Best Snorkeling Beaches In Jamaica

The island country of Jamaica is found in the Caribbean with breathtaking views, a unique culture, welcoming locals, and picturesque beaches. What lies below the surface of the turquoise waters is something you don’t want to miss!

Well-known and beautiful snorkeling spots are abundant all-around Jamaica. The most popular spots amongst locals and tourists include Montego Bay Marine Park, Negril Coral Reef, Oyster Bay, Runaway Bay, Luminous Lagoon, Devils Reef, Throne Room and Doctors Cave Beach.

You can’t go to Jamaica and NOT snorkel, so to make your life a bit easier, here are some of the many beautiful snorkeling spots in Jamaica.

Where To Snorkel In Jamaica

If you are visiting Jamaica, you will need to know where the best snorkeling spots are. Below are some of the most top-rated spots for snorkeling in Jamaica.

Snorkeling In Jamaica’s Montego Bay Marine Park

Montego Bay Marine Park was established in 1991 and is the first protected marine park in Jamaica, making it one of the most ecofriendly snorkeling spots. The vibrant coral is thriving due to its conservation efforts and is definitely worth visiting!

The bay has many clear and shallow spots – ideal for snorkeling. You will also come across seagrass beds, large mangrove ecosystems, and coral reefs.

Negril Coral Reef In Jamaica For Snorkeling

The town of Negril is known for its rich marine biodiversity and seven-mile-long coastline, making it the perfect area to go snorkeling.

The Negril Coral Reef is situated in shallow waters two miles off the coast. Perhaps you can take a boat out into the sea and swim amongst the tropical fish such as the thimble jellyfish (which is completely harmless).

Jamaica’s Oyster Bay Snorkeling Spot

Located in Port Antonio, Oyster Bays’ calm waters are perfect for beginner snorkelers. Oyster Bay has eight miles of interconnected coral reefs, and the best spots are within the Alligator Head Foundation Fish and Reef Sanctuary.

This particular spot has great visibility of the island – perfect for an afternoon of relaxation.

Snorkeling In Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Found on the northern coast of Jamaica, Runaway Bay is known to be one of the top snorkeling spots in Jamaica.

This area has diverse marine life, and many snorkelers find the likes of parrotfish, angelfish, Creole wrasse, and French grunt fish. Although less common, snorkelers have found stingrays, barracudas, lionfish, and sea urchins.

Snorkeling In Jamaica’s Luminous Lagoon

For snorkelers that enjoy exploring the ocean at night, this spot, found in Falmouth, is for you. Going for a nighttime snorkel in the glowing waters of the Luminous Lagoon is a unique offering and should be on your bucket list!

The water in this lagoon lights up at night because of the extremely rare dinoflagellate phosphorescent microbes that exist where the warm freshwater of the Martha Brae River meets the seawater.

For around $60, you can take a 30-minute guided tour of the lagoon and explore the natural wonders this spot has to offer. You will learn about the science and history behind the glowing water and enjoy a relaxing swim.

The Devils Reef Snorkeling Spot

Snorkeling is one of the most popular water activities along Jamaica’s north coast in Ocho Rios. Manta rays and eagle rays are frequently spotted in this spot, and you can also spot animals such as pufferfish, sea urchins, sea slugs, nurse sharks, and scorpionfish. 

Many companies also offer horseback riding and bamboo rafting – the perfect complement to snorkeling!

Snorkeling In Jamaica’s Throne Room

This spot is just off Negril and can reach up to 40 feet deep, and is only accessible via boat. Snorkelers love exploring the caves in the Throne Room, where yellow sponges reach the bottom of the sea and elephant ears and tube sponges.

Lobsters, stingrays, and sea stars are animals you need to keep an eye out for!

Doctors Cave Beach In Jamaica For Snorkeling

Legend has it that the water at the Doctors Cave Beach has healing powers. Who knows whether or not this is true, but it certainly makes a swim or snorkel in the sea more exciting!

This snorkeling spot has protected coral reefs and is easily accessible via foot. Due to the environmental regulations preserving the beauty of this beach, this is a popular snorkeling spot.

It costs around $3 for children and $6 for adults to spend the day at the Doctors Cave Beach. This will allow you to access the changing rooms and the beach bar. If you want to hire snorkeling gear or partake in water sports, you will have to pay an additional fee.

Snorkeling Conditions In Jamaica

Snorkeling is good all year round in Jamaica, but some months are better than others! The ideal time would be between March and May. During these times, the visibility for snorkeling is best, allowing for uninterrupted views of marine life.

The temperature in Jamaica is generally between 73- and 89-degrees Fahrenheit and is almost always sunny. You’re pretty much guaranteed perfect snorkeling weather.

Marine wildlife spotting will largely depend on where you decide to snorkel in Jamaica and whether you’re snorkeling in shallow water or deep reefs.

The most common animals you will find when snorkeling include sea urchins, parrotfish, angelfish. When snorkeling along the northern coastline, you can expect to find clownfish, kingfish, tuna, large-eyed squirrelfish, dartfish, mackerel, and whiting fish.

If you’re lucky, you may even spot a turtle! Sharpnose puffers and four-eye butterflyfish are extremely rare spotting.

There’s a large variety of coral in the clear waters of Jamaica. Montego Bay mostly has colorful and floral coral from the soft coral variety, such as bubble coral. Hard coral can be found in large groups, whereas soft coral is usually a single, large organism.

Elkhorn coral and brain coral are common types of hard coral found when snorkeling in Jamaica. Keep an eye out for torch coral, sea fans, and star coral – these are more difficult to find.

Taking A Catamaran To The Best Snorkeling Locations

Why not board a catamaran and explore the coast for some of the best snorkeling spots in Jamaica from a vantage point? You are likely to experience the stunning view of Montego Bay from the sea.

Why don’t you have a look at the various catamaran tours that are on offer, as they all offer something unique? Most tours also offer transportation to and from your resort or accommodation.

The Reggae Catamaran and Snorkeling Cruise that Island Routes offer is a favorite amongst those visiting Jamaica. When onboard, there is an open bar and a DJ, and you’ll get to meet people from all over the world.

Conclusion

Jamaica is a beautiful island country, rich in culture and known for its clear blue water – ideal for snorkeling. Next time you’re looking at traveling during the summer, keep Jamaica in mind and the extensive marine life it has to offer!