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 dozens of other great spots to explore around the 32 islands composing the archipelago.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island chain laying on the southern part of the Lesser Antilles arc, just south of Saint Lucia. It is made up of the main island, Saint Vincent, and 31 smaller islands and cays, the largest among them being Bequia, Union Island, Canouan, and Mayreau.
Excellent snorkeling spots can be found all over the archipelago. In St Vincent, the country’s main island, Wallilabou Bay is one of the most recommended spots. Petit Byahaut is also a great option, but this small bay is only accessible by boat.
Mayreau and Canouan, fringed by coral reefs, are some of the best islands of the Grenadines for shore snorkeling. In Mayreau, head to the Mayreau Gardens, which boast healthy and colorful coral reefs.
It is also possible to snorkel from the beach in Union Island, particularly at Chatham Bay, where cushion sea stars abound. Palm Island, just 1 mile off Union, is a great option if you are looking for a resort with shore snorkeling. This small private island, managed by the Palm Island Resort, is surrounded by reefs and seagrass beds where sea life abounds.
If you stay in Bequia, don’t miss the short boat trip to Devil’s Table, a shallow reef full of sponges, sea fans, lobsters, and tropical fish. From the shore, you can snorkel over the reef found at the western tip of Lower Bay.
However, if you are visiting the archipelago, you should not miss the trip to the Tobago Cays. Home to protected reefs and hundreds of green sea turtles, these 5 picture-perfect, idyllic islands are the ultimate snorkeling destination in the Grenadines. You’ll easily find in the archipelago snorkeling tours to get there.
St Vincent and the Grenadines boasts a typical Caribbean underwater world, including hundreds of species of reef fish, eagle rays, stingrays and sea turtles. Among the most commonly spotted fish at shallow depth in the archipelago are the Queen angelfish, the French angelfish, the blue tang, the banded butterflyfish, as well as several species of grunt, wrasse, and pufferfish.
Sea urchins and sea stars, including the beautiful cushion starfish, abound at reef and in the seagrass meadows. In protected areas, lobsters are easily sighted in rocky outcrops and small caves. To spot sea turtles, head to the Tobago Cays, where sightings of green sea turtles are almost guaranteed. In the sandy areas, you may also encounter a southern stingray or a roughtail stingray resting on the seabed.
If you are planning a snorkeling trip to St Vincent and the Grenadines 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 archipelago.
Snorkeling in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is great year-round, as it enjoys a tropical climate, tempered by trade winds. The temperature stays fairly constant throughout the year, with an average temperature of 80°F/27°C.
A dry season, from January to May, can be distinguished from the wet season (May to November), with July experiencing the most rainfall.
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Unmissable in the Tobago Cays
Occasionally spotted on all spots, including the Tobago Cays
On all reef spots, sometimes seen in huge schools
Occasional sightings on all spots, especially juveniles
On all reef spots
Common in Chatham Bay, occasional sightings throughout the islands
On all spots, including sandy and grassy areas
Marine reserve with seagrass meadows and sea turtles
Fringing reef with colorful fish and sea stars
Free shore access
Cliffs and reef drop off with colorful fish
Free shore access
Shallow lagoon with colorful fish
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