Have you heard about the Kanana Vision? Learn More Here.

I Went Lobster Snorkeling in the Bahamas – Here’s What Happened!!

Lobster snorkeling in the Exumas offers an unparalleled Bahamas travel experience. Cruise the warm waters hunting for these spiny delicacies to enjoy a unique underwater thrill and tasty seaside feast.
Lobster Snorkeling in the Bahamas

The Exumas, a district of the Bahamas composed of over 365 cays, is becoming an increasingly popular destination for tourists looking to get off the beaten path. But among the Exumas’ many offerings, like secluded beaches, excellent sailing, and swimming pigs, one particularly exhilarating activity stands out – lobster snorkeling. 

While snorkeling itself allows you to glimpse the vivid underwater world, lobster snorkeling takes it to the next level. Cruising the ocean waters in search of the spiny crustaceans who dwell among the coral reefs offers a unique thrill for adventure seekers. And having the opportunity to catch lobsters by hand makes for an unforgettable Bahamas travel experience and a tasty seaside feast.

The Exumas provide the perfect habitat for these large-antennaed beauties. Lobsters flourish in the warm Exuma Cays waters, hiding in crevices and beneath coral formations. For those willing to dive down and comb the reefs, lobster snorkeling in the Exumas promises a bounty of photographic moments, sea life encounters, delicious dinners, and lifelong memories.

Table of Contents

Where to Go?

When it comes to the best places for lobster snorkeling in the Exumas, there are a few key areas to know. The Exuma Cays provide plenty of fertile lobster habitat, but seasoned snorkelers suggest a few premier spots to maximize your chances of success.

One top location is off Little Exuma, near Tropic of Cancer Beach. This area features expansive coral reefs, many good crevices for lobsters to hide, and clear blue waters with visibility up to 100 feet on calm days. Locals recommend looking near the coral heads between Tropic of Cancer Beach and Christmas Cove for plentiful spots, around coordinates 23°29’N 75°45’W.

Another fruitful lobster snorkeling ground is off Big Exuma near Starfish Point. This cay sits where Exuma Sound meets the Great Bahama Bank, creating the nutrient-rich conditions lobsters love. Check the reefs and underwater caves close to the white sand beaches, near coordinates 23°26′N 75°50′W. 

For those willing to embark on a day trip, consider heading to Warderick Wells Cay in Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. The protected waters here foster tremendous marine life, including many lobsters. Snorkel off Boo Boo Hill near the park’s ranger station for your best finds.

With a quality map and GPS in hand, experienced Bahamas snorkelers shouldn’t have trouble locating these lobster hot spots. And the bounty of bug-eyed beauties await!

Big Exuma near Starfish Point

Explore the bountiful reefs and underwater caves off Big Exuma’s Starfish Point to find an abundance of Caribbean spiny lobsters – use this prime snorkeling spot for your best chance at a successful lobster hunt!”

When to Go Lobster Snorkeling?

As someone who has had the thrill of lobster snorkeling in the Exumas, timing is everything! The key thing to know is that there is a lobster fishing season in the Bahamas, so not any old time will do. 

During my trip there in August one year, I made the rookie mistake of just assuming lobsters would be out in abundance ready for the taking. Boy, was I wrong. I scoured the coral reefs off my friend’s boat seeing barely a hint of those sneaky crustaceans. After an exhausting day under the beating sun, I came up empty-handed.

It wasn’t until chatting with a local Bahamian fisherman later that evening that I learned about lobster season regulations. He kindly explained that in order to protect the lobster population, catching is only allowed from August 1st to March 31st annually. Well don’t I feel foolish! I had just missed the opening by a few weeks.

So take it from me, if you want to maximize your haul and actually get to feast on grilled lobster during your Exumas stay, plan your trip during those months. The early Fall months are ideal, as the water is still nice and warm for snorkeling all day long. Just make sure to double check the exact dates for that year, as they can vary slightly. I promise, timing it right makes a huge difference for having an unforgettable lobster snorkeling adventure!

When to Go

What's the Terrain Like?

Let me set the scene for what it’s like underwater when you’re lobster snorkeling in the Exumas. The terrain varies a bit depending on exactly where you’re exploring, but there are some common themes.

First off, it’s gorgeous down there! On my snorkeling trips, I was amazed by the colorful coral reefs and schools of tropical fish surrounding me. The seabed is mostly sandy with patches of seagrass, speckled with rocky coral formations sprouting up. 

In terms of depth, there’s something for everyone. Near the shore, I could stand on the sandbar while peeking into crevices at just 6-8 feet deep. But further out towards the drop-offs, I had to be a strong swimmer and freediver to plunge 20-30 feet down towards the lobster hideouts.

Visibility can fluctuate depending on weather and winds, but at its best, I’d say I could see a good 50-75 feet in every direction. Not crystal clear Caribbean-style visibility, but good for spotting those camouflaged critters! 

There were smaller coral heads and caves perfect for beginners to practice hunting around in shallower spots closer to shore. Then farther out were expansive reefs with overhangs and tunnels that more advanced divers could explore.

One thing to be cautious of is the current, especially when you venture into deeper Exuma Sound waters. There are some swift channels that can sweep you away if you’re not careful! But overall, the underwater terrain has something ideal for every experience level. Just take it slow and enjoy all of the incredible sea life.

Terrain Like Bahamas

“Discover the gorgeous coral reefs, sandy seabed, and rocky formations that make up the diverse underwater terrain ideal for lobster snorkeling in the Exumas – with options for beginners in shallow spots and advanced divers in deeper waters.”

Types of Lobsters

On my very first snorkeling hunt in the Exumas, I’ll admit I was pretty clueless about what kinds of lobsters were lurking down there. To me, a lobster was a lobster. But there are actually a few varieties that call the warm Bahamian waters home.

The most common one I came across was the Caribbean spiny lobster. Recognizable by their massive antennas and lack of claws, these spiky guys can grow over a foot long! It was tricky at first to spot them hunkered down in the reefs, but once I got my eye tuned in, I spotted more and more camouflaged in the colors of the coral. 

The other variety I encountered was the Spotted spiny lobster. They look very similar to the Caribbean ones, but with distinctive white spots. These smaller lobsters preferred to hide in the narrow tunnels of the reef, so I had to squeeze into tight spaces to try and grab them!

Of course, I also came across dozens of juveniles – little baby lobsters about the size of my palm. Locals advised leaving those to grow a bit bigger before catching. And I did catch a brief glimpse of the elusive Slipper lobster, though those smooth little speedsters disappeared before I could get my mesh bag! 

Eventually, after multiple snorkeling trips, I feel like I can identify lobsters better now like an expert. Part of the fun is learning what secrets the underwater world holds. Plus, I’ll know what’s on my dinner plate!

Type of Lobsters

Spotting Tips for Beginners

Everyone starts as a beginner, I definitely struggled at first to spot any lobsters camouflaged in the reef. But over time, I picked up some useful tips that really helped me hone my lobster-hunting skills. Hopefully these can help any other beginners out there start spotting like a pro!

My number one tip is to go slow and pay close attention. When I was rushing to dive down and pop back up, it was easy to completely miss lobsters hidden in plain sight. Take your time observing each section of the reef methodically. Scan crevices and overhangs extra closely.

Get your eyes accustomed to what lobsters look like camouflaged against the colors and textures of the coral. I would find one and then just spend time taking in exactly how it blended in before gently trying to catch it. Their brownish-red shells are surprisingly tough to notice at first glance.

Another trick I learned was to look for the lobster’s long antennas poking out even when its body was tucked away. The feathery antenna tips fluttering in the current were often the giveaway that led me to a well-camouflaged lobster. 

Don’t forget to bring an underwater flashlight! Shining a light into the dark crevasses really helps spot the glowing eyes of lobsters deep in their shelters. Just take care not to shine directly into their eyes and disturb them.

My trick here is to just take time and keep an eye out for those antennas.

Spotting Tips for Beginners​

Use these pro lobster hunting tips like searching methodically, looking for antennas peeking out, bringing a flashlight and getting accustomed to their camouflage to hone your skills for spotting those sneaky spiny lobsters.”

Recommended Gear

Based on my earlier trials and tribulations lobster snorkeling as a beginner, I definitely learned the hard way what gear is essential to bring. Here’s a checklist of the key snorkeling equipment I’d recommend packing for your Exumas lobster hunting adventure:

  • Mask and snorkel – Get a quality set that fits your face well and has a wide view range to maximize visibility. 
  • Snorkeling fins – Long open-heel fins make covering ground underwater easier. 
  • Wetsuit or rashguard – Especially if you plan to free dive to deeper spots, protection from jellyfish/coral is a must.
  • Mesh catch bag – An easy way to secure your lobsters once caught and keep them alive.
  • Underwater flashlight – As I mentioned before, a must for illuminating those dark lobster lairs!
  • Reef-safe sunscreen – Protect yourself and the fragile coral ecosystems.
  • Water shoes – For when you need foot protection while wading from the boat or shore. 
  • Hat and sunglasses – Crucial for shielding from the Caribbean sun.
  • Small dive knife – Helpful for cutting bait bands or fishing line tangled on reef.
  • Waterproof camera – To document your lobster catches and all the incredible sealife encounters!

Having all the right gear made a world of difference for me in being prepared for the challenges of lobster snorkeling while staying safe.

Recommended Gear

Top Local Tour Operators

While it’s possible to snorkel for lobsters on your own if you have a boat, joining a local tour is a great option for many travelers. These experienced Bahamian operators know the best spots and will help you have an amazing experience. Here are some top-rated Exuma lobster snorkeling tour companies I recommend checking out:

Exuma Water Sports – This highly rated outfitter based in George Town offers a full-day lobster snorkeling trip. The crew helps you bait traps the night before to let lobsters wander in, then you check traps and snorkel pristine reefs. Lunch and drinks included!

Sea Dragon Adventure Tours – Sea Dragon provides personalized charter trips from their base in Emerald Bay. Tell them you want a private lobster hunting excursion and they’ll take you to secret spots only locals know! 

North Exuma Watersports – Located at the Sandals Resort, this company offers half-day trips focused just on lobster snorkeling for guests. You can also add on Stand Up Paddleboarding!

Starfish Exuma – This operator off Little Exuma helps you set conch traps to lure lobsters, then takes you via boat to snorkel and collect your catch. Affordable rates.

Three S Exuma Ocean Safaris – Based in George Town, this highly reviewed outfit does private lobstering charters on their fleet of boats. You can customize the trip based on your experience level.

You really can’t go wrong with any of these highly experienced Exuma lobster snorkeling pros! Just check availability for your travel dates and get ready for an awesome day out on the water.

On my most recent trip to the Exumas, I went out with Exuma Water Sports and had an absolute blast. The staff was super friendly and knowledgeable. We headed out on their spacious boat first thing in the morning to set some traps, which was really educational for me as a lobster hunting novice. 

After checking back on the traps later that day, we went to a spot near Volleyball Beach that was just teeming with lobsters! Our guide was awesome about giving tips and coaching me and other beginners on the best ways to catch lobsters by hand. I even spotted a few spiny tails poking out and caught two nice-sized lobsters to take home for dinner. 

The only downside was the trip felt a bit rushed to fit everything into a day. Next time, I’d love to do an overnight charter with Sea Dragon Tours and really take my time exploring the remote reefs. Their private custom tours just with your group sounded amazing. 

I’ve also heard great things about Three S Exuma for personalized lobster trips, so they’re high on my list to try on a future visit. Honestly, with so many top-notch operators to choose from, you really can’t make a bad choice for getting out when you visit.

Santanna's Grill Pit

“Experience the ultimate Exuma lobster snorkeling adventure and maximize your chances of success by booking a top-rated tour with a knowledgeable local operator like Exuma Water Sports, Sea Dragon Adventure Tours or Three S Exuma Ocean Safaris.”

Where to Eat Your Catch

One of my favorite parts about lobster snorkeling in the Exumas was getting to eat my fresh catches later on! Nothing beats a shoreside grill-out with friends as the sun sets over the beach. But the Exumas also have some delicious local restaurants that will happily cook up your bug bounty.

After my successful first day snorkeling with Exuma Water Sports, our guide recommended dropping our lobsters off at Catch a Fire Bar & Grill just down the road in George Town. We sat outside overlooking Elizabeth Harbour while their chef worked his magic. Grilled lobster tails, garlic butter, rice, and plantains never tasted so good after a long day on the water!

On other nights when we were staying at a vacation rental condo, we simply used the kitchen to boil up some Caribbean spiny lobster. Melted lemon garlic butter makes the sweet tail meat sing. I also learned some amazing lobster ceviche recipes from locals.

Two other spots I’ve heard great reviews for enjoying your lobster are Chat N’ Chill near Stocking Island and Santanna’s Grill Pit in Georgetown. Or just ask the locals! There’s nothing the Exumians love more than spinning lobster into culinary gold.

The whole experience of catching, preparing, and feasting on your own fresh lobster is unbeatable. Just leave some room in your suitcase to take home the recipes and memories!

Chat 'N' Chill (Stocking Island)

Other Sea Life Sightings

While lobster snorkeling is the star of the show, one of my favorite parts about hitting the reefs in the Exumas was getting to encounter so many other incredible marine animals. The area is just teeming with sea life! 

On nearly every dive, I’d see beautiful parrotfish in a rainbow of colors nibbling on the coral. Schools of tiny, glittering blue chromis fish would swarm around me. I even spotted a few of the Exumas’ famous swimming pigs paddling near the shore off Big Major Cay!

Eagle rays and sea turtles were a common sight, often gliding right by just a few feet away. Closer to shore, I loved watching the hermit crabs scuttle around the coral heads. And there were so many different aquatic plants and sponges swaying gently in the current.

The best moment was getting to swim alongside a pod of wild spotted dolphins near Warderick Wells! I’ll never forget when one spiraled and came eye to eye with me. Seeing those intelligent mammals in their natural habitat was breathtaking.

You never know what marvels of the deep you’ll encounter while lobster snorkeling in the Exumas. For any ocean lover, it’s an underwater paradise just teeming with gorgeous creatures. The lobsters are certainly the highlight, but they share their home waters with plenty of other memorable Bahamian wildlife.

Starfish at Stingray City in Grand Cayman Islands

“While searching the reefs for lobsters, keep your eyes peeled for the many incredible marine animals that call the Exumas home like sea turtles, eagle rays, dolphins and parrotfish to make your snorkeling adventure even more unforgettable.”

Safety Tips

Whenever you’re adventuring in the ocean, it’s crucial to keep safety in mind – especially in unsupervised areas far from shore. Here are my top tips for staying safe while lobster snorkeling in the Exumas:

  •  Always snorkel with a partner – having someone with you in case of an emergency is vital. 
  •  Avoid snorkeling alone in rough seas or strong currents. Check forecasts and know your limits.
  •  Wear a brightly colored float vest to remain visible and have flotation assistance.
  •  Bring a whistle or noise maker to signal your location if needed.
  •  Apply reef-safe sunscreen frequently to avoid painful burns.
  •  Watch out for sharp spines on larger lobsters that can puncture wetsuits.
  •  Learn how to handle lobsters safely to avoid painful pinches from their claws.
  •  Check with locals that areas are free of venomous sea creatures like lionfish. 
  •  Per laws, spearfishing or removing coral is prohibited when lobstering.
  •  Never snorkel after consuming alcohol or if you have medical issues. 
  •  Tell someone your snorkeling plans, location, and return time. 

With proper precautions, you can focus on the joy of lobster snorkeling in the Exumas while avoiding any potential hazards. Stay safe and create wonderful memories to cherish.

Safety Warning

Lobster Hunting Tips

Alright, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to actually catch those sneaky lobsters once you find them! When I was first starting out, I definitely had some hilarious fails trying to grab lobsters by hand. But I learned a few techniques that really helped me improve my lobster hunting prowess.

The easiest targets are lobsters already out walking around on the reef floor. Just approach slowly from behind, get your mesh bag ready, then quickly snatch them up before they shoot off! Getting the bag securely around them takes a little practice.

For lobsters tucked back in crevices, you need to carefully reach in with one hand and pull them out while blocking their escape route with your other hand. This takes quick reflexes! I cannot tell you how manytimes I startled one and it jetted away before I could grab it.

When possible, grab them gently but firmly from behind right at the base of the antennas to immobilize them. Just watch out for splashing you with their tail – it’s all in good fun!

If a spiny lobster is really deep in a tight space, sometimes I had to coax it out. I’d use a tiny stick or blade of grass to gently tickle its antenna which often made them back out. But patience and persistence are key.

Oh, and do not try to anger them intentionally! Trust me, grabbing aggressively will just make them clamp their antennas down tight making them impossible to pull out. And they will pinch you with their spines, which hurts!

With some trial and error, you’ll be catching lobsters with ease. Just remember to handle them with care for an incredible snorkeling experience. Now get out there, be stealthy, and start grabbing!

Lobster Hunting Tips

“Master lobster catching techniques like approaching slowly, grabbing quickly, coaxing them out gently and securing in a mesh bag to successfully hunt these sneaky crustaceans and fill your catch.”

Lobster Handling and Storage

Once you’ve caught your lobsters while snorkeling, it’s important to handle them with care to keep them healthy and tasty for eating. Here are some tips I’ve learned for proper lobster handling and storage:

  • Use a mesh bag to transport them while diving to avoid losing your catch.
  • Try to grab the lobster correctly to avoid injury – hold behind the horns and securely around the back. 
  • Be very careful handling larger lobsters as their spines can puncture wetsuits and skin.
  • Keep lobsters shaded, cool, and damp once on board the boat to help them breathe.
  • Use a saltwater live well if available to keep lobsters fresh and alive.
  • Avoid storing lobsters directly on ice or in standing water which can kill them.
  • Lobsters may fight in confined spaces, so keep them separated using burlap sacks.
  • Get lobsters to a refrigerator or cooler within 2 hours max after catching for best quality. 
  • Store live lobsters on damp paper towels layered in a breathable container.
  • Cook lobsters the same day they are caught for absolute freshness and flavor.

Following these handling tips will keep your catch in peak condition until you can get them to the kitchen for preparation. Then enjoy the fruits of your underwater lobster hunting labor!

Sustainability Considerations

I’ll admit, when I first started lobster snorkeling in the Exumas, I was so excited about catching these tasty crustaceans that I didn’t give much thought to sustainability. But once I saw firsthand how rich and vibrant the underwater world is there, I realized we all have to do our part to protect it.

On my trips, I made sure to only keep lobsters of legal size and never collect more than I could eat that day. It was tempting to stockpile them, but why be greedy? I learned to use traps more often which helps prevent overfishing. 

One time, I accidentally caught a female lobster carrying eggs and felt terrible realizing how important she was for breeding the next generation. I gently returned her to her coral hideout and from then on was more careful.

The coral reefs themselves are incredible but so fragile! After accidentally breaking some coral grabbing for a lobster, I saw how many years it takes to regrow. Now I’m much more cautious with my fins and try to avoid contact.

We were also careful to properly dispose of old bait bags or fishing lines that could ensnare sea turtles and other wildlife. It takes so little effort to preserve the Exumas’ natural splendor for our kids and grandkids to enjoy too. That motivates me to educate others on sustainable lobster catching.

With some care and stewardship, we can have amazing adventures like lobster snorkeling while protecting paradise. The underwater world gives us so much, it’s up to us to give back!

Book your Exumas accommodations strategically by choosing resorts and hotels with easy access to prime snorkeling spots via beach, docks or dive shops to maximize your time lobster hunting and underwater exploring each day.”

Best Places to Stay

To make the most of your Exuma lobster snorkeling experience, you’ll want to stay at accommodations providing easy access to the prime snorkeling spots. Here are some top lodging picks ideal for lobster hunters:

  1. Augusta Bay Bahamas – This villa resort on the Exuma Sound has a private dock, perfect for going out on daily snorkeling excursions in comfort. They can arrange transportation to outer cays.
  2. Peace & Plenty Hotel – Located right in George Town, this hotel’s convenient central location makes booking lobster tours a breeze. They can help arrange daily snorkeling trips.
  3. Grand Isle Resort – Offering beautiful beachfront villas on Emerald Bay, you can snorkel right off the beach or use on-site water sports rentals to explore farther out.
  4. Staniel Cay Yacht Club – On picturesque Staniel Cay, this all-inclusive resort has fantastic boat excursions to the excellent nearby snorkeling.
  5. Minns Waterfront Lodge – This Stocking Island lodge is surrounded by prime snorkeling spots to explore, with quick boat access to outer cays like Shroud Cay. 
  6. Exuma Palms Hotel – Set along the Great Exuma shoreline, this hotel has an on-site dive shop and fast boat access to incredible reefs.

With some strategic lodging, you’ll be poised to maximize your underwater lobster hunting adventures. The Exumas offer so many great places to unwind after each day out snorkeling!


The Exumas offer lobster snorkeling experiences unlike anywhere in the world. Teeming coral reefs full of spiny delicacies are yours for the taking – if you can catch them! As you now know, by planning the right time of year, booking a top tour operator, and following the local lobster-hunting wisdom, you are guaranteed to have an unbeatable Bahamas adventure both above and below the waves.  

So what are you waiting for? Don’t be shellfish – go get your share of those sweet Exuma lobsters before someone else beats you to it! The underwater bounty and memories await. Just be careful not to find yourself in hot water if the lobsters put up a fight. From selecting the perfect snorkel spots to unwinding with a shoreside lobster feast at day’s end, a lobster snorkeling trip to the Exumas is sure to leave you happily saying “Water great trip!”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *