St. Barts Snorkeling

St. Barts is famed for its gourmet dining, luxury lifestyle, and, of course, its stunning beaches that are popular with water sports lovers. Snorkeling is one of the most sought-after activities for visitors to St. Barts. 

The waters off St. Barts are crystal clear and shallow, giving snorkelers an excellent chance to view a large variety of tropical fish, sea turtles, and rays. 

Although it's just 10 square miles, St. Barts offers visitors an interesting selection of snorkeling sites. You will have options from ones that are easily accessible from Gustava to others that require a bit of a hike or even a boat trip to access.

To help you choose the best snorkeling spots while you're on St. Barts, we've compiled a list of 8 spots that our local travel experts highly recommend.

Don't have a mask, snorkel, and fins? No worries, we've also included information below on where you can rent or buy snorkeling gear while on St. Barts. 

Table of Contents:

Best Snorkeling Spots On St. Barts

Looking for tips about the best places to snorkel in St. Barts? We’ve highlighted the top spots where you can swim through colorful coral and view a variety of fish species.

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Lorient Beach - Known for Its Calm, Clear Waters

Description: Lorient Beach has a bit of a split personality. The western end of this beach is known for its great waves and excellent surfing. On the other hand, the eastern side is protected by a large reef, so the waters here are calm and perfect for snorkeling and swimming. 

What you can see: Sea turtles and colorful tropical fish flitting through the coral reef.

What to know: Lorient Beach is located on St. Bart's north coast, about a mile from St. Jean. Parking is available across the street from the beach. 

Insider tips: Lorient Beach has no public restroom facilities, so you'll need to plan accordingly. 

Ways to snorkel: On your own.

Colombier Beach - Best Snorkeling on St. Barts for Spotting Turtles

Description: Colombier Beach is a natural marine reserve that is considered by many to be the best snorkeling spot on St. Barts. (Île Fourchue is another contender for the top spot, but it is actually an island off of St. Barts). 

What you can see: This beach's seagrass bed is home to turtles, rays, lobsters, and starfish.

What to know: To get to Colombier Beach, you'll need to either make an approximately 15- to 30-minute hike from Flamands or hire a boat to take you to this remote gem, which is also sometimes called Rockefeller Beach. 

Insider tips: There are no restaurants or convenience stores to buy food or drink on Colombier Beach and there are no restroom facilities either. So, make sure to plan accordingly. 

Ways to snorkel: With a tour or on your own.

Marigot Bay - Best Non-touristy Snorkeling Spot

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Description: Marigot Bay lies in a protected marine sanctuary, so its waters are teeming with tropical fish. In addition, the waters here are calm and clear, thanks to the bay's natural contour, which protects it from strong winds. 

Another plus? This narrow beach, which is located on the northeastern coast of St. Barts, is not as well known to visitors as some of the other snorkeling spots on this list, so you're less likely to run into large crowds of tourists at Marigot Bay. 

What you can see: A great place to look for conchs and sea turtles. 

What to know: Parking is available on the main coastal road.

Insider tips: You won't find restaurants or shops here, so make sure to bring everything you need. 

Ways to snorkel: With a tour or on your own.

Petite Anse - Best Known for Its Sea Bed

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Description: Located at the far western end of Anse de Caye beach in its own small bay, Petite Anse is a small, sheltered cove with calm waters. A ring of boulders protects the cove, and once you swim through that, head to the left to see the best coral formations.

What you can see: Coral, parrotfish, and turtles.

What to know: Park along the roadside, then follow the stone stairs to reach the water.

Insider tips: Because it's relatively shallow, it's a popular beach with local families with small children. 

Ways to snorkel: On your own. 

Fourchue Island (Île Fourchue) - Best for Reef Fish, Octopus, and Sea Turtles

Description: Fourchue Island is located in the Marine Nature Reserve, and is considered by many to offer the best snorkeling near St. Barts. This small island lies between St. Barts and St. Martin. 

What you can see: Sea turtles, stingrays, octopuses, and barracudas.

What to know: The only way to get to Fourchue Island is by boat, either with a tour or by using your own watercraft. It's an approximately 5-mile trip from Gustavia Marina. 

Insider tips: No fresh water is available on the island, so you'll need to bring your own. 

Ways to snorkel: With a tour, or if you have access to a boat, on your own.

St. Jean, Pelican Side - Best Dining Options, Pre- or Post-Swim

Description: St. Jean is a popular beach that is divided in half by the Eden Rock peninsula. The eastern side offers calmer waters and is more suitable for snorkeling. 

St. Jean beach is also home to some of the island's most famous restaurants, including Nikki Beach, GypSea, and Sand Bar at Eden Rock.

What you can see: The eastern side of St. Jean bay is known for its sea turtles that can often be spotted close to shore. 

What to know: Valet parking is available if you are dining at Eden Rock, Nikki Beach, or Gypsea. There is also a parking lot on the west side near the airport that has a footpath leading to St. Jean beach.

Insider tips: This is a great beach for beginner snorkelers. 

Ways to snorkel: On your own.

Shell Beach - Convenient to Gustavia

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Description: If you're staying in Gustavia, Shell Beach is a convenient and easy-to-reach spot for snorkeling that is located on the western end of the village of Gustavia. The waters in this cove are calm and perfect for searching for tropical fish near the rocks.

What you can see: Tropical fish, such as grunt and butterflyfish. Head left for the best snorkeling.

What to know: Parking is available in the neighborhood near Shell Beach. And if you're hungry after you're done snorkeling, you can grab a bite to eat at Shellona Bar and Restaurant, which is located right on the beach.

Insider tips: This beach is made up of tiny shells (hence the name), which can be a little difficult to walk, so water shoes are highly recommended. 

Ways to snorkel: On your own.

Corossol Beach - Best for Sunsets After Snorkeling

Description: Corossol Beach is located on the southwestern side of St. Barts, in a picturesque fishing village, about a mile north of Gustavia. The best snorkeling spots can be found around the rocks lining this bay. After your snorkel, make sure to stick around to enjoy the stunning sunset this beach has to offer. 

What you can see: Tropical fish, such as parrot fish and yellow tang.

What to know: There are no amenities, such as restrooms, or restaurants near this St. Barts beach, so plan accordingly and bring your own food and drink.

Insider tips: Parking is available along the sea wall. 

Ways to snorkel: On your own.

Are There Snorkeling Excursions In St. Barts? 

Whether you're a beginner or a veteran snorkeler looking for new sites to explore, it can really pay to book a tour with a local snorkeling tour operator. Two of the best in St. Barts are Island Diving and Ouanalao Dive. 

Island Diving offers snorkeling trips with guides who can teach you and your fellow snorkelers about the different fish species and other St. Barts marine life you'll see. 

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Ouanalao Dive also offers guided snorkeling trips, including ones where you can enjoy an after-snorkel aperitif and a snack while watching the sunset on a quiet beach. 

Where To Rent Or Buy Snorkeling Equipment?

If you didn't bring snorkeling equipment with you for your St. Barths beach adventure, don't worry. There are shops, including Ouanalao Dive and Hookipa Surf Shop, where you can buy or rent the gear you'll need to go snorkeling. 

Travelers who rent villas with WIMCO can take advantage of the company’s free concierge service desk to book your St. Barts snorkeling tours or arrange for fins, a mask, or whatever else you'll need for your snorkeling adventure to be brought to your villa. 

What Is The Best Time Of Year To Snorkel In St. Barts?

The best time of the year for snorkeling on St. Barths beaches is between December and June. During this time period, the weather is generally sunny, with low winds.

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