Snorkeling Around The Valley

Photo credit: ©Vanes Luciani
 

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. 

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 ready to explore below the water's surface you should consider a visit to 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 situated in Prickely Pear Cays, in the western part of Anguilla.

Sandy Hill is another place 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 location 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 location 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're interested, this site is located 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 more information on the 13 of the best places to enjoy 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 experienced away from the shore.

If you're ready to go snorkeling during a boating adventure, you might want to check with Junior's Glass Bottom Boat. If you're feeling lucky, head down to Shoal Bay East and ask for Junior before 8:00 a.m. Sunday through Friday and see if he is available to take you out for a day of sailing, fishing, or snorkeling on his glass bottom boat.

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 good option is Sea Pro Charters. Offering safe, comfortable, and reliable service for private boat charters, watersports tours, and an all around good times, these local captains have over 20 years of experience and really know their way around the waters between Anguilla, St. Martin, and St. Barths.

Some details about day sails and boat trips that offer snorkeling can be found here:

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 looking for a business that offers snorkeling gear, excursions or similar 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 located within the southwestern part of Anguilla.

A few details with regard to 5 companies that offer snorkeling services are displayed in the chart below.

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 Anguilla
Shoal Bay Scuba Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (264) 235-1482 Sandy Ground Village, Central Anguilla
Skyline Snorkeling Rentals Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (264) 497-8644 1.9 mi. South West of Central Meads Bay

For more information about snorkeling, including helpful suggestions and tips for beginners and "pros" read our extensive guide to snorkeling in the Caribbean.

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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