8 Best Spots for Snorkeling in the Caribbean on a Budget

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I have been all over the world, from Colombia to Thailand, to Hong Kong but the Caribbean is something special. Bahamas was actually one of the first places I ever sailed, and let me tell you, the waters in this region are some of the world’s best! Today I have assembled a list of the 8 best areas for snorkeling!

Here are 8 of the best spots for snorkeling in the Caribbean on a budget:

  1. Bonaire
  2. Dry Tortugas National Park
  3. Curacao (Blue Room Cave and Playa Grandi)
  4. Saint Croix (Cane Bay Beach)
  5. Aruba
  6. St. Lucia
  7. Puerto Rico (San Juan)
  8. Saint John (Trunk Bay Beach)

The rest of this article will discuss the best spots for snorkeling in the Caribbean on a budget in greater detail. It will also discuss some other frequently asked questions at the end.

1. Bonaire

The island of Bonaire is a beautiful spot to go snorkeling on a budget. It’s located in the southern Caribbean near Aruba and is only 50 miles (80.46 km) off the coast of Venezuela. 

It’s a famous island amongst divers, swimmers, and snorkelers, so be prepared for many people. Not only is it an excellent spot for snorkeling, but there are also plenty of reasonably priced restaurants around if you get peckish. 

Although there are some expensive resorts around the island, there are plenty of cheaper accommodation options that you can book online. 

When you’re walking or driving down the coast, you’ll see yellow stones that mark the snorkel sights. Once you arrive at one of these sights, all you need to do is purchase a $25 nature tag, and you’re good to go! 

If you’re looking for a guided tour of the water, there are some affordable guided trips you can book. One of the many great tours you could try is the kayak and snorkel tour in Clearbottom Mangrove. It generally lasts three hours and allows you to explore different parts of the water.

2. Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park is another excellent spot for snorkeling on a budget, and if you live anywhere near Florida, even better! 

You can get a boat from Key West and return the same day, or you can choose to camp on the island.

The cost of camping ranges from $15-$30 per night, so it's great if you're on a tight budget.

It‘s an excellent place for beginner snorkelers because many areas have shallow waters. The most expensive part of visiting Dry Tortugas National Park is the boat ride to get there, but you can explore the waters by yourself for free, so it makes up for the cost!

There’s an entrance fee that costs $15, and it lasts for seven days. The only way to get to the park is by boat or seaplane, so there are no available flights to the island.  

3. Curacao (Blue Room Cave and Playa Grandi)

Curacao is another beautiful island to snorkel on a budget. Located north of Venezuela, you can travel by air or by sea. 

If you’re wondering where the best place in Curacao is to go snorkeling, it has to be Blue Room Cave!

Since there is plenty of shore snorkeling here, you don’t need to worry about getting a boat (unless you want to, of course!)

It’s possible to walk to the Blue Room Cave for free, but you can also book guided tours that bring you around the waters in a boat. You can get all-day tours starting from approximately $100, but booking these tours is not necessary.

Playa Grandi

Another excellent spot for snorkeling in Curacao is Playa Grandi, which has lots of turtles. There are many spots to explore for free, so it’s great if you’re not looking to spend much money.

4. Saint Croix (Cane Bay Beach)

Saint Croix is a small island and is one of the Virgin Islands. Snorkeling is extremely popular at Cane Bay Beach, so this is a great spot to visit on your trip. 

You can visit the beach free of charge and walk to the Cane Bay Wall, where you can get in the water and explore. You can see many different kinds of fish and sea urchins here. 

However, the water at Cane Bay Beach can often get rough to the point where even advanced snorkelers and divers find it too dangerous. If you get there when the water is calm, it’s a fun and safe place to explore!

Isaac Bay

Isaac bay is another beach in Saint Croix that’s worth visiting for snorkeling! You can walk here, but it’d take a long time, so it’s best to get there in a vehicle. Isaac Bay is more secluded and peaceful than Cane Bay Beach and is a perfect spot to explore the water.

Once you bring your snorkeling gear, you can enjoy your day with no extra costs; snorkel independently without having to rent a boat or book a tour!

5. Aruba

Mangel Halto

Aruba is very close to Curacao, so you could choose to visit both islands if you wanted to. Like Curacao, you can also get flights into Aruba from the US and other parts of the world, so it’s easily accessible. If you don’t want to get a flight, there are boat options.

A great spot in Aruba for snorkeling on a budget is Mangel Halto. 

This spot is more appropriate for advanced swimmers because the water can get pretty rough and unpredictable at times. 

If you’re a beginner, it’s best to stay within the bay area rather than traveling too far out. There are shallows that you can explore where there are plenty of different fish to see. Even though this area is safer, it can still get rocky at times. You can snorkel without doing a tour, which is free of course, or you can do a tour if you’d prefer. 

Arashi Beach

Arashi Beach in Aruba features beautiful, clear water with many different sea creatures swimming around. This beach is more appropriate for beginner snorkelers because the water is more shallow.

You can reach it easily by public transport, and you’ll need to bring your snorkeling equipment with you because there’s nowhere to buy or rent gear in the area.

6. Saint Lucia

Since Saint Lucia is surrounded by water, there are many great places to go snorkeling on a budget. One of the best places to snorkel in Saint Lucia has to be Anse Chastanet.

You can begin snorkeling right at the shore, so you won't need a tour or boat to enjoy the waters. 

The water on the beach tends to be calm, so this is a perfect spot for families, beginners, and advanced snorkelers.

Additionally, you don’t have to worry about snorkeling equipment if you visit Anse Chastanet; you can borrow snorkeling equipment free of charge when you get there. Here, you will find many types of tropical fish, including sergeant majors, parrotfish, and turtles.


Anse Mamin

Anse Mamin is within walking distance from Anse Chastanet, so you could visit both if you wanted to. It’s slightly quieter than Anse Chastanet, so it’s better if you want to snorkel and lay under the sun in peace. 

This is yet another place where you can snorkel from the shore; the reef is close, so you don’t need to worry about swimming far out. Of course, you can enjoy snorkeling around Anse Mamin independently, but if you don’t mind spending some extra money, you can always book a guided tour.

7. Puerto Rico (San Juan)

Puerto Rico old town

Puerto Rico is easily accessible from many parts of the world, and it’s another affordable place to go snorkeling in the Caribbean. One of the best places to visit is the capital, San Juan. 

El Escambrón is a beach in San Juan, and it's one of the best for snorkeling on a budget. 

Not only is it an excellent spot for snorkeling, but it’s an excellent spot for relaxing and walking along the shore. You could easily spend the whole day exploring the beautiful beach and waters.

Coral reefs surround the water, so it’s an excellent spot for snorkeling without the need for a boat or guided tour. You can reach the beach easily by taxi or bus and snorkel independently for as long as you wish.

8. Saint John (Trunk Bay Beach)

As with all the beautiful islands on this list, Saint John is another mesmerizing place to visit. One of the best spots for snorkeling on a budget in Saint John is Trunk Bay Beach. There is a small entrance fee of $5, but you’ll have access to facilities such as a restroom and changing room until 4 pm daily.

You won’t need to book a tour or boat to snorkel around Trunk Bay because you can snorkel right from the shore; this makes it another incredibly affordable spot to go snorkeling! There is plenty of shallow water and a trail that you can follow underwater.

Trunk Bay Beach is a must-visit destination if you visit Saint John and are looking for a fantastic place to go snorkeling.

Is Snorkeling Safe?

Snorkeling is safe as long as you have the necessary equipment and the water is calm. If the water is rough you shouldn’t swim in it. It’s also safer to snorkel in a group or with someone else; being alone can be dangerous if you get stuck somewhere or start drifting with the current.

Cheapest Spots for Snorkeling in the Caribbean

One of the cheapest spots for snorkeling in the Caribbean is Saint Lucia. Here, you can book affordable accommodation and snorkel around different beaches for free. There are also plenty of spots here where you can snorkel from the shore, so you won’t have to rent a boat.

Another cheap spot for snorkeling in the Caribbean is Aruba. You can book tours starting at around $40, and many public beaches are free to visit. So, if you don’t want to book a tour, you can still choose to snorkel at many of the beaches for free.

Snorkeling in Antigua

Antigua boasts 365 beaches, so as you can imagine, there is a lot of water to explore here. Since they are all publicly accessible, it’s free to visit any beach and go snorkeling. However, there are so many beaches to choose from, so it’s good to know which ones you’d like to visit ahead of time.

Snorkeling in Barbados 

If you’re looking for somewhere that’s cheap and has super clear waters, Barbados should undoubtedly be on your wishlist for snorkeling. Some of the best places to snorkel in Barbados include Carlisle Bay, Dover Beach, and Worthing Beach.

Barbados has warm weather all year round, so you can go at any time of the year. You’ll be able to find affordable accommodation, particularly when traveling off-season.

Best Spot Accessible From Land/Beach

One of the best spots accessible from the beach is Grand Cayman. Although areas here require a boat to get to, you can snorkel near the shore in other parts. Another spot accessible from land is Blue Room Cave in Curacao. The water is shallow, but you can still see some incredible fish.

Best Spot With a Boat

The best spot to snorkel with a boat is Aruba. You can sail around much of the water. If you want to do a boat tour, you should consider a tour of the Antilla wreck, where you can get out and explore the water. Not only can you see many types of fish, but you can also see the shipwreck up close.

What Gear Do You Need To Snorkel?

Here is a list of all the gear you need to snorkel:

  • Snorkeling fins
  • A snorkeling mask
  • A snorkel
  • Sunscreen
  • A snorkeling vest
  • Defogger (for your mask)
  • A wetsuit (if you get cold)

Snorkeling fins go on your feet and help you swim faster and dive deeper. It would be much more difficult to swim freely around the water without fins.

A snorkeling mask will cover your eyes and nose, so you must get one that fits you correctly. One that’s too tight will be uncomfortable, and one that’s too loose won’t keep the water out.

A snorkel is a tube that helps you breathe when you’re underwater, which is another essential piece of equipment.

It’s always good to wear sunscreen when you’re outside, whether you’re snorkeling or not. Being in the water can make you burn even quicker, so this step is crucial. Even if it’s a cloudy day, you should always wear sunscreen!

A vest, defogger, and wetsuit aren’t necessary for snorkeling, but it’s a good idea to buy extra supplies if you think you’ll need them.

Good luck and I hope you find some amazing waters!

Here are Some of My Favorite Catamaran Cruising Resources

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you hopefully start your sailing adventures. Here are some resources that I use as a sailor that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the exact things that I use and recommend to everyone, even my own family.

Sailboats: If you’re looking for the best boat to suit your needs, I would recommend a catamaran. If you’re interested, I can show you the differences between catamarans and other types of sailboats.

Books: For getting started, I really like Cruising catamarans made easy. It is actually a textbook from the American sailing association; it is used to get a cruising catamaran certification. There are some other great books, and I have compiled a list of books about cruising catamarans that you will find useful.

Communication: Being out on adventures, whether it be sailing or climbing mountains, good communications are essential to being safe. I recommend two things Google fi (incredibly simple cellular data all over the world) and Garmin inreach mini (for text and voice in remote areas without cell coverage)

Sailing courses: Online sailing courses are great for beginners starting out their sailing career; it’s an efficient way of learning the basics of navigation, throttle controls, and maritime safety. I suggest starting with two free courses from NauticEd.

To see all my most up-to-date recommendations, check out this resource that I made for you!


Owner of CatamaranFreedom.com. A minimalist that has lived in a caravan in Sweden, 35ft Monohull in the Bahamas, and right now in his self-built Van. He just started the next adventure, to circumnavigate the world on a Catamaran!

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