Snorkeling in Jamaica

Jamaica is home to reggae music, jerk seasonings, blue mountain coffee, and reef-covered beaches that make for world-renowned snorkeling. The Caribbean island nation is, in fact, a hub for snorkelers, be they beginners, intermediate snorkelers or advanced snorkelers. Along the northwest coast are major dive centers that will take you on snorkeling trips unmatched in beauty.  

One thing is certain, no matter your level of experience, everyone snorkeling in Jamaica’s waters will find themselves amidst crystal clear waters and diverse marine life. You are bound to encounter vibrant tropical fish, such as the parrotfish and large-eyed squirrelfish. If you’re lucky you may get glimpses of rock lobsters, moray eels and stingray.  

Even with this promise of a beautiful and enjoyable snorkeling trip, misconceptions and concerns arise when committing to an adventure in unknown waters. Here you can get clarifications to your concerns and discover what’s in store. 

Are there sharks in Montego Bay? 

It’s everyone’s first worry. Sharks.  

There are sharks in Jamaican waters, but the risk of a shark attack in Jamaica is very low. Jamaican waters are warm, which to our dismay, is equally desirable to certain sharks as it is to tourists. Tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks, reef sharks, and bull sharks have therefore been spotted in Jamaican waters. The perk is that these sharks are not aggressive, and they almost never attack. In fact, the only reason these sharks might attack would be because of provocations. Majority of shark attacks in Jamaica happen far off the coast to deep sea fisherman or divers. Reefs tend to serve as barriers for sharks, so you can largely consider yourself protected on your snorkeling trip. 


There’s no denying that all Jamaican waters are beautiful, which is why it’s important to weigh your options! 

Snorkeling in Montego Bay

Montego Bay is ideal for families and first-time snorkelers because the water is known to be particularly calm, although the reefs tend to be busy with tourists in comparison to other areas of the island. More experienced snorkelers that want a different and more secluded experience can branch out to Montego Bay’s Doctor Cave Beach. 

Snorkeling in Negril 

On the west side of the island lies the Seven-Mile beach in Negril, which is a stretch of white beach with crystal clear water. This water can be explored freely with you and your family. If you are looking for a planned adventure beyond the shore, we recommend taking a boat along the beach to the Negril Coral Reef, which is especially known for its coral and rich marine life. 

Runaway Beach

If you are a traveler who wants to escape the hustle and bustle of Jamaica, we recommend snorkeling in the beautiful Runaway Beach. This beach on the northern coast of the islands boasts a blue water oasis. You may even spot a barracuda while snorkeling off the shore of Runaway Beach! 


Snorkeling is a very relaxing and safe experience, one that is entirely controlled by the snorkeler. If you wish to get out of the water and return to the shore or your boat, you are free to do so. If you wish to hold your breath and dive a bit deeper, that’s totally on you! Unlike deep sea diving, you don’t have the restriction of an oxygen tank. Feel free to read over the safe snorkeling tactics below to reassure your mind if you still have a sliver of doubt! 

  1. To avoid any doctor visits during your stay in Jamaica, avoid stepping or walking on the coral reefs. It’s neither good for you, nor the reefs! 
  2. Take a moment to breathe through your snorkel to get your body comfortable with it before setting out on your adventure 
  3. Do an equipment double check before diving into the water  

Snorkeling in Jamaica is an experience that can’t be skipped out on! However, the list of must-do Jamaican excursions goes on. Discover our top five activities to do in Jamaica, other than snorkeling, below. 

  1. Scenic Sky Glider and Zipline Combo 
  2. Climb the famous Dunn’s River Falls 
  3. River Rafting Adventure Down Jamaica’s Waters 
  4. Bob Marley Nine Mile Tour 
  5. Horseback Ride in and near Ocho Rios 

If any questions arise regarding traveling to Jamaica, reach out to us at ShoreTrips! We would love to share what we know with you.

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