We often write about all the amazing places you can go SCUBA diving, but you don’t need to go deep to see colorful corals and stunning sponges that are teeming with fish, starfish, clams, nudibranch, stingrays, jellyfish and maybe even some bigger animals! Here are the world’s best snorkeling spots.
Photo By: Sharon McKellar
Menjangan Island, Indonesia
Menjangan Island is a tiny island off the northern tip of Bali in Indonesia. It is one of the most popular adventure travel destinations in Southeast Asia. Northern Bali is a bit quieter than the southern areas which are heaving with tourists. You can do a day trip to Menjangan Island where you can both SCUBA dive and snorkel. The snorkeling is easy to access – it’s about 45 minutes by boat from the main Balinese island – and offers some of the best-preserved coral that is teeming with marine life in the area.
Uepi Island, Solomon Islands
The Uepi Island of the Solomon Islands offering some of the world’s best snorkeling just a few steps off the beach. Head to the Marovo Lagoon area where you can just wade out and find the underwater life bustling with color and action – colorful corals and thick sponges, fish that are as bright and colorful as they are tiny, then there are bigger fish that pop in and out and in between the corals. There are so many kinds of nudibranchs (which are glittering colorful slug-like creatures) it’s unbelievable, then you can also spot clownfish, clams and reef sharks.
Bimini is one of the Bahama’s but also the world’s best spots for snorkeling. The turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean here are home to really diverse coral-life. Bimini has more than top 10 snorkeling sites. Many offer giant rocks and colorful corals, others offer the chance to see stingrays, turtles and eagle rays. Atlantic Spotted Dolphins can also be seen off the shorelines of Bimini, which is conveniently located between the main Bahamas islands and the United States, so it’s about an hour from Miami.
Manus, Papua New Guinea
Manus at Papua New Guinea is a last frontier of sorts among tourists in South East Asia. You should always check travel warnings before heading to Papua New Guinea, but if it is safe to go you’ll be rewarded by unspoilt waters and high-quality snorkeling. The tourist game is not yet completely figured out here, so expect to go at locals’ pace and just chill. The snorkeling is either straight of the beach, or you can boat or kayak out to coral reefs to explore new sites. From some sites you can also see submerged wrecks that are leftovers from world war 2. Most of Manus’ north-coast has ample snorkeling spots so you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to one location. From January to March you might also spot some wales!
Rurutu, French Polynesia
Rurutu is considered one of the best snorkeling destinations in the South Pacific, and is known for offering the chance to snorkel with humpback whales. With an assortment of magical blue lagoons, huge coral reefs, and thousands of fish and other gorgeous colorful sea life as well, if you’re exploring French Polynesia you should definitely check out what lies beneath in Rurutu. Humpback whales stop by Rurutu about July to October, and at just 90 minutes by plane from Tahiti, if the thought of getting up close to a majestic big animal of the ocean then Rurutu is your place this year!
There are several places to go snorkeling in Fiji and just a few steps of the beach into the calm walm aqua waters you can be floating above exquisite corals and friendly fish. Some of the best places to go snorkeling in Fiji are Matamanoa, Navini and Kadavu. At some spots you can snorkel right around the smaller islands, but you should always check the weather and currents as snorkeling is best when the water is calm and clear.
Ningaloo Reef, Australia
Ningaloo Reef, a popular water sports destination in Ocenia, is located on Australia’s western coast in the state of Western Australia, near Coral Bay and Exmouth. You can do some ok snorkeling off the waters of Coral Bay, but even better is to head out on a whale shark tour. Each year from about April to July whale sharks come to feed in the waters around Ningaloo Reef your boat will take you out to where the whale sharks are expected to be and the best is to snorkel in the water, remembering to keep next to the whale shark not behind or in front of it. The whale sharks tend to stay close to the surface of the water (unless you frighten them away) so that’s why it’s better to snorkel rather than SCUBA dive to see them. This is quite a rigorous day with lots of jumping in and out of the boat, so don’t expect the leisurely snorkeling of some of the other sites on this list, but the chance to snorkel with a whale shark is unmissable!
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