Snorkeling Around Anguilla

 

As beautiful as the beaches of Anguilla are, would you believe that what lies beneath the surface of the sea may just be even more amazing? Just a few feet from the shore is a wondrous world filled with coral reefs, sunken ship wrecks, and curious fish all waiting for you to discover. 

Maps

Snorkeling is a popular activity because anyone who is able to swim has the opportunity to enjoy the calming, yet still exciting activity. Donning a dive mask, swim fins, and a snorkel, snorkelers can remain under water for hours and explore Anguilla's shallow reefs. No training is required, and you can typically obtain snorkeling gear free of charge from your hotel or resort. If this is not a possibility, local dive shops offer equipment for purchase or for rent, and of course, you can always bring your own.

The great thing about the underwater world of Anguilla is that coral reefs surround the island, the waters tend to be calm, and visibility is excellent.  This means almost every stretch of beach you encounter can be considered for snorkeling.  

As snorkeling has proven to be so popular among tourists over the years, a few locals enlisted the help of the government to enlarge the natural reef through artificial measures such as sinking ships in strategic locations.  In turn, they have created nurseries for fish who are able to thrive because of them.   Thanks to these efforts, a series of five marine parks were created:  Shoal Bay Reef, Little Bay, Sandy Island, Prickly Pear, and Dog Island; and now there are nearly twenty sanctioned dive sites, including four shipwrecks, that are also accessible by snorkelers.  

If you're wondering exactly what type of fish you can expect to encounter, here are a few that are known to make an appearance:  parrotfish, blue tags, snapper, baraccuda, angelfish, goat fish, eel, and even sea turtles on occasion.

Snorkeling Sites

If you're looking forward to experiencing what's below the surface you might want to check out Prickly Pear. One of the prime snorkeling spots around Anguilla, this area features some very clear water and nearly empty shores that make it a favorite place for marine life, as well as snorkelers. This snorkeling site is located in Prickely Pear Cays, in the western part of Anguilla.

Sandy Hill is another snorkeling spot you might enjoy. Home to a large reef, this is one of the best spots in Anguilla to catch a glimpse of some underwater action, as stingrays and fish are frequently found in the area. Additionally, since the beach is hardly ever crowded, snorkelers will rarely have to worry about there being too many swimmers in the water.

A third place to consider is Anguilla's Shoal Bay. With two reefs located just offshore, this is a great place to explore, no matter what your skill level. The larger of the two will take about forty-five minutes to complete, while the two together can take around an hour. Along the way you will see plenty of tropical fish and colorful coral.

A fourth place where you can go snorkeling is Little Bay. These protected waters offer great sights for snorkelers. Be on the look out for small fish, young sea turtles, and stingrays, all of which frequent the area. If you want to check it out, this site is found in the central part of Anguilla.

Barnes Bay is a fifth location to consider. Just offshore lies a long reef that is filled with aquatic animals. Sea turtles, tropical fish, stingrays, and even squid can be found swimming about the area. Experienced snorkelers and confident swimmers can even go further out where the bigger fish reside.

The following chart has some details concerning 13 of the best places where you can go snorkeling in this area.

Snorkeling Sites Near Anguilla
Site Location
Sandy Island Beach 2.9 mi. Northwest of Central Blowing Point
Prickly Pear 6.2 mi. North-Northwest of Central Meads Bay
Sandy Hill 1.0 mi. South West of Central East End
Anguilla's Shoal Bay 3.3 mi. North-Northeast of Central the Valley
Little Bay Central Anguilla
Barnes Bay 0.9 mi. West-Southwest of Central Meads Bay
Crocus Bay Central Anguilla
Meads Bay 0.2 mi. South West of Central Meads Bay
Scilly Cay Beach 1.8 mi. North of Central East End
Seafeathers Bay 0.7 mi. South of Central East End
Mimi Bay 0.7 mi. Southeast of Central East End
Pelican Bay 0.8 mi. East-Southeast of Central Blowing Point
Junks Hole 1.4 mi. Northeast of Central East End

Snorkeling Boat Trips

Some people believe the most enjoyable snorkeling is located off shore.

If you'd like to go snorkeling during a boat trip, you might want to contact Junior's Glass Bottom Boat. A whole new experience awaits you as you sail through the waters of Anguilla on a glass bottom boat that has a canopy and a cooler filled with soft drinks.

Another option worth investigating is Sail Chocolat. "The Best Way to See Anguilla" is by boat. This 35 foot Edel Catamaran offers guests the opportunity to do that in style as you explore some of the small islets that surround Anguilla. They're found in the Valley, in central Anguilla.

A third option is Sea Pro Charters. If you can think of doing it by boat, this charter company can make it happen for you. Their typical offerings include airport transfers, private charters, customized island tours, sunset cruises, fishing, and day trips to nearby islands.

Review the table below to find out more about boat trips and day sails that offer snorkeling opportunities.

Day Sails and Boat Trips On Anguilla
Name Phone Location
Calypso Charters (246) 584-8504 0.4 mi. South of Central Blowing Point
Junior's Glass Bottom Boat (264) 235-1008 2.9 mi. North-Northeast of Central the Valley
Sail Chocolat (264) 497-3394 The Valley, Central Anguilla
Sea Pro Charters (264) 584-0074 Sandy Ground Village, Central Anguilla

Snorkeling Services

If you're looking for someone offering snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other services, you can check with Andy's Beach Rentals. While they actually specializes in rental car, Andy and his team is happy to help his guests explore all the best that Anguilla has to offer -- including what lies beneath the surface of the sea. Snorkeling is amazing in this area of the island, so pick up your snorkeling kit here before you drive off. They are found in the southwestern part of Anguilla.

Another place that offers snorkeling related services is Calypso Charter's Snorkeling. Four hours of snorkeling will take you to destinations such as Dog Island, Prickly Pear, Sandy Island, Little Bay or Scilly Cay. Snorkeling equipment is available upon request as well as cold beverages.

A third place to consider is Nature Boy Charters Snorkeling. Leave your vacation fun up to Nature Boy, who will take you to a favorite snorkeling spot just off Anguilla; the Prickly Pear Cays. They're located in the northern part of Anguilla.

Review the table below for a listing of 4 companies that offer snorkeling related services.

Snorkeling Services On Anguilla
Name Type Phone Location
Andy's Beach Rentals Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (264) 584-7010 0.4 mi. South of Central Blowing Point
Calypso Charter's Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (264) 584-8504 0.4 mi. South of Central Blowing Point
Nature Boy Charters Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (264) 729-5587 Northern part of Anguilla
Shoal Bay Scuba Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (264) 235-1482 Sandy Ground Village, Central Anguilla

To learn more concerning snorkeling, including helpful suggestions and tips for both "old pros" and beginners, read this extensive Caribbean snorkeling article.

No matter where you stay on the island of Anguilla, you are just moments away from some of the best snorkeling in the region.  Rent equipment or bring your own, just make sure you make time to get out and see what mysteries the sea has in store for you.

 

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