Snorkeling Around St. Johns

A major port and the capital city of Antigua and Barbuda, St. Johns is a coastal destination that one might expect is prime for watersports.  Although anyone who is willing can find space to participate in these water based activities, if you're looking for the best snorkeling on the island, you'll do best to seek it out just north of town.

Dickenson Bay and the more secluded Hawksbill Beach are great for easy shore snorkeling, and both are directly north of town.  You can rent equipment at nearby hotels or watersports operations then head to the shore and give it a go.  

Most would recommend, however, that you sign up for a guided snorkeling tour.  There are several that operate out of the harbor in St. Johns and offer full days of fun centered on snorkeling.  The best ones will take you about an hour away by boat to Cades Reef which is just offshore the southwest coast and overrun with soft corals, barracudas, moray eels, and much more, as it stretches about two miles long.   

It is this destination and many more that are indicative of what it is that makes snorkeling such a popular and important pastime.  Here, the visibility ranges up to 140 feet deep, and the waters are an ideal 80 degrees Fahrenheit on any average day, plus the current is unnoticeable.  In a sport that already promotes a peaceful, almost meditative state, not having to worry about weather or poor water conditions makes it that much more serene.  

Snorkeling Sites

If you want to experience what's below the surface you might want to check out Deep Bay. The final resting place of a ship that wrecked in 1905 when it caught fire and sank, it now rests at a depth of only 35 feet, making it more than accessible to divers and snorkelers alike. Since its sinking, the wreck as become a popular habitat for sponges, as well as countless small fish. This snorkeling site is located in Five Islands, a short distance away West of central St. Johns.

Some details concerning 4 of the best locations to enjoy snorkeling in this area are listed in the following table.

Snorkeling Sites Near St. Johns
Site Location Island
Deep Bay Five Islands, 2.8 mi. West of Central St. Johns Antigua
Dickenson Bay Dickenson Bay, 3.0 mi. North of Central St. Johns Antigua
Hawksbill Bay Five Islands, 3.6 mi. West of Central St. Johns Antigua
Prickly Pear Island Prickly Pear Island, 4.9 mi. Northeast of Central St. Johns Prickly Pear Island

Snorkeling Boat Trips

For some people, the best snorkeling is experienced away from the shore.

If you're hoping to combine some snorkeling with a boating adventure, you should consider Treasure Island Cruises. There are four different excursions offered by Treasure Island on any given day: Cades Reef on Tuesday, Circumnavigation and Land & Sea on Wednesdays, and Bird Island on Thursday.

Information about the opportunity to take a boat ride that includes snorkeling are displayed here:

Day Sails and Boat Trips In St. Johns
Name Type Phone Location Island
Treasure Island Cruises Boating and Day-Sailing Provider (268) 461-8675 Downtown St. John's Antigua

Snorkeling Services

If you looking for a place that offers snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other services, you can check with AquaSports Jolly Harbour. AquaSports specializes in all things watersports. You will find everything from T-Shirts and Beach Towels to technical equipment for diving. They are located in Jolly Harbour, easily reached by taxi South West of central St. Johns.

Another company catering to snorkelers is AquaSports St. John. A shop that began in 1994 mainly selling snorkeling and fishing equipment is now the number one shop on the entire island for watersports equipment with two locations. In addition to offering fishing and water sports equipment and snorkeling kits for sale, you can sign up with one of their knowledgeable guides for a tour of some of Antigua's best snorkeling and dive sites.

A third company worth contacting is Stingray City. See the stingrays of Antigua up close in this tropical snorkeling adventure. They're situated in the heart of St. Johns.

A few details concerning 4 firms that provide snorkeling related services are provided in the table below.

Snorkeling Services In And Around St. Johns
Name Type Phone Location
AquaSports Jolly Harbour Watersports Equipment Shop (268) 462-3474 Jolly Harbour, 4.6 mi. South West of Central St. Johns
AquaSports St. John Watersports Equipment Shop (268) 462-3474 Downtown St. John's
Life's A Beach Snorkeling Tour Operator (268) 784-1406 Freeman's Village, 4.3 mi. Southeast of Central St. Johns
Stingray City Snorkeling Tour Operator (268) 562-7297 Downtown St. John's

For more information about snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for beginners and "pros" check out our detailed Caribbean snorkeling page.

While you may have to make plans to head out of town to find the island's best snorkeling, those planning a vacation in St. Johns should not discount the possibility of participating in the sport.  Here, it never takes much work to make your way below the surface of the sea.  


Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.