Snorkeling Around Tobago

Photo credit © Frankie Tours & Rentals

While watersports are popular on Tobago across the board, snorkeling outranks them all thanks to the great conditions and beautiful underwater landscape that visitors just can't seem to get enough of.  Tourists visiting Trinidad will even often make a day trip over to Tobago specifically to get in some snorkeling.

Shallow reefs surround the island, making it easy to pick a beach, break out your snorkeling kit, and swim out to explore the colorful and healthy coral, of which there are over 300 different species in Tobago's waters.  Within these reef systems, numerous different types of marine life make their home, including trumpetfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, yellowtail snappers, and so much more.  

You'll find the best snorkeling from the shore tends to be off Speyside on the Northeast side of the island and Nylon Pool. Another great location is Buccoo Reef, just off the southwest coast.  Steer clear of the Atlantic coast.  Although beautiful and great for other watersports, these waters are rocky and rough and can be dangerous for snorkelers. 

In addition to snorkeling from the shore, there are also several magnificent sites that can only be accessed by boat.  These include the reefs off Little Tobago and Goat Island, and several tour guides and boat charters make daily trips here so you shouldn't have any trouble hitching a ride to get in some offshore underwater exploration.  

Snorkeling Sites

If you want to explore what's below the surface you might enjoy Buccoo Reef. The reef here is located in a protected marine park between Pigeon Point and Buccoo Point. It is one of the largest coral reef systems in the Western Hemisphere, and despite its protected status has been damaged over the years by many glass bottom boat tours and snorkeler who don't quite know how to handle the reef. This snorkeling site is located in the western part of Tobago.

Mt. Irvine Bay is another snorkeling spot you might enjoy. This spot is best for advanced snorkelers because of the current, but if you have the skills you'll be able to experience a bright and vibrant world of marine life.

A third location to consider is Arnos Vale Bay. There are two levels of snorkeling possible here. The first is right off the beach that is fine for new snorkelers and swimmers who aren't very skilled. You can head out of the bay to reach some coral reef as well, and here you will see barracuda and spiny sea urchins, but you must be a decent swimmer to deal with the current.

A fourth location where you can go snorkeling is Canoe Bay. Because it is located on the Atlantic side of the island, there does tend to be a bit of drift here, so weak swimmers may want to avoid it. Otherwise, the reef ranges in depths from 18 to 45 feet and is home to snapper, parrotfish, French angelfish, porcupine fish, pork fish, Bermudan chub, stingrays, turtles, and nurse sharks. If you want to experience it for yourself, this site is found in the southwestern part of Tobago.

Columbus Point is a fifth site to consider. This site, which ranges in depth from 30 to 85 feet, is only recommended for strong swimmers because of the currents, but those who can take the waters are rewarded with sites of fire corals, sea rods, brain corals, sea fans, sea fingers. In this spectacle of colors in shapes groupers, snappers, spiny lobsters, morays, turtles, and bright fish make their home.

Some details concerning 18 of the most popular places to go snorkeling in this area are listed right below.

Snorkeling Sites Near Tobago
Site Location
Buccoo Reef 2.0 mi. West of Central Mt. Irvine
Mt. Irvine Bay 0.3 mi. West of Central Mt. Irvine
Arnos Vale Bay 4.0 mi. Northwest of Central downtown Scarborough
Canoe Bay 1.3 mi. Southeast of Central Bon Accord
Columbus Point 2.2 mi. Southeast of Central Bon Accord
Buccoo Bay 1.7 mi. North-Northeast of Central Bon Accord
Store Bay 0.9 mi. West of Central Bon Accord
Coconut Bay 1.0 mi. West of Central Bon Accord
Back Bay 0.4 mi. North of Central Mt. Irvine
Culloden Bay 1.5 mi. North-Northwest of Central Coopers Town
King Peter's Bay Beach 2.7 mi. North-Northwest of Central Mason Hall
Man O' War Bay 1.1 mi. West of Central Charlotteville
Pirates Bay 0.6 mi. North-Northwest of Central Charlotteville
Angel Reef 1.9 mi. East of Central Speyside
Bacolet Bay Beach 1.2 mi. Southeast of Downtown Scarborough
Castara Bay Castara, Central Tobago
Englishman's Bay 1.4 mi. Northeast of Central Castara
Bon Accord Lagoon 0.8 mi. North of Central Bon Accord

Snorkeling Boat Trips

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

If you'd like to combine some snorkeling with a boating adventure, you should consider Pops Tours Tobago. Family owned and operated, Pops Tours Tobago has a reputation of having the most reliable crews on Tobago. Their tailor-made itineraries and tours are perfect for private group outings on the Caribbean Sea.

Another option worth investigating is Yacht Pleasures Company Limited. Captain Markus Grundmann of Yacht Pleasures Company Limited has over 25 years of sailing experience, and his favorite pastime is sharing his passion for sailing with others. He is happy to show you the beauty of Trinidad and Tobago on board his 42' Catamaran, Picante. They're located within Crown Point, in western Tobago.

Still another option is Tobago Princess. Trips to secluded beaches, scenic coastal views, and snorkeling adventures are in store for those who choose to travel aboard Tobago Princess.

Take a moment to look through the following table to see boat trips and day sails that provide snorkeling.

Day Sails and Boat Trips On Tobago
Name Phone Location
Coco Motion (868) 639-2449 0.4 mi. North of Central Mt. Irvine
Island Girl Catamaran (868) 639-7245 0.3 mi. North of Central Mt. Irvine
Pops Tours Tobago (868) 738-8226 1.0 mi. South West of Central Mt. Irvine
Tobago Princess (868) 639-4221 Mt. Irvine, Western part of Tobago
Tour Tobago (868) 639-8844 1.4 mi. Northwest of Central Bon Accord
Yacht Pleasures Company Limited (866) 620-4750 1.0 mi. West-Southwest of Central Bon Accord

Snorkeling Services

If you're looking for a place that offers snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other services, you might want to contact Pops Tours Tobago Snorkeling. You'll be taken by boat to the famous Bucoo Reef (the "Coral Garden") which features many different colorful species, including butterfly fish, blue tang, angel fish, bluehead, filefish and parrot fish. You might also be fortunate enough to site some sea turtles and sting rays. They are located in Buccoo, in the western part of Tobago.

A second place that offers snorkeling related services is R&Sea Diver's Company. While this is a dive center that focuses on training scuba divers and taking them out on excursions, they also offer snorkelers the chance to rent out gear so they can explore as well.

A third place to consider is Undersea Tobago. In addition to offering guests the chance to rent their snorkeling gear and head out on their own, they also have a one hour snorkeling trip to Buccoo Reef. They're located in downtown Scarborough.

The chart just below provides information concerning 5 companies that provide services related to snorkeling.

Snorkeling Services On Tobago
Name Type Phone Location
Pops Tours Tobago Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (868) 738-8226 1.0 mi. South West of Central Mt. Irvine
R&Sea Diver's Company Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (868) 639-8120 1.0 mi. West-Southwest of Central Bon Accord
Tobago Dive Experience Snorkeling Tour Operator (868) 660-4888 0.3 mi. North-Northeast of Central Speyside
Undersea Tobago Snorkeling Tour Operator (868) 631-2626 Downtown Scarborough
Zoe Snorkeling Charter Snorkeling Tour Operator (868) 639-1710 Downtown Scarborough

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

If there is one activity you should make sure you participate in when you visit Tobago, snorkeling is it.  Great conditions and gorgeous scenery will have you addicted in no time, and create memories that you'll cherish for a lifetime. 


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