Towering mountains, a multitude of beaches, the possibility of seeing exotic marine life and shipwrecks up close, coral of all varieties, and the clearest, bluest seas… all of these absolutely good reasons to go snorkeling in Saint Lucia.
This island is surely one of those you would perhaps have seen a picture of in a magazine, and ripped it out to save for that moment where you’d be in a position to get away for the ultimate adventure. Perhaps that moment is now, and maybe… quite likely, you’ll soon dip into one of the most amazing beaches in Saint Lucia, an island known and loved for great diving.
But… before you get there, there are questions. Maybe you want to know about the best things to do in Saint Lucia, where to stay for an amazing all-inclusive vacation in Saint Lucia, and what snorkeling on this island is really like.
In this post, we’ll touch on some of the most ideal spots for snorkeling in Saint Lucia, the best time to go, and where to stay for an unforgettable island getaway.
Saint Lucia is a mountainous island that is volcanic in nature. It is most known for its beautiful beaches, lush vegetation, captivating waterfalls, and landmarks like The Pitons — the twin mountains on the west coast between the communities of Soufriere and Choiseul. Not only are these mountains jointly a World Heritage Site but they are the backdrop of some of the most amazing dive and snorkel sites in Saint Lucia, most of which are located in the south of this island.
The appeal of the Pitons does not end where the waters begin; divers can spot all kinds of marine life swimming at the base of the Pitons where they have made their home. Under water, the Pitons are in and of themselves part of a dynamic ocean ecosystem that includes a variety of hard and soft corals near shore and further off that any diver to the island can explore.
Even without heading too far out snorkelers in Saint Lucia can explore the soft coral gardens filled with fan, plumes, colorful sponges, and lots of sea life including squid, sea turtles, eels, tropical fish, and so much more. Many snorkeling spots in Saint Lucia aren’t too far from Castries, the capital of Saint Lucia, so you can expect to tick quite a few off your list while on the island.
Although some of the top snorkeling sites can be found in the south, the best beaches and resorts can be found in the north of Saint Lucia, and from there, you’ll easily be able to make your way to the south by either a scenic drive or by boat.
Reduit beach is one of the great snorkeling spots located in the north of Saint Lucia, in the Rodney Bay area. There are parts of this beach that are interesting to snorkel, but those areas would largely be away from the main bathing area, and further out to sea.
The water on this beach is calm and clear most of the time and ideal for beginners. If you choose the right spot to snorkel here you can see many types of fish, crabs, and eels. Reduit Beach is extensive, and nice for strolling any time of day. There’s also lots of restaurants, shops and bars in the Rodney Bay area so you’ll be able to spend the entire day here if you’d like.
Spinnakers Restaurant on the beach is a good option if you’re looking for a quick bite.
Insider tip: Check out these snorkeling tips for beginners that’ll help you feel more comfortable as you explore Saint Lucia’s waters.
Marigot Bay is simply mesmerizing and chances are once you go there you simply won’t be able to get enough. This snorkeling spot, just like Reduit Beach, is also located to the northern end of Saint Lucia, just about 15 minutes from Castries.
There are several beaches in the Marigot area but the most popular is the beach you can access by way of ferry service. Once you drive into the Marigot area and make your way to the ferry pick up point or are taken there via a tour, you’ll be able to hop on the ferry for a small fee and get straight to the beach.
Marigot Beach is shallow and great for snorkelers who are just starting off. There’s good visibility on most days. Around the coral reef in Marigot Bay snorkelers often come face to face with sea horses. Offshore there’s even more to see in the waters of Marigot Bay particularly on the outer edges of the bay.
Smugglers Cove is a small and relatively secluded beach in the north of Saint Lucia. You’ll need to drive to an area known as Cap Estate to get there, and it’s a good idea to ensure you understand the directions before you go.
At this beach you’ll be able to get into some snorkeling fun in a safe place. You won’t even have to get too far out in the water to get the best experience, as sometimes sea turtles and a variety of tropical fish can be spotted near the shore.
Snorkeling on this beach gets more exciting though if you do decide to venture out with a boat. Some of the sea life you’re likely to come across while diving here include flying gurnard, lobster, and large trumpet fish. Many of these creatures live in the trenches and shelves along the seafloor. Smugglers Cove is great whether or not you want to dive as it’s one of the cosiest beaches on the island even boasting its own beach bar.
Pigeon Point is to the extreme north of Saint Lucia and though there are many beaches in this area, some of the best ones for snorkeling are inside the Pigeon Island National Park. If you want to get inside you’ll have to pay an entrance fee of $8 for adults and $3 for kids.
With this fee you’ll also have access to some of the best hiking in Saint Lucia and other activities in the park. When heading out on a snorkeling expedition in the park, try to get at least 15-20 feet from shore and near the edge of the rocks where you’re more likely to spot a variety of marine life.
Some of the sea creatures you’re likely to encounter in this location on a good day especially if you snorkel further out include eagle rays, moray eels, lobster, starfish, anemone, and giant barracuda.
Pigeon Island in Saint Lucia offers a gorgeous slice of history and while there you can hike up Fort Rodney (a relic of the American Revolutionary War) which is sure to be both educational and fun. From the top of the Fort you’ll have a panoramic view of the waters surrounding Pigeon Island as well as communities in the vicinity.
Insider tip: PADI® certified guests of Sandals Grande St. Lucian scuba dive for free (max. two tanks a day per guest), this includes professional equipment and the guidance of the dive staff. Not PADI® certified yet? Get certified at additional cost and dive the rest of your vacation for free!
Sandals Grande St. Lucian is located on a gorgeous beach, on a short walk from Pigeon Island.
Another popular dive site in Saint Lucia is Anse Cochon Beach. This beach is in Anse La Raye just about 20 minutes from Castries which is the capital of Saint Lucia.
Anse Cochon Beach has dark sand, calm seas, and good visibility on most days for divers. The coral reefs on this beach are near shore and they are part of the National Marine Reserve. Sightings here can include lionfish, sharp tail eel, shrimp, trumpet fish, sting rays, and more.
For scuba divers there are also two shipwrecks at this location – Lesleen M and Daini Koyomaru. Both of these have blended seamlessly into their surroundings and now are home to all kinds of marine life. If you plan on diving at Anse Cochon Beach you can either bring your own equipment or rent some on the beach. There’s a beach bar on this beach as well where food and drinks can be purchased.
Anse Des Pitons (also known as Sugar Beach) in the south of Saint Lucia is great for snorkeling and diving. This location is between Saint Lucia’s famous twin peaks which adds a majestic feel to any dive.
While swimming on this beach you can look up at the towering Petit Piton which stands at 743 m (2,438 ft), before diving in for a snorkeling session. This dive site is quite deep and some of the things you might see here are parrot fish, trumpet fish, moray eels, eagle rays, scorpion fish, and more.
This reef is located within the Anse Piton Marine Preserve and can be accessed via Sugar Beach. At Sugar Beach there’s access to water sports, restrooms, and there’s places to buy food and drinks as well.
Anse Chastanet Beach is located on the southern end of Saint Lucia, in Soufriere. It is a very popular dive and snorkel spot and if you go to Anse Chastanet Beach you’ll have easy access to the Anse Chastanet Reef which is near shore and loved by snorkelers.
The reef in this area is buoyed off, which means no boats can get near it. This works out well for the preservation of the reef itself. Careful consideration and care of the reefs in this area has over the years allowed them to grow beautifully, attracting a wide range of marine life including sergeant majors, parrot fish, trumpet fish, angel fish, needlefish, sea turtles, octopus, peacock flounders, puffers, and even seahorses.
There are actually 150 species of fish that call this reef home and chances are during a dive you will see more than a few of those!
Expert tip: Anse Chastanet has beautiful reefs at both ends of the beach so when you’re done exploring one, you can dive into the other.
Saint Lucia is one of those destinations that you can snorkel in year round. Even with that said, there are some times of year where you’re likely to have a better experience, like during mid-December to mid-April, which also happens to be the peak season and the best time to go to Saint Lucia. There tends to be less rainfall at this time of year which means you’re likely to have more uninterrupted beach days. Sea temperatures at peak season are on average 79 °F, and calm and clear weather means the water will also be calm and clear, so things will work out well all around. Overall, Saint Lucia is a sunny and warm destination that’s a joy to visit any time of year.
Experience the magic of the Caribbean Sea during an excursion by boat or catamaran: Saint Lucia is truly one of the best places in the world to snorkel! Surrounded on all sides by clear blue seas you won’t be short of places to go snorkeling on this island. Whenever you do decide to go snorkeling in Saint Lucia, just know your love and appreciation for the undersea will definitely burn stronger after spending time in the underwater world on this simply incredible island.
Insider tip: Want to get the most out of your Caribbean getaway? Stay at any of three Sandals all-inclusive resorts in Saint Lucia and get access to the amenities and restaurants of all three resorts. This includes 27 restaurants, two golf courses (green fees included!) and free transfers from one Sandals Resort to another. It’s like three vacations in one!
The best part? Food and (alcoholic) drinks are always included, always unlimited!