Jamaica offers pristine beaches, gorgeous clear water, balmy temperatures, and some great snorkeling and diving.
Best Snorkeling in Jamaica
There are many fantastic sites to explore when snorkeling in Jamaica. What you see during your time in the vibrant, lush country will depend on the time of year, and where you choose to snorkel. While all of these snorkeling sites in Jamaica offer magnificent views of sea life, choose according to your desires, location and budget.
Negril offers a few good snorkeling locations in Jamaica. Both are unique and you won’t want to miss them!
Rockhouse Negril is a unique place for snorkeling in Jamaica. There are no beaches at Rockhouse, so if you want to snorkel you will need to either stay at the Rockhouse Hotel, which offers ladders down the sheer cliffs into the water, or take a snorkeling tour that stops at the protected cove. There are also underwater coves and you may be able to spot some eels or silverfish swimming about.
Negril Coral Reef is located just off shore from Seven Mile Beach in Negril. It is quite far to swim from the shoreline, but you can easily catch a boat from your hotel for a small expense. Many travelers reported paying $30 to $40 (USD) per person to charter a glass bottom boat out to the reef. If you are traveling to Jamaica during the summer, this is a must visit location due to the hordes of tiny thimble jellyfish that flock to the reef. You’ll literally be swimming through small blobs of gel, which is a pretty unique experience! Even if you don’t visit during summer, rest assured that you’ll usually be able to catch glimpses of sea fans, urchins, conch and vibrant tropical fish.
Doctor's Cave Beach is located approximately one mile from central Montego Bay. A hot spring flows into these waters, which bring the already warm water temperature up a bit higher, while also making the visibility even clearer. Underwater, you will be able to take in the gorgeous reef full of colorful, abundant coral. Some snorkelers have even reported fish so friendly and so used to tourists in the water that they swim right up to you!
Another good option for snorkeling in Jamaica in Montego Bay is Montego Beach. This underwater area has shallow reefs and steep vertical drop-offs, which will allow you the ability to see a variety of marine life, such as angelfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, rays and many species of coral.
Located on the North coast of Jamaica, Runaway Beach is a more secluded option for snorkeling. The beach has bathrooms, chairs and umbrellas so that you’re able to find comfort and relax when you need a break from snorkeling. You can literally walk into the water and begin snorkeling at Runaway Beach, with sea urchins, tropical fish, kidney and brain coral right off shore. Tours are also offered, which take you farther out from shore, giving snorkelers the ability to see lionfish, stingrays, barracuda and bountiful corals.
How to get to Jamaica
Sangster International Airport (MBJ) is the main international airport in Jamaica. Located in Montego Bay, shuttles or taxis can be taken from this airport to anywhere on the island. When traveling to Jamaica it is important to note that the summer is hurricane season, but really any other time is great to visit and you will experience temperatures in the mid to high 20s (low 80’s).
Whether you visit one or many of the great destinations for snorkeling in Jamaica, be sure not to miss out on an opportunity to interact with squirrelfish, clownfish, barjacks, stingrays and eels. A trip to Jamaica would not be complete without a bit of snorkeling fun!
Read about all Jamaica snorkeling spots here.