The Bahamas is located just east of the Florida Keys and north of Cuba. Considered an island country of the Lucayan archipelago, it actually consists of about 700 islands and cays ranging in size. In addition to ranging in size, these islands also range in population, from being completely uninhabited to packed with exclusive resorts, there's something for everyone in the Bahamas.
Given the tropical climate of the Bahamas and the fact that it is home to large coral reefs, it's easy to see why there is promising snorkeling in this area. Moreover, while it is technically considered international travel for those residing in the US, it's much closer than some other snorkeling destinations like the Great Barrier Reef, so depending on where you reside, it may be a convenient option worth exploring.
The main problem many people have when planning a snorkeling trip in the Bahamas is where to even start.
With 700 islands, this creates an incredible amount of coast line to explore. Below we will summarize some of the best snorkeling in the Bahamas, which will be a combination of the most popular snorkeling spots in the Bahamas, the most convenient or remote snorkeling spots in the Bahamas (depending on your preferences), and the best or most reputable snorkeling tours in the Bahamas.
Best Spots to Snorkel in the Bahamas
With a crazy amount of islands and associated coastline, it can be difficult to narrow down a list of the best snorkeling locations in the Bahamas, let alone pick one spot to snorkel. However, we have comprised a list of some of the best and most popular spots to snorkel in the Bahamas in hopes that this will help make things a little more simple. Here are the spots we selected to highlight:
Snorkeling in Nassau
Nassau is the capital city of the Bahamas and holds 70% of the population. This is a very popular spot for American tourists, as there are daily flights to and from major US cities, there's lots to see, and the water sports are amazing (especially the snorkeling!). Although this is only one island, there are still lots of different spots you can choose to snorkel in Nassau, so here are a few of them:
Nassau - Rose Island Reef
Rose Island Reef is one of the best spots to snorkel on Nassau Paradise Island. Well, technically it isn't on Nassau Paradise Island, but is instead located a few miles east of Nassau. One of the main things that separates it from other nearby snorkeling locations is the depth. The waters here are very shallow, which makes exploring a larger section of the reef much easier.
In addition to the beautiful, expansive, natural reef environment, there are also two large shipwrecks that are fun to explore and offers even more shelter for the beautiful marine life. It's not uncommon to see large schools of tropical fish in this area, as well as lots of other colorful fish, plants, and coral.
Something that is common across most snorkeling spots in the Bahamas, particularly in Nassau, is the excellent visibility under water. Even with cloud cover or rain, the visibility is exceptional, allowing you to get the most out of your snorkeling experience.
Nassau - Stuart Cove
Stuart Cove is often said to be one of the best places in the Bahamas to snorkel, especially in terms of excitement. The water conditions here are very similar to Rose Island Reef (excellent all around), but the more interesting spots tend to be just a little deeper at about 10-25 feet.
There is an expansive reef environment with lots of shipwrecks to explore (bonus!), and of course, the water is crystal clear which allows you to see everything! One very unique aspect to snorkeling at Stuart Cove is the ability to see some Caribbean Reef Sharks. This may sound dangerous, but if you're on a snorkeling tour that offers shark-watching, it's very safe and has proven to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
It is always our recommendation that you check out a snorkeling tour on any snorkeling trip, but we would like to reiterate this recommendation particularly for Stuart Cove. With the snorkeling tours here, you will be able to get the most out of your experience, potentially seeing the sharks in a very safe environment as well as numerous shipwrecks. Moreover, snorkel tours are also educational, and can provide some cool insight to the area, especially when it comes to exploring the marine environment!
Nassau - Exumas Cays Land and Sea Park
Located between Norman's Cay and Compass Cay, this is another really good spot to snorkel in Nassau. This time, the main unique feature is the shear size of the reef. The park itself takes up about 176 square miles of land and sea and contains a massive pillar of coral, limestone coral, and of course, extremely interesting and colorful fish.
The marine life isn't only contained to the ocean either. At Exumas Cays land and Sea Park, you can also explore freshwater springs as well as land and sea caves. This can be considered a reliable snorkeling area, as there's always tons to explore, all of which offer amazing exploration!
Another thing to note about this snorkeling destination is that it is a bit more remote than other spots and can only be accessed via sea plane or boat. Some may consider this inconvenient, but given there are many companies that can bring you to the area for snorkeling tours, it's actually pretty cool to be able to easily reach this environment, truly breaking away from urban living!
Nassau Snorkeling Tours
There are lots of snorkeling tours and excursions available in Nassau. Generally speaking, we usually recommend the snorkeling tours because they often offer excellent instruction as well as a local's insight into the best snorkeling spots to explore. Check out the information below for some of the most popular snorkeling tours in Nassau.
Stuart Cove's Snorkel Tours
One of the more popular snorkeling tours that visits renowned snorkeling areas
Pick-up available for all Nassau hotels
The half-day snorkeling tour consists of multiple snorkeling locations, allowing you to see a variety of marine life and underwater environments.
9:30am morning departure, 1:30pm afternoon departure. $75/adult, $35/child (ages 4-11). Children under 4 not permitted on boat. Price includes transfers from hotels to boats and back, as well as mask, fins, snorkel, and snorkel vest.
The first stop is a shallow reef at about 10-25 feet. Depending on conditions, location will be either Nari Nari (Sculpture Garden), Little Elvis, Goulding Cay, or School House.
The second stop is either another shallow reef, but most likely a ship wreck (Cessna Wreck is most common spot).
If weather permits, third stop will be swimming with the Caribbean reef sharks.
Email: [email protected]
EXUMAS POWERBOAT ADVENTURE
Exumas Powerboat Adventure Snorkeling Tour
Destination: Exuma Cays
Tour includes round trip transportation from hotels, breakfast, lunch, open bar, snorkeling equipment, as well as stingray, shark, and iguana feeding.
Duration: 8 hours departing at 9am
Cost: $199/adult, $140/child (ages 11 and under)
Multiple stops including beaches, where you can explore an entire environment host to numerous land and sea creatures. The high speed transportation ensures non-rushed exploration with a variety of marine life.
Majestic Tours Snorkeling Excursion
Destination: Sandy Toes, Rose Island
This snorkeling tour has a bit of everything in terms of activities. The boat will take you to Sandy Toes, Rose Island, where you can hang out on pristine beaches, play some beach sports, go snorkeling or kayaking, and enjoy some good drinks and food.
Includes snorkel equipment, a guided tour over Sandy Toes coral reef, a buffet lunch, harbor tour, beach sports, one complimentary signature drink, and round trip transportation to and from hotels (additional $5/person).
Cost: $89/adult, $49/child (under 12)
Email: [email protected].com
Phone: (+1242) 322-2606
Snorkeling Bahamas - Bimini
Bimini is the closest island of the Bahamas to the United States, and actually consists of two main islands - North Bimini Island and South Bimini Island. It's located about 50 miles of the coast of Florida and is rather historical, as it was a hotspot for rumrunners during prohibition and has been well regarded by many historical figures, including Martin Luther King Jr and Ernest Hemmingway.
Bimini Road a.k.a Atlantis Road
Of course, one of the things we really like about Bimini is the snorkeling. There are many different snorkeling spots in Bimini that you can explore, but there are definitely some more popular ones worth noting. For example, Bimini Road is an incredible spot to snorkel. It's located just off shore of North Bimini Island, it's also known as "Atlantis Road" because of an array of limestone blocks that appear to be organized to form a road. This road is believed by some to be a road to the lost city of Atlantis and are now underwater ruins.
Although the relation to Atlantis has not been proven, Bimini Road is still a great spot to snorkel. The limestone blocks are located at a depth of about 15-20 feet. Regardless of whether or not these are actually part of the ancient Atlantis, they provide a unique surrounding to snorkel in. Furthermore, Bimini Road is a host to a vast array of marine life, including, but not limited to different types of sharks, turtles, dolphins, seahorses, rays, and even whales if it's the right time of year.
Sapona is a really cool spot to snorkel in the Bahamas. Sapona is actually the name of a ship that was built by Henry Ford. After the war, it was used by rumrunners, but it's exact function and purpose is not well understood. In any case, a hurricane forced it to drift into shallow waters and it became lodged. Since then, this partially submerged shipwreck has provided an incredibly unique location to snorkel.
Since it's initial grounding, the shipwreck has been exposed to many different storms and hurricanes, and over time some of the metal has twisted are fallen apart, offering a very intricate, yet accessible, habitat for marine life. Common marine life that you can expect to see at Sapona include trigger fish, lobsters, and grunts.
Given the very shallow depths at which the Sapona sits, it's actually a great spot for snorkelers of all skill levels, as it's easy for beginners to navigate, yet interesting enough for an advanced snorkeler to have a great time as well. The only drawback worth noting is that there is no mooring buoy, so boats have to be really careful when anchoring.
Snorkeling Tours in Bimini
Similar to Nassau, there are lots of snorkeling tours available for Bimini, and we generally recommend some form of guided tour especially if you are new to the area or snorkeling in general. Below we have outlined a couple of the more popular snorkeling tours in Bimini.
Bimini Adventures Snorkeling Tour
A selection of private or group charters available. Also offer 5 day/6 night all inclusive "wild dolphin swim packages".
Cost: Contact company for details
Operates out of the Sea Crest Marina in Bimini. Commonly sighted marine life includes sharks, string rays, dolphins, coral reefs, shipwrecks, and tons of smaller colorful fish as well.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (242) 347-3033
Bimini Undersea Snorkeling Excursions
Daily snorkeling excursions to great snorkeling spots like Bimini Road (aka Atlantis Road), Sapona, Turtle rocks, etc.
Crew specializes in kids, families, and beginner snorkelers.All snorkel tours are done in shallow waters (5-20ft). Special shark viewing tours as well.
As cost may vary depending on exact tour and time of year, please contact company directly for information about cost.
Email: [email protected]