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I am planning to go to the Caribbean in January. I would like to be able to snorkel right off the beach, to avoid chartering a boat. Does anyone have suggestions on destinations (i.e. country, island, city, area)?

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closed as not a real question by choster, RoflcoptrException, hippietrail, andra, Alendri Oct 16 '12 at 12:54

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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"Best" as in visibility? Variety? Cleanliness? Facility quality? Safety? Balance of the above? Something else? Do you prefer one amazing spot or several good ones? We aren't clairvoyant here. –  choster Oct 14 '12 at 21:49
    
Trying to strike a balance of criteria. I'm not an experienced freediver, so cave diving or other dangerous activities are not what I have in mind. Something safe for the whole family. Something with clean, clear waters, and a variety of underwater flora and fauna. Looking for an area (maybe a stretch of several dozen kilometres) with several good spots. –  Adam Dunn Oct 14 '12 at 23:00
    
There are 23 island countries and many sovereign states on the Caribbean - could you edit your question to make less broad by including more details? This is a Q/A website, not a forum, so we try to make questions where it can be answered definitively, not invoke discussion / arguments - 'best' could mean different things to someone who likes the blue hole in Belize, or prefers the beaches of Jamaica. –  Mark Mayo Oct 14 '12 at 23:55
    
@MarkMayo: Well he does say he wants to snorkel right off the beach, so that rules out many places often regarded as "best", including the Blue Hole. –  hippietrail Oct 15 '12 at 2:39
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@hippietrail, agreed, not my best examples, but the statement still holds - it's a huge scope/range! –  Mark Mayo Oct 15 '12 at 2:59

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Top Ten Places to Snorkel (away.com)

  1. Utila, Honduras
  2. Cozumel, Mexico
  3. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
  4. Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
  5. Anegada, British Virgin Islands
  6. Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles
  7. Dominica
  8. Tobago Cays, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  9. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
  10. Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

The top 10 Caribbean snorkeling parks (Active Travel on NBCNEWS.com)

  • Bonaire National Marine Park
  • Belize, Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve
  • Belize, Sapodilla Cayes Marine Park
  • Little Cayman, Bloody Bay Marine Park
  • Venezuela, Los Roques Archipelago National Park
  • Dominica, Soufriere/Scott’s Head Marine Reserve
  • St. Vincent + the Grenadines, Tobago Cays Marine Park
  • St. Lucia, Soufriere Marine Management Area
  • Bahamas, Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
  • Mexico, Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve

Best Snorkeling Beaches in the Caribbean Islands (Caribbean Travel+Life)

  1. CANE, ST. CROIX, USVI
  2. THE BATHS, VIRGIN GORDA
  3. TRUNK BAY, ST. JOHN, USVI
  4. 18 PALMS, BONAIRE
  5. LIGHTHOUSE POINT, ELEUTHERA
  6. PLAYA KALKI ,CURAÇAO
  7. SMITH'S COVE ,GRAND CAYMAN
  8. ANSE DE COLOMBIER, ST. BARTS
  9. PLAYA DE LA CHIVA ,VIEQUES
  10. WEST BAY BEACH, ROATAN, HONDURAS

World's Best Islands for Snorkeling (www.islands.com)

  1. Big Corn Island, Culebra
  2. Big Island, Hawaii
  3. Bligh Water, Fiji Islands
  4. Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles
  5. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
  6. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
  7. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
  8. Laughing Bird Caye, Belize
  9. Les Medes Islands, Spain
  10. Maui, Hawaii
  11. Menjangan Island, Bali, Indonesia
  12. Misool, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
  13. New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea
  14. North Bimini, Bahamas
  15. Plaza Sur, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
  16. Rurutu, French Polynesia
  17. Sipadan Island, Borneo
  18. Soufriere, Dominica
  19. Uepi Island, Solomon Islands
  20. Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras
  21. Veligandu Island, Ari Atoll, Maldives

Top 5 Picks for Scuba Diving Off the Shore (About.com Adventure Travel)

  1. Bonaire -- an Underwater Art Museum
  2. Scuba Diving Off the Great Barrier Reef's Lady Elliot Island
  3. Scuba Divers Rank Cayman Islands a "Must Visit"
  4. Curacao is Surrounded by Reefs and Walls
  5. Shorediving.com

(Please edit this answer to <s>strike out</s> any items in the lists which are not in the Caribbean, or remove the strikeout from items which really are in the Caribbean.)

I've created a map of all these places using a web service I just discovered called batchgeo:

Map of aggregated "top places to snorkel in the Caribbean"

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I've been in number 1 and 2 in away.com list. Her're my videos - Utils - youtu.be/uF1CSYFoQP4 Cozumel - youtu.be/Xo2nYhF1bCg –  Maxim Jan 26 at 17:27
    
The best snorkeling place for me was Akumal - youtube.com/watch?v=tj_OzcWUbGY (Start from second 20 for Akumal) –  Maxim Jan 26 at 17:30

You are looking at Aruba; Montego Bay, Jamaica, Barbados and Tobago. Of course there are many other Caribbean islands, but these will give you what you are looking for. PS: Most Caribbean islands you can snorkel right off the beaches.

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