Snorkeling Around Barbados

Photo Credit: © Ben Ramirez CC BY

The calm waters along the western coastline of Barbados are perfect for snorkeling, so you don't have to go far beneath the waves to explore the amazing ocean terrain that is home to unique ocean life such as flat coral reefs, sea fans, barrel sponges, an array of tropical fish species, and much more.


One of the best things about snorkeling around Barbados is that it is possible to do it without the help of a guide.  Most beaches have the clear, calm waters that snorkelers look for when choosing a spot, but amazingly, there are also numerous wreck sites around the island that are accessible from shore.  The island has even gone a step further and marked these locations with buoys to make them easier to find. 

Keeping this in mind, many visitors choose still to put their faith in a local tour guide.  These tour operators are plentiful and truly know the waters that surround their home, promising to take visitors to the top sites, all the while offering extras like private beach barbecues, and of course incorporating the cost of your equipment into their rates.  You can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $100(USD) per person for such a service.

But, what will you expect to see when you dip your head below the surface of the sea?  Sting rays, manta rays, eels, barracuda, sea turtles, and numerous other colorful reef fish make their homes in the local reef system, which is a site to see all on its own, with bright and strong coral, sponges, and sea grass creating a kingdom in the sea. 

Snorkeling Sites

If you're ready to explore below the water's surface you might want to visit Brighton Beach. One of the prime snorkeling spots around the island, this beach is home to natural pools, coral reefs, and is also a nesting site for sea turtles. Depending on the time of the year, you should have no problem seeing a plethora of tropical fish, juvenile sea turtles, and sea urchins along the floor. This snorkeling site is located within Bridgetown, in the southwestern part of Barbados.

Paynes Bay Beach is another option. One of the many options at this popular spot is snorkeling thanks to its many tropical fish, as well as the fact that it is one of the best spots to sight a sea turtle.

A third location to consider is Holetown Beach. The calm waters just off Holetown Beach make for a great snorkeling destination. Those that head out will be able to explore an underwater ecosystem of coral, fish, and even sea turtles. Make sure to stop by if you have the chance.

A fourth location where you can go snorkeling is Folkstone Marine Park. This marine park is a great spot for anyone looking to explore the natural side of the Caribbean. The sandy reef is home to a variety of wildlife, including coral and tropical fish. If you want to experience it for yourself, you'll find this site found within Holetown, in the western part of Barbados.

Batts Rock Beach is a fifth option to consider. With areas of calm and rough water, Batts Rock Beach is a good spot for a diverse skill level. However, while you will surely catch a glimpse of some native fish while snorkeling, the beach is more popular for other activities.

Some key information about 13 of the most popular places to go snorkeling in this area are listed directly below.

Snorkeling Sites Near Barbados
Site Location
Brighton Beach 1.9 mi. Northwest of Downtown Bridgetown
Paynes Bay Beach 1.4 mi. South of Central Holetown
Boot 3.7 mi. Southeast of Central Bridgetown
Holetown Beach 1.3 mi. North of Central Holetown
Folkstone Marine Park 0.5 mi. North-Northwest of Central Holetown
Batts Rock Beach 2.7 mi. North-Northwest of Central Bridgetown
Heywoods Beach 0.7 mi. North of Central Speightstown
Carlisle Bay Downtown Bridgetown
Drill Hall Beach 1.5 mi. South-Southeast of Downtown Bridgetown
Pamir 1.0 mi. Northwest of Central Speightstown
Mullins Beach 1.1 mi. South of Central Speightstown
Asta Reef 1.8 mi. South-Southeast of Downtown Bridgetown
Accra Reef 2.8 mi. Southeast of Central Bridgetown

Snorkeling Boat Trips

Some people believe the best snorkeling is accessed away from the shore.

If you're ready to go snorkeling during a boat trip, you might want to check with El Tigre Cruises. El Tigre has three main cruises for you to enjoy yourself on. For a full day event, you may want to look at the five hour lunch cruise, where you will swim in the ocean and relax in the sun.

Another option to investigate is Small Cats Catamaran Sailing Cruises. Go on a personalized day trip out into the ocean on board a small, but stable, catamaran with Small Cats Sailing Cruises. The experienced crew will make sure that all your needs are taken care of and that you you have a good time. They're found within downtown Bridgetown.

Still another option is Cool Runnings. Take sail and head to some of the most remote beaches around Barbados. Cool Runnings' Catamarans specialize in a gentle trip through the waters to tropical beaches, crystal water, and warm sand.

Check this table to read more about boat trips and day sails that provide snorkeling opportunities.

Day Sails and Boat Trips On Barbados
Name Phone Location
Barbados Sailing (246) 262-3792 Barbados
Black Pearl Party Cruise (246) 826-7245 Downtown Bridgetown
Cool Runnings (246) 436-0911 Downtown Bridgetown
El Tigre Cruises (246) 417-7245 Downtown Bridgetown
Elegance Catamaran Cruises (246) 830-4218 Bridgetown
Jammin' Catamaran Cruise (246) 422-1152 Downtown Bridgetown
Silver Moon (246) 435-5285 0.9 mi. Northwest of Downtown Bridgetown
Small Cats Catamaran Sailing Cruises (246) 421-6419 Downtown Bridgetown
Tiami Catamaran Cruises -- Bridgetown

Snorkeling Services

If you looking for a business that offers snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other services, you might want to check with Barbados Blue Snorkeling. PADI certification courses, daily scuba diving excursions, and snorkeling trips are all a part of a typical day at this dive center. They are located in downtown Bridgetown.

A second place worth knowing about is Good Times Snorkeling Cruises. If you enjoy snorkeling, a great option is to charter the 42 foot Good Times Catamaran -- or join one of their regularly scheduled day cruises which feature snorkeling.

A third option is Roger's Watersports Centre. If you've got a fried or relative who plans on doing some scuba diving, sign up with this dive operation that is happy to let friends tag along to do some snorkeling. They're located within downtown Bridgetown.

Information with regard to 6 companies that offer snorkeling related services are provided down below.

Snorkeling Services On Barbados
Name Type Phone Location
Barbados Blue Snorkeling Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (246) 434-5764 Downtown Bridgetown
Good Times Snorkeling Cruises Snorkeling Tour Operator (246) 422-1900 0.1 mi. North of Central Holetown
Hazell's Water World Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (246) 426-4043 0.7 mi. Southeast of Downtown Bridgetown
Roger's Watersports Centre Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (246) 436-3483 Downtown Bridgetown
Westwater Adventures Snorkeling Tour Operator (246) 421-6008 0.5 mi. North-Northwest of Central Holetown
Zed's Snorkeling Trips Snorkeling Tour Operator (246) 428-7873 1.0 mi. East of Central Atlantic Shores

To learn more concerning snorkeling, including helpful suggestions and tips for beginners and "pros" check out our comprehensive Caribbean snorkeling article.

No matter where you're staying during your visit to Barbados, there will be an opportunity for you to get in some snorkeling.  Check with your hotel and inquire about free equipment (many properties offer this extra), find out where the best rental prices are, participate in a tour, or bring your equipment from home.  However you manage to pull it off, know that you will not be disappointed by this sport in Barbados. 


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