Snorkeling in St Lucia

St Lucia is a wonderful place to visit if you like to snorkel. The island is perhaps not as famous for its marine life as its lush, green landscape and volcanic peaks, but the shallow underwater fringing reefs found off the shore are abundant in colorful species.

You can also snorkel in St Lucia all year round, thanks to the balmy, tropical climate, though the wet season is between June and November. Hurricanes are most likely between July and October. In terms of water clarity and visibility, the dry season between December and May is your best bet. 

Due to the ever-present trade winds from the north east, the western side of St Lucia offers the finest snorkeling opportunities. The top areas are located close to the island capital of Castries, in the Soufriere area and in the Pitons region. 

If you want to experience snorkeling in St Lucia, there are plenty of opportunities on this Caribbean island. Some of the best snorkeling in St Lucia is accessible via a boat tour, while other spots can be reached directly from the shore. 

We love St Lucia snorkeling and this guide is here to help you find the best place to snorkel in St Lucia, for you. Both boat trips and beaches are covered, so you can decide just where to explore and how you’re going to get there. 

If you want to go snorkeling on St Lucia, continue reading so you can plan your underwater adventure!

In this post:

ST LUCIA SNORKELING TOURS

St Lucia snorkel trips by boat are the easiest way to explore the underwater life in these warm, clear Caribbean waters. As with boat trips in other destinations, you’re unlikely to know for sure where you’ll be going until you set off. This is because the captain will take you to the best available spot on the day according to the weather and water conditions. 

If you want to sample snorkeling in Saint Lucia in a fun, simple way, then there are lots of fuss-free tour options to try out on the island. Here are some great tours to book if you want to enjoy a day of snorkeling on the water.

Coral Gardens, St Lucia

At the base of Gros Piton is a great spot for a boat snorkeling trip. If you hike Gros Piton, as we did, you can actually see the corals from the trail. The snorkeling spot is just off shore, but can only be accessed by boat. There are no roads or beaches nearby to allow any other means of entry.

Coral Gardens is pretty close to Sugar Beach, and St Lucia’s longest reef can be found here. It’s a bit of a lesser known spot than some, but is home to pretty feather stars, eels, brightly colored fish and Christmas Tree Worms. So it’s certainly worth visiting if you’re taking a private boat tour. 

Snorkeling the Pitons, St Lucia

Kristin in front of pitons from catamaran

The Piton Wall at the base of Petit Piton is several hundred feet deep and rich in marine life. It’s a unique and interesting spot as you can see the steep piton continuing underwater here as a sheer drop. 

Highlights include the feather duster worms, which are named for their many protruding branchiae. You can also see brightly colored soft corals here.   

A boat trip is the way to access the Piton Wall area. The boat will deliver you into the water one end of the wall. You can then allow the current to carry you along while exploring, before being picked up at the far end. 

Island Routes snorkel experience

Our favorite Saint Lucia snorkeling tour was the Island Routes snorkel experience which includes visits to three spots, including Anse Chastanet and Anse Cochon.

If you’re looking for one of the top snorkeling experiences on St Lucia, this is it. 

It hits up three of the best spots on the island in one trip. This is an especially great option for those staying at Sandals Resorts in St. Lucia as Island Routes partners with them and the resorts are located further from the popular snorkeling spots. When we visited, though, the trip was only offered on Thursdays. So you will need to plan in advance. 

Israel King private water taxi tours

If you know where you want to go, we’d recommend hiring a private tour for the day to ensure you spend your valuable time just as you choose. This will ensure you see the top spots that can only be reached by boat.  

For this, we loved Israel King’s private water taxi tour. They have fast speed boats and luxury powerboats, and your itinerary can be agreed to suit you. On-shore sites such as Sulphur Springs or the Drive-In Volcano can also be included in your tour if you like. 


SNORKELING ST LUCIA BEACHES

One of our favorite things about snorkeling in St Lucia is that some of the very best spots can be reached from shore. In fact we found that all the local dive and water sports shops recommend Anse Chastanet above all other locations. We visited during a recent trip, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. 

Another of the best snorkeling beaches in St Lucia is Sugar Beach, and there are breathtaking views from the Marine Reserve. You might spot bigger species in the ocean here too. 

Three other top spots to snorkel in St Lucia are found at Anse Cochon, Marigot Bay and Pigeon Island. 

Snorkeling Anse Chastanet and Anse Mamin

ANSE CHASTANET SNORKELING area with coral labeled

Don’t miss out on an Anse Chastanet snorkeling experience if you can possibly help it. It’s by far the most recommended place to snorkel, and from what we’ve seen, it is indeed the best spot on the island.

Anse Chastanet lies within a sheltered marine reserve flanked by emerald green slopes. Before you even enter the water, the views from above the surface are breathtaking. It’s best to get here by boat, via a half or full day trip from Soufriere or Castries. 

Anse Chastenet from snorkeling area

This area is ideal for beginners and there are lots of tropical fish to see. Sergeant Majors, Trumpetfish, Parrotfish and many more frequent these waters. There are also some colorful hard and soft corals and sea sponges. 

Though you can snorkel here directly from the beach, getting to the beach itself can be a bit of a challenge. The road leading here from Soufriere is in very poor shape and it takes approximately 20 minutes to complete the drive. This is because you have to travel at less than 10 miles per hour for most of the time while navigating the pot holes!  

Anse Chastenet St Lucia Underwater
Coral at Anse Chastenet St Lucia

For this reason, taking a water taxi from the pier in front of the Soufriere police station is a better option. This journey takes just 10 minutes each way, and there are locals with boats running back and forth all the time. You can ask around at the pier entrance or the beach at Anse Chastanet to find a ride. 

Anse Chastanet is also a popular spot for snorkeling tours to visit due to the fact that it’s one of the very best places on the island. With a private trip you can ask for it to be included, or pick out a tour that will include a visit here – weather permitting, of course. 

If you are staying at or eating at the resort here you can use all the facilities at Anse Chastanet. If not, you are technically not permitted past the high water line on the beach. As long as you don’t actually sit in any chairs, though, you can probably walk around the beach a bit without being approached. 

If you can, we do recommend staying here. It’s not only close to the best snorkeling on St Lucia, it’s also convenient for reaching almost all of the most fun things to do on the island.

Coral on left of Anse Chastenet Beach St Lucia
Fish and Coral at left of Anse Chastanet St Lucia Snorkeling

There are two places to snorkel at Anse Chastanet. These comprise a small roped-off area on the left side of the beach, and a long strip of coral heads and sea grass which stretches from the right side of the beach all the way to Anse Mamin. These two spots are also connected via a waterfront path and palm-lined beach, but it’s only about a 10 minute walk to get down to Anse Mamin from Anse Chastanet. 

To snorkel the area to the left of the beach, enter the Marine Park’s roped off area via the ladder on the dock. The boats come and go from this area, so swimming over is unsafe. This area has larger coral heads and several schools of fish, though the coral isn’t the healthiest we’ve seen.

To the right of the beach is a long stretch of coral heads, soft corals, and coral-clad rocks which runs along the coastline. This can all be found within the buoyed area and it is  pretty shallow and well protected. You can snorkel the corals here beyond the dock towards Anse Mamin. Once you reach this second beach, it becomes sandy again.

Turlte near Anse Mamin St Lucia
Anse Chastenet Beach and Pitons

Make sure you head out past the coral area, towards the sea grass fringe. You’re likely to see Hawksbill Turtles here, and we were lucky enough to spot one when we visited. These turtles actually nest on the beach here between July and October. 

Anse Mamin is well worth visiting while you’re in the area. It’s more peaceful than Anse Chastanet and there are fewer boats in the water. You can also see colorful fish, corals and of course the turtles here. As the coral stretches between the two and they’re close together, it’s easy to include both areas in one hit. 

Sugar Beach, St Lucia Snorkeling

Sugar Beach St Lucia facing Gros Piton, photo
Photo credit: Solarisys, Shutterstock

Sugar Beach comes a close second to Anse Chastanet in terms of where’s best to snorkel on the island. This spot is situated in the bay between the two pitons, and there are incredible views from here. 

The beach in Pitons Bay is often referred to as Jalousie Plantation Beach or Anse des Pitons, and can be found in the island’s southwest. It’s within the Anse Piton Marine Preserve and there are restrooms, food and drink outlets and water sports facilities here. 

While the bay is compact in size, it offers a variety of habitats within the Marine Reserve. Among the seagrass in particular you might spot eagle rays, snappers, parrot fish, moray eels, trumpet fish, groupers, scorpion fish and sea sponges as well as the corals.

Snorkeling Pigeon Island, St Lucia

PIGEON ISLAND SNORKELING MAP with labels

Pigeon Island snorkeling in St Lucia is well worth including on your itinerary if you wan to visit the national park in the north of the island. There’s a good spot about 100 yards off the beach, following the shoreline. 

Beach at Pigeon Island looking at snorkeling area

At the Pigeon Island snorkeling spot you can see several coral heads. These are about 100 yards out from the beach. They follow the shoreline and are just past the dock, and the best spot is around the large rock you can see just off the shore.  

Coral at Pigeon Island St Lucia Snorkeling
Squid at Pigeon Island Snorkeling St Lucia

We encountered a group of local spear fishermen here. There are also a couple of underwater structures near the boat mooring buoys to explore, including a sunken car. Several starfish and tons of sea urchins were also lurking among the sea grass when we visited. Other species to look out for here include lobster, eagle rays, anemones, moray eels, starfish and giant barracuda.

Marigot Bay Snorkeling

Another of the best beaches in St Lucia for snorkeling is Marigot Bay. It’s popular with the companies who run boat trips, so it can get busy. If you make your own way here, you can rent equipment if not bringing your own. It’s a good place for amenities in general, as you can buy snacks and drinks at Marigot Bay. 

Once you enter the water you can encounter large corals, seahorses and lots of colorful marine life. The northern side of the bay is best, and as this ares is something of a breeding ground you may spy shoals of younger tropical fish. 

Anse Cochon Snorkeling

ANSE COCHON SNORKELING MAP with coral areas labeled

We visited Anse Cochon as part of our boat trip while on St Lucia. This secluded cove is among the most popular spots for day trips from the northern and central parts of the island. When we arrived there was a large tour group already there, and another arrived shortly before we left. 

Anse Cuchon Beach from snorkeling area
Anse Cochon snorkeling area from boat

Another resort we spoke to also mentioned that they visit Anse Cochon on their tours, so don’t expect to have this spot to yourself. Unless you go very early or late in the day. The spot is located off the left side of the beach by the Ti Kaye Resort and Spa, and this has a restaurant.

Coral at Anse Cochon St Lucia Snorkeling
Kristin snorkeling at Anse Cochon St Lucia
Fish and Coral at Anse Cochon Snorkeling St Lucia

We stopped at Anse Cochon while taking the SeaSpray ferry from Soufriere up to Rodney Bay. It was so much fun riding the catamaran along the beautiful west coast and we absolutely recommend doing that!   

The snorkeling, however, was just okay. If you haven’t snorkeled much, you might enjoy seeing some decent bits of coral and small fish though. You can find underwater life all along the shore from the beach out to the point at the left of the bay. Look out for shrimp, lionfish, trumpetfish and even stingrays here. 


Where will you go snorkeling in St Lucia?

There are some really lovely snorkeling spots in St Lucia, and our recent visit only made us want to return so we can explore further. If you want to enjoy the rich marine life this Caribbean destination has to offer, do plan in advance of your visit.

As well as booking boat tours, it’s worth thinking about where to stay. Anse Chastanet, for example, makes the perfect base because you can snorkel at the best spot on the island right by the resort. It’s also easy to access other St Lucia attractions from here. 

Wherever you go, don’t forget your underwater camera. Like us, we’re sure you’ll soon want to return to discover even more of St Lucia’s incredible underwater scene!

Looking for more information on St Lucia? Check out all our guides to the island Here!

About the author
Kristin Young