Top 10 Best Snorkeling Beaches In The World

Discover the 10 best snorkeling beaches worldwide! These coastal gems promise unforgettable underwater adventures, with easy access reefs directly from the shore.

10. Koh Tao, Thailand

Aerial of the best snorkeling beach in Koh Tao
There are so many snorkel sites to choose from around Koh Tao, making it some of the best snorkeling in Asia.

Some of Thailands best snorkeling beaches can be found on the small outcrop of Koh Tao, nestled in the heart of the Thai Gulf.

Having long been a haven for ocean lovers and backpackers alike, this affordable destination is an ideal choice for snorkelers and scuba divers on a budget.

Rustic beach bungalows tucked away in the rocky palm-fringed coast sit just yards from the warm waters where an abundance of coral reefs and tropical fish and shark species can be accessed straight from the sand.

To find the best spots on the island, check out our Koh Tao Snorkeling guide.

9. Honduras, Caribbean

under and over water shot of Honduras reef
The Islas de la Bahia are considered to be some of the best snorkeling in Honduras and indeed the Caribbean.

The island of Honduras sits at the very tip of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second biggest barrier reef in the world.

Honduras is easily considered as one of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean, specifically around the Islas de la Bahia or ‘Bay Islands’ which consist of Roatan, Utila and Guanaja.

These stunning atolls are surrounded by ample white sands, but most importantly their abundant reefs are packed with exciting fish and coral species.

The crystal clear visibility make the Islas de la Bahia some of the best snorkeling beaches in the world.

8. Hanauma Bay, Hawaii

Hanauma Bay beach and reef landscape
Hanauma Bay is home to a wide variety of marine species including the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, the state fish of Hawaii.

For Hawaii’s second best snorkeling beach, look no further than Hanauma Bay in the east of Oahu. This fantastic Nature Preserve was once a volcanic crater, making its surrounding cone shaped reef both calm and rich in marine species.

Wading from the white sand shores, it will take little to no time at all before you are greeted by friendly parrotfish, damsel fish, porcupine fish, jacks, eels and plenty of crustaceans.

Discover the beauty of this natural sanctuary and create unforgettable memories in this idyllic Hawaiian destination. There are many great snorkeling spots in Oahu but for us Hanauma Bay ranks top.

7. Ka'anapali Beach, Maui

Kaanapali Beach and snorkeling Black Rock in maui
Discover paradise at Ka'anapali Beach in Maui, where turquoise waters meet pristine sandy shores. Experience the ultimate beach getaway surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and endless adventures. Welcome to a slice of paradise in the heart of Hawaii.

Ka'anapali Beach stands as the epitome of beach snorkeling in Maui, Hawaii, with its pristine waters, diverse marine ecosystem, and convenient amenities. Whether you're a snorkeling enthusiast or a first-time explorer, this beach promises an unforgettable and immersive underwater journey into the beauty of Maui's marine world.

Black Rock is an iconic lava rock formation located at the northern end of Ka'anapali Beach and is one of the best spots for snorkeling on the island. For those seeking a bit of adventure, you can even take the plunge off the lava rock cliff and snorkel along the underwater ledge.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, Black Rock at Ka'anapali Beach offers an unforgettable snorkeling experience. Don your snorkel gear, dive into the tranquil waters, and prepare to be amazed by the natural beauty and biodiversity that awaits you.

6. Ningaloo Reef, Australia

baby black tip sharks on Ningaloo beach
Ningaloo is Australia’s easiest access reef, which is teeming with life just steps away from the shore.

Despite the reputation of the Great Barrier Reef being the best place to snorkel in Australia, Ningaloo on the West Coast is a great alternative, especially because this particular reef can be accessed straight from the shore.

This World Heritage Site is home to the longest fringing reef on the planet and with empty sand dunes stretching for miles. Its unique scenery provides some of the best snorkeling beaches you will ever see.

Pack your best underwater camera for this one, the marine life found underwater at Ningaloo Reef is astounding, from the tiny Blue-Ringed Octopus to Giant Oceanic Mantas and Reef Sharks to Humpback Whales.

5. Moorea, French Polynesia

Secluded Polynesian beach with Turquoise water
Come face to face with an array of marine life in Moorea’s warm lagoon.

One of the best snorkeling resorts in the world has to be the Hilton in Moorea, which offers some of the most spectacular shore snorkeling on the island.

Accessible directly from the resorts bright white beach is a shallow pool full of colourful reef fish species such as angelfish, triggerfish, butterflyfish and many types of starfish.

Float atop those famous French Polynesian waters and admire the healthy soft and hard coral garden below.

The Hilton is one of French Polynesia’s best snorkeling honeymoon resorts and for non-residents it is possible to purchase a day pass that gives you access to the beach, lagoon and an inclusive lunch.

4. Dahab, Egypt

Snorkeling a Coral Reef in Dahab
Dahab is by far one of the most beautiful house reefs in Egypt for both snorkelers and divers alike.

The striking coastline of Dahab situated in southeast Sinai, is one of Egypt’s best snorkeling beaches.

It is also home to the famous Blue Hole, the worlds most dangerous dive site.

Thankfully for snorkelers, its sheer coral walls can be enjoyed at leisure by simply following the striking rugged coastline

Colourful coral colonies and thousands of tiny anthias fish coat this vertical drop off, making the Blue Hole one of the worlds most impressive places to snorkel.

After you’re done, kick back and relax in one of Dahab’s rustic beachside cabanas with an Egyptian mint tea and shisha if you wish.

3. Pink Beach, Komodo

Pink beach snorkeling in Komodo
Pink Beach gets its colour from microscopic organisms called Foraminifere which produce the red pigment in coral reefs.

For some of the best snorkeling in Asia, look no further than Pink Beach in Komodo National Park, Indonesia.

Famed for its unique peachy blush hues, these rare and beautiful shores are certainly a sight to behold, but lets not forget what this region is really renowned for.

Nutrient rich waters surround the Komodo Islands which are packed full of exceptional coral reefs, overflowing with marine life, including colourful anthias fish and many types of rays.

The ripping currents of Komodo make it more suitable for strong and healthy snorkelers.

However, the rewards are endless, the current attracts many larger fish like Giant Trevally and Barracuda, making Pink Beach one one of the most heart pumping, best snorkeling beaches in Indonesia, and indeed the world.

2. Maldives, Indian Ocean

Maldives reef for snorkeling aerial
The Maldives is a nation of islands which span across the Indian Ocean.

Without a doubt, the Maldivian islands offer some of the best snorkeling beaches on earth. Tiny sun-drenched atolls string for miles across clear aquamarine waters, each one with its very own picture perfect white sand beach.

The Maldives, is also home to possibly the best manta ray snorkeling spots on the planet, Hanifaru Bay.

Rich coral drop-offs encircle many of the islands and can often be easily reached in just a few steps from the shore.

If you’d like to be stranded on a desert island with your loved one, the Maldives has to be one of the best snorkeling honeymoon destinations out there!

1. Raja Ampat, West Papua

A karst island with beautiful beach and easy access ocean
Raja Ampat is the ultimate in immaculate house reef snorkeling.

If you can imagine the best snorkeling in the world, Raja Ampat is it!

At the heart of the coral triangle, the archipelago of Raja Ampat is known to be the epicentre of marine biodiversity.

This remote region is so far removed from civilisation, that its reefs and beaches are probably some of the most pristine in existence. For intrepid travelers and serious snorkelers, eco tourism is slowly on the increase, making it that bit more accessible – as long as you can hack the journey.

Rising from endless blue waters, distinctive limestone landscapes are framed by immaculate beaches littered with coconuts. But whats really special about Raja Ampat is what lies beneath the surface.

The reefs here are teeming with life with miles of colourful soft corals, numerous tropical fish and nudibranch species, oceanic mantas, dugongs, turtles and giant bumphead parrotfish.

Planning a trip to this underwater wonderland? Don’t miss out on these top Raja Ampat snorkel sites.

What you need for beach snorkeling

Having good snorkeling gear is crucial when exploring remote islands. It ensures comfort, safety, and optimal underwater visibility, enhancing your overall experience and allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty of the marine environment.

Selection of the best snorkel equipment for beach snorkeling

If you're heading to one of these dream snorkel destinations, ensure you pack all the necessary equipment for an unforgettable experience.

Check out our snorkel gear checklist for a complete guide on what to bring for your next beach snorkeling trip.

1 comment

Which resorts in Raja Ampat have the best house reefs?

Charles Walker February 26, 2024

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