Best snorkeling in the world: Top 10 destinations

Where is the best snorkeling in the world?

Have you ever wondered where to find the best places to snorkel in the world? There are literally dozens of articles about the worlds best dive spots, but the same can’t be said for snorkeling. Thats why we’ve compiled a top 10 list of reefs, so you can go get your snorkel on!

Tamaku Reef, Raja Ampat

best snorkeling in tamaku reef, raja ampat

Raja Ampat is known to be the most biodiverse marine environment on the planet, making it one of the best places to snorkel in the world! There are many incredible reefs within this truly untouched region, but Tamuku Reef is certainly up there as one of the best.

Tamaku Reef rises from from the depths as tropical waters lap around its edges. A shallow pinnacle allows snorkelers to explore its top-side with little or no movement. Float above eye-popping soft coral and abundant hard corals offering hoards of colourful reef fish protection from predators. Keep a close eye on the Black Tip Sharks which patrol the reefs outer edges, and admire Sea Turtles snacking on the coral.

Batu Bolong, Komodo National Park

best snorkeling in batu balong komodo national park

In the middle of the vast waters of Komodo National Park, is a tiny rock called Batu Bolong. For scuba divers, this is an absolute must-do dive site, but what are the possibilities for snorkelers? First off, it is not for the faint-hearted. Often refered to as a washing machine, Batu Balong’s signature is its manic up and down currents. However, the current is what keeps this reef alive and kicking, and absolutely pumping with fish.

Layers of corals in vibrant colours spiral down as far as the eye can see, covering the walls of this vertical pinnacle drop. It’s not advised to visit Batu Bolong without an experienced guide - in order to experience it safely you must arrive when the tide is just right, or you may get swept away. Without a doubt, Batu Bolong is one of the best places to snorkel and dive in the entire world.

Siladen Island, Bunaken National Park

world snorkeling Siladen Island in Bunaken National Park

Quite literally at the heart of the coral triangle, is the island of Siladen. Located inside one of Indonesia’s oldest marine protected areas (Bunaken National Park) this little island is a true hidden gem. Reef-fringed shores offer excellent snorkeling opportunities, especially if you enjoy seeing a wide variety of coral species.

Dense gardens of spongy soft corals, fans, anemones and giant clams span the seabed. Bunaken National Park may just have some of the cutest marine life species around, as tiny blue and yellow box fish and unusual nudibranchs frequent its waters. Plus, if you want to overdose on Turtles, then this is the place!

Hatta Island, Bandas

Coral reef aerial of Hatta Island in Banda, Indonesia

Pulau Hatta is nestled within the tiny archipelago of the Banda islands in Maluku, Indonesia. Perhaps better known as the Spice Islands, these little beauties are well and truly off-the-beaten path. If all you want to do is snorkel-chill-repeat then Hatta Island offers pristine shore snorkeling from idyllic Indonesian beaches.

The waters surrounding the Banda islands are brimming with life thanks to Gunung Api, the volcano which erupted in 1988. A lava spill caused rapid reef growth due to its rich nutrients, so if you enjoy coral then Hatta Island and the Banda’s is possibly one of the best places to snorkel in the world!

German Channel, Palau

worlds best snorkeling German Channel in Palau

The German Channel in Palau, Micronesia is a well-known cleaning station for Manta Rays. However, almost every single form of marine life that you can think of comes here for a cleaning session! The channels rich waters invite Sharks, Barracudas, Trevally, Snappers and thousands of schooling Jacks. Meanwhile many smaller critters embed themselves in the sandy ocean floor.

To top it all off, great walls of colourful coral formations (which make the channel quite narrow) add more areas of exploration. Without a doubt, the German Channel is an exceptional spot, and has to be one of the best places in the world to snorkel and dive.

South Ari Atoll, Maldives

world snorkeling in Maldives South Ari Atoll

The Maldives probably tops the list as one of the most tropical places on earth, but it is also one of the best places to snorkel in the world! This little slice of paradise is littered with hundreds of atolls dotted over crystal clear waters. The South Ari Atoll’s beautiful reefs are easily some of the best in the Maldives, and indeed the Indian Ocean.

With numerous uninhabited islands, house reefs, wrecks, caves and some pretty impressive fish life it is no wonder the South Ari Atoll made it onto our list. For anyone obsessed with the ocean, snorkeling or diving with Whale sharks is a dream come true. Whale shark encounters are common, and the same goes for Manta Rays. The reefs here are shallow, so perfect for snorkelers!

Dahab, Egypt

snorkelers in Dahab blue hole, Egypt

Dahab and it’s iconic Blue Hole have been attracting apnea and scuba divers for years, but did you know that there are some great snorkel opportunities here too? The Blue Hole offers excellent visibility and calm conditions year-round. The reefs here are colourful, and fluttering with tiny fish.

It is worth checking out the famous ‘Canyon’ situated just 1km south of the Blue Hole. This underwater cave caused by an earthquake, has some gorgeous surrounding reefs and an easy entrance from the shore. Expect to see octopus, eagle rays, pufferfish and more!

Apo Island, Philippines

world snorkeling Apo Island in Philippines

The tiny volcanic island of Apo, with its single beachfront village is found just off the southern tip of Negros Oriental in the Philippines. Apo Island is a marine protected sanctuary, that was established in 1985 making it one of the countries top destinations for diving.

However, the shallow reefs which skirt around the island offer up some excellent snorkelling opportunities too! With over 400 different species of beautiful corals and waters teeming with marine life, it easy to understand why this little island could be one of the best places to snorkel in the world.

The Devils Crown, Galapagos

best snorkeling in the devils crown, Galapagos

A ring of jagged rocks rise from the waters off of Floreana Island. Nicknamed the ‘devils crown’ due to their circular positioning and sharp edges, this formidable site was once a volcanic crater. Now, it is one of the most epic spots in the Galapagos for snorkeling, and indeed the world. Although relatively protected, there are parts of the ring which can be treacherous, as a swift current runs close to the rocks.

If you manage to hang on long enough you might get to see something amazing. Hammerheads are known to frequent here, along with White Tips, Turtles, Mantas and Spotted Eagle Rays. This, coupled with an abundance of reef fish will be a feast for your eyes. The Devils Crown is tailored towards the more experienced snorkeler due to its challenging conditions, but nonetheless it is still one of the best places to snorkel in the world!

Sipadan, Malaysia

coral above and underwater shot of Sipadan islands in Malaysia

Sipadan, located in the Celebes Sea of Malaysia is a world-class diving destination, but it is also one of the best places to snorkel! This marine protected area includes white sand beaches, uninhabited islands, sandbars and pinnacle reefs that give snorkelers the opportunity to enjoy these rich waters just as much as divers do.

It is possible to hop on board the dive boats as snorkelers, passing sea gypsy communities and idyllic tropical waters. Expect to see Barracudas, Turtles, Bumphead Parrotfish, Giant Groupers and even the elusive Mandarin Fish!

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