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 Tobagos snorkeling is that several locations are
suitable for snorkeling by small children.
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 (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
For those looking for more snorkeling adventure a good swim into the bay takes you over
Dutchmans Reef, which is marked by yellow buoys and is the area where the yachts are
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.
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.
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.
Englishmans 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 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.
The beach in front of Jemmas 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
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
Tobagos best you need to go to Pirates 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.