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 allows fine snorkeling sessions. The reefs fringing the island’s west coast, where volcanic Pitons fall straight into the sea, shelter gorgonian forests attracting a multitude of colorful fish.
Most snorkel spots in Saint Lucia can be found along the island’s west coast, which is sheltered from trade winds. Many small bays and shallow reefs well suited to snorkeling can notably be found around the city of Soufriere and the Pitons.
Anse Chastanet and Anse Mamin (separated only by a 700m long path) are probably the best spots directly accessible from the shore in Saint Lucia. As they are included in a marine preserve where fishing is controlled, the shelter has a thriving aquatic life and preserved seabeds.
In the Pitons region, snorkeling along the shore is possible north of Soufriere bay or in Sugar Beach. Heading north towards Castries, Anse Cochon and Marigot Bay are also nice spots.
Saint Lucia’s steep landscape made it impossible to build roads in many coastal areas. Those isolated coastlines can only be reached by boat. Many local agencies offer snorkeling day or half-day tours to the most remote sites. Petit Piton and Gros Piton, which include drift snorkeling (following the current) are the most popular.
Operators also offer tours to Trou au Diable and the Keyhole Pinnacles, but these spots are pretty deep and less suitable for snorkeling.
Saint Lucia’s coastal waters attract a colorful aquatic life, typical for the Caribbean reefs. Snorkeling along the island’s shore, you will easily spot several species of butterflyfish, blue tangs, grunts, triggerfish, and French angelfish over seabeds packed with sponges and gorgonian.
Several moray eel species, including the green moray, the spotted moray and the chain moray, also dwell on the reef, as well as lobsters, abundant in the marine reserves. Green sea turtles occasionally visit the reefs, notably in Anse Chastanet, but they remain rare along Saint Lucia’s coastline.
If you are planning a snorkeling trip to St Lucia 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 island.
Snorkeling is possible all year round in Saint Lucia, thanks to its warm tropical climate tempered by trade winds. Temperatures seldom vary from their yearly average (77°F/25°C to 82°F/28°C). The dry season (January to May) is ideal to practice snorkeling, even if temperatures can be lower than the rest of the year.
The rainy season (June to December) is wetter, but the sky rarely remains overcast all day long. It is often advised to avoid the months of July, August, September and October, when hurricanes can occur.
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On all reef spots
Common in shallow seagrass beds
Occasional on all spots, hidden in the reef holes
Marine reserve with fringing coral reefs
Free shore access
Marine reserve with coral reefs and seagrass meadows
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