Best Snorkeling At Providenciales - Turks & Caicos

by Fredric
(Merion, PA, USA)

We are planning a vacation at Providenciales, Turks & Caicos this spring. We understand that the best snorkeling off the beach is at Grace Bay. Because Grace Bay beach is very long, is there a preferred area of the beach that has the best off-beach snorkeling? If so, we will try to find a place to stay in that particular area. Thanks.

Comments for Best Snorkeling At Providenciales - Turks & Caicos

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Feb 25, 2010
Where To Beach Snorkel in Grace Bay
by: Galen & Nicole

Hi Fredric. We have not yet snorkeled in Grace Bay, but we did a little research and this is what we found out.

Some of the best snorkeling is supposed to be in an area called Coral Gardens - (in front of the Coral Gardens resort). Smith's Reef is also supposed to be excellent (near the Sharkbite Restaurant). Bight's Reef is also supposed to be excellent.

We read that the reef right in front of the White House, (past the Beaches) is wonderful and close to shore.

We read there are no reefs east of Coral Gardens.

We also read that some of the boat snorkeling is excellent, so maybe think about taking a few of those trips as well as the beach snorkeling.

Darn it, after all of this research We are now excited to go check it out for ourselves. Thanks for the inspiration!

Have a great trip. And please share your Providenciales snorkeling stories and pictures here when you get back.

May 23, 2010
Fred's Turks & Caicos Report
by: Galen & Nicole

If you are interested Fred just posted a report from his Turks & Caicos snorkeling experience.

Jul 11, 2010
Providenciales snorkeling
by: L & T

Enjoyed 9 days on Providenciales in May 2010. Stayed at Royal West Indies Resort on Grace Bay (would recommend this hotel). They have a beautiful beach for playing in the water and relaxing, however, the best snorkeling we found from shore (went there almost every day) was at Smith's Reef.

Aug 11, 2011
Coral Gardens / Providenciales shore snorkeling
by: Anonymous

We stayed at the Coral Gardens apartments. The reef is literally right in front of the hotel (we could see it from our balcony!). We snorkeled there every day and saw Sting Rays, Barracuda and a sea turtle as well as lots of coral and colorful fish.

The beach is nice at Coral Gardens and all along Providenciales but the better (wider) areas are further up the bay. I would still recommend staying in or near Coral Gardens if you want to enjoy the snorkeling though, as the proximity meant we could snorkel whenever we liked - many times each day. Lots of the holiday makers we spoke to only got to visit for a short time during their holiday as it was quite a long way from their hotel.

Another point to note is that each hotel has it's own designated sun loungers and umbrellas. You can't use the loungers from another hotel and there are no 'pay as you go' options. If you leave the area in front of your own hotel you won't have anywhere for shade, or to sit other than your towel. This can make things difficult if you want to venture to a different area, especially when it's very hot (which it was when we were there).

We also took a boat trip out to Iguana Island which stopped off to dive for conch and for snorkeling. I would recommend the trip as it was a lovely day out on the boat but the snorkeling wasn't any better (probably worse) than at Coral Gardens. We saw a couple of interesting fish that we hadn't seen before, but generally there was a lot more at Coral Gardens. Also unless you are a very good free diver (as the tour guide was) you would never be able to dive deep enough to collect a conch!

This was our first time snorkeling so I don't have any basis for comparison, but for Providenciales Bay I think this is the best shore snorkeling spot. We walked the length of the beach (and it's a very long walk!) and didn't find anywhere better.

I would definitely recommend staying in or near Coral Gardens if you are interested in snorkeling.

Jan 08, 2012
Smith's Reef, Providenciales
by: Anonymous

We recently stayed near Coral Gardens, specifically for access to snorkeling. Bight Reef, just in front of Coral Gardens, was reasonable snorkeling - great access, lots of fauna, but the fact that it is mostly roped-off detracts. Also, it is very busy.

We preferred Smith's Reef, off Turtle Cove. More spread out, nothing roped off, and very few other people there. Access is easy by car - enter via Bridge Rd. just east of Turtle Cove, turn right at the T-junction along the unpaved road, and drive 200 yards or so to the marked beach access. When you hit the beach, walk to your right (east) for about 200 yards. Great snorkeling is 30 yards away!

Apr 11, 2012
Providenciales snorkeling
by: jm

My wife and I have snorkeled world-wide... we are currently visiting Grace Bay, Turks/Caicos. The beaches are beautiful but the snorkeling is very lack-luster unless you're a first-timer.

The boat trips are very costly at $89-$175 each plus $15 for cab fare!

The taxi unions have stopped all jitney buses with the possible exception of an occasional illegal Haitian van!

Feb 13, 2013
Blue Monkey - Turks & Caicos
by: Jennifer Williams

Great to read your post on snorkeling! I got married at the Beaches in Turks & Caicos in December 2006. It was just beautiful. We snorkeled by the White House just past the Beaches right off the shore. It was roped off to protect the coral but still great. We saw rays, turtles, and big barracudas!

I was hooked, so my husband and I decided to re-new our vows 5 years later (12/16/2012) at the same place- Beaches. This time with a 4 year old and still had a blast! This time the snorkel boat took us to a place called "Blue Monkey". It was heaven. A short boat ride and we were on top of a white bed of sand below was just magical. The bottom of the ocean floor had a nursery of sand dollars! I free dove down (about 10 ft) and had to grab one, it was the size of my hand- just perfectly in tact. That was the highlight of the whole trip. So, if you ever go to Turks, ask to go to Blue Monkey... it was a piece of heaven!

Apr 25, 2013
Walking the beach to Smith Reef access
by: Bryan

We are considering staying at the South Fleetwood Villas on Grace Bay. It appears to be 3-4 miles east of Smith Reef. We would like to go without renting a car while there. Does anyone happen to know if Smith Reef access is within an hour or so walk along the beach from South Fleetwood Villas?

Jul 29, 2013
Grace Bay snorkeling
by: Ed Wisner

New to Tropical Snorkeling...but in case anyone is looking at Turks and Caicos for snorkeling, there is very good beach snorkeling from 2 locations - Bight Reef and Coral Gardens. My wife and I snorkeled and did SNUBA at Coral Gardens. Very nice reef, very close to shore. We saw lobster, a turtle, a barracuda, as well as many fish. Bight Reef is very good also...right from the beach. Grace Bay is a spectacular beach, very similar to 7 Mile Beach Grand Cayman.

Dec 26, 2013
Snorkeling Smith's Reef
by: Sandy

We just returned from two weeks staying at Atlantic Ocean Beach Villas just onshore from Smith's Reef. Most days the snorkeling was pretty good right out front. We saw a ray and a barracuda, lots of parrotfish and jacks and many other smaller fish. There were some windy days that made the water choppy but it's December.

We went to Coral Gardens, took one look and went back to Smith's Reef. Coral Gardens was crowded and people were swimming in a circle between roped off areas. Smith's Reef was uncrowded and had lots of variety. Lots of different purple and gold corals and blue fish.

We did an all day trip to West Caicos with Big Blue and got to see some fantastic coral and eagle rays. It was $235 per person but I didn't want to regret not going.

Atlantic Ocean Beach Villas was the perfect place to stay for snorkeling with an easy walk to restaurants at Turtle Cove.

Dec 02, 2015
Malcolm Rd. Beach
by: Anonymous

There is a more remote access beach on the west side of the island. Called Malcolm Rd. Beach. The coral is the best for shore snorkeling quality.

Take Millennium Highway all the way to the dirt road, then continue and follow signs for Amanyara Resort. I believe just before you get to the beach there will be signs guiding you to the parking. The road can be rough but we were successful in getting there in a Honda Fit.

If the waves are down, this is the best spot for shore snorkeling. You will see many boats lined up on the northwest point for scuba excursions.


Jul 22, 2018
Coral Gardens
by: Linsay Carter

We were so impressed with the accessibility of Coral Gardens reef. We swam above eagle rays and sea turtles 30 feet off the beach daily. This location makes a recreational snorkeler want to step it up to the next level.

Jan 06, 2019
by: Fred

Just got back from Provo. Did boat trip, and all the regular shore snorkeling plus a night snorkel. Bleaching is a natural occurrence and having read other posts I found healthy coral everywhere. I would give Provo a good rating if you know where to go!

May 22, 2019
Good Snorkeling
by: Karen

My husband and I also thought Smith Reef was the best. We found that the best put-in spot was in front of the lookout tower. The water can be choppy and the current looks like it is going left. But it is NOT. It heads to the right. We always saw Eagle Rays. The best part is when we allowed the current to take us (drift snorkel) across the shallower area. We saw a lot of cool stuff. Then you will come to sea grass. Head to shore and then just walk back! Happy snorkeling!

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