Snorkeling in the Bahamas

A Shallow Sea Filled with Possibilities

With 700 islands and 5,000 square miles of underwater real estate to discover, the hardest part of a Bahamas snorkeling adventure is narrowing down the choices. Coral reefs teeming with fish life? That's a given. But what about a drift over a shipwreck in the company of reef sharks—don't worry, they won't bite. Or a trip into the sea cave from the James Bond film Thunderball. You can meet up with dolphins and turtles on sand flats, plunge into the waters of a blue hole, or explore fish nurseries in mangrove channels. The only bad choice would be not planning enough time to discover the full diversity of the Bahamas' underwater world.

Highlights

  • Best for: Solos, couples and families, beach lovers and adventurers
  • Best season to visit: Year-round, with some areas exposed to cold fronts in winter months
  • Weather: Sub-tropical climate similar to Florida, with warm water temperatures in summer, becoming cooler in winter when cold fronts pass

Bahamas Information

Snorkeling in the Bahamas Overview

Good snorkeling opportunities can be found around most every island in the Bahamas. In some cases, these sites can be reached from shore, but many of the best locations will require a boat ride. A number of dive resorts and tour operators run dedicated trips to sites that are too shallow for scuba divers, but ideal for snorkelers.

Snorkeling in the Bahamas Tips

While coral reefs are usually the star attraction on snorkeling excursions, the Bahamas offers a number of additional unique experiences. These include shipwrecks in shallow water, tidal channels, blue holes, rock grottoes, sand flats and seagrass beds. Each of these landscapes showcases a different aspect of the underwater environment.

Best Places for Snorkeling in the Bahamas

The reefs at Coral Caverns are covered in rainbow hues of sea fans and sponges. Snorkeling off the southwest coast of New Providence Island yields shallow shipwrecks, shark sightings and an underwater sculpture park. At Eagle Ray Run, dozens of rays swim information like jet fighters. Huge stone blocks at the Bimini Road are said to be part of the lost city of Atlantis. The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park encompasses 21 miles of protected reef. A short swim from the beach at Paradise Cove leads to underwater drops offs and unique coral formations.

What to Pack for Snorkeling in the Bahamas

If you have personal snorkel gear, pack it in a nylon backpack or mesh carry bag to keep things organized aboard the boat. Neoprene boots and open heel fins with straps work well for wading in from the beach, but slip-on fins are more convenient for boat trips. Don't forget sunscreen and a light cover up for time on the surface.

Specials

Snorkeling

Bahamas

Courtyard Marriott Nassau

NASSAU, BAHAMAS - 7-NIGHT VACATION includes 7 nights standard king accommodations, 1 snorkel Bahamas 1/2 day tour with up to 3 stops including snorkeling with Caribbean Reef Sharks (sharks are optional stop/weather dependant), free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes and service charges. Valid 9/1/17-10/31/17. Add $103 per person for travel through 8/31/17 & 11/1/17-12/31/17.
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From $1,001 per person double diver

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Snorkeling

Bahamas

Green Turtle Club Resort & Marina

ABACO, BAHAMAS - 7TH NIGHT FREE + SNORKEL TOURS includes 7 nights air conditioned accommodations, Reef & Fresh Seafood BBQ Grilled on the Beach Day plus hand feed the rays/turtles, welcome cocktail, hotel taxes and service charges. Valid 10/27-11/17/17. Add $119 for travel 8/6/17-8/19/17, 11/18/17-11/25/17, 12/24/17-1/2/18/17. Options to add on Island Hopping Tour to Gauna Cay including Swimming Pigs and Beach BBQ and Wild Turtle Encounter Kayak or Stand-up Paddle Board Eco Tour. *Transfers not included.
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From $935 per person double occupancy

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Packages

Snorkeling

Bahamas

Hilton At Resorts World Bimini

BIMINI - SNORKEL PACKAGE includes 7 nights accommodations, one snorkel adventure with a choice of up to 3 stops, free WiFi, and hotel taxes.
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Snorkeling

Bahamas

Stella Maris Resort Club

LONG ISLAND - SNORKEL PACKAGE includes 7 nights accommodations, free WiFi at clubhouse,use of bicycles, small sailboats, kayaks and standup paddle boards, daily a.m and p.m snorkel excursions, weekly evening entertainment, hotel taxes and service charges.
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From $893 per person double diver

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Snorkeling

Bahamas

Treasure Cay Beach Marina & Golf Resort

ABACO - SNORKEL TOUR includes 7 nights garden view accommodations, Reef & Fresh Seafood BBQ Grilled on the Beach Day plus hand feed the rays/turtles, free WiFi, hotel taxes and service charges. Valid 8/1/17-8/26/17 & 10/28/17-12/22/17. Add $49 per person for travel through 7/31/17 & 12/23/17-7/6/18. Options to add on Island Hopping Tour to Gauna Cay including Swimming Pigs and Beach BBQ and Wild Turtle Encounter Kayak or Stand-up Paddle Board Eco Tour. *Transfers not included.
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Resorts

Snorkeling

Bahamas

Courtyard Marriott Nassau

NASSAU - Relax after a busy day in Nassau at the resort-style pool under the sun or walk just a few steps to the famous Junkanoo Beach. Stay fit at the on-site fitness center, providing free weights and cardiovascular equipment. Whether stopping by one of the small shops around downtown, the hotel provides easy access to experience the authentic local flair of Nassau. Following an adventurous day, unwind in the sleek lobby lounge and stay in touch with friends and family back home via free, property-wide Wi-Fi.
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Snorkeling

Bahamas

Bluff House Beach Resort & Marina

ABACO - Bluff House Beach Resort & Marina is located on Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, in the Bahamas, three miles off the east coast of Great Abaco which is approximately a one-hour flight from Florida. Perched on the highest point of Green Turtle Cay, this 12 acre tropical paradise stretches from White Sound to the Sea of Abaco. Many have described it as the “most special piece of property in Abaco". Located on Green Turtle Cay is a vacation paradise for sailors, divers and fishermen. Snorkeling and SCUBA diving is a popular adventure with the world’s third largest barrier reef just a short boat ride away. You can beachcomb for shells and tossed up treasures from the sea on our power-soft, white-sand beaches or take a leisurely boat ride and explore the many nearby deserted cays. .
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Bahamas

Hilton At Resorts World Bimini

BIMINI - The Hilton at Resorts World Bimini is an exclusive island paradise featuring luxury Caribbean hotel accommodations and world-famous Bahamas beach resort activities; perfect for family vacations, destination weddings, honeymoons and more. Diving services are available from Bimini Undersea located onsite.
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Snorkeling

Bahamas

Green Turtle Club Resort & Marina

ABACO - Explore Earth's third-largest barrier reef, explore historic wrecks, walls, and swim-through caverns, dive with dolphins, turtles, and sharks, hand feed stingrays, tropical fish , and Brendal's pet groupers - Junkanoo and Calypso - all at exotic Green Turtle Caye.
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Snorkeling

Bahamas

Treasure Cay Beach Marina & Golf Resort

ABACO - Less than 200 miles from Florida’s coast, the Bahamian island of Abaco is home to the village of Treasure Cay and this laid-back resort where more than three miles of sleepy white sand beach anchor a genuine Caribbean paced experience; reminiscent of a truly relaxed way of life. Served by multiple daily direct fights, fun for all ages oasis operates a noted 150-slip marina and classic Dick Wilson golf course.
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Snorkeling

Bahamas

Breezes Bahamas

NASSAU - Miles away from everyday life, but only minutes from the airport. Breezes Bahamas is located on a stretch of the island’s best beach: The powder white sands of Cable Beach. Crystal clear waters gently lap the shore as everyday worries drift away. Just a short stroll along the beach takes you to the excitement of Nassau’s glittering casinos.
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Snorkeling

Bahamas

Stella Maris Resort Club

LONG ISLAND - Offering diving, kayaking, biking and more, this sophisticated retreat “at a barefoot price” is ideal for water sports enthusiasts. It has the best of the subtropical climate zones, enjoying moderate summer and fall temperatures. Underwater is clear and rich with marine life. Guests can enjoy wholesome day activities to pleasant sunset entertainment.
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements

Entry/Exit Requirements: All U.S. Citizens are required to present a valid passport. No visa is required for American citizens. All persons, six years and over leaving the Bahamas, pay a Government Departure Tax of 29.00 which should be included in your international airline ticket taxes.

Immunizations

Vaccinations are not required for entry into the Bahamas. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at Traveler's Health CDC The Bahamas.

 

Culture and Customs

Though still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Bahama's English heritage is obvious only in the historic architecture of Nassau, a love for the Queen, and the nation's parliamentary system of government. The cosmopolitan resorts of Paradise Island and Grand Bahama may be more spiritually aligned with Miami or Las Vegas, but move into the Out Islands and you transition to island time, where the phrase “soon come” is the mantra for a relaxed, welcoming way of life. The big event on the calendar is Junkanoo, which is celebrated from December's Boxing Day to New Years Day. Every island stages a celebration, but the big show happens in Nassau when thousands of lavishly costumed revelers march through the streets to the accompaniment of horns, goombay drums and cowbells. Come March, the island sailboats are packed with passengers headed for the National Family Island Regatta in Georgetown. Here, crews from across the archipelago race traditional island sloops by day, then party the night away at Regatta Village Cricket season lasts from March to November, and ongoing commentary of the matches fills the local airwaves.

Celebrated since the 17th century, Junkanoo has grown into a large, organized event with groups that compete for cash prizes for best music, best costume, best dancing, etc. Traditionally held on New Year’s Day, Boxing Day and Independence Day, parades are also held during the annual “Junkanoo Summer Festival” and the “Just Rush” competition. Many hotels also offer Junkanoo shows for their guests throughout the year.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Electricity in the Bahamas is 120 volts/60 cycles, which is the same as the U.S. and all U.S. appliances are compatible. the country code/area code for the Bahamas is 242. The local phone company BTC (Bahamas Telephone Company) should be available on your cell phone, so check with your carrier for costs for calls and data while in the Bahamas on roaming. There are many public hotspots, and you will find most hotels offer WiFi, as well as many bars, restaurants and shops.

Water Quality

Tap water is safe to drink on the main islands of the Bahamas. Bottled water is available for purchase.

Language & Currency

English is the official language, however you may hear locals speaking "Bahamian English" which has a mixture of African influence, island dialect and the Queen's diction. The H is often dropped so thanks sounds like tanks. The local currency is the Bahamian dollar (BSD) but U.S. Dollars are accepted everywhere. The Bahamian and the U.S. dollar are equivalent so as a visitor you don’t need to exchange any money. Credit cards are accepted at most locations on Nassau, Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island. Cirrus and +PLUS ATMs can be found on Nassau, Paradise Island, Grand Bahama and most of the major Out Islands.

Time

The Bahamas are in the Eastern Time Zone. The Bahamian Islands do observe Daylight Savings Time. They are 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-5 during Eastern Standard Time) and 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time during Daylight Savings Time (-4 Eastern Daylight Time).

Location, Size and Population

The Bahamas are located in the North Atlantic Ocean on the eastern edge of the Caribbean. They are approximately 45 miles Southeast of Florida. The Bahamian Islands are made up of approximately 700 islands and 2,000 cayes of which about only 30 are inhabited. The islands are north of Cuba, northwest of the Turks and Caicos, and Southeast of the Florida Keys. The size of the Bahamas is approximately 5,382 square miles with a coastline of 1,368 square miles. The capital city of the Bahamas is Nassau, located on New Providence and is approximately 80 square miles. The population of the Bahamas is 392,575 (2016).