Of all the activities I did in Turks and Caicos, my favorite was the half day snorkel tour with Island Vibes Tours.
Their catamaran boat is the perfect size. It has a maximum capacity of 25 people, it has space up front to sit, and it has an upstairs deck with 4 lounge chairs, a slide, and a diving board.
There were 19 people on my tour plus two tour guides and one captain. Our tour guides and captain made sure everyone got their fair share of upper deck time and time to sit up front. Everyone was spread out, so it never felt crowded to have 22 people on the boat.
My Half Day Snorkel Tour Experience
There are two time slots to choose from for a public half day tour: 9am – 1pm and 1:30-5:30pm. I chose the afternoon tour so I could sleep in and enjoy the beach.
There are a 3 different pick up locations for the tour – all at piers that are in front of resorts. After picking everyone up, our captain headed toward the snorkel spot. I laid out on an upper deck lounge chair for the ride there along with 3 other people. One of the tour guides was up there with us, and he pointed out all of the villas that Drake, DJ Khalid and the Kardashians stayed at and explained some of the history of the island.
Once we got to our snorkel spot, we got suited up. They had plenty of snorkel gear and life jackets if you didn’t bring your own. I brought my own gear, but it got all sandy while I was at the beach. Thankfully, they kept a bucket of water to dip gear in.
I’ve snorkeled before in other places, but never at a coral reef. It was incomparable to everything else. It was so beautiful and rich with life! There were so many different species of fish. My favorite species of fish I saw were all black in color with two thin white – almost reflective – stripes. One stripe was along the top of the fish where the body and dorsal fin met, and the other was along the bottom where the body and ventral fin met.
I had three issues while snorkeling: my goggles fogged up every five minutes, the current was very strong which made heading out to snorkel hard, and the life jackets weren’t of a very great quality. Some people brought pool noodles, and I thought that was very smart. Next time I’ll bring a pool noodle and anti-fog spray.
After snorkeling, we got back on the boat and headed to an island to eat and drink. The tour guides offered chips, chicken and turkey sandwiches, water bottles, sodas, rum punch, and beer from the island’s only brewery.
We had about 30-45 minutes to walk around the island. There I saw two huge iguanas and the biggest starfish I’ve ever seen in my life.
Back on the boat, our captain took us near Mangrove Cay where we saw three sea turtles swimming under the water. Our tour guides explained to us that sea turtles prefer shallow waters (the water there was only four feet deep!) to reduce predation on themselves. That’s why you won’t see any sea turtles while snorkeling.
Next we headed out near one of the drop off locations. But before we could leave, we had to have more fun! The captain anchored us, turned on some tunes, and everyone took turns jumping off the diving board and going down the slide. Our tour guides joined us jumping off the diving board while the captain danced!
Island Vibes Tours vs Caicos Dream Tours
While I did not have a personal experience on a Caicos Dream Tour boat, I did see their boats out at the snorkel spot and I am so glad I did not book with them.
Caicos Dream Tour boats are huge. I saw about 30 people squished together on it. They didn’t have a slide or any lounge chairs to lay out on. Their half day snorkel tours are more expensive than the half day snorkel tours through Island Vibes too.
I will only be booking through Island Vibes Tours for future visits to Turks and Caicos because of the boat design, cost, and my fun experience with them.