Best marine parks in the Caribbean

tropical fish species

Caribbean Lionfish ©laszlo-photo/Flickr

It’s been always very hard for me to decide if there are the fabulous beaches, or the underwater marvels that make the Caribbean such an appealing destination. The Caribbean Sea’s proverbial clean and calm waters have transformed the region into a real paradise for divers and snorkelers. Diving and snorkeling can be both practiced on almost every Caribbean island, but if you want to be 100% sure that you will see all those wonderful exotic fish and surreal coral forests, then the best thing to do would to visit one of the numerous marine parks in the region. Here’s a small list of the best marine parks in the Caribbean you can check out:

Bonaire Marine Park, Bonaire

Bonaire might seem like a small Caribbean island among others, however there are two reasons that make the island’s waters particularly suitable for diving and snorkeling. One reason is that years ago, the territorial waters of Bonaire have been declared a national park. This means that everywhere you swim or dive in Bonaire you’ll be within the perimeter of the nature reserve.

underwater hello

Bonaire diver ©aa7ae/Flickr

Secondly, the climate of Bonaire is quite dry and the sea calm, which means that snorkellers experience crystal-clear waters. And last but not least, the underwater flora and fauna are exceptional, with turtles, seahorese, rare species of fish, as well as numerous coral and sponge species.

Saba National Marine Park, Saba

For those of you that don’t know, Saba is a tiny island in what used to be the Netherlands Antilles. And just like in the case of Bonaire, Saba’s waters are protected and have the status of a national park. Saba’s underwater marvels include different varieties of coral and sea grass, typical reeffish species like the the Nassau Grouper, as well as different species of sea turtles.

tropical fish species

Caribbean Lionfish ©laszlo-photo/Flickr

Jacques Cousteau Marine Reserve, Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe has built quite a reputation due to its unrivaled diving spots– these include not only amazing marine animals and underwater corral and gorgon forests, but also several ship wrecks that give any dive excursion an adventurous air.

underwater statue

Cousteau Marine Park ©Jérémie Janisson/Flickr

The park takes its name from the famous naturalist and oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau, who did numerous dives in the area. Located around the Island of Pigeon, the park is quite accessible for the large public – if you are not experienced with diving you can simply rent a special boat and observe everything through its glass bottom.

 

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