Review Date AVG ShoreDiving Site
06/03/2015 4.59 Smith Cove and Bright Reef Turks and Cacos, Caribbean
As soon as I arrived at Grace Bay beach, I could see why this beach was voted number one in the world! About a half a mile in the distance, you can see the water break at a reef, which is what keeps the ocean perfectly calm on this beach. The water is crystal clear and warm. The sand is really soft and powdery, but it does get pretty hot during midday. And because of the red colored coral is in the water, as it grinds up in the sand, the sand appears sort of pink in color during dusk and dawn, which is very pretty. There is excellent snorkeling at Bright Reef which is directly in front of Coral Gardens hotel. (I stayed at the Sands of Grace Bay, which was about a 1.5 mile walk to Coral Gardens according to my pedometer.) You can walk directly on the beach and enter the crystal clear water from the sand. I went at about 8am and snorkeled with huge turtles, stingrays and loads of fish such as parrot fish and tangs. The gorgeous coral is protected by big buoys in the water that alert boats not to drive near it. Snorkelers should stay OUTSIDE the buoyed area anyway because there is fire coral in there. There are also signs in the water explaining what kind of coral and fish you're seeing, which are nice. I snorkeled at the reef at all times of the day and found early morning to be the best. Water is clear and depth goes from 6-20 feet. It's amazing. I also snorkeled in an area slightly down the beach (with no hotel in front of it) from Bight Reef and found the snorkeling just as good. I saw a huge stingray (6 foot wingspan) with white spots on it just gliding along past me, along with a 4 foot barracuda and more turtles. This area is not marked off or anything, but once you get in the water there\\'s lots of fish and coral.
07/24/2012 4.67 West Bay Beach Honduras, Roatan, Caribbean
I just stayed at the Henry Morgan Resort on West Bay, intending to snorkel right off the beach. I am an avid snorkeler and picked this location because I read that the snorkeling was superb. I was very satisfied with the water and the resort.
RESORT LOCATION ON BEACH The resort is smack in the middle of West Bay beach. After taking a few rides around the island and checking out other beach areas, I think West Bay had the calmest water. The water was extremely still and almost no beach action (volleyball/wave runners etc) went on during the day. It's very peaceful. I had a boat take me around Roatan and by comparison, the Fantasy Island area had much rougher water.
SNORKELING ON WEST BAY The resort caters to divers, however I did not dive. I merely snorkeled. There is a dive center on the premises of Henry Morgan and you can pay $5 and go out with the divers (check for the shallow area dive sites) and snorkel while the divers dive. It gives you a chance to see the different reefs around the island. Snorkeling right off the beach is superb. I would walk down (.25 mile according to my pedometer) to the end of the beach. You walk past the Maya Princess, then Bananarama and just keep going. There is a rocky wall (extending about 30-40 feet in the air) at the end of the beach and there is no resort located here. There are some pilings left from a pier that's been long gone for some time just before you get there. The "pier" is about 25 feet before you get to the wall. When you get to that wall, the water is so clear that you can literally stand in two feet of the water and see the fish. Most folks just stick their shirt/sunglasses etc in a rut in the wall and then wade into the crystal clear water to start snorkeling. The coral begins about 10 feet from shore in 2-3 feet of water. You swim around the coral and weave in and out to get further out away from shore. There is a large variety of fish and some are huge. For example, I saw a parrot fish that was almost 3 feet long! HUGE! (They are usually about 10 inches long at this depth!) There are schools of fish too. It's like being in an aquarium. All this and the water is only about 4-6 feet deep. There is one big rock jutting out into the water at the end of this rocky wall. I spent two days weaving in and out and was unable to get to that rock by following the wall. There are areas where the coral is so close to the surface that you can't swim "over it" without scraping yourself or something. It's like a maze of coral over there. So it's fine snorkeling but don't think you're gonna get out to that rock! Not THAT way! Here's how you do it. Those pilings left from a pier are about 25 feet before you get to the wall. If you swim straight out from that "pier" for 100 yards or so, you will start to get into deeper (10-12 ft) water and then hit a spectacular drop-off. You can kind of see it from shore. There's a shot of white in the water where the coral ends. The water depth will go to about 25 feet and there will be about 5-7 feet of space between your stomach and the coral. (So you won't get scraped and you can swim on top of it instead of weaving in and out like the stuff close to shore.) You can swim along this wall of healthy vibrant hard and soft coral now toward the rock. It's great.
WARNINGS There was a storm one evening, which resulted in the water being a bit choppy. The chop wasn't that bad, really, but because the coral is so close to the surface, one tiny wave can push you into the coral. That is NOT the day to try swimming out to that rock. Just stick closer to shore and admire all the fish (I saw a ray that day!) in the more shallow coral. One woman vacationer was thrown into the coral and banged up her face and leg very badly. The coral caused an infection in her leg too. So, use caution if there is any chop in the water.
09/28/2005 3.71 Black Rock (Sheraton) Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Swimming with huge sea turtles is a huge draw to this site. I saw about 6 of them in total each of the three times I snorkeled here. The water can be rough, since you face open ocean. One day it was exhausting to swim against the current, but the other two days it was fine. Also, beware of the dumb tourists who climb the lava rocks and then jump into the water. They ignore the signs telling them not to climb the rocks. You can be swimming out to snorkel and have one land on you. Water was clear and conditions great each time.
10/14/2004 4.60 Vaersen Bay Curacao, ABC Islands
We only snorkeled here. I am not a diver. There were two ways to get in the water. The first is to walk on this rickety old pier to the end and put on your snorkel stuff and ease in. The pier has some slimy wood steps at the end. The waves kind of hit you and push you a bit as you get in and the slippery steps are a little tricky. No biggy. The other way to enter the water is to walk and the beach to the shore and gear up for entry. The shore is hard on your bare feet. Either is ok but not all locations have an old pier like this one did. There is some shade on shore but no facilities.
10/14/2004 4.28 Cas Abao Curacao, ABC Islands
We took a diving boat from the Marriott to this location. We only snorkeled while everyone else dove. It was so lovely that we rented a car and went back by ourselves. After paying the small fee, you have a nice beach to relax on and get some food/drink. We drove to many other snorkeling spots, too. We found it nice to have facilities like this spot has, because the hot sun makes you crave a break from it once in a while. Snorkeling was good and then resting under a palpa in between snorkels at this spot was ideal.