World’s 10 best places to snorkel
White sandy beach, alluring clear blue seas, adorable cute aquatic mammals and fishes. You do not need to be a certified diver to experience fun adventure in the beautiful seas and interact with the marine life. In this post, we show you the 10 best places to snorkel around the world.
Snorkel around Galápagos Islands
Galápagos Islands is an isolated, obscure archipelago of islands. It is located at the western coast of South America. Click here to view its location on map. This remote place is at the juncture of three ocean currents. Galapagnos Islands experiences ongoing volcanic activity. These combination results in a sea bursting with a splendid diversity of marine life. There are many rare species that can be discovered in the seas here. Just to name a few. There are Galápagos penguin, Flightless cormorant,Waved albatross, frigatebird, Darwin’s finches, Marine iguana, Galápagos sea lion, Galápagos giant tortoise, Galápagos fur seal etc.
Snorkeling at Galápagos Islands is fantastic. The wildlife offered is plentiful. While you swim in the sea, you may be joined by the friendly cute penguins, marina iguana, seals or dolphins. These special companions make this place indisputably unique.
Here is a reference to the kinds of wildlife encounters you can expect at different period of the year.
- May- September: Swimming with penguins
- January: Watching turtles lay eggs
- June: Awaiting for the arrival of humpback whale
- July- September: Seabirds watching
- November: Swimming with playful seals in the waters
- December: Witness the hatching process of giant tortoise eggs
Snorkel the Crystal River of Florida at USA
Grab your snorkel gears and fins! Swim with the graceful manatees at the Crystal River. Manatees are endangered mammals. They can be found in the sea waters of Florida from April to October. During winter, these manatees would migrate to fresh springs ,where its warmer. Click here for its location in map.
Snorkel at the seas of Pulau Sipadan
A snorkeling tropical paradise off the coast of Sabah. (Sabah is at the eastern part of Malaysia). Pulau Sipadan is one of the best places in the world to snorkel. This is proven as it clinched the top spot of Rodale’s Scuba Diving Magazine Gold List for ‘The Top Dive Destination in the World’. This top spot is also co- shared with 2 other places.
Sipadan has an abundance of marine life. Eagle, White-tip reef shark, Seahorse, Reef Shark are among the species that can be found all year round. Visibility may not be as perfect during the monsoon season (November to march) though.
Despite so, the monsoon season, sees a higher chance of spotting Hammerhead Shark. The turtle season falls in the period from July to October. This place is also a big fish habitat. Many big fishes inhabit in these seas. Amongst them are the Barracudas and Trevally. You can also spot marauding Bumphead Parrotfish, Frogfish, cuttle fish, mandarin fish and many other marine life. Some of those is even yet to be identified. Here is its location in google map.
Snorkel the seas at Uepi, Solomon Island
Snorkel to find the ancient and the oldest animal (400 million years old) as of now. The Nautilus dwells in the deep waters at Uepi during the daytime. At night, it comes up to the shallow waters for hunting. Its diet consist of shrimps, fish and small crustaceans. Uepi Island Resort offers such swimming trips. Click here for its location in the google map.
Snorkel in the Jellyfish Lake at Palau
Palau is also well-known in the world for its wealth of marine life in its seas. However, its main highlight is the jellyfish lake. Fret not, these jellyfishes are harmless. They don’t sting. Snorkel with the beautiful golden jellyfishes and be awed by your surreal surroundings.
Pulau is an island in the north pacific ocean, near to the equator. Its location can be found here. Palau is the best place for a best jellyfish snorkeling experience.
Snorkel the New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea
There are many unique species in this place which you probably had never met before. New species are still being uncovered here! In fact, scientists discovered an estimated of around 2 new species every week on this island from 1998 to 2008. For explorers who are keen on new discovery of marine life, Papua New Guinea’s seas is likely world’s best place snorkel in.
Snorkel at Rurutu and Huahine, Islands of Tahiti
Rurutu and Huahine is also known as the whale island. It is where migrating whales travel from Antarctica and rest at, to mate and give birth, from July to October (when winter sets in). The Humpback Whales, with their babies, would usually stay there for several weeks before returning to the Antarctica. With Raie Manta Club, you can observe these giants close-up without the need to dive. Rurutu and Huahine is definitely one of the best places in the world to snorkel for whales’ lovers out there! An extraordinary and unforgettable experience, needless to say.
Snorkel at Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
One of the seven wonders in the world. Great Barrier Reef needs no introduction. Very understandable, it is well- acknowledged to be one of the world’s best places for snorkeling. Being the largest coral reef system, also the largest single structure built by living organisms, you can expect an extensive and abundance of marine life.
Snorkel at Ningaloo Bay, Western Australia
At the north eastern side of Australia (map found here), its the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef. Many may not realize that at the other end, at the north west side of Australia lies the world’s largest fringing coral reefs!
Enjoy your snorkeling with the world’s largest fish, the Whale Shark. Or, simply play with the adorable Bottlenose Dolphins. The sociable Bottlenose Dolphins are often observed to be swimming up to the shores at Monkey Mia. Admire the majestic Manta Rays and stingrays even without needing to go out far from the shore. Observe sharks with caution at the Shark’s Bay.
One good thing about the Ningaloo Bay is that colourful coral reefs and marine life can be observed with just a short swim away. Some, can even be seen from the shore itself.
Hence, Ningaloo Bay is definitely one of the best places to snorkel in the world. The views offered is breathtaking. You can enjoy its seclusion, white powdery beach, barrier reefs under the amazing twinkling stars…
Do also drop by the Shell Beach at Shark’s Bay which is one of the world’s most unique beaches. It is covered with plenty of shells all around.
Snorkel at New Zealand
New Zealand (map is here) is the last country to be discovered in the world. New Zealand promises pristine nature and myriad wildlife. Particularly famous for marine life is Kaikoura. At different times of the year, different Sea Life can be found. Some are seen all year round though. Read my post on Kaikoura Sea Life for reference. Kaikoura is always recognized as one of the best places for whale watching. (You can refer to this link to read about our personal whale watching experience at Kaikoura.) I used this operator. Sperm Whale is commonly found in the Kaikoura waters. In fact, they reside in the area. You can find other types of whales as well, depending on the season that you visit. We managed to see Sperm Whale as well as Humpback whale. Also, the stars of Kaikoura, are the very energetic Dusky dolphins (read my post on Snorkeling with Dusky Dolphins. My operator is with Dolphin Encounter), and Albatross. They are very frequently seen too. Fyi, Dusky dolphins can only be found in the southern hemisphere.
Just about 2 hours drive to south east is a french coastal town called Akaroa. You can swim and snorkel with the world’s rarest dolphin in the world, the Hector’s Dolphins. The very lovely blue penguins are also very often seen in the seas at Akaroa. Interact with them through an authentic special penguin farm stay.
While the South Island (Kaikoura especially) is more famous for marine life, the North Island is good for snorkelling too and offers better visibility. In fact, New Zealand, as a whole is one of the top places to snorkel in the world.
As a bonus, New Zealand offers many beautiful beaches as well. One of it is a hot-water beach at Coromandel (read here to find out when to visit Coromandel). You can dig your own hole, let the sea water seep in to build you own hot water pool. The Koekohe Beach is also one of the unique beaches in the world, with Moeraki Boulders which resemble “dinosaur eggs” scattered along the beach.
Before you pack up and fly off, do take a look at some travel tips on what to pack for your luggage here. Have fun!