The Best Snorkeling Spots in the BVI
Of course, the BVI has hundreds of great snorkeling spots. But most of them are only accessible by boat or super crowded. I have tried many different spots but the ones listed below are some of the best snorkeling spots in the BVI you can find. These options are easy to get to, not too crowded and you don’t have to swim too far out to discover some amazing underwater life.
Mahoe Bay – Virgin Gorda
Snorkeling is usually best at the hideaway places. Why? Because people don’t ruin it by touching the coral, using too much sun lotion and what else. But also the swells, which sometimes hit this side of Virgin Gorda, can do some serious damage to the reef. Luckily Mahoe Bay is fairly well protected by high-end resorts for the lucky few and a reef to the right side.
Mahoe Bay really is one of those nature’s little secrets the BVI is famous for. Lots of coral, lots of fish and unique sculpting of the reef; you can simply spend hours here snorkeling. But remember: take nothing, leave only footprints in the sand.
Brewers Bay – Tortola
Overseen by most tourists, but loved by the local community (and rightly so), Brewer’s Bay is known for being one of the better snorkeling spots on Tortola.
Keep to the rocks on the left and find an abundance of fish and coral between 6 and 20 feet deep. Large schools of damselfish, snapper, parrotfish and between the coral look for some filefish and trumpetfish. Because the most coral is somewhat deeper, the details are better seen on a clear wind- and surf-less day. Or of course dive underwater to get a closer look.
Long Bay – Tortola
Not the first BVI beach that comes to mind when planning a snorkeling session. I think Long Bay, as a whole, is highly underrated. When going over the hill from Apple Bay you will get struck by the intense beauty of this beach. The first half is like a small beach town with a great beach bar and of course the well-known resort. Somewhat half way is the complete opposite feel and Nature Boy is the gatekeeper of an unspoiled palm-filled paradise.
Long Bay is full of coral in the shallow parts but because of all the sand and often waves there is not much to see. In the summer, when the winter swells are gone, it opens up possibilities to explore. 1 spot is found on the far side; snorkel out all the way to the point and be amazed by the large rock formations and abundance of fish.
But the video is about another spot, arguably the best snorkeling spot in the whole BVI: Long Bay Rock. In the middle of the bay you will see some rocks sticking out of the water but it is actually one big rock sticking out. It gets hit hard by swells so be careful going there, preferably go when it is real flat. The rock is a spectacle underwater with thousands of years of crashing waves creating little caves and long grooves. I have yet to see so much fish in one place.
Little Trunk Bay – Virgin Gorda
Just before arriving at the world famous Baths there are some amazing little beaches to be found. Some you can easily access and some more difficult as they are surrounded by exclusive luxury properties. One of those is Little Trunk Bay.
The boulders at Little Trunk Bay go about 30 feet underwater, so it’s quite impressive to see while snorkeling. It feels like you are snorkeling inside a massive cave. But because of the lack of coral and much fish, you don’t have to spend too much time snorkeling. The conditions can be very challenging because of the surf and current, so be careful. Also, because of the surf, the visibility is lower than on other places. If you go, go on a very calm flat water day.
More fish and coral can be found at the Baths itself, but it can get extremely crowded.
Smuggler’s Cove – Tortola
Well known, and even though tucked away, a popular spot for swimmers as it tends to be left alone by the winter swells. Smugglers Cove is a perfect little beach. On top of that, you can definitely have fun snorkeling on the shallow reefs on the right side of the bay. You can go all the way up to the point, which is called Shark Point. In this case, I got surrounded by thousands of Silversides fish. They flow besides you and often surround you completely. When you move they react in unison like a fluent ballerina, just breathtaking.
During this particular session it seemed like they followed me on purpose. Maybe it had something to do with the 2 reef sharks circling the schools from a good 20 feet. Maybe they thought I would scare the sharks away.
Go out and experience these spots for yourself. As always, just look, don’t touch. Let us know your favourite snorkeling spot in the British Virgin Island in the comments below.