Eating, exploring, hiking, swimming. Those are not the only things to do in the Caribbean! Feel like something a little more adventurous? Give snorkeling a try!
Anguilla is an ideal island for snorkeling. There are many active and beautiful reefs. You just have to know where to look :-)
Tip: If you are an avid snorkeler and like having your custom set up, consider bringing your own mask and snorkel. If you don't want to travel with snorkel gear, though, rest assured that most hotels and villas have snorkels, fins, masks, etc. on hand.
On such a tiny island, superb snorkeling spots are always close by.
Here are some of our favorites spots for snorkeling...
On the west side of the beach there is a quiet little cove, as you can see. There is a massive rock that forms the north side of the little cove. It creates a calm little bay, ripe with fish.
The water is shallow here, and you don't have to swim out very far to see some brightly colored marine life. And if you push on to the end and around a corner of rocks, you'll see beautiful large elk coral and schools of hundreds of bright yellow fish! It leaves you in awe!
Barnes Bay's second great spot is in front of Mango's, a little to the west, about 50-100 yards or so...
There is a wide shallow reef that comes in very close to shore, and also extends a fair way out. Just snorkel easily all over, and look for the little caves and holes. They are all full of beautiful fish.
The true beauty is deeper out. One day my dad and I swam out further, and further... really far. I felt like a shark might be in these waters.
But we were rewarded! We hit the jackpot! The water was deep, the fish were bigger and more colorful. Even though I was exhausted, it was worth it.
The last super snorkeling spot on Barnes Bay is on the extreme east of the beach by the Four Seasons.
Looking Up at Four Seasons' Barnes Bay Promontory
We discovered this fantastic fish-infested area one day when we were taking a walk in Four Seasons Anguilla. The area is so abundant with fish from Trigger fish to Angel Fish, you can even see them from high up in the resort's pool area!
Beautiful & Big Parrot Fish
It is amazing to see.
So Much to SEA!
Of course, Barnes Bay is not the only great spot for snorkeling, it's just our little secret. There are so many other spots, some quite famous! So let's get on our gear, and get going.
Shoal Bay East
Probably the best known spot in Anguilla for snorkeling. From the minute you step onto the beach, you're guaranteed to be approached by a man with a boat willing to take you out to the deeper reefs, with the more exotic fish.
Don't turn it down.
These "beach ambassadors" are very friendly and know the best spots.
They even have an underwater snorkeling trail!
If you're just looking for "closer-to-shore" snorkeling, you can't go wrong, too as long as the sea is flat.
The currents can pick up on the eastern side of this beach, but if the sea is flat be prepared to see lots of sea greenery and keep your eyes peeled for sting rays. Meandering through the beautiful coral around Shoal Bay East is a must sea!
Special Note: Snorkeling Shoal Bay also makes for a great long swim. One of Anguilla's biggest beaches, you will get a great work out snorkeling this one.
Moving right along to...
Sea Feather's Bay
This bay delivers total unexpected enjoyment. Idyllic and calm, the reef is close to shore and feels very protected. As you snorkel the in-shore reefs and drift west, there's even a little children's pool area which is very nice and calm, perfect wading and glimpsing the little fish.
All the locals know it as a super snorkeling spot, some tourists, too. So fantastic that some people go spear fishing. Only Anguillians are allowed to spear-fish, no foreigners allowed!
Now let's hop over to...
Right below Malliouhana at Nim's Nook, Meads Bay offers exceptional snorkeling.
Snorkeling at Meads Bay's Nim's Nook
Keep your eyes peeled and you will see a whole lot of beautiful fish and marine life. Eagle rays, jellyfish, silverfish and angel fish abound here!
Can You Spot The Sting Ray?
The coastline is ripe with coves and clear water. With excellent beach restaurants, like Malliouhana's Leon's just nearby, it makes for a great spot for a beach day.
Under The Sea at Meads
Now, a quick drive over to...
Drive down to Crocus Bay and go over to Little Bay by boat with Calvin (he is there daily from 9am). He knows exactly where to go... paradise a.k.a. Little Bay!
Here, you'll have the experience of a lifetime.
The fish are absolutely spectacular.
Better than you could ever imagine!
There is great diversity here, from grassy sea bottoms to Little Bay's beautiful sandy beach.
Little Bay's Active Sea Bottom
Little Bay is a protected marine park, so it is no surprise that you will see many huge fish, in addition to big schools of fish. Sightings of squid, smooth trunkfish and even barracuda are not uncommon.
Before you leave Little Bay, don't forget to jump off the famous rock :-)
Last but not least...
If you want to see sea turtles, Scilly Cay usually delivers!
Scilly Cay Sea Turtle Popping Up To Say Hello!
The beautiful creatures like to hide out in the sea grass that surrounds Scilly Cay to the south. The north side of the island opens into deeper waters. Rich with active reefs, it's worth a swim around.
Here's wishing you happy snorkeling in Anguilla :-)
And, until you are in these waters, soak up the ambience with our Anguilla snorkeling video!...
Dan & Wendy's In-Depth Anguilla Snorkeling Guide
Snorkeling enthusiasts, Dan and Wendy share their favorite snorkel spots around Anguilla. From eels and manta rays to colorful, tropical fish, they point out the best reefs and bays for snorkeling.
If you have spotted a lionfish while snorkeling in Anguilla, it is hard to miss! Gracefully elegant, it is an undeniably beautiful fish, yet invasive to Anguilla's waters. Here's a little more on the history of the lionfish and a tasty way to help "population control" in Anguilla.
For an immersive Anguilla snorkeling and offshore cay experience, Shoal Bay Scuba is an excellent choice. One of the safest boats on the water, Shoal Bay Scuba's crew knows Anguilla's top (and hard to reach) snorkeling spots better than most. More on Shoal Bay Scuba and snorkeling charters here.