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Cayo Alcatracito is one of the many coral cays belonging to the legendary Gardens of the Queen. This remote archipelago, where a National Park was established in 1996, is one of the largest marine reserves in the Caribbean. On the reef that stretches south of Cayo Alcatracito, you can snorkel with rays, sharks, barracudas and a vast array of colorful fish.
Cayo Alcatracito is located in the northern part of the Gardens of the Queen, in the Cayos Cinco Balas group, right next to Cayo Alcatraz Grande.
It is a popular anchorage for boats visiting this part of the archipelago. To get there, you must book a liveaboard diving or snorkeling cruise in the Gardens of the Queen, or have your own boat.
The reef is located more than 800m south of Cayo Alcatracito. It is a short dinghy ride from the cay or from the anchoring area.
The snorkeling area covers the inner side of the reef which extends south of Cayo Alcatracito. The reef stretches for more than 2km. There are shallow coral areas on the inner side of the reef, which then extend into large sand flats (↕6-12ft/2-4m).
Damaged in the most exposed areas, the corals are in better condition in the deepest parts of the spot, where a nice diversity of sea sponges and sea fans can be found.
Cayo Alcatracito’s underwater life is thriving: there is an incredible diversity of reef fish here, including several angelfish species (queen angelfish, gray angelfish), huge schools of grunt, trunkfish and snappers.
But it is the abundance of big fish that makes this spot a true snorkeling paradise. Several species of rays, including the spotted eagle ray, the Southern stingray and the yellow stingray. Huge barracudas and nurse sharks can easily be spotted on the reef and the surrounding sandy flats.
There are no hotels nor restaurants in the National Park. Cruises in the archipelago are full board.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Reef slope with coral, sea fan and colorful fish
Free shore access
Rocky slopes with colorful fish
Fringing reef with colorful fish
Free shore access
Shallow flat with coral heads, reef fish and barracudas
Small island in a shallow lagoon with rays and reef fish
Shallow lagoon with reef fish and occasional sharks and rays