Most of Oman’s snorkeling spots are located along the Gulf of Oman coast. Decent shore snorkeling is available around Muscat, especially at Muscat Hills Resort, in Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa and in Marjan Beach, a public beach situated in Ras Al Hamra, but don’t expect spectacular reefs and sea life. Bandar Jissah and Bandar Khayran areas, just east to the capital city, offers much better snorkeling options. The many small islands, coves and rocky inlets scattered along this section of the coast, fringed by coral reefs, are great for snorkeling, but you’ll need to take a boat to enjoy them.
For the best snorkeling in Oman, head to the Daymaniyat Islands, an archipelago of 9 small islands accessible from Muscat, which was designated as the first marine reserve in the country. Al Fahal island, also known as “Shark Island”, and laying just 4km off Ras Al Hamra, is also a fantastic option. If you have time, you can head to Musandam peninsula, Oman’s northernmost region, a remote and untouched snorkeling destination that you can explore during 2 days or more liveaboard trips.
Oman hosts a great diversity of marine life, including fish and coral species typical from both the Red Sea and the Western Indian Ocean. Surgeonfish, clownfish, butterflyfish, grunt and moray eels are common at shallow reefs, as well as green sea turtles, Oman being one of the favorite nesting site for this species in the region. The nutrient-rich waters of the Gulf of Oman also attract abundant large marine creatures to the area, such as whale sharks and mobula rays, frequently spotted during boat trips to the islands.
Oman is a year-round snorkeling destination, with a reliably warm and dry climate. You may want to avoid the blistering summer months (from April to September), when the temperatures can exceed 104°F/40°, and prefer the winter season, with temperatures rarely climbing much above 86°F/30°C. Rains are rare, sharp and only fleeting, mostly occurring in January and February.
The definitive guide to over 1200 marine species of the Red Sea region: fishes, turtles, whales, dolphins, invertebrates and corals, nudibranchs and marine plants.
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