the best areas to spot turtle nests.
Also in the protected area, where only a narrow strip of beach separates the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Surf, Mayreau Gardens is a colorful reef rich with biodiversity. For an awesome wreck site, check out the Puruni, a British gun ship that sunk in 1918.
Some of the most notable diving in this country includes its many shipwrecks. At Carlisle Bay Marine Park, you can swim in calm waters to the six different wreck dives that are no deeper than 55 feet or go north to skillfully dive 140 feet and see the sunken SS Stavronikita wreck site and artificial reef.
Barbados is such an amazing place to dive that it hosts Dive Fest, an annual festival featuring diving education, safety awareness and ocean conservancy. Since the east coast doesn’t get as much diving attention, the festival explores this area that can only be visited in the summer when waters are calm. Here you see hard coral formations, caverns and even shark sightings! Check out this year’s Dive Fest Barbados happening July 3-12, 2020.
What’s your favorite Caribbean Snorkeling & Scuba Diving destination? Check out Part 1 of this series here!