The 5 Best Caribbean Cruise Ports for Snorkeling

belize city caribbean snorkeling reef fish
There are lots of places to snorkel in Belize. - Photo by Shutterstock/Jennifer Wan

Snorkeling is by far one of our favorite activities in the Caribbean. There’s something about seeing tropical fish and intricate coral in warm water that just confirms we’re on a sunny vacation. Because we’re sure we aren’t the only ones that love it, we’ve gathered together five of the best ports in the Caribbean for snorkeling. 

1. Grand Cayman

grand cayman snorkeling stingray city caribbean
Stingray City - Photo by Thinkstock/Brand X Pictures

Time and time again, the Cayman Islands — and specifically Grand Cayman — come up as one of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean. There’s a variety of depths and seascapes to enjoy in the clear blue water, including shipwrecks, reefs, and unique coral formations. The most popular is Stingray City, where snorkelers can get up close and personal with the majestic sea creatures.

Recommended Spots: Barrier Reef, Turtle Farm, Cemetery Reef, Stingray City, and the Oro Verde wreck 

What a Member Had to Say: “Loved Grand Cayman! Loved Stingray City and the coral garden. It was truly the highlight of our vacation!” - nursekelly13

2. Belize

belize city snorkeling reef coral fish
 Ambergris Caye - Photo by Shutterstock/Jennifer Wan

The most popular snorkeling spot near the Belize City cruise port is the Barrier Reef. The reef is perfect for beginners and experts alike because the depth varies — in some places you can touch the bottom, and other drop-off spots are more than 40 feet deep. Other great spots include Ambergris Caye (it takes a short flight to get there) and though Turneffe Atole is more popular with scuba divers, you can snorkel there, too.

Recommended Spots: Belize Barrier Reef, Ambergris Caye, Turneffe Atole

What a Member Had to Say: “Some of the most beautiful water I have ever seen. Snorkeling was amazing.” - Deathbytwins

3. St. Thomas/St. John

st. thomas st. john caribbean snorkeling snorkel
St. John - Photo by Shutterstock/Jo Ann Snover

The popular cruise stop of St. Thomas and neighboring St. John have some exceptional snorkeling spots. St. John’s Trunk Bay, part of the Virgin Islands National Park, has a unique feature: an underwater trail snorkelers can follow to see a variety of colorful coral and fish. Back in St. Thomas, the crystal clear waters of Coki Bay make it the best spot for snorkeling on the island, its gradual slope appealing to beginners in particular.

Recommended Spots: Coki Bay, Secret Harbour Bay, Saint John Bay, Honeymoon Beach, and Trunk Bay

What a Member Had to Say: “While at St Thomas we did a snorkeling trip to St John's, Trunk Bay. Absolutely beautiful just too short, but would still recommend the excursion especially for someone who's never snorkeled before.” - gregoryklong

4. Roatán

roatán honduras caribbean snorkel swimming bay
Aerial view of Roatán Island - Photo by Thinkstock/sorincolac

Roatan, Honduras is a snorkeler’s paradise, known for its clear blue and calm water thanks to the barrier reef that shields it from larger waves. The Honduran island is actually located at the end of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef. At various snorkel spots here, you can find dozens of species of tropical fish, sea turtles, coral networks, and shipwrecks to explore.

Recommended Spots: Half Moon Bay Beach, West Bay, Blue Channel, and Little French Key

What a Member Had to Say: “This was by far the best place to snorkel and see close up amazing fish and coral.” - Cruiser355

5. Aruba

aruba oranjestad snorkeling antilla shipwreck caribbean
Antilla Wreck - Photo by Sarah Bretz

While Aruba doesn’t have as many snorkeling spots as other Caribbean islands, the ones it does have are excellent. Mangel Halto Beach offers shallow, calm waters rich with sea life, perfect for getting close to the fish and coral. If you’re on an organized cruise excursion, it will probably stop at the Antilla Wreck, a sunken WWII ship lying 20 feet below the water. From the surface the vessel is easy to see, and there’s an abundance of tropical fish that curiously swim around and up near those snorkeling.

Recommended Spots: Antilla Wreck, Malmok Beach, and Mangel Halto Beach

What a Member Had to Say: “In Aruba we did one of the best excursions. We hopped on a catamaran and sailed up the coast to two snorkeling spots, one of which was over an old WWII shipwreck. Coolest thing ever.” - CruiselineSarah

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What's your favorite destination to go snorkeling?

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