Snorkeling in St Kitts

St Kitts Reefs

Millennia ago islands in the Caribbean were formed in 2 ways. Coral Islands are reefs that became land when the sea levels dropped. Volcanic Islands were literally pushed up from the ocean by volcanic activity.
On Coral Islands the reefs are just a continuation of the land so lots of close in shallow reefs.
Volcanic Islands have fringing reefs which tend to be much further from the shore.
St Kitts is a Volcanic Island so while you can find reefs close to shore, these reefs are built on volcanic rock and are not everywhere.
To help we have included “where to go” in our descriptions.

Turtle on surface at Friars bay St Kitts
Shoal of fish snorkeling in St Kitts

Snorkel Safety Advice

▶ Snorkeling is a buddy sport. You help your buddy, you buddy helps you.

▶ Never turn your back on the ocean. A big wave is waiting just behind you.

▶ Before entering the water watch the surf, current and surge on the reefs and rocks. Learn to “read the ocean”.

▶ Enter and exit where you can see what you are walking on.

▶ Keep your leg action slow and gentle, lots of noise and splashing will scare away the fish

▶ Never swim against a current. Swim diagonally across it.

▶ If wearing a snorkel vest check that it holds air before using it. Only inflate the vest if necessary, it is not meant to be a life-jacket.

▶ In an area where they may be boats, tow a float for safety.

▶ Keep off the rum punches.

Popular snorkeling beaches – suitable for beginners

Frigate Bay South

Frigate Bay South

Frigate Bay South

The closest beach to Basseterre and home of the famous “strip”, a long line of bars and restaurants. Newly built shower facilities.
Snorkel gear can be rented at Mr X’s bar.

Where to go:

Snorkel around the jetty in front of Timothy Beach Hotel. Behind the jetty are some very good rock pools.
Go down by the big white house at the end of the beach, the rocks here are full of fish and it is much quieter.

What to look for:

Shoals of juvenile fish in the rock pools, juvenile Eels and Lobster.

Watch out for:

The occasional small boats around the jetty and keep out of the Jet ski lane.

South Friars Bay

south friars beach at shipwreck bar St Kitts

South Friars Bay

Home of the Shipwreck bar and Carambola beach club.
Snorkel gear can be rented at the Shipwreck bar.

Where to go:

The reef runs parallel to the shoreline around 30 – 40 ft out. Shallow water all the way.

What to look for:

Baby eels in the reef, smaller turtles, occasionally eagle rays will come into shore lots of smaller fish.

Watch out for:

Sheltered and shallow, ideal for beginners.

Cockleshell Bay

Cockleshell Beach

Cockleshell Bay

Home of the Reggae beach bar and St Kitts Watersports .
Snorkel gear can be rented at St Kitts Watersports.

Where to go:

Snorkel out around the rocks in front of Reggae beach bar.

What to look for:

Juvenile fish among the rocks, Southern Stingrays and Sea Turtles.

Watch out for:

Sheltered and shallow, ideal for beginners. Lots of watersports here but entry lanes are segregated.

Shitten Bay

Shipwreck snorkeling in St Kitts

Shitten Bay

One of the best places to snorkel in St Kitts. Easily accessible by boat and one of the popular stops for snorkeling tours
Land access means taking a 1 mile trail over the steep hill starting at Majors Bay

Where to go:

This is a large bay, lots of marine life everywhere not just around the shipwreck.

What to look for:

Shoals of fish around the wreck, turtles and Eels, Southern Stingrays and Sea Turtles.

Watch out for:

Sheltered and shallow, ideal for beginners. Think carefully before considering the land route to the bay.

Snorkel spots for the experienced snorkeler

Whitehouse Bay

Whitehouse bay

Whitehouse Bay

On the South East Peninsula this has a rocky beach but some of the best snorkeling on the island including a shipwreck.
Home of Salt Page restaurant.
No facilities except at Salt Plage.

Where to go:

Swim towards the big rock, just in front of it are smaller rocks jutting out out the water. There is a 40ft shipwreck nestled against these rocks (look for the buoy).
Most of the bay is less than 20 ft deep and has a mix of reefs and seagrass beds.

What to look for:

Stingrays in the sand, schools of small fish around the rocks and Starfish in the Seagrass beds.

Watch out for:

Spiny Sea Urchins in the shallows, spines are sharp enough to pass through your fins and into your foot. Beach is actually small rocks.

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay

On the Atlantic side, just north of the Marriott. Home of the new Koi Resort.
Sheltered bay with good swimming and snorkeling. No facilities except for the resort.

Where to go:

Multiple reefs so just walk in anywhere and explore

What to look for:

Turtles, lots of smaller fish, Spanish Lobsters and maybe even a reef shark.

Watch out for:

This bay is really for experienced swimmers. Because it is on the Atlantic side of the island there can be an undercurrent and large waves.

Turtle Beach

Turtle Beach

Turtle Beach

On the Atlantic side, off the beaten track on the SE Peninsula.
Bay is sheleterd somewhat by the reef.

Where to go:

Reef is parallel to shore, or for a real challenge swim to “Booby Island” which is almost a mile away.

What to look for:

Turtles, Stingrays, Eagle Rays and maybe reef sharks around the island.

Watch out for:

This bay is really for experienced swimmers. Because it is on the Atlantic side of the island there can be large waves.
Kite Surfing beach

Coastal Snorkel Adventure

south friars beach at shipwreck bar St Kitts
Start with the beach on your right
Frigate Bay St Kitts
You will come around the large rock to finish here

Friars Bay to Frigate Bay

Both bays are on the Caribbean side of the island, the rocky coastline is reasonably sheltered and should take about 60 – 90 mins depending on where you start.
Distance along the coast is 3/4 mile if you start at Carambola, 1.2 miles if you start at Shipwreck bar.

Where to go:

Enter the water at Friars Bay, swim towards the west with the shoreline on your right. Pass Carambola beach club and keep going.
The rocks here come right down into the ocean creating lots of shallow pools and places for the marine life to hide.

What to look for:

Large shoals of fish in the rocks, Starfish in the sand, Juvenile Hawksbill and Green Turtles.

Watch out for:

Experienced swimmers will find this easy and will know how to judge sea conditions.
Once you have passed Carambola there is nowhere to go ashore until you reach Frigate bay.
We advise starting at Friars Bay as the surface wind normally blows East to West.

Guide to St Kitts beaches

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