Best Snorkeling in Jamaica | Top Spots in Tropical Paradise

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by Kristin Young | Updated On: July 22, 2020 | Jamaica

Pristine beaches, palm trees, and reggae is what comes to mind when you think of Jamaica. Home of the legendary Bob Marley, this tropical paradise is extraordinary.

Jamaica boasts some of the world’s best snorkeling spots. It has an array of stunning beaches and over six hundred miles of beautiful coastline, Its vibrant reefs are teeming with colorful marine life in crystal clear blue waters. 

Get your underwater cameras ready for an unforgettable snorkeling experience in the Caribbean. Let’s take a look at some of the best snorkeling in Jamaica.


BEST AREAS FOR SNORKELING IN JAMAICA

If you’re looking for the best place to snorkel in Jamaica, then these areas of beaches should be at the top of your list. There are options for beginners learning to snorkel as well as challenging sites for advanced swimmers. 

view of beach at Doctor's Cave Beach in Montego Bay Jamaica

Montego Bay 

Entry: Beach
Experience: Beginner to advanced 
Access: Beach entry from the parking lot
Facilities: Snorkel gear rentals, restaurants, changing rooms
Look out for: Crowds on cruise ship days, so aim to arrive early

Montego Bay boasts beautiful lagoons formed by rock walls that protect the inlet. As an added bonus, you can go snorkeling in Montego Bay Marine Park, one of Jamaica’s first marine parks. 

Doctor’s Cave Beach on Montego Bay’s western side provides shallow, calm, and warm waters. The perfect spot for families with small kids or any first-timers. 

It’s one of the most popular beaches in the country and provides plenty of room to snorkel. There’s easy access to reefs, packed with schools of brightly colored tropical fish swimming close by. 

Snorkelers wanting a more challenging experience can access the offshore reefs. Most resorts in the area offer organized boat trips further out to heavier currents to interact with larger fish. 

Admission to the beach per day is $6 for adults and $3 for children, and it’s open every day from 8.30 am to 5:30 pm. Beach rentals like floats, chairs, and umbrellas are available at Doctor’s Cave as well. 

Catch the Doctor’s Cave Beach snorkeling tour, for a fun-filled day exploring the Montego Bay area. Equipment and a local guide are included!


Ocean and beach view at seven mile beach, jamaica

Negril Beach

Entry: Beach
Experience: Beginner to advanced
Access: From the beach and boats for further out snorkeling experience
Facilities: Snorkel gear, food vendors, restrooms
Look out for: Shallow waters covered in coral heads

Seven Mile Beach is a favorite when it comes to snorkeling in Negril, and is one of the island’s best. It’s famed for its long stretch of pristine white-sand beach hugging the gem clear waters. 

The shallow waters surrounding Negril’s famous beach offers safe snorkeling for beginners. It’s a great option for those who prefer to stay out of the deeper waters. 

Seven Mile Beach surrounds some of the most exclusive luxury resorts in Negril. There’s an endless amount of aquatic activities along its coast – such as scuba diving, kayaking, and skiing. 

At the Negril Coral Reef, about two miles offshore, lies one of the best places for snorkeling in Negril, Jamaica. You can catch a boat from your resort and head to the reef to explore the exotic waters, and it’s undisturbed coral reefs. 

Hop on a Catamaran Cruise to explore Negril’s famous Seven Mile Beach. The tour includes snorkeling equipment, transportation, and beverages.


snorkeling spots just from above the water facing Booby Cay near Negril, Jamaica

Booby Cay Island

Entry: By boat
Experience: Beginner to advanced
Access: Beach entry after arriving by boat
Facilities: Snorkeling gear rentals, small restaurants
Look out for: Strong currents further out

If you’re looking for a secluded Negril snorkeling spot, Booby Cay Island is the perfect place. It’s a small island just off the shore of Negril’s Seven Mile Beach. It got its name from the booby birds who inhabit the island for their breeding grounds. 

Undisturbed coral reefs provide a sanctuary for large populations of marine life, making the snorkeling opportunities superb. The island is also ideal for scuba diving, swimming, kayaking, and bird watching. 

The island is open to the public 24-hours a day. However, you’ll have to take a boat to access its beauty.

Check out this Booby Cay Island Snorkeling Tour. It includes a boat ride from Negril, a delicious Jamaican breakfast, unlimited beverages, and snorkel equipment!


aerial view of turtle bay snorkeling and beach area in Ochos Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios Beach

Entry: Beach
Experience: Beginner to advanced 
Access: From Main Street parking lot
Facilities: Snorkel gear rentals, restaurants, restrooms
Look out for: Flag warning signs for swimmers and lifeguards are on duty

Turtle Beach, the main beach in Ocho Rios, has some of the best Jamaica snorkeling and diving sites around.

If you’re staying at one of the resorts on the beach, you’ll be in luck as you can snorkel right from the shore. You’ll be hooked on snorkeling in Ocho Rios, as it’s teeming with lettuce sea slugs, nurse sharks, scorpionfish, and colorful corals. Devil’s Reef, a little further out, is suitable for advanced and open water divers. 

There is an entry fee of $3 for adults and $1 for children for the entire day at Ocho Rios, and it’s open from 8 am to 5 pm every day. 

For an added excursion, book a private snorkel tour from Turtle beach. The tour includes a local guide, refreshments, and snorkeling equipment.


Runaway Bay Wall

Entry: Beach
Experience: Beginner to advanced 
Access: From the resorts or the road to the shore
Facilities: Snorkeling gear rentals, changing rooms, restaurants
Look out for: Corals in the shallow waters 

Runaway Bay is found on the northern coast of the island, located directly at one of the best snorkeling resorts in Jamaica, the Franklyn D Resort and Spa. It’s the perfect place to escape the crowds and snorkel right from its sandy shores. 

The reefs start a few feet from the resort’s edge. They’re thriving with schools of Creole wrasse, angelfish, French grunt fish, barracuda, and other sea life. It’s excellent for anyone looking to see a good variety of marine species during their snorkeling experience in Jamaica. 

Runaway Bay Wall opens from 9 am to 5:30 pm every day and is popular amongst beach bums, scuba divers and snorkeling enthusiasts. 


WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON JAMAICAN SNORKELING?

Minimal waves and crystal clear waters make Jamaica a snorkeling paradise. The coral reefs hugging the Jamaican coastline play home to hundreds of species of colorful fish. Most resorts in the country provide tours and lessons for snorkeling enthusiasts. 
Are you ready for your snorkeling experience in Jamaica? Get your best snorkel mask on and explore the best place in the best of the Caribbean and its beautiful waters.

collage of snorkeling spots in Jamaica, with text overlay "6 can't miss snorkel spots in Jamaica"
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Hi!  We’re Kristin & Andrew, lovers of everything tropical.  We spend as much time as possible searching for the best beaches, snorkeling, hiking, and fun in the sun!