Scroll down for a snorkelling map and access information.
Smith’s Reef comprises of several coral heads in the Turtle Cove area and is the best spot for snorkelling from the beach on Providenciales. This area is suitable for beginning snorkelers, but has enough sea life and reef to be of interest to any level of snorkeler.
During the day, large numbers of fish and small sea animals are found here, along with some lobsters, stingrays, turtles. The coral, sea fans, sponges and other sessile animals tend to be in healthier conditions than at most of the other easily accessed snorkelling sites on Providenciales.
At night, different creatures come out including squids, prawns, large sea worms, sea snails and the occasional octopus. If you can fit it in your schedule, revisiting to snorkel at night can be very rewarding. It’s necessary to have a dive light when night snorkelling as even regular flashlights advertised as waterproof tend to eventuality be destroyed by corrosive sea water seeping into the light.
The Smith’s Reef area has three accesses, and each offer interesting sights. The Smith’s Reef North Access probably has the best overall reef, but the Central Access tends to have quite a few rays around and the east access is an excellent choice when visiting with children due to the calm shallow water and the short distance to the reefs from the beach.
It can be a little difficult to find some of the reefs, so reference our Smith’s Reef map for walking distances and more info.
Smith’s Reef is generally a safe and stress free area to snorkel. The biggest dangers come from powerboats and Lionfish.
Because Smith’s Reef is located near Turtle Cove Marina, vessels will cruise by occasionally. This is really not much of a danger when snorkeling around the reefs, but something to be aware of when venturing far out into the open water.
Although unaggressive, Lionfish have venomous spines and are able to give very painful stings which in worst case scenarios can cause temporary seizures or paralysis. These fish are an invasive predatory species from the Indo-Pacific and are quite damaging to the fish and reefs in the Atlantic and Caribbean. The fish are predators and although only reaching a mature length of about 14 inches, they consume an incredible amount of the smaller reef fish.
In the rare cases of people getting stung, swimmers and snorkelers have inadvertently contacted the Lionfish and were not aggressively attacked. If you see a Lionfish, just be sure to give it a few feet to be safe.
Smith’s Reef rarely has any issues with currents or tides. As with any location, strong winds or rough conditions can make snorkelling difficult and should be avoided.
For more info on snorkelling on Providenciales and general dangers, see Providenciales Snorkelling.
As with all reefs in the Turks and Caicos, great care must be taken to preserve and protect the coral and sea life.
This snorkelling site is part of the Princess Alexandra National Park and it is illegal to fish or collect conch and lobster.