Free shore access
This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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Last updated on August 26, 2023
Top-ranked Shoal Bay East Beach is a beautiful, white sandy beach towards the northeast of the island of Anguilla. The beach allows easy access to several outcrops of coral reefs, which features a varied sea life including colorful reef fish, as well as occasional eagle rays encounters.
Shoal Bay is Anguilla’s signature beach. It is located within Shoal Bay Village, along the island’s northern shore. Shoal Bay Beach has several access points but the closest to the best snorkeling area are the Tropical Sunset Restaurant & Bar, the Madeariman (where parking is available for $5 per day), or the beachfront hotels which include The Manoah Boutique Hotel, Shoal Bay Villas, and Elodias Beach Resort.
Shoal Bay East Beach has some of the easiest-to-access reef features that can be snorkeled on from the shore. The first access point (snorkel entry 1 on the map) is straight off the beach in front of the Manoah Hotel.
A further location can be found to the east of the hotel, off the tip of East Beach, before it becomes North Shoal Bay Beach. Looking to the east, the second access point (snorkel entry 2 on the map) can be seen in the distance, about 350m away.
Looking straight off the beach the reef feature (reef 1 on the map) is easily visible. This reef is very shallow so can be a little rough when an Atlantic swell rolls in.
The coral on this reef, like many of the other nearshore reef features, is severely degraded with a limited range of coral species. Some Elkhorn coral is visible, along with Mustard Hill coral. The most notable feature of the reef is the extensive pink coralline algal cover as well as extensive brown algal cover.
Adjacent to this point (access point 2) it is easy to swim out to the edge of the nearshore reef, through a wide sand gully (reef 2 on the map). Once on the outside it is possible to swim to both the west and the east on the reef edge.
The reef edge at this location has a variety of forms including areas with vertical faces but is mostly gently sloping into deeper water. The marine life is typical of a wave-exposed habitat with many Sea Fans and Sea Plumes.
The habitats that can be observed while snorkeling in Shoal Bay Beach include beach sand; concretions/degraded coral; sand with coral debris; gently sloping rock/coral with numerous soft coral species and finally steeply sloping coral and rock. The sand area around area 1 is good for spotting rays, with the Eagle Rays particularly spectacular.
This outer side of the reef at area 2, is one of the best places to see large shoals of fish, including Blue Tang, as well as more solitary species such as Barracuda and Jacks.
Don’t forget to look at the full site description on our sister site.
The Manoah Boutique Hotel has 31 rooms, of which 9 are on the beachfront. It also has a restaurant and a separate bar. Other hotels and rooms in the area include The Zemi Beach House and Shoal Bay Villas. Several other bars and restaurants are dotted along the beach.
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.
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