Swimming with Turtles in Barbados

Swimming with Turtles in Barbados

Swimming with Turtles is honestly something that I thought I would never do in my lifetime but when the opportunity arose in February last, I grabbed it with both hands. It is, arguably, one of the best things to do in Barbados.

Alleyne’s on the west coast of Barbados is famous for its powder-white sands, turquoise waters and Turtles. Tourists come from all over the world to swim, dive and play with these hard-shelled chelonians.

A Little Bit of Natural History

Ok! A quick natural history lesson about Turtles … you can have sea water and fresh water turtles, they are very intelligent, spend most of their life on dry land, all turtles breathe air so must surface at regular intervals to refill their lungs, they eat jellyfish and are located all over the world. Lesson over!

Barbados swimming with turtles

From Port Ferdinand to Turtles

Linda and I were greeted from Port Ferdinand Resort by Natasha & Rico in the Water Taxi and swiftly whisked over to their sister resort St Peters Bay to pick up the “special” food for the turtles. It was a short 5-minute boat ride along the coastline before we arrived at Alleynes Bay.

As Rico (our boat driver) threw out the anchor and I was putting on my snorkel, Natasha spotted one of our little friends below the water at the back of the boat. When I picked up my camera to get my first photo; he popped his head out of the water as if to say “Good Morning”.

This guy was not Camera shy.

A turtle emerges from the greeny blue water at Port Ferdinand
Popping up for a breather

Gently Nibbled

With the excitement spilling over I jumped into the lukewarm Caribbean waters with snorkel and mask on. It didn’t take long for the first turtle to coast past me without a care in the world, soon after there were 3 or 4 of these majestic beings circling me.

They each took turns swimming up to me and nibbling the food I was providing for them. There was no rush on these fellows, as easy going as you can get. I reached out a few times and touch their shell; they didn’t seem to have a problem with it.

Every so often they would swim to the bottom and rest there for a while. On one occasion I grabbed my breath and followed them down only to find a flatfish resting on the seabed. It too was in no rush to go anywhere so I got some great photos if it.

When I resurfaced another boat had anchored with equally as excited swimmers on it. We had a memorable 20 minutes or so swimming and feeding these turtles and it was time to give others a chance. We went back on board and dried off, by this time more turtles had gathered and more fun was being had by tourists alike.

Read more about Barbados in our essential guide to Barbados.


Words can’t describe how special this occasion was to me. To get up close and personal with sea turtles and have the pleasure of swimming beside them will live long in my memory. When you mix that memory with the backdrop of white sands and the Caribbean ocean you have something very special indeed.

By Paul O’Sullivan

About Paul O'Sullivan

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