TOP BEST Snorkelling destinations: 10 of the best places in the world
We asked travellers, marine experts, divers, and around our community to share their selections for some of the world’s best places to snorkel.
You slap on your snorkelling gear, eagerly anticipating the tropical fish and colourful reefs that await as you enter the crystal-clear shallow waters.
We did this article with a lot of sources and our own experiences. Searching for a spectacular snorkelling destination that crowds haven’t taken over is frustrating. But not impossible.
We searched on some forums and asked a lot about our community, and guests shared some of their favourite places to snorkel.
In these top snorkel spots, you’ll snorkel with reef fish, humpback whales and manta rays — to name just a few.
- Raja Ampat (West Papua, Indonesia)
At the top of the list, you will always find Raja Ampat, located in Indonesia’s West Papua province.
Experts say it’s hard to find the world’s greatest concentration of marine life and 75% of all known coral species.
An aquatic oasis with more than 1,000 different species of fish, sea turtles, and megafauna such as manta rays & sharks, snorkelling here means primarily having the place to yourself as the isolated islands are scarce of people.
Snorkelers face to face with fish and coral in every direction while swimming the waters of this archipelago, around 50,000 square kilometres of islands and water.
- Komodo National Park (Indonesia)
Though Komodo National Park’s superstar occupants steal the show — the snorkelling here is just the second most beautiful spot in the world.
Being a World Heritage Site since 1991, the area rich in nutrients gives an abundance of underwater life and corals a chance to prosper everywhere.
The area is rich in nutrients that feed the park, thanks to the Indian Ocean and its cold water that flushes into the park.
“You will know and understand the unique beauty of this marine life when you have your head down in Komodo,” says Martin.
We can’t say it is inaccurate, as Dragon Dive offers daily snorkelling tours and scuba diving activities in Komodo National Park.
- The Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
Unlike most spots on this list, snorkelling in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands doesn’t bring you into colourful coral and tropical fish.
However, you will encounter a place to see incredible marine life — we’re talking sea lions, sharks, dolphins, turtles and penguins.
On the step of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, snorkelling is fascinating, and you will be able to spot unique mammals both on land and beneath the sea.
“There’s a good chance you’ll play with a sea lion or a group of iguanas that will swim alongside you,” says Sami
- The Philippines
The Philippines is one of the most beautiful places for some underwater activity, and snorkelling is a good place too.
“Many of our snorkelers have said that this was one of their favourite trips” french kiss divers said.
Made up of over 7,000 islands, the Philippines is home to the second most populous and diverse ecosystems after Indonesia.
The famous and busiest place is the Bay of Donsol, home to whale sharks — the world’s largest living fish. Snorkelers have the opportunity to swim next to these gentle and friendly giants.
Another area worth snorkelling is Noa Noa Island, which we loved and where thousands of colourful reef fish and thriving reefs.
- Silver Bank (Dominican Republic)
Silver Bank is super famous among Americans as it is one of only a few places where you can swim and snorkel near humpback whales.
It’s in a shallow Caribbean Sea stretch, making it off-limits to large ships.
It is a shelter for the North Atlantic humpback whale population to mate and give birth.
Snorkelers can enjoy snorkelling with humpback whales between December and April when they remain in the area.
- Palau (Micronesia)
Do you ever want to swim with jellyfish without worrying about getting a nasty sting from one of them?
A short hike and boat ride will take you to Palau’s jellyfish lake, inhabited by millions of harmless jellyfish.
Note: Raja Ampat and Kalimantan (Indonesia) have two similar places to swim with jellyfish
- Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
Despite its popularity, the Great Barrier Reef has substance and is one of the most popular places on earth.
More than 2300 km long, it is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem.
A wide range of fish and coral on the reefs are easily accessible to snorkelers.
Unrivalled underwater scenery can be viewed while snorkelling in warm waters.
According to scientists, climate change could lead to its extinction by 2050 due to the rising level of carbon dioxide causing oceans to warm and changing the ph resulting in bleaching the reef’s corals to death.
- Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands are a famous destination for scuba divers occupying the eastern side of the Coral Triangle.
Part of their notoriety is from the existence of so many sunken warships during the South Pacific battles during World War II.
But the Solomon Islands are an excellent destination for snorkelers, too.
In places like Uepi Island and Mary Island, you can safely snorkel offshore to discover beautiful reefs filled with sea life such as giant eagle rays, sharks, barracuda etc…
- Isla Holbox (Mexico)
On your bucket list, do you have to snorkel with the giant Whaleshark? Even if it s not our best recommendation, one of the places to go is in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. La Isla Holbox.
You will encounter Whaleshark, which are giant harmless creatures
The best time to spot them is during the summer when whale sharks are close to the surface and feed on plankton.
- Kealakekua Bay (Big Island, Hawaii)
The last and most unique type of activity will be held on Honokohau Harbor on Big Island.
This snorkelling/diving experience is where you will encounter the feeding time of the Manta Ray of the Big Island. The process is to light up some super powerful lights, and the shows will go on. It offers you a unique and weird experience at the same time.
” I dove more than 4000 dives and many of them with Manta Rays, but it was such an experience having Manta eating 50 Cm from you, flipping and dancing to get the plankton. It must be done at least once,” said Blanca and William
It is an incredible experience, but you must book it in advance. We advise booking with Aquatic Life Divers.
Don’t forget that we are offering all Komodo in snorkelling too with daily boat or liveaboard snorkelling.
Special thanks to Martin, Sami, Bianca, Kevin, Robin, French Kiss diver, and others for their expertise and assistance.