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Tobago Snorkelling
 

Tobago is a great place for scuba diving and a fantastic place for snorkeling when on a Caribbean vacation. The clear underwater visibility and coral reefs that make Tobago attractive for diving also make Tobago a great place for snorkeling with the added plus that in many locations you can literally begin snorkelling from the edges of the beach. There are coral reefs within a few feet of several beaches and the cliffs along the edges of other beaches have great marine life. One of the added attractions of Tobago’s snorkeling is that several locations are suitable for snorkeling by small children.

Some of the more popular snorkeling locations in Tobago are:

Store Bay

Located literally within walking distance of the airport, Store Bay is the most popular beach in Tobago with lifeguards, changing rooms, snack bars and souvenir vendors. It is a small bay with very low cliffs on either side. The cliffs on either side are an easy swim from the beach and provide a good view of the marine life. On the northern side of the bay one can begin seeing the underwater life almost from the sand and it is fairly sheltered water, making this a good location for the novice snorkeler. When snorkeling on the northern side you however need to be aware of the boat traffic as you move away from the cliffs because the glass bottom boats that take people to the Buccoo reef come into the bay to collect passengers. Snorkeling equipment can be rented from beach side vendors.

 

Grange Beach

Grange Beach (also called Mount Irvine Bay or The Wall) is the first big bay you encounter as you travel along Shirvan Road, just before the entrance to Mount Irvine Hotel. Along the eastern side of the bay is good snorkeling but really should only be attempted by good swimmers. If you follow the cliff along this bay you will enter Mount Irvine Beach. Between November and April the sea along Grange Beach can be very rough.

 

Mount Irvine Beach

This is actually one beach but an outcrop of rock and coral divides the beach in two, with one side (western) being called the Hotel side and the other side (eastern) being called the Public side. Although one side is called the Hotel side, the public has full access. On either end of the Hotel side you literally walk from the beach into the water and within a few feet you are swimming over the edges of a reef. The outcrop of rock and coral that divides the beach is a good location for children to snorkel. On the eastern end of the beach you begin snorkeling in shallow water and quickly reach much deeper water. This side of the beach has much more to see with various types of coral. If you continue snorkeling along this side you will round the point and enter Grange Bay.

For those looking for more snorkeling adventure a good swim into the bay takes you over Dutchman’s Reef, which is marked by yellow buoys and is the area where the yachts are anchored.

On the northeastern side of the Public side there is a fringing reef that has good snorkeling. On this reef there are long-spined sea urchins, whose spines can penetrate shoes and swim fins so care should be exercised on this reef. The waves in the vicinity of this reef are also popular for surfing.

Snorkeling equipment can be rented from beach side vendors or from the water sports shop near the outcrop of rock and coral. There are changing rooms, a snack bar, a car park and life guard service on this beach. You can see a video of the snorkelling at this reef on our Other Attractions Page under, Snorkeling with Jazz

 

Little Back Bay

This beach is approximately 1 kilometer after Mount Irvine Beach. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Tobago and the rocky outcrops on the western end of the bay has good snorkeling and scuba diving. There are no houses on this beach and its seclusion causes security problems as there have been incidents of robbery on this beach.

 

Stone Haven Bay

This bay is along the Shirvan Grafton Road with a left turn onto the road to Stone Haven Bay. The black rocks along the bay provide snorkeling opportunities.

 

Arnos Vale

The hard coral reef in this bay is considered by some as the best snorkelling in Tobago. Arnos Vale Vay is very small, only 225 meters in length. Although the entrance to the bay is through the Arnos Vale Hotel grounds the beach is open to the public. You get to Arnos Vale by taking the Arnos Vale Road from Plymouth.

 

Culloden Bay

The Culloden reef runs the full extent of Culloden Bay and is one of the most untouched reefs on the island. Coral growth and marine life can be seen in just a few feet of water, the volcanic rock providing a good base for growth and shelter for marine life. The reef slopes to a maximum depth of 60 feet, with maximum reef development around the headlands of the bay. While snorkeling, you will see an abundance of healthy marine life, corals such as Brain, Star, and Finger, Sea whips, sea fans and Fire coral are also common, as well as fish of all types including angel fish, butterfly fish and wrasses. To get to Culloden Bay you take the Arnos Vale Road and turn left at Les Coteaux onto Culloden Road, then left at Mount Thomas onto Culloden Bay Road.

 

Englishman’s Bay

Englishman’s Bay has been voted one of the ten best beaches in the Caribbean by the Conde Nast Travel Magazine. The beauty of this beach is the sheer naturalness of the setting with the forest coming down to the golden sand. The offshore coral reef is home to turtles, parrot fish and queen fish. There are no lifeguards, toilets or changing facilities. Snorkeling equipment can be rented from the two vendors on the beach. This bay is along the Northside Road between Castara and Parlatuvier.

 

Bloody_Bay

Bloody Bay is along the Northside Road after Parlatuvier. The clear blue water is suitable for snorkeling and scuba diving. The highlight of the bay especially for scuba divers are the 17 shipwrecks in the Bay dating from 1666.

The Tobago House of Assembly has created attractive visitor facilities at Bloody Bay. These facilities include: Toilets, Changing Rooms and Showers, a Bar, a Tourist Information office, Life Guards, Security Officers and parking for vehicles. Toilets close at 5.30pm

This beach is sometimes used for camping especially at Easter.
 

Speyside

The beach in front of Jemma’s Treehouse restaurant is good for snorkeling by children (adults will also enjoy it) as there is a fringing reef directly on the beach. Children therefore do not have to venture into deep water in order to enjoy the pleasures of snorkeling. For the more serious snorkeler the Angel Reef off Speyside has the largest brain coral in the world. To visit Angel Reef you need to take a tour and reef boats set out from the village or Manta Lodge or from Blue Waters Inn for snorkeling off Goat Island.

 

Charlotteville

The area in front of the public beach facilities are a good location for children who are learning to snorkel. The viewing opportunities are limited but the area with corals is close to shore and so in relatively shallow water. For snorkeling that is among Tobago’s best you need to go to Pirate’s Bay which is a small bay on the northern side of the village. You can either hire a boat in the village to take you to the bay or walk to the bay (be forewarned – there are many steps to descend).

 

These are just some of the snorkelling sites in Tobago, in fact almost every beach or bay provides a snorkelling opportunity and there are numerous tour guide services that will provide day trips to off shore snorkelling places of interest.

 

To learn more about Tobago visit our other Tobago pages;

bulletAn Introduction to Tobago
bulletTobago Birding Hotspots
bulletTobago Places of Interest
bulletTobago Other Attractions
bulletCastara Baking
bulletBacolet Beach
bulletFort King George
bulletTobago Waterfalls
bulletTobago Kayaking
bulletTobago Beaches
bulletTobago Camping
bulletTurtle watching in Tobago
bulletTobago Surfing

 

 

 

 

 


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Last modified: April 15, 2009