Best Snorkeling Spots in the World from Best Snorkeling Spots in the World
Best Snorkeling Spots in the World
The Coral Triangle, Asia Pacific
This is the world’s center of marine biodiversity. The area stretches from Eastern Borneo, across Bali, the Philippines, a huge part of Indonesia and the Solomon Islands. The Triangle hosts about 75 percent of all known coral species in the world. It also contains 647 million hectares of land and sea. The best part of the experience is that snorkelers don’t have to go deep to check out the region's 2,000 species of reef fish.
Big Island, Hawaii
Anywhere on the Big Island is a snorkeling paradise. A favorite spot is the Kealakekua Bay. The isolated bay is an unspoiled marine sanctuary filled with colorful marine life and coral where you can see, among other fish, whales and dolphins. Tucked along this bay are ancient religious temples and also the historic monument where world explorer Captain James Cook met his fate, according to Hawaii Activities. Other favorite locations are Kahaluʻu Beach Park, Captain Cook, and Honaunau Bay.
Lord Howe Island, Australia
You can see schools of fish, turtles and stingrays in the azure waters of the island. Explore Lagoon Beach, Ned's Beach, Old Settlement Beach, Erscott’s Hole and Blinky Beach and see more than 90 species of corals and over 500 fish species, according to Visit NSW. Make time for the wreck of the Favorite ship in North Bay on an Islander Cruise, or book a glass-bottom boat and snorkeling tour.
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Snorkeling in Iceland, where some of the clearest water on the planet is, is definitely on the bucket list of adventurers. It’s going to be cold and you’ll need a drysuit but the water is turquoise clear, so clear that visibility is virtually unlimited. You’ll bobble above magnificent rock formations and explore sea grasses so green they seem surreal. Snorkeling in the Silfra fissure is literally snorkeling between the North American and Eurasian continents.
Buck Island, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
Buck Island Reef National Monument was established to preserve “one of the finest marine gardens in the Caribbean Sea.” The 176-acre island and surrounding coral reef ecosystem support a large variety of native flora and fauna. The elkhorn coral barrier reef has extraordinary coral formations, deep grottoes, abundant reef fishes, sea fans and gorgonians. At the eastern most point of the reef is the famous underwater trail.
Ilha Grande, Brazil
This is a charming destination with astonishing waterfalls, lakes, secret coves, and secluded beaches. All of those make it an exceptional place for snorkeling and diving. The local rich marine life as well as the several old ship-wrecks can be explored year-round but November through May is the best time to snorkel.
Plaza Sur, Galapagos
Bernard Gagnon/Wikimedia Commons
South Plaza is one of the smallest yet richest islands in the archipelago, according to Galapagos Travels, known for its rich marine life. The abundant and friendly sea lions – the largest animals on the islands, with adult males weighing up to 550 pounds – is why snorkelers go there. Covering the seabed you’ll also find damselfish, triggerfish, hogfish, sea stars and urchins.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Ambergris Caye, the largest island off the coast of Belize, provides access to the world’s second largest barrier reef and offers a world-class snorkeling. The reef is basically 185 twisting miles of pristine beauty. Most of it is still totally unexplored and all of it is accessible by boat. Some of the best snorkeling sites are Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Mexico Rocks and Coral Gardens.
Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia
Jonathan Chase/Wikimedia Commons
The Raja Ampat Islands are among the most colorful places on Earth. They are heralded for having an unparalleled array of species, including a wide variety of coral, fish and mollusks. The organisms on coral reefs (included the coral themselves) use their bright colors for camouflage, as well as to entice mates, intimidate foes, evade predators, and catch prey.
If you want to escape the crowds and still have a blast, consider Bonaire. Most of the 6,672-acre park is water. There is a no-anchoring policy, but the nearly 60 species of coral underneath are some of the most unspoiled in the world. The variety and scenery are unmatched in the region. Popular snorkeling sites include Karpata, Front Porch, and Captain Don’s Reef.
Komodo Island, Indonesia
Komodo Island is more famous for being the rugged habitat of the 3m-long Komodo dragon monitor lizard. If you choose to snorkel in the sea surrounding the national park, you’ll get a chance to see more than 1,000 species of fish, 260 types of coral, and 14 types of endangered whales, dolphins, and giant turtles. For more snorkeling go to the Pink Beach. There you will get to swim along rays, groupers, and hawksbill turtles in the undersea garden.
Champagne Reef, Dominica
There are several active volcanoes in Dominica, which affect the reef. Underwater geothermal springs vent gasses in the form of thousands of warm bubbles giving snorkelers a feeling of swimming through a giant glass of, literally, Champagne, according to ChampagneReef.com. You can expect to see a myriad of sea life including sponges, lobster, parrot fish and a resident population of Hawksbill turtles.
Silver Bank, Dominican Republic
There are only a few places in the world where you can snorkel along humpback whales and Silver Bank is one of them. About 7,000 humpbacks pass through the oddly shaped, 40-square-mile sanctuary between December and April, according to Aquatic Adventures. Silver Bank, which is off limits to big ships, contains the largest seasonal population of humpbacks in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Bligh Water, Fiji
If you want to experience a dive trip on a live-aboard rather than staying at a resort, there is no better place to dive than through Bligh Water, according to Fiji Vacations. This channel surrounds the islands of Wakaya, Koro and Namena. This is also a popular area for scuba diving because of its rainbow coral, sharks, and turtles hiding in tunnels, canyons, and caves.
Menjangan Island, Bali
This is where you go to find Bali’s best underwater gardens. Located within the protected area of West Bali National Park, the island is one of the more popular dive and snorkeling spots. Menjangan is known for calm clear waters, a profusion of marine life, and gorgeous coral formations. You may also see whale sharks, mantas, and turtles, if you’re lucky.