There are around 20 million snorkelers across the world. With a market this size, there are countless destinations vying for your money, your time, and your snorkeling gear. But which ones are actually worth your time?
You’ve got a limited budget and a limited amount of time. You don’t want to waste your time at a substandard diving location. We’ve all been there, discovering a favorite site a little too late.
We’ve got your back. We’re going to take a look at the top snorkeling locations around the world. Whichever ocean you want to check out and whatever natural wonders you long to see, you’ll find them here.
Ready to start planning your next snorkeling trip? Then read on!
GREAT BARRIER REEF, AUSTRALIA
This is a no-brainer. The Great Barrier Reef is an incredible site, full of natural wonder, diverse species of wildlife, and an ecosystem that’s unbeatable. Sadly, the reef is in decline, with experts predicting it could disappear by 2050.
At present, the reef is still in relatively good health and a haven for snorkeling. Grab your snorkeling gear and look beneath the waves to discover 2900 different reefs, six species of sea turtle, and over a thousand different species of fish.
This is nature at its most spectacular and is a sight that you can’t afford to miss. It’s one of the best snorkeling destinations on Earth and should be visited before it’s too late.
Hawaii is an island paradise and Oahu features some of its most stunning scenery. One of the largest Hawaiian islands, the southern coast features the bustling city of Honolulu, while heading inland lets you explore beautiful volcanoes.
It’s the North Shore that’s one of this island’s best-kept secrets. Take one of the many North Shore Oahu Tours, and get ready to be breathless. Lucky you’ve got that snorkel!
While this area of the island may be more famous for surfing than snorkeling, you’ll find an ocean teeming with fish and turtles. If you are a beginner, we’d recommend a trip to Kuilima Cove, which is a shallow lagoon full of fish. Another incredible spot is Three Tables, which features stunning coral formations.
BAA ATOLL, MALDIVES
Located in the Maldives, just south of India, this is one of the top snorkeling destinations in the world. Baa Atoll is actually made up of three different atolls and 75 islands. Just 13 of these are inhabited, so you can truly be at one with nature at Baa Atoll.
The Atoll features mangroves and unique fauna in addition to the spectacular Maldivian ocean life. The archipelago is located inside the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and it’s easy to see why. Some of the species that you can see here are:
- Manta rays
- Whale sharks
- Three species of turtles
- Rainbow runners
It is hard to express the beauty of this Atoll in words. If you want to see unique fauna and incredible natural beauty in the Indian Ocean, we can’t recommend anywhere more highly.
ILHA GRANDE, BRAZIL
The South Atlantic isn’t often considered a snorkeling destination. This is a real shame: the Brazilian coast features some of the most beautiful snorkeling sites in the world. We’d recommend heading to Ilha Grande, located off the state of Rio de Janeiro.
The island itself features some of the last remnants of Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest. As such, there is a huge range of wildlife to see before you even set foot in the ocean.
Once you do, you’ll find a unique ecosystem. This is because the waters of Ilha Grande are a confluence of temperate and tropical waters. This lets you see orcas, humpback whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and even Magellanic penguins.
Once you’ve seen the sights, head back to beautiful Rio to enjoy its world-renowned nightlife!
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, ECUADOR
The South Pacific is teeming with wildlife, and the Galapagos Islands are particularly remarkable. These islands were uninhabited for thousands of years, which allowed a huge ecosystem to develop.
While it may be more famous for the Galapagos tortoise, which is well worth seeing, there’s more to these islands than tortoises. In the ocean, you’ll find sea lions, iguanas, sea cucumbers, and penguins. There isn’t a place quite like the Galapagos Islands anywhere else on Earth.
If you want to see unique and diverse wildlife, a snorkeling trip to these islands is essential.
ISLA HOLBOX, MEXICO
Does swimming with the gentle giants of the sea appeal to you? Then we’d recommend heading to this island and enjoying the company of whale sharks. These huge animals are around 30 feet long on average, with some measuring up to 62 feet.
Despite their size, these sharks don’t pose a threat to snorkelers. They are filter-feeders and docile. If you decide to scuba dive instead, some may even let you catch a ride.
Isla Holbox, off the Yucatan Peninsula, is an ecotourist’s paradise. There are no cars on the island and it’s focused around preservation.
ISLA DEL COCO, COSTA RICA
From one species of shark to another: Isla del Coco is the spot to see hammerhead sharks in their natural habitat. These strange creatures rub shoulders with dolphins, manta rays, and moray eels.
Located nearly 350 miles from the Costa Rican mainland, the island is designated as a national park and features a wet, oceanic climate. In addition to its stunning ocean wildlife, the island also features the only cloud forests in the Pacific.
SNORKELING: FOR BEGINNERS AND EXPERTS ALIKE
If you’ve never tried snorkeling before, we couldn’t recommend it more highly. In comparison to scuba diving, which features a specialized skillset, all that snorkeling requires is the ability to swim. Put on some snorkeling equipment and dive into the waves!
The destinations we’ve listed are some of the greatest in the world, but there are many more to discover. If you live on a coast, try snorkeling in your local waters! We bet you’ll be surprised by what you find.