The Bahamas is famous for crystal clear blue waters and incredible reefs teeming with marine wildlife. One of the best ways to experience the Islands is by snorkeling.
Whether you embark on a guided trip or take a do-it-yourself approach, snorkeling in the Bahamas will not disappoint. With many snorkeling hotspots in relatively close proximity to Grand Isle, you will have plenty of opportunities to catch a wide variety of creatures.
If you are in the mood for a guided excursion, there are several companies that cater to first-time snorkelers, while others are ideal for the more experienced. One recommendation is Dive Exuma.
The wonderful thing about snorkeling in the Bahamas, and in particular the Exuma Islands, is the close proximity of shallow waters full of wildlife. A guided trip may lead you to more secluded snorkeling destinations and reefs, but you can also snorkel right off the beach.
SNORKEL THROUGH SHALLOW WATER REEFS
There are many options for snorkeling in the Bahamas, but Exuma has perhaps the greatest concentration of shallow reefs and blue holes. Here are a few snorkeling suggestions, as well as information on what you will see in the shallow Exuma waters:
– Make your way to Thunderball, a hollowed-out island in the cays, where you will be greeted with thousands of colorful fish that will eat directly from your hand
– Corals and sea fans are sprinkled across the white sand bottom of shallow waters
– Turtles, groupers and lobsters can be found hiding under coral rocks
– Keep an eye out for the brightly colored tropical fish hanging out around the coral heads
DOG AND PUP REEF
Situated in 35 feet of water, Dog and Pup reef lies just off Dog Cay and Puppy Cay. The site consists of ridges of shoals and sand banks. Large schools of French grunts and snapper are seen here, along with porcupine pufferfish, queen angelfish and large grouper. Invertebrates that are seen include the Caribbean spiny lobster, and occasional sea turtles.
Reaching a maximum depth of 45 feet, the tops of the soft corals at this site start at around 20 feet. A rich variety of soft and hard corals provide protection for spotted moray eels, a resident green moray eel, an octopus or two, and a number of Caribbean spiny lobster. Fish species seen include peacock flounders, sand tilefish, butterfly fish, blue tangs, wrasse, grunts and snapper.
Elizabeth reef lies adjacent to Elizabeth Island, the next cay along from Stocking Island. A site that is perfect for snorkelers, Elizabeth reef is at its shallowest at 15 feet and reaches a maximum depth of around 30 feet. It is a healthy fish nursery. The topography of the coral, and regular sightings of a school of Eagle Rays at this site makes it a favorite.
DEEP SEA SNORKELING EXCURSIONS
Chartering a boat or enlisting in one of the many offshore snorkeling excursions will give you the chance to see some of the most incredible sea life at an arm’s length. Listed below you will find some of the most common Bahamian fish you may see while perusing the remarkable reefs and blue holes.
– Sea bass
– Butterfly fish
– Portuguese man-o’-wars
– Pod of dolphins
Experience a deeper, more exotic side of the Bahamas with a local snorkeling trip. From tropical fish to colorful reefs to dolphins, snorkeling is the best way to see the marine life that calls the Bahamas home.
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