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An underwater photograph of a shark swimming in a lagoon.

Marine Life in Nassau Paradise Island

Posted by: Nassau Paradise Island on August 12, 2017

The coral reefs off the coast of Nassau Paradise Island are the third longest in the world, and they’re home to an incredible array of tropical marine life! Whether you’re snorkeling through our pristine waters, speeding through the waves on a boat excursion, or sailing the ocean blue, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for wildlife! Here’s a list of some of the marine life you might encounter in Nassau Paradise Island.


Blue Marlin

The blue marlin is the National Fish of The Bahamas. In fact, it’s rumored that the blue marlin in the famous novel Old Man and the Sea was inspired by author Ernest Hemingway’s time in The Bahamas. Blue marlins are characterized by the long spike, or sword, on its upper jaw, its blue and white coloring, and pointed dorsal fin. They’re a prized catch for game fishers.

Bahamian Rock Lobster

Rock lobsters, or spiny lobsters, have an appearance distinct from a lobster you’ll see in more northern climates. For one, they’re missing the large foreclaws, and have very long thick, spiny antennae. Keep your eyes peeled when you’re snorkeling near coral reefs, these creatures like to hide in dark crevices.


You might see these long, silvery predators from your boat—they tend to swim close to the water’s surface. They can get quite large and are known for being ferocious when provoked. They’ll definitely give you a fight if you try to reel one in on a fishing trip!

Spotted Dolphins

You’re bound to see some Wild Atlantic spotted dolphins or common bottlenose dolphins when you’re in The Bahamas—they love our warm turquoise waters! These playful creatures are naturally inquisitive and can be seen swimming close to the surface.

Learn all about bottlenose dolphins—and see them up close—at Dolphin Cay.


Did you know that Lionfish are actually an invasive species? They’re not native to Bahamian waters but have been recently introduced to the area. There’s a growing Lionfish market in The Bahamas, and you may even see it pop up on some menus! If you see a Lionfish while you’re snorkeling or scuba diving in Nassau, it’s best to observe its beauty from a distance, as its sharp fins are poisonous.


You’re likely to find a whole variety of starfish in The Bahamas! Their colors range from pale yellow or gray to vibrant red and orange. Their skin is quite tough and hard—a deterrent for their predators—and while they commonly have five or six arms, some species have much more.


If you’re snorkeling the reefs off of Nassau, you’re likely to see the tropical fish made famous by Disney’s Finding Nemo. Clownfish are recognizable by their orange and white stripes.     

Nurse Sharks

Nurse sharks can often be seen in Bahamian waters, hanging out near the ocean floor, or swimming around looking for a meal (their diet consists primarily of squid, shrimp, and other small fish). They can grow to be up to 10 feet long, are brown in color, and have smooth round head.

Swim with nurse sharks on a scuba diving adventure at Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas.


Easily recognized by their beautiful spiraling shells, conch is a marine mollusk native to The Bahamas’ tropical waters. Did you know conch is the national food of The Bahamas? Make sure to try it on your next visit.

Sea Turtles

Sea turtles love the warm waters that surround our shores! You could see hawksbill, loggerhead, or green turtles swimming around.


Of course, this list just scratches the surface of all the incredible marine life you can see during your visit to Nassau Paradise Island! Get out on the water and see how many you can spot—and don’t forget to share your photos with us! Use #InstaParadise.


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