A Snorkeller’s Paradise
Where to Find the Abundant Marine Life of St. Kitts
An island brimming with beauteous blue water bays, white sand beaches, high vantages boasting breathtaking views and dense forests cloaked in enigmatic beauty, St. Kitts is an ideal paradise for getting in touch with your inner explorer. This is especially true for snorkellers, who make a point of discovering and taking in whatever they can within the vibrant worlds that rest just below the muted azure surface of the ocean. Schools of brightly coloured fish, playful octopi, turtles, lobsters, shipwrecks and more are just waiting to be found just off the St. Kitts coast, some for the very first time. Rent gear from the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour (if you haven’t brought your own), seek out a charter and get ready to see a whole new world.
South Frigate Bay
Close to many of the island’s most popular hotels, South Frigate Bay is one of the more visited beaches in all of St. Kitts — but that shouldn’t dissuade you from snorkelling there. The calm waters and soft sand lead to a narrow reef teeming with vibrantly coloured fish, eels, lobsters and turtles. Meanwhile, a bustling strip of beach bars and restaurants just up from the water await your triumphant return from the shore.
North Frigate Bay
North Frigate Bay sits just across the road from South Frigate Bay and boasts its own off-the-beaten-path charm — as well as fewer tourists than its neighbour below. While the waters on the Atlantic coast are normally too rough for swimmers and snorkellers, a long reef here keeps the waves in check, making it a safe place for anyone to dive in. Once you do, you’ll be sure to spot sea turtles and colourful schools of fish going about their business.
South Friar’s Bay
Savvy snorkellers will want to seek out this gorgeous beach, where one can spot any number of octopi, squid or fish swimming just offshore. Popular amongst the locals and situated just a hop down the coast from the Frigate Bay tourist area, South Friars is flush with mouthwatering choices for a quick bite or sit-down meal, not to mention lots of charming seaside bars — perfect for cooling down after a long day of underwater exploration. On the opposite side of the road, the beach on North Friar’s Bay can be awfully appealing, offering a wide-open, empty and gorgeous expanse of golden sand. That said, the water on the Atlantic coast is dangerously choppy and therefore not safe for any snorkellers or swimmers — even in shallow areas.
Another snorkelling spot facing the normally choppy Atlantic coast, Turtle Bay is — like North Frigate (and unlike South Friar’s) — largely protected by a large coral reef system, making it accessible and easy to navigate for most swimmers. Remember, though, that the waves can still be rough; visitors should be careful before entering too far. Once they do, however, they should prepare to be wowed by a smattering of colourful creatures.
Surrounded by dramatic cliffs, this moon-shaped bay beach was practically untouched up until very recently. Now it’s a low-key delight that rewards off-the beaten-track visitors with a relatively secluded stretch of sand. Also rewarding, but certainly not for the faint of heart, is snorkelling in Sandbank. The waters can be rough, especially for younger snorkellers, so all visitors should be careful.
With an eclectic array of bars, fine-dining options and fresh seafood, Cockleshell Beach is something of a nightlife haunt for party-loving locals, especially on the weekends. Things are fairly quiet on weekdays, however, making it easy to head out into the bay with some snorkelling gear.
Not reachable by car or foot (not in any conventional way at least), you’ll have to take a boat to get to Shitten Bay. It’s easy to find tours of the area. The clear waters let you get up close and personal with turtles, sting-rays and a wide variety of underwater marine life.
You’ll need to mind your feet as you step out along this pebble beach. It’s not the best for swimming, but ideal for exploring the local marine life. Here you’ll find yourself navigating one of the finest bays for snorkelling in all of St. Kitts, with several reefs practically overflowing with colourful fish from every nook and cranny. History buffs and anyone who has ever fantasized about plundering buried treasure will be delighted to spot the underwater shipwrecks (presumably relics from the Caribbean island’s Colonial past) situated just off the coast.