Where Are the Best Snorkelling Spots in Antigua?

Known for its glorious reefs and tropical waters, Antigua has some really incredible snorkelling spots to discover
Known for its glorious reefs and tropical waters, Antigua has some really incredible snorkelling spots to discover | © Jeremy Graham / Alamy Stock Photo
Michael Karam

The Caribbean island of Antigua is a year-round paradise for snorkellers to explore the reefs and shipwrecks scattered across the seabed. Spot hawksbill turtles and reef sharks while swimming through the tropical waters. It’s also a vibrant yachting hub, so why not climb aboard your own boat for the day and explore these hidden sites?

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Galleon Beach in English Harbour

The beautiful Galleon Beach by English Harbour on the Antilles islands in the Caribbean West Indies

Due to its proximity to English Harbour, Galleon Beach – with its shallow wrecks and coral reefs – makes for a popular snorkelling spot for all skill levels and ages. Catch stingrays and barracuda swimming between the coral and head to the nearby Pillars of Hercules, dramatic, cylindrical rock formations carved into the cliffs. The water is particularly clear here and can be reached by boat or on foot. Nearby Shirley Heights – venue of Sunday evening rum punch parties – is worth climbing, if only for the panoramic view.

Deep Bay in Five Islands Village

An aerial view of Deep Bay and residence buildings in Antigua

Despite its undeniable beauty and proximity to St Johns, Deep Bay – which is actually only 9m (29.5ft) deep – has somehow avoided celebrity status. Quite a feat when you consider that it is also home to the wreck of the Andes, a three-masted steel merchant ship, which caught fire and sank in the bay 1905. It now shelters stingrays, turtles and other marine life. Afterwards, enjoy the hike up to Fort Barrington – it offers spectacular views.

Cades Bay near Urlings

Cades Bay – in the southwest of the islands – is considered one of the finest areas to snorkel in the whole Caribbean. Its warm waters are home to a vast pink coral reef, nursed by a gentle current – which extends for about 1.8mi (3km) out to sea. Antigua’s biggest reef is home to a profusion of marine life including barracudas, nurse sharks, moray eels, lobsters and parrotfish – the best way to get here is by boat as there is no easy beach access.

Pigeon Point in English Harbour

A sandy beach and shoreline at Pigeon Point on English Harbour with moored sailing boats, Antigua and Barbuda

A short walk from English Harbour, Pigeon Point is popular with both yachties and Antiguans. The beach is rarely busy compared to the others on Antigua, although you might find the odd enthusiastic game of beach cricket taking place. The shallow water is ideal for kids and novice snorkellers. Bring your mask and you’ll likely spy bright sea fans and trumpet fish under the glistening surface.

Half Moon Bay near Freetown

A beautiful, unspoilt, sandy beach and turquoise sea in Half Moon Bay, Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda, West Indies

Situated on the windward southeast coast, Half Moon Bay is a quiet, crescent-shaped beach where you can spot pufferfish, barracuda and plenty of tang, just 20ft (6m) from the shore. However, due to its position on the southeast coast, it’s exposed to the prevailing wind – so check the conditions before you go as it can get choppy. Fuel up after at the Beach Bum Bar and Cafe where they serve fresh mahi-mahi and ice cold beers.

Long Bay near Devil’s Bridge National Park

A view of Long Bay and Beach in Antigua, West Indies, Caribbean, Central America

The popular and often crowded Long Bay is set on a north-facing bay on the east of Antigua. It’s perfect for those cutting their snorkelling teeth or young families as the waters are shallow and calm, so you can wade out to the plentiful reefs. Even non-swimmers can have a quick glance at the parrotfish and moray eels below. Head right and swim close to the rocks for the best chance of spotting them.

Dickenson Bay off Anchorage Road

A person walks along Dickenson Bay Beach in North Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda, West Indies

Dickenson Bay is in the leeward north of the island, just beyond St Johns. It’s a full-on tourist destination so don’t expect a wild, crowd-free expanse here. There are plenty of beach bars and restaurants, including Bayside and Ana’s on the Beach – while loungers, parasols and watersports equipment can be rented. Hire a yacht for access to the best snorkelling spots – head over to Paradise Reef and its nearby inhibited islets where you’ll find yellowtail snappers, needlefish and elkhorn coral.

Snorkel the best sites in the Bahamas and explore uninhabited islands, by booking our premium Sailing Trip to Nassau.

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