If you’re looking for the best places in the world to snorkel, you’re in the right place!
We’ve compiled a list of the 20 perfect places for snorkeling and why they’re the best.
The list includes destinations in Europe, America, Africa, Oceania and Asia. Enjoy!
The Medes Islands, Spain
These islands are the best place to go in Catalonia. The archipelago’s natural barrier makes for a perfect place to snorkel in almost any weather condition.
Interesting: Algae, seagrass meadows, coral, crabs, starfish and various fish are all abundant and will leave you in awe.
Ghar Lapsi, Malta
Malta is a very rocky island by definition, which means that the water is deep a short distance from the shore, plus the water is pristine. Ghar Lapsi is, according to experts, absolutely amazing.
Interesting: It is usually quite full of swimmers, especially in summer, but surprisingly there are few divers and snorkelers.
Croatia is not the most popular place in the world for snorkeling or diving, but is one of the most appreciated by true lovers of the hobby. The Croatian coast is rocky which gives for good visibility in the water.
Interesting: If you see an “Atrina maura”, a type of shellfish with a triangular shape, do not pick it up because they are protected species in Croatia.
The Sinai Peninsula, Red Sea
In recent years the Red Sea has gained a great reputation as one of the best places to snorkel. Crystal clear waters that aren’t too crowded are the main attractions.
Interesting: The best dive sites in the Sinai Peninsula are: Shark Bay, Ras um Elsied, Blue Hole in Dahab, Dunraven, The Gharkana, The Muquilila, Atantur Ras, Ras Abu Galuom, Ras, and Ras Umm Sied Nosarani.
Bocas del Toro, Panama
A paradise for nature and sea lovers. The best places for snorkeling are in Almirante Bay, where coral reefs are better protected, the waters are crystal clear, and there are no waves.
Interesting: Countless species like shrimp, spider crabs, worms, starfish (thousands of them), and sponges of all colors can be found here.
Maputaland Marine Reserve, South Africa
Fish, dolphins, whales, and sharks. Nearly any type of sea animal is possible to find in the waters of one of the most beautiful nature reserves in Africa.
Interesting: There are many things to do even if you go with someone who won’t always be snorkeling, for one, walk along the Manzengwenya shore and check out the turtles.
The Similan Islands, Thailand
This national park is known as the best place to dive in Thailand and the best in the world for its coral, marine life, and white sand beaches.
Interesting: The nine islands that form the archipelago of the Similan Islands are located in the heart of the Andaman Sea, about three hours by boat from the mainland. Its waters are part of Thailand, although they are close to the border of Burma. The islands are mostly uninhabited, making it a magical land to visit.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji
Fiji is really what you have always imagined: tropical beaches with clean and transparent waters, colorful fish swimming among the coral reefs, white sand and palm trees full of coconuts… These are the Fiji islands, some of the most popular places for snorkeling.
Interesting: The best time to dive here is between April and October, but you can also dive between June and August, the waters will just be colder.
Hanauma Bay, Island of Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii is a paradise for snorkleing. At Hanauma Bay you can find over 450 species of tropical fish, one of them being the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, the official fish of Hawaii.
Interesting: This bay was formed as a result of the remains of a volcanic crater where violent explosions occurred thousands of years ago. Due to erosion the crater was joined with the ocean and the sea floor was covered with coral over the years.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and spread over 2,400km across the Pacific Ocean, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the world’s most privileged place to snorkel.
Interesting: More than 1,800 species of fish, more than 5000 different types of shellfish, and 125 species of sharks. The green turtle, clown fish, marlin, seahorses, and marine crocodiles are just a few examples of the inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef.
Kadhoo Island, Maldives
The Maldives are a mecca for diving. The combination of warm water and currents create an extraordinary underwater world to enjoy snorkeling.
Interesting: The Maldives archipelago consists of 1,200 islands that occupy a total area of 298 km2 in the heart of the Indian Ocean. If you are looking to snorkel in virgin waters, the Maldives are the perfect place.
Porto Belo, Brazil
Caves, islands, shipwrecks, coral reefs, unique rock formations, incredible biodiversity, and calm transparent waters have made these Brazilian beaches some of the most popular to practice water sports like snorkeling.
Interesting: In the Porto Belo area the Bombinhas beach resort is recommended, with its old and well-preserved remains of a sunken ship at the Marinha do Arvoredo Biological Reserve (Arvoredo Marine Biological Reserve).
Bunaken Island, Indonesia
Bunaken National Marine Park is submerged between five small islands: Manado Tua, Bunaken, Montehage, Nain and Siladen, located in the northwestern tip of the big island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. It’s an area not too well known by tourists, meaning here you will only find true lovers of diving and the underwater world.
Interesting: The marine park was founded in 1991 to protect from indiscriminate fishing with dynamite and toxic waste.
Koh Lao Liang, Thailand
Koh Lao Liang Island is actually two islands, one in front of the other. A limestone formation, with small sandy beaches, clear waters, and coral near the shore, it is an ideal place to disconnect from the world because there is very little tourism and it is a perfect place for snorkeling and diving.
Interesting: The most daring of snorkelers and divers can spend hours enjoying the seabed between the two islands.
Cayman Islands, The Caribbean
The Cayman Islands are the dream of all divers as they have clear waters, ruins, and a wide variety of aquatic fauna. A perfect place to visit for families because of the amount of activities available and also for couples looking for somewhere romantic.
Interesting: The best beaches are Seven Miles (the most famous and active), Heritage (solitary and rugged), Rum Point (quiet and surrounded by pines and palms), and Kaibo (with bars and live jazz concerts).
Because of its volcanic history, the island of Ustica is an ideal place for diving, but also for snorkeling. Its pristine, transparent waters are the main attraction.
Interesting: It’s recommended to check out the Grotta Azzurra, the Grotta Verde, and the Grotta delle Barche. There are underwater trails with signs to show divers which way to go so they don’t miss a thing.
Snorkeling is a popular sport in the Caribbean because it is full of islands and islets, making it an ideal place to practice the sport. It’s also a great place to snorkel because of its turquoise waters and the great variety of flora and fauna.
Interesting: In Utila you can snorkel with whale sharks (they weigh up to 15 tons!)… Luckily they only feed on plankton and small fish. From March to May and from August to October is when you have the best chance of snorkeling alongside them.
Cozumel, in Mexico, is recognized as one of the best diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. The island is surrounded by more than 25 reef formations over 32km, in waters so clear that visibility reaches up to 70 meters.
Interesting: There are different ways to enjoy the underwater world: night diving, dives specifically for photographers, species identification…
Great Blue Hole, Belize
Belize is the latest fashion for snorkeling in the western Caribbean. The barrier reef is the second largest in the world and also one of the seven wonders of the world. Countless places to dive and snorkel await you…
Interesting: Sharks, stingrays, turtles, eels, barracudas, and endless amounts of beautifully colored fish inhabit these waters.
Santa Lucia, Camaguey, Cuba
The waters are warm and clear, with an average visibility of 30-40 meters, over 4,000 keys and islets make up this archipelago that has made Cuba an emerging destination for the sport.
Interesting: More than 30 international diving centers offer snorkeling on the reefs, as well as day and night dives up to 40 meters deep.