Made up of two main islands and many small islets and reefs, Antigua and Barbuda has one of the richest marine ecosystems in the Lesser Antilles. The country provide dozens of good snorkeling spots, from coral reefs to shipwrecks, mangroves and sandbanks where stingray abound. In nearshore shallow waters of the islands, it is easy for both beginners and advanced snorkelers to discover and enjoy the Caribbean underwater life.
Measuring 13 miles at its widest point, Antigua is the largest island in the archipelago with the highest population by far. It is a favorite stopover for cruises in the Caribbean, and many tourists spend the day here, disembarking from the vast ships that tour the region.
Barbuda, just to the north of Antigua, has kept its strongly unspoiled nature. It is one of the last preserved islands in the Lesser Antilles, like a paradise untouched by mass tourism.
Antigua and Barbuda are both surrounded by coral barrier reefs and white and pink sand beaches. The coral reefs, the many shipwrecks, and the edges of the mangroves are all favorite destinations for snorkelers.
You can reach some spots directly from the coast, particularly in Dickenson Bay, Halfmoon Bay, Galley Bay, Long Bay, the Hawksbill Beaches, or Pigeon Point. But to discover the country’s best snorkeling spots, you will need to take a boat to one of the many reefs emerging from the coastal waters.
The Cades Bay Marine Park (probably the best snorkeling spot in Antigua), the Wreck of the Andes (a ship that sunk in 1905 and came to rest in Deep Bay) or the very popular Stingray City (where you can see and interact with stingrays that live on the sandbank), are among the best options.
In Antigua and Barbuda, you can observe the characteristic underwater life of the Caribbean: fields of sea fans, coral, colorful sponges, and a whole rainbow of fish: butterflyfish, surgeonfish, pufferfish, moray eels, and shoals of sergeant major.
Among the species that will leave you the most striking memories, you may come across some gentle green turtles, impressive barracudas, southern stingray, and nurse sharks.
If you are planning a snorkeling trip to Antigua and Barbuda or anywhere else in the Caribbean, we recommend the excellent Reef Fish Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas (also available in ebook), the reference guide to ID the fish you will encounter snorkeling the islands.
When to go to Antigua and Barbuda?
The climate in Antigua and Barbuda is tropical and divided into two main seasons. The dry season (careme) lasts from December to April. Sunshine is excellent and rain is rare.
This is the best season for snorkeling in the archipelago, but it is also the period with the highest tourist numbers, including cruises. In the rainy season (winter period) from June to November, it rains almost every day, and humidity levels climb (maximum average of 88°F/31°C).
The water temperature, on average 80°F/28°C all through the year, is ideal for snorkeling. As in all the islands in the Lesser Antilles, the east coast (windward coast) is more exposed to rain and wind, while the west coast often has more clement weather.
August, September, and October are the hurricane season. Although there are few hurricanes, they may prevent you from taking to the water for days at a time.
450+ spots have already been featured on Snorkeling Report thanks to people like you. Share your favorite snorkeling spot and help us cover the world map. Your contribution will help the snorkeling community find new sites and enjoy the underwater world!
ADD A SPOT
Unmissable on the shallow sandbank of Stingray City
Frequently sighted at Stingray City
Common on all spots
Common on all reef spots; often seen in large schools
Shallow sandbank with stingrays
Large sandy beach edged with shallow coral reefs
Level: Resort nearby
You must be logged in to post a comment.
St Barthélemy, often nicknamed St Barts by English speakers, is by no means a top snorkeling destination in the Caribbean, but if you spend some days on the island, you’ll have fun discovering its underwater world. A dozen of decent to good snorkeling spots are found off the beaches of the islands, (...)
Hosting the largest coral reef in the Lesser Antilles, the islands of Guadeloupe boasts some of the Caribbean's most abundant marine life. This French archipelago comprises seven islands, each with great snorkeling spots, in particular in the tiny Îles des Saintes and the Pigeon Island, that captiva (...)
Saint-Martin is a small picturesque island in the north of the Caribbean, divided into a French part in the north and a Dutch part in the south. Its 67km of coastline and 35 beaches make it a popular destination for beach holidays. Saint-Martin offers snorkelers great opportunities to explore the un (...)
Made of a main island and fifty uninhabited islets, Martinique is the southernmost region of the French West Indies. Martinique is famous for snorkeling with green sea turtles, especially in the shallow coves of the southwestern part of the island. But you will find all along its coastline dozens of (...)
The US Virgin Islands are located in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, to the east of Porto Rico. They comprise approximately 50 islands but the three main islands are St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John, around which the most accessible snorkeling can be found. In particular, much of the coast (...)
Saint Lucia is a pristine Caribbean island located a few dozen kilometers south of the French island of Martinique. If it is reputed for its spectacular mountainous landscapes, its underwater wonders are not amongst the most famous in the Caribbean. Still, the island’s preserved marine environment a (...)
With pristine coral cays, protected bays and shallow reefs, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the Caribbean’s snorkeling hot spots. The Tobago Cays, a group of 5 small coral islands circled by a horseshoe-shaped coral reef, is by far the best snorkeling spots in the country, but there are d (...)
With nearly 3000km of coastline and 72 islands bathed by the Caribbean Sea, Venezuela offers a great diversity of marine environments, still secluded. If there are few sites for snorkeling on the continental coast, the Venezuelan islands are home to coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves that prom (...)