Beginner’s Guide to Snorkelling Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park

If you’re planning a trip to Grenada and are tempted to skip snorkelling the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park because you’re a non-swimmer or newbie, I have great news. There’s a tour operator who can help you experience what National Geographic calls one of the “Top Wonders of the World.”  I’ve had scary experiences snorkelling other parts of the world — such as getting swept away in a rip current in Huatulco, Mexico – so I’m extra cautious (OK, I’ll admit it – terrified) about swimming in the open ocean with a mask strapped to my face.

But during my  tour with  Grenada Seafaris Powerboat Snorkelling Adventure I discovered that their unique mix of special equipment, safe snorkelling practices and stellar qualifications makes it possible for even the most timid swimmer to experience this incredible underwater attraction.

Beginner’s Guide to Snorkelling Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park

From the depth of the sculptures to how this underwater park is helping save the region’s threatened coral reefs, here’s what you need to know about choosing a snorkelling tour of the Underwater Sculpture Park in Grenada:

Reasons You Should See this Underwater Sculpture Park

The Washington Post recently declared Grenada to be one of the world’s  “10 hot destinations to travel to in 2018” and if you’re a food fan, it’s tempting to spend all of your time exploring cacao and spice plantations, eating artisanal chocolate, sipping rum at historic distilleries and sampling authentic Grenadian cuisine. On my first visit, I was so blown away by the cuisine, I actually wrote 12 Reasons I’m Tempted to Drop Everything and Move to Grenada

Grand Anse Beach at the Radisson Hotel Grenada

Best beach at a conference ever! Grand Anse Beach at the Radisson Hotel Grenada

But while attending the State of the Industry Conference in Grenada (SOTIC) last month, I discovered  that Grenada’s underwater attractions are just as fascinating as its food scene. And there’s no better place to begin exploring than at the underwater museum, the world’s first underwater sculpture park and an innovative ecological marine  project.

Over the past few decades, we have lost over 40% of our natural coral reefs. The World Resources Institute projects that 90% of coral reefs will be in danger by 2030, and all of them by 2050.

Created by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor in 2006, this underwater gallery features around 100 statues installed in the sand beneath the sea in Molinere Beausejour Marine Protected Area. Designed to help the ocean ecosystem regenerate after being damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004,  the installation has grown to become a vibrant artificial reef draped with coral and teeming with marine life.  The unique mix of art, marine science and activism is intended to help raise awareness about the fragility of the world’s environment and the destructive impact of industry and human habits.

Getting to the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park

You don’t need to bounce across whitecaps to experience Grenada’s Underwater Sculpture Park. The main works of art are located in shallow water (a depth of 5 meters or 16 feet ) close to shore in Molinere Bay, just a 10-minute boat ride from St. George’s the capital city. The Grenada Seafaris Powerboat Adventure departs from St. George’s harbour, where you board the the Seafaris Explorer, a 250 hp twin-engine rigid inflatable  featuring unique saddle seats with handlebars. While the boat’s Zodiac-like shape may prompt you to feel as though you’re a Navy Seal about to embark on a rescue mission, the hobby-horse seats are actually quite comfortable and their height offers a prime vantage point for viewing the  picturesque, horseshoe-shaped harbour.

St. George's Harbour in Grenada

Get a great view of St. George’s Harbour in Grenada

Founded by the French in 1650 and dotted with fishing boats, church spires, red-tiled rooftops and steep volcanic slopes,  St. George’s is one of the prettiest harbours in the Caribbean. There’s no better way to appreciate its beauty than from the water where you can enjoy clear views of its historic buildings, Fort George (built in 1705) as well as Hospital Hill, once home to a Military Hospital and Cemetery Hill, the island’s largest and oldest graveyard, holding the remains of victims of  yellow fever and cholera outbreaks in the 1700s.

Tour the Grenada Marine Protected Area Coastline


Although gliding past the southwest coastline at a quick speed, the boat ride itself is smooth and dry. It’s even possible to spot sea turtles, sea birds and other flora and fauna along the way. Our group stopped at Dragon Bay, had an orientation tour on the types of marine life to watch for, donned wristbands for admission to the Marine Protected Zone and then entered Molinere Bay, home to the collection of underwater sculptures.

Sailboat in Dragon Bay Grenada

Sailboat in Dragon Bay Grenada

Safety While Snorkelling the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park

Snorkelling at Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park

You’re never far from shore while snorkelling the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park

One of the features I appreciated during the Grenada Seafaris Powerboat Adventure was the boat’s custom-designed swim ladder for convenient access to and from the ocean. That meant I didn’t have to worry that once I got in the water, I wouldn’t be able to easily get back out. Participants can choose from two types of lifejackets, including special water-ski floatation vests for less confident swimmers. Snorkel masks and flippers are supplied and if you’re nervous about swimming with flippers, you’re not required to wear them.

Guide Kimmie of Seafaris Adventure tour shows participants the marine life at Underwater Sculpture Park

Guide Kimmie of Seafaris Adventure tour shows participants the marine life you can expect to see at Underwater Sculpture Park

This tour of Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park is a guided tour led by a qualified guide who stays with the participants and chaperones them to each underwater attraction so they don’t miss a thing. Less confident swimmers have the option of floating with a life preserver attached to a rope held by the guide.  In addition to the PADI & US Coast Guard Life Saving qualified crew, Seafari Explorer captain Howard Clarke stays onboard to monitor safety and water conditions.

Sculptures at the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park

Otherworldy statues at the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park Credit Howard Clarke

Otherworldy statues at the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park Credit Howard Clarke

My own experience began as soon as I plunged off the ladder into cool, clear waters where I immediately came face to face with a blue parrot fish. The ocean floor was easily visible beneath me so it didn’t take long before I was comfortable floating behind our guide Kimmie as he led the way into the underwater park.

The most striking of the first statues we encountered was Vicissitudes, an eerie circle of children holding hands with ghostly tendrils of algae floating from their bodies. Their faces distorted by coral growth added to the mysterious quality of the encounter. Another highlights of the Underwater Park included The Lost Correspondent depicting a journalist working over a typewriter at his desk.

The Underwater Park now features sculptures by other artists such as  Lene Kilde of Norway who created  the Nutmeg Princess, a poignant statue of a young girl with her arms raised in supplication that’s based on a story by Grenadian Author Richardo Keens- Douglas. Strings of bubbles rising to the surface from the statue made it seem as though she was actually breathing.

“It’s a legend about following your dreams,”explained our guide Kimmie, who had the strength of a Marvel superhero as he towed two of us by rope to the final few statues.

Environmental Activism

The Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park is more than just a work of art or an underwater adventure. It’s a statement of environmental activism. Each of the statues is thought-provoking – each interacting with their marine environment in different ways. The installation is also environmentally responsible. Each sculpture has been created using rebar and non-toxic, pH-neutral marine cement, free from harmful pollutants. The rough texture of the statues encourages coral larvae to attach and thrive, while holes, nooks and cubbyholes provide habitat for fish, crustaceans and other marine life. The statues themselves are placed on barren seabeds away from natural coral reefs which also helps preserve reefs already threatened by rising sea water levels, warming temperatures and acidity.

Although visitors can dive deep and explore the statues up close, it’s very easy to enjoy the wonder of the underwater park by simply floating on the surface of the water. It’s an every-changing slideshow of light, marine life and art you won’t soon forget.

Travel Planner

Hotel: The SOTIC conference was held at the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort which has the serendipitous combination of having conference facilities and a prime location on Grand Anse Beach. My second floor pool view room came with a mini-fridge stocked with water, beer, soft drinks as well as a coffee maker. The AC worked like a powerhorse and the breakfast buffet featured lots of fresh fruit as well as Grenadian specialities such as callaloo and sardines with sauteed onions. The beach was clean and very swimmable with beautiful, clear waters. I think every conference should feature a beach swim at the end of each day.

Grenada Seafaris Snorkelling Tour: The snorkelling tour includes pick-up and drop-off at area  hotels (If you’re staying at Sandals LaSource you book with Island Routes who handles the transfers) , the thrilling boat ride/tour of the coastline, entrance fee/permit to the Marine Protected Zone, snorkelling gear and life-vests, a guided tour of the  Underwater Sculpture Park and bottled water. The depth of the water is up to 16 feet or 5 metres which means that if the visibility is clear you can see the sculptures without diving below the surface of the water.

The 2.5 hour tour costs $75 per adult (half-price for children). Or, you can book a private charter for $650. They’ve also just launched a Bubbly Snorkel Adventure, a couples-only private charter with sparkling wine. Learn more at  Grenada Seafaris Powerboat Tour   or visit their Facebook page @GrenadaSeafaris.

Note: There is a maximum number of non-swimmers per excursion so please check when booking

Pure Grenada: Visit the official Pure Grenada Tourism website for a wealth of handy travel information.

Jason deCaires Taylor: Read more about the artist and his work at www.underwatersculpture.com

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Learn more about Grenada in these posts:

12 Reasons I’m Tempted to Drop Everything and Move to Grenada

Food-lover’s Guide to Grenada

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Beginner's Guide to Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park

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Showing 14 comments
  • Kayla Burk (www.buytheplaneticket.com)
    Reply

    i’ve been wanting to take a scuba diving course but i think i’ll wait until i go here because that would be an AMAZING first scuba diving experience. it’s definitely something you don’t hear about every day!

  • Culture Tripper
    Reply

    Gorgeous photos! The Seafaris tour sounds like an extraordinary experience accessible by nearly everyone. The sculpture is stunning and all the more amazing for serving as an artificial reef. Kudos to Grenada for putting so much thought into creating such a beautiful and eco-friendly attraction.

  • Grenada Seafaris
    Reply

    Thank you so much for an amazing article about our wonderful sculpture park and also our powerboat adventure. It was a real pleasure having you on board and we hope to have some new sculptures in for your next visit 🙂

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Thank you for the wonderful day on the water! And a special thank you to Kimmie for being such a great guide and making it possible for this fraidy cat swimmer to see this incredible underwater site.

  • Carol Perehudoff
    Reply

    A cultural snorkel, that’s environmental, too. What’s not to like? What a unique concept. I’d love to see it.

  • Irene S. Levine
    Reply

    What a great reason to visit Grenada. I’ve never had the guts to explore an underwater park!:-)

  • Brian
    Reply

    I never knew that Grenada had an underwater sculpture park. Not a diver, but if I was there, I would probably make an exception.

  • Melanie May
    Reply

    Oh I went to Grenada years ago and never knew about this place! It is on my list. I have always wanted a reason to go back to Grenada and now I have one.

  • Yasha
    Reply

    Wow – what an amazingly creative way to restore the reef. I don’t know much about the Caribbean, so I was unsure where Grenada actually was. The tour you took sounded like just the thing for me. I love to snorkel off a beach in shallow-ish water, but I have real problems jumping off the back of a boat into deep water.

  • Bistra
    Reply

    This underwater sculpture park goes directly in the todo list for the Caribbean. I’d love to snorkel in Grenada but also to scuba dive and get a closer look! Didn’t even know this master piece existed! Thank you!

  • Sue Reddel
    Reply

    I have to say I’m kinda scared of scuba but snorkeling is right up my alley. That sculpture park looks magificent.

  • Elaine J Masters
    Reply

    This is the first I’ve heard about the process of getting into the water and the eco-support for the ocean. I’d love to dive the eco-park one day.

  • Laura Lynch
    Reply

    I really love these underwater sculpture gardens. I saw the one in Cancun many years ago and I fell in love with the idea.

  • Sol Solntze
    Reply

    Oh cool. I’d heard about these underwater sculpture parks – including this one of course – but I’d assumed the only way to see them is by full on scuba diving, which is something I cant see myself ever mastering. Snorkelling I could definitely handle though.

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