By John – (Albany, NY)
I was wondering if anyone has been snorkeling in Barbados. Any information about how it is and where to go would be great. Thank you.
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Anonymous – Apr 29, 2018 – Snorkeling in Barbados
I’ve been to Barbados many times. The reef in Carlisle Bay is dead. Apparently the last storm also affected the turtles. I don’t know about private snorkeling trips. I love Barbados but would not call it a great snorkeling destination.
Anonymous – Apr 29, 2018 – Barbados Snorkeling
Best we found was along man-made current breaks consisting of old coral rocks to protect some beaches. They used to use dynamite to catch fish and blew up all the coral I was told. They don’t take care of what they have or had. Sad really.
Water sports is what is popular there. If you snorkel some places they will run you off. They like to water ski in really shallow water for some reason.
Anonymous – Apr 29, 2018 – Not the Greatest
I’m not an expert but have snorkeled Barbados and it was not that great. Expect to hire a tour boat and you don’t see much but a few turtles. Best snorkeling was off the local dock when they threw out fish cleaning for the turtles; it was free. Pay the locals a tip on the dock and it’s the best you will get.
Bryan – Apr 30, 2018 – Barbados Shore Snorkeling Can Be Quite Good
I spent three weeks there last summer, and was in the water with my mask on for 1-6 hours most every day. Excellent trip. Was it excellent snorkeling? Not compared to other destinations, perhaps, as far as high volume of healthy coral everywhere, big showy marine life, etc.
However, there are many places with good coral reef or isolated coral heads, and there is a lot of fantastic marine life. We saw hundreds of eels on that trip, of five different species, myriad fish species, lots of lettuce leaf slugs, turtles, pipefish, and even the elusive seahorse!
It’s a long story, but happily it’s already been told and is available on the web. Look up that popular American travel website, go to their Barbados forum. Type shore-snorkel trip report into the search function. I’ve chronicled the whole trip there, so I won’t go into all of the wordy details here, but will try to encapsulate:
1) The west coast has lots of enjoyable snorkel beaches, right from shore. North of Speightstown was really good, as was Folkestown and north of it.
2) There are several areas buoyed-off from boat traffic. Try them all. Some have excellent snorkeling. Others seem not to, but I still found excellent marine life with careful observation.
3) Jet ski and boat traffic is a scourge there. Read all of the safety tips regarding this, but following all of them still doesn’t guarantee safety. Stay in the buoys if you’re at all worried about it.
Overall, Barbados was an excellent shore snorkel destination for my family and me.
Hope this is helpful.
Diana – Mar 30, 2019 – Barbados Shore Snorkeling Report
My kids and I went to Barbados for two weeks in February, 2019. The snorkeling was great! Much better than I expected to find. I am very grateful for all the detailed information that Bryan (comment poster above) who also wrote on TripAdvisor in his Find-a-Fish blog. We used his information extensively to plan our snorkeling trip. Thank you, Bryan!
We based ourselves out of Mullins, as the water is clearer up north. We snorkeled multiple days each at Folkstone Marine Park, Heywoods, Gibbs, and Payne’s Bay. We snorkeled elsewhere as well, but I can’t recommend them as the recreational jet ski traffic is a serious hazard and I never felt safe even when using a dive flag. For this reason we chose the spots above where the snorkeling is protected by buoys. At Gibbs Beach, we snorkeled the north side of the reef at the southern end of the beach, where the jet skis steered clear of.
We saw a TON of fish, of many species! Much more than we ever saw in Roatan and St. Croix. We saw a lot of healthy coral as well. Besides the usual creatures – Blue Tang, Sergeant Major, Grunt – we also saw, among others, many brilliant Parrotfish: Rainbow, Stoplight, Queen, Reef; Yellowtail Damselfish; Longspine Squirrelfish; needlefish; trunkfish; Trumpetfish; Honeycomb Cowfish; Spanish Hogfish; White-spotted Filefish; flounders, eels, and, at Heywoods, turtles!
Barbados has a lot going for it in terms of a snorkeling destination. It has some of the warmest sea temperatures in the Caribbean in the winter. The water temperature when we were there was 82°, via my water thermometer. It is also one of three Caribbean islands with indigenous monkeys. We saw Barbados Green Monkeys almost every day as we walked from our condo to go snorkeling. Barbados also has a great bus system. We easily accessed everywhere we wanted to go via bus, for $1.00 per person per ride! Definitely saved on money and stress by not renting a car!