Best Places to Snorkel in the World

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Aside from the exhilarating experiences that you often get while being underwater with the world’s most beautiful organisms, snorkeling offers you a wide variety of benefits. While being able to swim underwater for longer periods of time and interact with various different aquatic organisms as well as the beautiful coral plants, snorkeling is able to offer various health benefits for your body as well as mental benefits.

Snorkeling gives you the ability to swim underwater for more than the typical time that our lungs allow, and you can do so while sight-seeing and engaging with the underwater world. Given that, it can be a (literally) breathtaking experience for anyone that encounters it.

Given these benefits, you should consider going on a snorkeling trip the next time you can get the time off from work. But it can be difficult to figure out which places in the world are the best to go snorkeling. Because of that, here is a guide that can help you figure out which places would be best for you, since it lists the best places in the world to go snorkeling at.

Great Barrier Reef

1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

You are highly recommended to consider snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef located off the coast of Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is classified as the largest underwater reef in the world, since it’s able to measure a total of 1,400 miles. It’s more specifically located along the coastline of Queensland, which is along the Northeastern coastline of the continent of Australia.

You’re most recommended to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia because it’s predicted to not last as long as other reefs in the ocean. For instance, as a result of the surrounding water warming up in temperature, the coral are bleaching, deceasing the life of the reef altogether. Some scientists even predict that the reef will become completely extinct by the year 2050.

What you’ll see

When you dive into the water and snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll likely see a large amount of coral. But just as there are live corals, there are always fish and other aquatic organisms that live in the reef as well as those swimming around the attraction.

More specifically, you’ll most likely see turtles and other types of fish, including whales various trouts. You may even encounter some saltwater crocodiles in the nearby marshes, sharks, stingrays, clams, and seahorses. Given the large diversity of organisms at the reef, you’ll have the ability to experience the whole underwater world in one snorkeling trip.

Where to go snorkeling

You’ll find that the best way to snorkel off of the coast of Australia at the Great Barrier Reef is by going on a boat tour out to the reef. By taking a boat tour, you’re able to receive both the experience of a scenic boat tour in Australia as well as the experience of snorkeling. Your basecamp will likely be in either Cairns or Port Douglas, and you have the ability to take a boat tour out to the Great Barrier Reef from your basecamp.

Main Features:

  • One of the easiest reefs to snorkel at
  • Likely to go extinct in the future
  • Offers boat tours from Cairns or Port Douglas
  • Reef contains a diverse array of aquatic organisms

2. Komodo National Park, Indonesia

You should consider planning your next snorkeling trip at Komodo National ark and Island in Indonesia because it’s classified as a park that contains a chain of five volcanic islands. Java is the main volcanic island, and then the rest of the islands that you can snorkel from extend eastward. Just as the name suggests, this chain of islands is home to one of the most fascinating creatures, the Komodo Dragon. Because of that, you have the ability to interact with these creatures as well as a variety more.

The National Park itself is located on one of the islands, and it has the largest amount of Komodo Dragons on that particular piece of land, since the park was originally established in order to preserve the dragons. Aside from the dragons, this string of islands is highly recommended for you to snorkel at because it’s surrounded by reefs that have been labeled in a protective status for over 30 years, so they’re thriving with various types of sea species.

In addition to viewing the giant lizards as well as the underwater sea creatures, there are also a few beaches within the Komodo Islands that are largely popular for their ability to engage you with the sea life as well as offer you some of the most beautiful views in the world. Since these beaches are so interconnected with each other as well as the surrounding underwater sight-seeing features, you can easily just bring snorkeling gear to the beach with you and snorkel right from there, rather than requiring a boat to help you locate the reefs like most other snorkeling locations require.

What you’ll see

The islands are all located at various different parts of the sea, so you’ll view different creates and elements of the reefs. But you’re able to snorkel at multiple different locations in order to maximize your underwater engagement and experience. Regardless of the specific island that you snorkel at, you will more than likely encounter animals like turtles, various kinds of fish, small sharks, dolphins, mantas, and schooling fish.

And obviously you’ll also get to interact with the Komodo Dragons on the actual islands when you’re not snorkeling underwater at these locations. From that, you’ll be able to receive the life-changing experience of vacationing with the Komodo Dragons and wildlife on land while also having the opportunity to visit with the underwater sea life when you visit the Komodo National Park in Indonesia.

Where to go snorkeling

Since there are several different islands included within this location, you have the ability to snorkel from a variety of specific spots. There are also multiple different reefs that you can view underwater life at, including the Pengah Reef, Batu Bolong, Siaba Besar, Tatawa Kecil, Mawan Island, and the Kanawa Island.

Each of these islands offers a very different experience for you, since they all contain different types of coral and sea life. They also offer varying experiences regarding the condition of the water, since they’re in different parts of the ocean and have water currents that are specific to that region.

Main Features:

  • Contains five volcanic islands that you can visit and snorkel at
  • Includes beaches that allow you to snorkel right from the shoreline
  • Acts as a preservation land for Komodo Dragons
  • Various different sea life to interact with
  • Multiple different reefs that you can visit

3. The Bay of Donsol, The Philippines

The Philippines in general is one of the most common places that people go in order to snorkel in the deep ocean waters. Since the Philippines contains over 7,000 different islands that you have the option to choose from for your snorkeling adventures, it can be difficult to choose which ones to spend the limited time on for vacation. The Bay of Donsol is one of the most highly recommended snorkeling spots in the Philippines though, simply because of the direct interaction that you can gain with the protected animals residing along the bay.

The Bay of Donsol specifically is located within the Sorsogon province of the Philippines, so it’s in the Northern portion of the Philippines. Within this specific location of the ocean, you have the ability to snorkel with some of the largest fish in the ocean, like the whale shark. In fact, the Philippines are most likely one of the best locations to snorkel with whale sharks, since they contain such a large number of them.

Not only that, but the Philippines also has boat tours along the Bay of Donsol, so you can utilize a boat tour as well as snorkeling with some of the largest fish in the ocean. Not only that, but you also have the opportunity to consider snorkeling several different locations around the Philippines. You have the ability to travel along the shoreline of the country in order to snorkel with the whale sharks within the Bay of Donsol or with the coral reefs along the Noa Noa Island.

What you’ll see

The Bay of Donsol in the Philippines is most commonly popular for its engagement with the whale sharks, so you’ll likely see mostly whale sharks when you snorkel. But there will also be other types of protected animals, including turtles and other types of fish. The whale sharks are popular among the snorkeling industry because they won’t harm humans, since they feed on the other organisms in the sea.

Where to go snorkeling

There are specific boat guides that you can utilize in order to find and snorkel with the whale sharks. For instance, these boat tour are equipped with guides and spotters that are specifically trained in order to spot the whale sharks and prepare you with the right gear in order to maximize your experience while snorkeling with the sharks.

Main Features:

  • Gives you the opportunity to swim alongside whale sharks
  • Contains the largest fish in the sea
  • Offers boat guides and spotters
  • The Philippines in general offers you a variety of different experiences

4. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora is highly recommended as a location to plan your vacation rich in snorkeling because they’re most popularly known for their crystal clear waters. Bora Bora in general is located in French Polynesia, which is a collection of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Many people love traveling to Bora Bora in order to vacation in the many bungalows as well as the high star hotels.

Aside from the enriching activities that the islands offer themselves, Bora Bora is recommended for snorkeling because you can snorkel right from your bungalow or right from the beaches that have pure-white sand. They are also known for the opportunity to swim so closely to stingrays, since they swim so closely to the bungalows and the beaches around the islands neighboring Bora Bora.

Bora Bora’s crystal clear waters allow you to see all of the various types of animals in the water, so you can view them easily even when you’re not even under the water with them .

What you’ll see

Bora Bora gives you the opportunity to interact and swim alongside various different sea life species. For instance, you have the ability to snorkel with stingrays, turtles, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Lemon Sharks, and other colorful reef fish. The stingrays are perhaps the most abundant type of fish in this water region, since they’re commonly known as the “water puppies.” The stingrays in this region are so friendly that they may even come up to you and seek attention, so you can directly interact with them.

Where to go snorkeling

Bora Bora offers multiple different packages that gives you the opportunity to stay in a bungalow or a nice hotel, and these packages often include a snorkeling experience or two in which you can go snorkeling with their gear as well as the guides that they offer. More specifically, Bora Bora offers lagoon excursions that are popular among interested visitors, since they allow you to tour the snorkeling spots of the ocean. You can take general excursions, or you can specifically request to see sharks, stingrays, or other types of tours .

Main Features:

  • Crystal clear waters
  • Various different packages that include snorkeling
  • Offers opportunities to snorkel with various animals, including stingrays, sharks, and turtles
  • Stingrays are extremely friendly
  • Offers bungalow housing, so you can view aquatic sea life from your vacation spot

5. The Maldives

One of the most popular places that people commonly snorkel, perhaps as popular as the Philippines, are the Maldives. The Maldives are classified as a tropical region that’s located in the Indian Ocean, and it contains around 26 atolls that each contains hundreds of islands. Given that, the Maldives includes a wide range of multiple different islands that each offer varying experiences for snorkeling.

Given the Maldives’ distance from where residences are, they specifically offer only vacation rentals and resorts that you can rent out while you’re on vacation. More specifically, they offer various different resorts that you can utilize for your benefit, since they each offer easy access to snorkeling opportunities. Some of them even offer packages that you can purchase that contain a snorkeling experience.

What you’ll see

Since the Maldives includes various different islands, you may experience different snorkeling dives according to each location that you choose. But most of them gives you engagement with both hard and soft corals, Giant Clams, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks, turtles, Whale Sharks, stingrays, and even schools of various fish.

Where to go snorkeling

Practically everyone that’s experienced snorkeling in the Maldives’s recommends that you either do so by staying at a resort that contains a good house reef or by utilizing a snorkeling liveaboard trip. Some of the best resorts in the Maldives that offer great house reefs are Constance Moofushi, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Angsana Ighuru, Soneva Fushi, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, and the Six Senses Laamu. Each of these resorts offers house reefs that give you the ability to snorkel right from the resort, and they each also have beaches that you can utilize for swimming in general.

Liveaboards are recommended if you want to explore more of the Maldives’ islands, since they offer roundabout trips that give you the opportunity to engage with the various different atolls.

Main Features:

  • Offers different islands with varying snorkeling experiences
  • Features resorts with house reefs and liveaboards
  • Gives you a rich snorkeling experience, since you can see a wide range of sea animals as well as hard and soft corals
  • The islands of the Maldives are just as beautiful as the underwater oceans

6. Maui, Hawaii, United States

Maui, located in Hawaii, is one of the many islands that comprise the Hawaiian state of North America. Not only is it classified as an island itself, but Maui contains many different beaches that offer perhaps the best snorkeling spots in the world. More specifically, Hawaii contains hundreds of beaches all around its perimeter that can be seen as great adventure sports for people looking for snorkeling vacations. Since the island is a volcanic island, it contains lava rocks and coves that are unlike other types of islands in the world.

Given that, a trip to Maui can be different than any other trip to other islands. There are also various resorts that offer underwater sea snorkeling while you stay there, so you can take up the advantages of the vacation as you like. Since Maui is classified as an island of the Hawaiian state, you can also travel to the other islands of Hawaii in order to interact with the tropical adventures while you’re on your vacation.

What you’ll see

Depending on the specific beach or region on the perimeter of the island, Maui can offer various snorkeling experiences for you, regarding which types of animals and plantlife you’ll see. Most beaches will give you the opportunity to engage with Eagle Rays, Rainbow Fish, Monk Seals, Sea Turtles, and various hard and soft corals.

Where to go snorkeling

Maui itself offers a range of different resorts and specific experiences that you can utilize while on your vacation. More specifically, the Four Seasons Resort Maui is a reserve that offers a great place for people to explore the underwater seas. There is also a crater-shaped island off of the coast of Maui known as the Molokini Crater that many divers go to snorkel and explore various types of sea life.

Some of the most popular beaches on the Maui island that are great for your snorkeling adventures include Honolua Bay, Kapalua Bay, Turtle Town Maui and Maluaka Beach, Kaanapali Beach, Ahihi Kinau Reserve, and Molokini. Each of these beaches offers clean and beautiful beaches that contain beautiful attractions for divers interested in snorkeling.

Main Features:

  • Volcanic rock and coves on the land to see
  • Countless beaches for snorkeling, since Maui is an island itself
  • More variety in animal encounters
  • You likely won’t need a boat to go snorkeling, since the beaches are close enough to beautiful attractions

7. Los Cabos, Mexico

If you’re considering snorkeling and you’re from the United States, then you’re likely aware of the difficulties in traveling to get to certain tropical places that offer snorkeling experiences that will be worth the vacation planning, effort, and money. That’s why you may want to consider traveling to Mexico in order to gain an adventurous snorkeling experience, since it’s closer to home that most other places that even offer and advertise diving and snorkeling.

More specifically, Los Cabos is classified as a city in Mexico that’s particularly located within the coastlines of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. Its neighbor is a National Marine Park called Cabo Pulmo that houses one of the three coral reefs in North America. This reef is practically 20,000 years old and is highly recommended for you to visit, since it’s so close to home. Not only is this National Park home of a 20,000-year old reef, but it’s also home to over 800 species of marine life that you can engage with during your snorkeling experience.

What you’ll see

Each of these locations has varying types of sea life that you may encounter while swimming, but they all seem to contain a main combination of at least Parrot Fish, Angelfish, Damselfish, dolphins, sharks, and whales.

Where to go snorkeling

Other than snorkeling at the Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, you also have the ability to go snorkeling at other parts of Los Cabos in Mexico, including Pelican Rock at Land’s End, Santa Maria Bay, and Chileno Bay. Each of these locations are classified as beaches that offer clear water and pure sand. The water makes viewing underwater sea life easy, even when you’re not directly encountering them in the water.

Each of these locations also offers tour boats that you can utilize in order to transport to coral reefs to engage with the sea life more directly while snorkeling .

Main Features:

  • Located in North America
  • Contains one of the three coral reefs in North America
  • The coral reef is 20,000 years old
  • Contains various beaches that offer boat tours of the coast


Overall, each of these snorkeling locations offer you a different type of experience, since they offer different attractions, ways of transporting to the snorkeling site, and different sea life. They each are also offered at varying price ranges, so you should review each of them to make sure you know the entirety of the location’s offerings regarding the types of animals and sea life you’ll encounter as well as the snorkeling experience in general.

Many places charge extra for a snorkeling engagement, since they likely include gear and a guide, so you should keep the price range in mind. Not only that, but you should also consider whether you have your own snorkeling gear. Each of these places is known for their ability to offer snorkeling, so they likely offer you a service that lets you rent snorkeling gear. But you should still review each location’s price, the level of experience each place requires for snorkeling, the type of sea life you’ll be encountering, and whether you’re planning on requesting a boat tour or not.

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