Snorkeling Around New Providence Island

Photo credit: © Li Newton

Home to some of the top tourist spots in the Bahamas, New Providence Island is popular for a reason.  One of those reasons is that the waters that surround the island are home to some of the foremost snorkeling reefs in the world.

Pick your pleasure; whatever your snorkeling passion is, you'll find something to satisfy you in these waters.  There are both natural and manmade reefs, reefs accessible from the beach and others that require a boat; plus wreck sites, and more.  If you've been snorkeling before and feel confident in your skills, you can plan to map out the spots you want to see and go it alone, or you can hire one of the many local snorkeling tour guides that are knowledgeable and amiable.

If you do plan to take matters into your own hands, know that there are two different sites that come very highly recommended by the experts: the Goulding Cay Reefs, just off New Providence Island; and the Rose Island Reef which is home to the Alcora freighter wreck site which was purposely sunk by the government in 1983.  These aren't the only options, of course, and you can learn more about what is available to you below.

Snorkeling Sites

If you want to experience below the water's surface you might enjoy Rose Island West End Beach. Considered one of the top Nassau snorkeling sites, this reef is shallow, overrun by reef fish, and it is even home to not one, but two different shipwrecks. These wrecks are the Mahoney and the Alcora, and both can be visited by snorkelers as well as scuba divers. This snorkeling site is located within eastern New Providence Island.

Love Beach is another place you might enjoy. Set in 40 acres of protected underwater reserve, this is technically a spot reserved for locals; however, respectful visitors should have no problem accessing the reef as well. The reef abounds with local sea life, including spiny sea urchins bigger than any you've every seen before, angelfish, damselfish, snapper, butterfly fish, parrotfish, and brain coral. Do be warned that lion fish also frequent this area, and should be avoided as they are venomous.

A third place to consider is Lyford Cay Beach. Often visited by groups participating in a tour, Little Elvis is best known for its fire coral and abundance of eels snaking their way in an out of the reef structure.

A fourth location where you can go snorkeling is Flipper Beach. Home to a wreck site that was purposely sunk for the movie Jaws IV, this site is popular among snorkelers for its shallow reef and abundant amount of stingrays as well. If you want to check it out, you'll find this site located in the western part of New Providence Island.

Atlantis Lagoons is a fifth site to consider. The lagoons at this popular resort are the man-made site with purposely sunken artifacts and colorful fish brought in to create a snorkeling opportunity for guests. It is ideal for those new to the sport as well as young children, but in truth there is not much for an experienced snorkeler to see.

The chart just below enables you to learn some key facts concerning 8 of the most popular locations to experience snorkeling in this area.

Snorkeling Sites Near New Providence Island
Site Location Island
Rose Island West End Beach 6.7 mi. East of Central downtown Nassau
Love Beach 0.9 mi. Northeast of Central Gambier New Providence
Lyford Cay Beach 3.4 mi. South West of Central Gambier New Providence
Flipper Beach 1.1 mi. South West of Central Clifton Bay New Providence
Atlantis Lagoons 1.4 mi. East-Northeast of Downtown Nassau New Providence
Fish Hotel 6.9 mi. Northeast of Central Nassau New Providence
Barracuda Shoals 1.7 mi. West of Central Olde Town Sandyport New Providence
Caribe Breeze Wreck 5.8 mi. South-Southwest of Central Gambier New Providence

Snorkeling Boat Trips

Sandy Toes

Some people believe the best snorkeling is located off shore.

If you want to snorkel during a boat trip, you might want to contact Sunshine Cruises. Take a gentle day cruise out into the Bahamian waters and look down through the glass flow at the fish below. This unique boat lets you see directly under the crystal clear water without keeping wet, though nothing is stopping you from jumping into the water, so you have that choice to.

Another option worth investigating is Barefoot Sailing Cruises. Snorkeling and sailing are Barefoot Sailing Cruises' specialty, and their crew assures you will have an unforgettable experience unlike any other in the Bahamas. They're located in Nassau, New Providence Island.

A third option is Sandy Toes. This full day excursion includes the boat ride and harbor tour to and from the island, buffet lunch of local cuisine, complimentary drinks, a snorkeling tour, a visit to the hammock garden, and beach games and activities. You can also add on a massage on the beach, kayak and tube rentals, and alcoholic beverages.

A few details regarding boat trips and day sails that provide snorkeling are displayed in the chart below.

Day Sails and Boat Trips On New Providence Island
Name Phone Location Island
Barefoot Sailing Cruises (242) 393-0820 0.8 mi. East of Downtown Nassau New Providence
Flying Cloud (242) 394-5067 1.3 mi. East of Downtown Nassau New Providence
Party Cat Cruises (954) 727-5339 1.9 mi. East of Downtown Nassau New Providence
Sandy Toes (242) 363-8637 8.6 mi. East-Northeast of Central Nassau Rose Island
Seaworld Explorer (242) 356-2548 Downtown Nassau New Providence
Stuart's Cove's Snorkel Bahamas (800) 879-9832 Downtown Nassau New Providence
Sunshine Cruises (242) 327-5122 Downtown Nassau New Providence

Snorkeling Services

Stuart's Cove's Snorkel Bahamas

If you're looking for a place offering snorkel rentals, excursions, or similar services, you should check out Stuart's Cove's Snorkel Bahamas. Considered to be some of the leading experts in Nassau's coral reef systems, this favored tour company invites you to plan your next snorkeling adventure with them. They are located in downtown Nassau.

Some details concerning a firm that offers services of interest to snorkelers is listed directly below.

Snorkeling Services On New Providence Island
Name Type Phone Location Island
Stuart's Cove's Snorkel Bahamas Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (800) 879-9832 Downtown Nassau New Providence

For more information concerning snorkeling, including helpful suggestions and tips for beginners and "pros" check out this extensive Caribbean snorkeling page.

Snorkeling is fun, educational, and awe-inspiring all at once.  What more could you ask for in an activity?  Consider this as you plan your time on New Providence Island. 


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