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Saint Lucia is best known for the spectacular landscape that features volcanic Pitons and not so famous for its underwater attractions, but in fact, the preserved fringing reefs that surround the island attract rich marine life offering superb conditions for those who love exploring the ocean’s wonders. If you’d like to observe the colorful aquatic life of the Caribbean Sea, don’t miss out on snorkeling in St Lucia! We tell you now what spots are worth visiting!
St Lucia snorkeling conditions
Thanks to the region’s tropical climate, there is no bad time to go snorkeling in Saint Lucia, but some months offer more ideal conditions than the others. Should you look for the lowest chance for rain and the best underwater visibility, schedule your trip for the dry season that is between December and May, with February, March and April being the driest months.
In June, the rainy season starts in June and runs until November. This doesn’t necessarily mean bad weather all day, so you can consider coming during this period too, but the rain can affect the water clarity. It is advisable to avoid the hurricane season (July-October).
There is a regular northeast trade wind blowing most of the year like in most of the Caribbean, therefore most St Lucia snorkeling spots can be found on the west side, that is protected from wind.
Along this coast, around Soufriere, in the Pitons region and towards Castries, many small bays offer shallow fringing reefs with excellent conditions for snorkeling. Some are accessible from shore, but due to the island’s landscape many snorkel spots can be reached by boat only.
The sea is warm enough throughout the year for water activities with temperatures between 79-84F/26-29C so there is no need to pack a wetsuit, but don’t forget about UV protection clothing and sunscreen.
Best spots to go snorkeling in St Lucia
Anse Chastanet is the most famous spot for snorkeling in St Lucia with good reason. The site enjoys the protection of a marine reserve, suitable for beginners and is easy to reach from shore. You can also take a boat to get to it on a half-day or full-day excursion from the capital Castries or from the nearby town, Soufriere.
You can expect to see a great range of colorful tropical fish at the coral reef that runs along the shoreline thanks to the areas’ protected status. Reef fish are common here (parrotfish, trumpetfish, sergeant majors, trumpetfish and many more), and sometimes also hawksbill turtles can be spotted near the reef towards Anse Mamin, where the shallow plateau ends and the shallow seabed drops into a 60ft/18m deep wall.
The site also boasts hard corals, sponges, and gorgonians. Two hotels on the bay mean that you can stay at Anse Chastanet in either the Jade Mountain Resort or the Anse Chastanet Resort to make the most of your St Lucia snorkeling adventure.
Tip: Hawksbill turtles lay their eggs on this beach! If you want to experience the nesting, schedule your trip for July/August, while September- October is the hatching season!
Separated only by a 700m long path (10 minute walk) from Anse Chastenet lies Anse Mamin, another fantastic Saint Lucia snorkeling spot! It is a lot quieter with less boats around, so definitely a recommend beach for those who wish to relax and also for those who seek the best snorkeling in St Lucia since there is an extensive reef on the south end of the beach, available from the shore and another one on the north end.
Snorkeling enthusiasts often say that people who say that snorkeling in Saint Lucia is not good never seen the Anse Mamin reef which is full of lively corals and different kinds of Caribbean fish. And just like at Anse Chastanet, there is a chance to see hawksbill turtles here!
The Piton Wall is a dramatic wall along the base of Petit Piton that drops down to a few hundred feet deep. Thanks to the constant nutrient-rich currents, it is full of marine life, especially soft corals and feather duster worms making it a fantastic diving Saint Lucia snorkeling spot.
To snorkel the Piton Wall, you need to sign up for a boat trip. It is a drift snorkel trip, which means that you’ll be dropped into the water, the current will take you along the wall and the boat will pick you up at the end of the reef.
Smugglers Cove is an ideal place for snorkeling off the beach in St Lucia. You can access this somewhat hidden gem through Cap Maison. A dark sandy beach awaits you with its several pools adjacent to it.
The reef here in this larger bay is small but sheltered from the wind. It makes Smugglers Cove a terrific spot for beginning snorkelers with max depth of 40ft/12m. Under the clear waters you will see a great many tropical fish and other exotic sea creatures. These include octopus, eels, lobster, trumpet fish and even squid.
Tip: Should you wish to explore this fantastic location, the best is if you stay at Hideaway at Royalton!
To the north side of Castries and only a little to the south of Gros Islet lies one of the prettiest beaches of the island that offers visitors beautiful golden sand.
It might not be the most fantastic spot to go snorkeling in St Lucia in terms of marine life, but the sandy bottom and calm, clear waters welcome make it a great place for beginners and kids who can enjoy a wide variety of fish while snorkeling at this beach.
Reduit is a rather touristy beach and due to the many boaters, it is a good idea to deploy a diver down surface marker flag. A few restaurants on the beach make it easy to pick up lunch or a beverage. There are also showers and bathrooms at the restaurants. You can also rent umbrellas and chairs here.
Jalousie Plantation Beach (Sugar Beach)
Jalousie Plantation Beach in Pitons Bay is more commonly called Sugar Beach. It lies between the two Pitons on St. Lucia’s southwest. The bay may be small, but it includes a range of natural habitats. Among these are rocky places, sandy shores, and a marine life rich zone found in the Marine Reserve.
The reef here is known as the Sugar Beach Viceroy Resort. The waters provide a great amount of interesting sea life to see at this St Lucia snorkeling spot. Among the bright corals, sponges, and algae you can typically hope to see tropical fish, groupers, snappers, and moray eels. You will find many of these creatures among the seagrass bed.
A Saint Lucia snorkeling vacation would not be complete without a trip to Marigot Bay. The spot is one of the most popular beaches in St Lucia for snorkeling with good reason. It boasts large coral formations and a great amount of underwater life, especially on the north side of the bay. The boat tour companies are well aware of this so you can expect to share the bay with other snorkelers when you arrive.
One advantage this beach offers is its own place to rent snorkel equipment near the beach at the Marigot Beach Club Dive, although we recommend bringing your own equipment if you have. Once in the water there are many tropical creatures to view, especially juvenile fish. Food and beverages are conveniently available at this beach.
Anse Cochon is another snorkeling site in Saint Lucia that suits for beginners. The black sandy stretch draws in numerous boat tours with day trip tourists. Snorkeling is especially good at the north side of the cove with fantastic visibility in the water.
After you finish your underwater expedition you can sit at the beach restaurant found at the adjacent Ti Kaye Resort and Spa (which is one of the top places to stay on the island by the way!). If you come to Anse Cochon by car on the main road, be prepared for the bumpy ride. The boat ride is a smoother way to arrive.
Not so far from the town Soufriere there is another superb place for snorkeling in Saint Lucia, Malgretoute Beach. You can get to the spot either by hiking or taking a water taxi.
The pebbles and coarse black sand make Malgretoute different from the other snorkeling sites in St Lucia. Since it’s not a sandy beach, it is less popular among tourists and rather a locals’ favorite place, but definitely recommended to visit when you are around.
You will find the finest snorkeling area here at the end of the beach, adjacent to the Petit Piton base. This is where the water is deepest providing more marine life to view.
Our accommodation tip nearby: Stonefield Estate Resort
Close to Sugar Beach at the base of the Gros Piton lies Coral Gardens, a lesser-known yet fantastic place to go snorkeling in St Lucia. The beach’s claim to fame is that it holds the longest coral reef on the island.
The coral growth here is dramatic, and it provides a home for rich marine life. You can expect to see many colorful tropical fish, Christmas Tree Worms, Feather Stars and eels while snorkeling in the Coral Gardens. This is definitely a place to bring along an underwater camera.
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