The island of Barbados is surrounded by over 50 miles of coral reefs, which creates the perfect protective environment for sea turtles. If you’re interested in swimming with turtles in Barbados, there are a few spots in particular where you can find abundant species like the green turtle and hawksbill turtle. 

Barbados is home to four species of nesting turtles, and swimming alongside them makes for an unforgettable experience. Venture to the following spots to see these majestic creatures in all their glory. 

Carlisle Bay 

Location: On the south coast of the island in Saint Michael. 

This crescent-shaped bay is your best place to start. Not only are sea turtles frequently sighted in the area, but the bay is home to stunning man-made shipwrecks that you can explore with your snorkeling gear. There are six shipwrecks in all, spanning from 12 to 55 feet. They were designed to attract marine life, and that’s why you can often see an assortment of tropical fish, sea horses, rays, eels, and yes, sea turtles.

The waters are calm, so you can spend the day swimming, wading, and splashing as you wait to catch a glimpse of the best marine life. Just watch out for the yachts, fishing boats, and catamarans that frequently stroll past. 

The bay is especially popular with locals in the morning and at sunset, so strive for the quieter afternoon hours if you want the best chance to see turtles. Local touring companies also offer guided tours that take guests to nearby Brown’s Beach and Carlisle Bay Marine Park, where sea turtles are seen in abundance. 

Freights Bay

Location: Near the southern tip of Barbados. 

Barbados turtles are often seen just off the coast of Freights Bay near the village of Oistins. The best way to see them is to grab a surfboard or boogie board and drift a few meters away from the shore. There are no lifeguards at this quiet bay, so it’s recommended for strong swimmers only. 

Freights Bay doesn’t have as many turtles as the other spots on this list, but even if you don’t see the marine life, you’ll still appreciate the gorgeous turquoise waters and breathtaking sunsets for which the area is famous. Bring snacks and supplies, as there are no beach facilities in the immediate area. 

Worthing Beach 

Location: The south coast of Barbados 

Yes, Worthing Beach is yet another destination along the south coast. Because of how the coral reefs are arranged, you’ll find more turtles along this stretch of the island. In addition, the waters are calmer along the southern coast, so safety is a factor as well. 

Worthing Beach has one of the best coral reefs in Barbados. You’ll find it along the east side of the beach. The calm water stretches only to about six feet along the reef, so it’s a great spot for kids, families, and inexperienced swimmers to see the turtles and tropical fish. 

When you finish your shallow-sea exploration, you can venture back to the sand where there are a number of beachside restaurants and shops to explore. 

Paynes Bay 

Location: The west coast of Barbados 

If you happen to be on the west coast of Barbados, you’re in luck. Paynes Bay, often referred to as the Platinum Coast, is another great place to take to the sea in search of aquatic turtle species. 

This is one of the more crowded beaches, but it also has some of the calmest seas and most vibrant surroundings. The beach is lined with resorts, shops, restaurants, and gorgeous rental properties, so you can book a Barbados luxury villa and explore the full island at your leisure. 

Tips for Anyone Wanting to Swim With Turtles in Barbados 

There’s no guarantee that you’ll find Barbados turtles during your ocean explorations. However, heeding the following tips may help to increase your odds while also keeping you safe at sea: 

- Travel between February and July for the best chance of seeing leatherback turtles; that’s when they migrate to Barbados to nest. 

- Travel between May and October for the best chance of seeing green and hawksbill turtles. 

- Stay close to the shallow reefs and shipwrecks. That’s where you’re most likely to see turtles in their natural habitat. Just watch out for stingrays and sea urchins near the reefs. 

- Always wear a brightly colored flag or floaty when swimming or snorkeling in the ocean. This will make you more visible to passing boats and jet skis. 

- Avoid snorkeling after a storm or in the presence of heavy waves. 

Finally, if you don’t have any luck finding turtles in Barbados, consider booking a tour with one of the local touring companies. The guides often excel at finding the prime viewing spots and can take you to locations where the tropical marine life is most abundant. Just be patient, be persistent, and don’t forget your sunscreen.