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Galley Bay Beach, on the west coast of Antigua, is bordered on either side by two small coral reefs. Snorkeling over these shallow reefs, you will spot many Caribbean fish species and some pretty coral areas. Access to this spot, however, seems to be restricted to the guests of the Galley Bay Resort & Spa
French angelfish in Galley Bay
The French angelfish (here, in intermediate phase) is one of the most beautiful reef fish you may spot in Galley Bay.

How to go snorkeling Galley Bay

Access to this spot seems to be reserved for guests of the Galley Bay Resort & Spa. Although Antigua’s beaches are, in theory, public, access to Galley Bay is restricted as it is surrounded by fences, making access to the beach very difficult for visitors.

The northeastern end of the beach has a small embayment which does not form part of the resort but this cannot be accessed except through the nearby Galley Bay cottages.

Do not hesitate to inquire when you arrive in Antigua (at your hotel or the tourist office, for example) to find out if the access conditions have recently changed.

Galley Bay snorkeling map, Antigua

Water entrance for snorkeling Galley Bay

The two reefs located at either end of the beach are nearly 500m apart, with shallow sand and occasional moribund reef between them.
It is easy to enter the water from the beach, close to the area you have chosen. The reef on the left, however, involves a longer swim to the site.

Galley Bay reefs snorkeling tips

You can snorkel over the whole beachfront but the best areas in Galley Bay are the reefs found at either end of the beach.

The western reef (on the left) has more exposed conditions and greater wave activity, and is recommended only for confident snorkelers. The eastern reef (on the right) is generally calm and ok for beginners.

Stingray in Galley Bay
A large southern stingray found over the sand areas adjacent to the eastern reef features.

The first area of the eastern reef, encountered on the right, has numerous hollows with sand patches and overhangs.

These are ideal snorkeling conditions, in which you can find many species of fish in and around the reef. The surface of the reef is fairly featureless with a covering of silt over much of it.

Closer to the headland, the reef surface becomes more varied with impressive growths of the Encrusting White Zoanthid over the rock and covering some of the former Elkhorn coral outcrops.

This is the area with the greatest variety of marine life, including angelfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, grunts, and porcupinefish.

Galley Bay snorkeling area
The eastern reef (on the right when you are facing the sea) is shallow, with generally calm conditions.

In the sandy areas adjacent to the reef, you might also be lucky enough to spot a southern stingray resting on the seabed.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

This spot has the Galley Bay Resort & Spa‘s house reef.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth12ft/4m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsCosts of the stay at Galley Bay Resort & Spa - Public access is not clear
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

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.