Snorkeling Around Castries

Although Castries itself may not be highly recommended as a destination for snorkeling on St. Lucia, tourists planning their getaway here don't have to worry – there are plenty of top snorkeling sites within easy reach.

The thing about Castries is that looks can be deceiving.  Hotels and resorts line the beaches, and from the shore conditions look great.  Visibility is often between 25 and upwards of 100 feet and water temperatures are never lower than the upper-70s in degrees Fahrenheit, while the surf generally remains calm and inviting.  You can certainly grab your snorkeling gear and head out into the waters of any beach in this town and not be bothered.  The problem is, the underwater landscape is less than thrilling.  Sure, you'll probably see a few rays hiding in the sandy bottoms, but the true sites to be seen are best accessed by boat.

Many of the island's best snorkeling sites are about 20 to 30 minutes away by boat.  You can access them by participating in a sailing boat charter, as many captains are happy to stop and let their guests do a bit of snorkeling.  There are also tour guides that specialize specifically in taking their guests to the top snorkeling destinations including the Coral Gardens and Anse Cochon.  One of the more popular options is to hook up with your local dive center.  Most allow snorkelers to travel along with them as they take divers out – that is, if they don't offer a snorkel-specific tour of their own. 

When you do make it out to the gorgeous underwater sites, you'll be treated to several different colorful and shapely species of coral that form into healthy reef systems dotted with sponges and sea fans.  Clownfish, parrotfish, barracudas, seahorses, eels, stingrays, and even sea turtles can be seen in these areas. 

Snorkeling Boat Trips

Barefoot Holidays

For some people, the most enjoyable snorkeling is located off shore.

If you'd like to snorkel during a boat trip, you might want to check with Barefoot Holidays. Barefoot Holidays offers half day, full day, and evening excursions, as well as tours from hotels in Vieux Fort and Soufriere. These include both land and sea activities, most notably island tours, day sails, and whale watching.

Another option worth investigating is Carnival Sailing. Four custom designed catamarans make up the fleet of this highly acclaimed sailing tour group. In past years they have won not only the Best Leisure Award and the Best Coastal Cruise Award, but they are known for their return customers and ability to cater to every occasion. They're located within Bisse.

Take a minute to read this table for details on day sails and boat trips that offer snorkeling.

Day Sails and Boat Trips In Castries
Name Phone Location
Barefoot Holidays (758) 450-0507 Downtown Castries
Carnival Sailing (758) 452-5586 Bisse

Snorkeling Services

If you looking for a business offering snorkeling gear, excursions or similar services, you can check with Dive Fair Helen. Depending on the day, the conditions, and your preferences, they will usually take their snorkeling tours to Soufriere, Anse Cochon, the Pitons, or Anse Chastanet. They are found in downtown Castries.

A second company that offers snorkeling related services is Eastern Caribbean Diving. In addition to participating in snorkeling courses or signing up for an excursion, you can purchase National Geographic Snorkel gear from this shop.

A third option is Scuba Steve's Diving. Daily snorkeling trips leave at 9:00 a.m. and last four to fie hours. They're found in Gros Islet, easily reached by taxi North-Northeast of central Castries.

Some information about 4 firms that offer snorkeling related services are summarized down below.

Snorkeling Services In And Around Castries
Name Type Phone Location
Dive Fair Helen Snorkeling Tour Operator (758) 451-7716 Downtown Castries
Eastern Caribbean Diving Snorkeling Tour Operator (758) 453-3483 La Brelotte Bay, 3.6 mi. North-Northeast of Central Castries
Saluna Watersports Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (758) 727-0009 5.3 mi. North-Northeast of Central Castries
Scuba Steve's Diving Snorkeling Tour Operator (758) 450-9433 Gros Islet, 5.5 mi. North-Northeast of Central Castries

For more information about snorkeling, including suggestions and helpful tips for both "old pros" and beginners, check out our comprehensive Caribbean snorkeling article.

By now, you're surely intrigued by the possibility of snorkeling during your Castries vacation.  A great way to begin is to book your snorkeling excursion in advance of your trip so that you can ensure you have time to spend participating in the sport – and you may just find a good deal waiting for you if you book early. 


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