Our top10 best snorkeling resorts

Snorkeling Report and Resort Snorkeller have got together to come up with their Top10 Snorkeling Resorts in the world. These were selected from over 370 locations which have been visited by our experienced contributors from both Snorkeling Report and Resort Snorkeller.

Several criteria were included in the selection including location of the resort on the beach, initial “wow” factor, clarity of the water, spectacular habitats, as well as diversity and overall health of the marine life. Of the top ten all scored high on these criteria with the difference between them determined on the basis of how much the resorts contributed back to the marine environment, in terms of conservation, education and sustainability, including to the benefit of the local community.

Several of the possible top three candidates would have faired better if they had shown evidence of giving something back, to what is potentially their most important asset, and which is a clear requirement of many current and future travelers.

1. LADY ELLIOT ISLAND ECO RESORT, AUSTRALIA

LADY ELLIOT ISLAND ECO RESORT
Aerial view of Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort and its house reef.

Lady Elliot Island, known the world over as « the home of the manta ray », is a coral cay located at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. The shallow lagoon fringing the eastern side of the island and the house reef located at its western side provides two very different snorkeling experiences. It allows snorkelers to easily encounter extraordinary marine life, including blacktip sharks, manta rays, turtles, and even dolphins, above an unspoiled coral reef.

2. WAKATOBI RESORT, INDONESIA

Snorkeler at Wakatobi House Heef
Hundreds of reef fish shelter around the coral patches on Wakatobi Resort‘s reef flat. – picture shared by wakatobisnorkellers

With its reef flat covered with seagrass and its stunning reef drop-off full of coral, Wakatobi Resort’s house reef is a top snorkeling spot. Here, at the heart of Wakatobi National Park, snorkelers will discover vibrant marine life, including angelfish, green sea turtles, Maori wrasse, anemonefish, sea snakes, and around 150 easy-to-spot colorful reef fish species.

3. DENIS PRIVATE ISLAND HOTEL, SEYCHELLES

A snorkeler watching a sea turtle in Denis Island, Seychelles
Denis is heaven for hawksbill sea turtles, found in large numbers around the island. – picture shared by Tinoumer

Denis Island is a must for any travelers visiting Seychelles. This natural sanctuary, planted with coconut, takamaka and casuarina trees, and fringed by white sand beaches, have a taste of paradise. Surrounded by pristine waters and vibrant coral reefs, where it’s usual to come across hawksbill sea turtles, blacktip sharks, and eagle rays, Denis will bring you wonderful snorkeling adventures.

4. RAJA AMPAT BIODIVERSITY RESORT, INDONESIA

RAJA AMPAT BIODIVERSITY RESORT
A green sea turtle swims over Raja Ampat Biodiversity Resort reef drop-off.

Raja Ampat Biodiversity Resort’s house reef displays the extraordinary underwater life of the Coral Triangle. The reef flat and reef wall host vibrant marine life where hundreds of bright-colored fish swirl above the corals. Lucky snorkelers might also come across a sea turtle, a manta ray or a crocodilefish on the drop-off.

5. GRAND ROATAN RESORT, ROATÁN

GRAND ROATAN RESORT
Schools of blue tang are frequently encountered at West Bay’s reef. – picture shared by NST56

A white sandy beach, palm trees, and colorful boats on a crystal sea – West Bay is an enchantment. But the show is at its finest underwater: multi-colored coral cascading in the deep blue water, parrotfish in abundance, shoals of tang and several species of angelfish, and all in exceptional visibility. West Bay is a must for snorkeling in Roatán, and certainly one of the most beautiful snorkeling locations in the Caribbean. The Grand Roatan Resort is just footsteps from this fantastic spot.

6. SILADEN ISLAND RESORT & SPA, INDONESIA

SILADEN ISLAND RESORT & SPA
A dozen of clownfish species can be found on Siladen Island‘s drop-off, including the spinecheek anemonefish. – picture by Guillaume from Snorkeling Report’s Team

Siladen Island is part of Bunaken National Marine Park, one of the oldest protected areas in Indonesia. This tiny island located north of Sulawesi is entirely fringed by coral reefs offering fabulous coral drop-offs where soft corals, sea anemones, and sponges thrive. Siladen Island is in the heart of the Indonesian “Coral Triangle”, one of the world’s hotspots for biodiversity: the number of species inhabiting the reef is unparalleled and each snorkeling session will show you different wonders.

7. VELIDHU ISLAND RESORT, MALDIVES

VELIDHU ISLAND RESORT
A school of powder blue tang in Velidhu. – picture shared by Aurélie

The small Velidhu Island is a concentrate of the more beautiful that the Maldives has to offer. His lavish reef has everything of a natural aquarium. Around this island paradise bathed by crystal clear waters, you will swim surrounded by rays, sharks, and hundreds of fishes, over a profusion of corals.

8. JAZ FANARA RESORT, EGYPT

JAZ FANARA RESORT
A yellowbar angelfish, endemic to the Red Sea, spotted in Ras Um Sid. – picture shared by Anne

The Jaz Fanara Resort is located on Ras Um Sid, a small cape fringed by a narrow coral reef. With its reef flat colonized by dozens of giant clams and its spectacular reef drop-off on the Red Sea, is one of the top snorkeling spots accessible from the shore in Sharm el-Sheikh. On the reef, you will find Red Sea clownfish, angelfish, several species of butterflyfish, and clouds of sea goldies living above an exceptional coral wall.

9. LE TAHA’A BY PEARL RESORTS, FRENCH POLYNESIA

LE TAHA'A BY PEARL RESORTS
View of the Tahaa Resort. The Coral Garden snorkeling spot is in the pass between the two islands.

Le Tahaa by Pearl Resorts is just footsteps from the Coral Garden, the most renowned snorkeling spot of Tahaa. This crystal clear water channel, which separates two motus (small coral islands), is located in an idyllic setting in the middle of one of the largest lagoons of French Polynesia. While let yourself drift over colorful and preserved corals, you will spot schools of butterflyfish, lionfish, brightly colored wrasse, clownfish huddled in their anemones and giant clams sunbathing right under the surface of the sea.

10. LAS CASITAS AKUMAL, MEXICO

LAS CASITAS AKUMAL
Green sea turtles, abundant on the seagrass beds facing the beach, are Akumal Bay‘s main attraction. – picture by Guillaume from Snorkeling Report’s Team

Looking to explore a single spot with a nice barrier reef that is well preserved and teeming with fish, and with seagrass beds full of green sea turtles and stingrays? Then head for Akumal Bay, the most famous and busiest spot in the Mayan Riviera. Facing a white sandy beach lined with coconut trees, the crystal-clear waters are the guarantee (despite the high visitor numbers and the restrictive turtles’ sighting rules) of great underwater sightings.

This top10 has been selected only from the +380 locations already on our map. If you know a snorkeling spot that is not yet on the map, send us your report and it may be selected to appear on this page!