Best Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Negril (Where and How)

Negril boasts a magical underwater world of beautiful coral reefs teeming with colorful marine life. Shallow, crystal clear waters make it easy to see this enchanting underworld. An array of cruises and excursions are available from Negril to take visitors out for the best snorkeling and scuba diving adventure.
Best Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Negril
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Under the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea off the west coast of Jamaica lies a hidden world rich in biodiversity.

Go snorkeling and scuba diving in Negril and discover coral reefs bursting with color, diverse schools of fish and vibrant sponge clusters.

Rent some snorkel or scuba gear and then dip beneath the waves to experience the beauty of it all.

Read on for the ultimate guide to snorkeling and scuba diving in Negril.

Is There Good Snorkeling in Negril?

Yes. Negril has decent snorkeling, with a good diversity of marine life, and somewhat healthy coral in places. Snorkelers can enjoy swimming in the shallow, crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea at Negril, as they soak up views of the enchanting coral reefs and colorful fish.

After your snorkeling adventure, sit back and relax in the sun while sipping on some freshly-squeezed juice.

Where Can I Snorkel in Negril?

There are plenty of good places to go snorkeling off the coast of Negril.

Negril Reef

Negril Reef is quite shallow, which makes it perfect for snorkeling.

As you go below the depths, you will encounter schools of tiny jellyfish floating around the clear waters. But don’t worry – they are as harmless as they’re dazzling. Meanwhile, the sea floor is covered with an array of sea fans, urchins and conch shells.

Pristine Cove at Rock House Hotel

Pristine Cove at Rock House Hotel is one of the most popular snorkeling spots in Negril.

Using the ladders attached to the rocks, lower yourself into the beautiful, azure waters and see the abundance of colorful coral heads and small reef fish.

Snorkelers can also explore Joseph’s Cave beneath the Pushcart Restaurant, where certain scenes from the film “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” were shot.

Half Moon Beach

One of Jamaica’s best secluded beaches, Half Moon Beach is also an amazing snorkeling spot. The beach has some of the most beautiful, untouched coral reefs on the island. Thanks to its location inside a bay, its waters are very calm and perfect for a snorkeling adventure.

Some of the best snorkeling is found around its offshore island, therefore you will need to swim, paddle out or take a boat to explore.

Booby Cay Island

For those that prefer a secluded spot to go snorkeling, look no further than Booby Cay Island. Named after the booby birds that call it home, the little island rests just off the shores of Negril.

The snorkeling opportunities here are spectacular. The plethora of coral reefs below the water surface are a haven for thousands of colorful marine animals. The island is usually quiet as you need to go by boat to reach it.

The Cave beneath The Caves

Adventurous snorkelers will enjoy exploring The Caves. Situated beneath the exclusive hotel, The Caves, these are some of the biggest caves found on the cliffs of Negril.

The caves offer snorkelers a unique experience as they host all kinds of hidden coves to which you can swim and explore.

Beach and Cliff Snorkeling

In Negril, visitors can enjoy both beach and cliff snorkeling at various spots where you can see a fair amount of coral and marine life.

Beach Snorkeling

There isn’t much to see when snorkeling directly off the beach in Negril, except for the sandy bottom and maybe a sting ray or two.

The reef is quite far out and swimming there can be dangerous with Jet Ski traffic crossing your path. Your best bet is to take a short boat trip out to the reef for snorkeling.

Some of the good reef snorkeling spots in Negril are:

  • Mexico Reef
  • Half Moon Beach
  • Rhodes Hall

Cliff Snorkeling

There are several places in Negril where you can snorkel directly off the cliffs. Here you will see small coral heads, as well as reef fish. You may also see the occasional sting ray, some lionfish, and rarely a sea turtle.

Some of the good cliff snorkeling spots in Negril are:

  • Rock House
  • Xtabi
  • SamSara

How Are the Coral Reefs?

A paradise for scuba divers, Negril’s coral reefs are famous for their golden branches and brightly-colored fish.

The reefs shelter a diversity of marine life, where snorkelers and scuba divers can see parrotfish, clownfish, groupers and snappers. There are also predators such as eels, sea snakes, octopuses and sharks. Jellyfish and sea turtles are occasionally seen.

Is It Safe To Snorkel and Scuba Dive in Negril?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to go snorkeling and scuba diving in Negril. Just be sure to watch out for certain marine life such as sting ray, jellyfish, fire coral, spines, moray eels, and sea urchins that love to hide in dark crevices, and can cause painful stings.

Are There Sharks in Negril?

Yes, there are sharks in Negril. However, there’s no need to worry about your Negril vacation being ruined by sharks. This is because the most common sharks in Negril are nurse sharks, which are docile creatures that usually live at the bottom of the sea.

Moreover, cases of shark attacks in Jamaica have been few and far between.

Are there Jellyfish in Negril?

Yes. Dozens of jellyfish species are present along the west coast of Jamaica, including Negril. These range from the non-stinging type to those that cause a stinging rash.

Jellyfish are normally found along the cliffs where the water is deep, or may be trapped inside the coves after heavy seas. They can also be found out at the reef. That said, it is rare to encounter jellyfish along the beaches of Negril.

What do I do if I get stung by a Jellyfish?

When you get stung by a jellyfish, you will experience an intense pain followed by itching, rashes, and raised welts. But none of these symptoms are life threatening, and are easily treated by applying topical antihistamines or just some simple vinegar. The pain will go away immediately.

Snorkeling Cruise and Excursions from Negril

Here are some good snorkeling cruise and excursions from Negril:

  • West End Sunset Cruise: Experience Negril’s West End in style on a private cruise. Party on the deck, snorkel, swim at Pirates’ Cave and stop over at Rick’s Café for some delicious Jamaican food. Watch the gorgeous sunset on your way back home.
  • Booby Cay Island Snorkeling Tour: Go on a short boat trip from Negril to Booby Cay, a quaint private island. Indulge in a delicious Jamaican breakfast and then go snorkeling in the clear azure waters of the Caribbean Sea, as you look for tropical marine life.
  • From Negril – Sunshine Catamaran Booze Cruise: Join the party on the most popular catamaran in Negril – the Tortuga. Go on a half-day booze cruise with a stopover at Rick’s Café or a full-day excursion with a stop at a private beach for lunch, snorkeling and horseback riding.
  • Dreamer Catamaran Cruise to Negril: Board a luxury catamaran and cruise along the coastline from Falmouth or Montego Bay to Negril. Swim and snorkel, or simply relax on the deck. Arrive at the white sands of Seven Mile Beach in time to the see the magnificent sunset.
  • Negril Beach and Catamaran Cruise: Spend a day exploring the world-famous Seven Mile Beach in Negril. Go on a catamaran cruise with an open bar and live music, snorkel or sunbathe on the deck. Visit Rick’s Café, watch people dive off the cliffs and dance to reggae music.

When is the Best Time for Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Negril?

The best time to go snorkeling and scuba diving in Negril is during the early morning hours when the water is mostly calm and visibility is at its best.

Which is the Best Month for Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Negril?

Negril is a year round destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. The Caribbean Sea in Jamaica stays warm all year, so you can snorkel or dive comfortably whenever you go.

That said, the best snorkeling and diving is between June and September, when there are warm sunny days and little wind or rain. This is when the water is the most calm and visibility is best.