Snorkeling with turtles in St. Barts is an experience that will leave a lasting impression on any nature lover or sea enthusiast. St. Barts is widely considered one of the top destinations for snorkeling, and it is easy to see why. With crystal clear waters and a variety of marine life, snorkeling in St. Barts is an unforgettable experience. However, snorkeling with turtles takes the experience to a whole new level.
Which turtles to see in St. Barts ?
St. Barts is home to two types of turtles: green turtles and hawksbill turtles. These turtles thrive in the warm and shallow waters around the island.
The green turtle is the largest hard-shelled turtle in the world and can grow up to 1.5 meters long and weigh up to 200 kg.
The hawksbill turtle is slightly smaller and can grow up to 90 cm long and weigh up to 90 kg.
Both species are endangered, and it is essential to protect them and their habitats. St. Barts is an important nesting site, and many beaches on the island are designated protected areas for the turtles to lay their eggs. These turtles play a vital role in the marine ecosystem, as they help to maintain healthy seagrass beds and coral reefs by feeding on algae and other marine plants.
Unfortunately, they face many threats, including poaching, habitat loss, and accidental entanglement in fishing gear. Conservation efforts are underway on St. Barts and throughout the Caribbean to protect these magnificent creatures and ensure their survival for future generations.
Rules to follow while snorkeling
While snorkeling with turtles can be an exhilarating experience, it is important to remember that they are protected species. Therefore, it is essential to follow certain rules to ensure their safety and wellbeing :
First and foremost, do not touch the turtles. Touching or grabbing them can cause unnecessary stress and even physical injury.
Keep a respectful distance and don’t feed them. Feeding turtles can cause them to become dependent on humans and can lead to other harmful behaviors.
Avoid disturbing the turtles' habitat by standing or touching the coral reefs. They serve as important feeding and nesting grounds for the turtles.
When snorkeling or diving near the turtles, avoid sudden movements or loud noises, as these can startle and stress the animals.
Finally, taking photographs is acceptable, but do not use flash photography, as this can harm the turtles' eyes.
By following these guidelines, we can help to protect these magnificent creatures and preserve their natural habitat for future generations to enjoy.
The best spots to see turtles in St Barths
St. Barths has several spots where you can see turtles in their natural habitat : especially Anse de Colombier, the bay of Grand Cul de Sac and St. Jean.
Anse de Colombier
One of the most popular spots is Anse de Colombier, a natural reserve accessible by a short walk or boat ride. The area is home to a large number of turtles, and visitors have the opportunity to swim alongside these magnificent creatures. The beach is secluded and not very crowded, making it an ideal spot if you are seeking a more peaceful and serene snorkeling experience.
Take your time to explore the underwater caves and rocky formations, which are home to a variety of marine life, including lobsters and octopuses. You can also enjoy the beautiful surroundings, with its white sand beach and crystal-clear waters.
The bay of Grand Cul de Sac
Another excellent spot for snorkeling with turtles in St. Barts is the bay of Grand Cul de Sac. The bay is shallow, making it an ideal location for turtle sightings. In fact, there are approximately 40 turtles that call this area home, making it a must-visit spot for any snorkeler.
The bay is also home to a variety of other marine life, including colorful fish and sea urchins, making it a fascinating destination for nature lovers. The bay of Grand Cul de Sac is also a great spot for families with children : the calm and shallow waters are an ideal location for kids to explore.
In addition to the turtles, you can also spot stingrays and other types of fish swimming around the bay. The nearby reef is also a popular spot for scuba diving and snorkeling. Finally, you can book a tour with a local dive center to explore the area further.
St. Jean is another location that offers excellent turtle sightings. Above the seagrass beds and along the coral reef, you can observe turtles in their natural environment. The area is home to a diverse range of marine life, making it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts.
St. Jean is also a popular beach on the island, offering visitors the chance to soak up the sun and enjoy the beautiful scenery both above and below the water. It is a great spot for snorkeling and swimming with turtles in a relaxed and peaceful environment.
St. Jean is also home to some of the best snorkeling spots on the island, with an abundance of coral and seagrass beds that attract a diverse range of marine life. You can rent snorkeling gear from the nearby vendors and explore the area at their own pace. Additionally, there are several beachside cafes and restaurants in the area where you can enjoy a refreshing drink or a delicious meal after a day of snorkeling.
When to go snorkeling ?
Snorkeling with turtles in St. Barts can be enjoyed almost all year round. The water is generally around 26 °C, and the underwater visibility is generally excellent. Thus, it is easier to spot turtles and other marine life.
The calm and warm waters also make it a great time for beginner snorkelers to explore the underwater world. From December to June, the weather is generally sunny with little wind, making it an excellent time to visit.
However, it is better to avoid the months of September and October when hurricanes can hit the island. Regardless of the time of year, snorkeling with turtles in St. Barts is always a memorable and rewarding experience.
Snorkeling with turtles in St. Barts is an experience that should not be missed if you are a nature lover or a sea enthusiast. The island offers a variety of locations where you can observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Just remember to follow the rules and regulations to ensure the safety and protection of the turtles. If you are lucky enough to see these magnificent creatures while snorkeling, it is an experience that you will never forget.