Anguilla Snorkeling Guide – Best 12 Spots to Snorkel
The small British Overseas Territory, Anguilla is a not-so-known gem in the Caribbean Sea consisting of one main island and several smaller islets. Year-round perfect weather provides visitors with fantastic conditions to explore beautiful white sandy beaches and to enjoy various activities. Although this destination is not that most famous if it comes to underwater sports, but the clear waters and the presence of colorful sea life still make snorkeling in Anguilla enjoyable. Should you look for the best spots to explore the island’s coral reefs, here we tell you what places to visit!
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Prickley Pear Cays
Prickly Pear Cay consists of two uninhabited small islands that are located about six miles north of the main island. The larger of the two, Eastern Cay, has a rocky shoreline on one side and a beautiful sandy beach on the other. It is a great place for snorkeling because there are three coral reefs just offshore from the beach.
The corals might be exceptional here, but in the shallow, clear water you will see a lot of sea life including shoals of Blue Tang fish and maybe nurse sharks too if you are lucky. After snorkeling, you can enjoy a light lunch in the on-site restaurant. It offers not only great food but also paddleboard and kayak rental.
Shoal Bay East
Shoal Bay East has been ranked as one of the top ten beaches in the world because of its beauty. This large beach on the northwest, lee side of the island has soft white sands and crystal blue water.
It is also one of the best snorkeling beaches in Anguilla for beginners and families with kids because the reef is accessible easily from the shore. The best area to snorkel is in front of the Elodias Resort. There is a lot of sea life to see in the shallow water including fish species and stingrays, but you might see a hawksbill turtle too. If you want to explore more and are an experienced snorkeler, swim to the outer edge where the corals are in better condition than close to the shore.
Shoal Bay is one of the few beach areas that is built upon the island. There are food vendors and equipment rental is also available, also restaurants and resorts nearby. Another thing that you will enjoy when visiting this beach is the Caribbean music that is always playing somewhere creating a laid-back atmosphere.
Junks Hole – Savannah Bay
Savannah Bay, also known as Junks Hole lies on the southeast coast of the island. The beach is very isolated, and there is little development in the area so you can easily have a relaxing time.
The water is very shallow so you can swim a great distance out a while floating over the reef and admiring the rich marine life. The easy water access makes this a great place to go snorkeling in Anguilla from shore.
However, you should be aware that the nickname of the beach – Junks Hole- is for a reason. The location of this beach places it in a jet stream, and sometimes a lot of ocean debris, hence “junk,” washes up in the beach area.
How is the snorkeling in Anguilla on the western shores? Perfect! If you want to experience it yourself, visit Meads Bay where the water is calm and filled with an abundance of tropical fish and sea life like angelfish, butterflyfish, and moray eels. The best snorkeling area lies in front of the Four Seasons.
Meads Bay is a trendy beach on the western side of Anguilla. There are several resorts in the area, but the beach remains relatively empty most of the time. Why? Who knows, because it is a fabulous beach to visit, so don’t miss it out! You will love spending the day soaking up the sun and cooling off in the water.
If you are looking for some of the best snorkeling in Anguilla, you must go to Crocus Bay. Located on the northwestern part of the island and only a few miles from The Valley, which is the capital of Anguilla, this pristine beach is a perfect place to spend the day snorkeling.
To get to the reef, enter the water in front of DaVida’s restaurant and swim along the cliff’s edge. Besides various Caribbean fish such as trumpet fish, banded butterflyfish, surgeon fish, and groupers, you’ll also find many other interesting creatures here like sea cucumbers, feather duster, and Christmas tree worms.
These fluttery, colorful creatures look like small flowers underwater, but you will know that they are worms if they disappear when you put your hand in front of them (remember, never touch!). A hawksbill turtle can be seen often on the reef, and it is said that even a manta ray visits the bay frequently, so keep your eyes open, you might be lucky to see her!
Many boats and yachts dock in this area because of the beauty of the bay. The area is not overly developed, and the only buildings near the beach are an apartment building that offers some rooms for rent for beachgoers and Roy’s Seafood, one of the most popular restaurants on the island.
Sandy Hill Bay
Sandy Hill Bay is a beautiful crescent-shaped beach area that has gorgeous white sand and clear waters. This beach is very popular with local families for a picnic and a day at the beach.
The surrounding area is not developed, and you will need to bring snacks and drinks with you for your day at the beach. The water is always calm, clear thanks to the protecting outer reef. This is why Sandy Hill Bay is one of the best Anguilla snorkeling spots for beginners.
On the inner reef, healthy corals and a great variety of Caribbean fish species can be seen for example colorful parrotfish and sergeant majors. Even the local fishermen love to anchor in this area because of the abundance of fish.
Tip: Anguilla’s neighboring island, St Maarten also features rich marine life. If you are considering visiting that other dreamy Caribbean destination too, read our St Maarten snorkeling guide!
Limestone Bay is located on the northern end of the island and is very popular with locals. It is a wide beach, so there is a lot of room for picnics and relaxing in the sun.
This beach definitely has to be mentioned among Anguilla best snorkeling beaches, however, it is recommended only for strong swimmers. There are currents here and rocks on both ends of the beach. This is not a place to let your kids out in the water alone, but if you feel adventurous and are comfortable in the water, you can explore the rock formations that are home to many fish and beautiful soft corals like gorgonians, sea rods, and sea fans.
This is a gorgeous beach with crystal white sand and a large area where you can sunbathe or play. The vibrant reef that lies just about 200 yards from the shoreline teaming with marine life! The presence of tropical fish, turtles, and other sea creatures make Corito Bay an excellent Anguilla snorkeling site.
The water is very calm, and there are hardly any boats docked here. Corito Bay is not built up, only a few private homes are around so make sure that you have all your supplies when you visit the beach. It will feel like a tropical paradise because of the quiet and beautiful landscape.
If you are looking for the best snorkeling in Anguilla that most locals don’t even know about, visit Katouche Bay! It is a small beach hidden behind wonderful cliffs and a tropical forest where you find nothing but soft sand and iguanas sunbathing on the rocks. The waters at this beach are very calm and are shallow for a good distance out, making it great for snorkeling.
There is one small resort on top of the cliff area and no other structures. If you are going to visit this spot, make sure that you bring some good hiking shoes to get to the beach and enough refreshments for the day to enjoy this (almost) private paradise!
Barnes Bay Beach
Barnes Bay is one of the most popular places for snorkeling in Anguilla on the West End. It is a very large, family-friendly beach with gorgeous white sand and lots of establishments around. The water is very calm, making it great for swimming and water activities.
All restaurants and shops are located a little way away from the beach, so come prepared. There is a lot of room for beach sports or just sunbathing when you are done playing in the water. Although this place is very popular, it is never really crowded, making it an even more attractive choice among Anguilla beaches.
Dropsey Bay (also known as Jobsie Bay) is perhaps one of the most picturesque beaches on the island. It is also an amazing place to go snorkeling and swim with turtles. There is a large reef at the bay, a cave, and even an underwater bridge that you can explore. However, make sure that you swim with a buddy because the currents can be strong here.
This is a very secluded spot, do not be surprised if you are the only one there. The beach is small, but it is still very nice. Bring all the supplies you need because it is a distance to any store or resort.
Little Bay is the most secluded area on the island. This small beach is tucked away and can only be reachable by kayaks or boat. In fact, it is possible to access Little Bay from land too, but you need to climb down on a rope through rocks, so it is not recommended if you don’t have hiking shoes or are with kids. It is safer to take the boat that costs approx. 15USD return.
Little Bay is a great place to snorkel because the waters are perfectly clear, and there are so few people at the beach, if any, that you will not have to worry about the sea life being scared off by swimmers or boats. Pack everything you need because there is nothing at this beach but sand, sun, and a couple of palm trees. To get to Little Bay, go to Crocus Bay and look for Calvin’s Boat near the large tamarind tree!
With its warm, clear waters and shallow reefs, Anguilla offers good snorkeling for novice and intermediate snorkelers. However, the reefs are less vibrant and the aquatic life is not so rich as at other popular Caribbean snorkeling destinations such as Roatan, Bonaire and St. John so experienced snorkelers should consider one of these islands.
The best snorkeling spot in Anguilla is Prickly Pear Island, but it is accessible only by boat. For off-beach snorkeling, Shoal Bay East offers the best conditions.
Thanks to its tropical climate with year-round pleasant air and water temperatures, you can go snorkeling in all seasons in Anguilla, although certain months are more advisable than others.
There is dry season between December and early June which is the recommended travel period. From June till October there is wet season in Anguilla when the rainy, stormy weather can cause poor visibility in the water and there is less aquatic life is around meaning that it is not a good choice if exploring the underwater world is your main priority.
The months of September and October are the peak of the rainy season and the Caribbean hurricane season; most hotels and resorts close due to the possible bad weather during these months so it is best to avoid coming during this period.
Travelers seeking good vacation deals might visit the island from November till early December too, just before the high season starts. There is still a higher chance of rain but room rates and generally lower.
To sum it up, the best time for an Anguilla snorkeling vacation is the second half of the dry season (from mid-February till end of May) when you can expect good weather with little rain and no strong winds. Accommodation prices are lower during these months than in the high season and the island is less crowded. The sea never gets too cold (the lowest water temperature is 26C/79.8F during January and February) but from April it starts to warm up, so you can stay longer in the water comfortably.
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