Our top10 best snorkeling destinations

It is hard to choose the best snorkeling destinations in the world. There are, after all, many wonderful places to discover, and an endless wealth of natural environment to explore. Snorkeling Report brings you a selection of 10 destinations any snorkeler should visit at least once. Il will provide you memories of a lifetime and we bet you’ll never want to come home!

1. INDONESIA

A snorkeler observes a sea turtle in Indonesia
Face to face with a hawksbill sea turtle in Gili Meno. – picture shared by Mahli974

The 17 000 Indonesian islands feature some of the world’s most pristine beaches and coral reefs. Head to the Gili Islands, Wakatobi, Raja Ampat or Sulawesi, where you can snorkel with clownfish, green and hawksbill sea turtles, or the fascinating ocean sunfish, known locally as “mola mola”.

2. EGYPT

A diver takes a selfie with anemonefish in Egypt
Selfie with a couple of Red Sea clownfish in Ras Um Sid. – picture by Guillaume from Snorkeling Report’s team

The Red Sea Riviera is, without doubt, one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world. Put on your mask and with a few strokes of swimfins, you will soon be enjoying clownfish in their anemone, shoals of bannerfish and reef flats covered by giant clams. No matter where you snorkel in Egypt, the reefs are stunning and provide a marine habitat for some of the world’s most colorful marine species.

3. THE GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS

A women is taking a picture of a sea lion in the Galapagos Islands
In the Galápagos islands, sea lions are very inquisitive with snorkelers. – picture by Guillaume from Snorkeling Report’s team

Home to a marine life found nowhere else in the world, the Galápagos archipelago is a legendary snorkeling destination. Due to a lack of natural predators, the wildlife in the Galápagos is extremely tame, with no fear of humans. Around the islands, you will snorkel with Galápagos sea turtles, penguins, sea lions, marine iguanas, whitetip reef sharks, rays, and a whole host of reef fish.

4. SEYCHELLES

Encounter with an hawksbill sea turtle in Seychelles
Seychelles is one of the world’s best locations to spot hawksbill sea turtles. Here, at Anse Patate. – picture by Guillaume from Snorkeling Report’s team

Some of the most stunning beaches in the world, hawksbill sea turtles laying just under the surface of the Indian Ocean, and, right before your eyes, vibrant coral reefs where angelfish, spotted eagle rays and blacktip reef sharks abound. You are not dreaming, you are in Seychelles!

5. HAWAII

Spinner dolphins in Hawaii
Encounters with spinner dolphins are always unique moments. Here, in Two Step. – picture by Guillaume from Snorkeling Report’s team

Whether you are dreaming about swimming with spinner dolphins off the coast of Big Island, playing hide-and-seek with a Hawaiian monk seal in Kauai or coming face-to-face with green sea turtles in Maui, the volcanic Hawaiian Islands will surely provide you some of your best snorkeling memories.

6. MEXICO

Whale shark encounter in Mexico
Mexico is one of the best locations in the world to swim with whale sharks.

Bathed by the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of California, Mexico introduces snorkelers to an extraordinary diversity of underwater environments. The Mayan Riviera, in particular, offers an unequaled diversity of snorkeling spots. Lose yourself into the clear emerald green waters of a cenote near Tulum, experience the wonder of swimming with a majestic whale shark off Cancun, and finally relax with green sea turtles in the shallow waters of exquisite Akumal Bay… If you are looking for a snorkeling adventure, look no further.

7. FRENCH POLYNESIA

A snorkeler takes a picture odf a blacktip reef shark in Bora Bora
In French Polynesia, blacktip reef sharks are everywhere. Here, in Bora Bora. – picture shared by CAJOUX

In 1768, the day he got close to Tahiti for the first time, French explorer Bougainville is said to have cried out: “This is heaven on earth!”. There at least is one truth here: French Polynesia is an underwater paradise. Every visitor gets the chance to dive in warm, clear waters and encounter stingrays, sharks, and multicolored fish.

8. THE PHILIPPINES

Snorkeling Moalboal, Philippines
Moalboal is world-famous for its sardine run. – picture shared by Phantomkinneas

With more than 7600 islands to explore, it makes sense that the Philippines is one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world. Part of the Coral Triangle, the epicenter of global marine biodiversity, the archipelago has a mind-blowing array of sea life. With lush soft coral gardens, manta rays, whale sharks, sea turtles, schools of sardines, and colorful reef fish awaiting just under the surface of the ocean, there’s something for everyone in the Philippines!

9. BONAIRE

A snorkeler swims above staghorn coral in Bonaire
Snorkeling above healthy staghorn coral in 1000 Steps. – picture by Guillaume from Snorkeling Report’s team

While the fringing coral reefs all around the islands have suffered in recent decades from storms and bleaching events, Bonaire coral reefs remain among the healthiest and the most spectacular in the Caribbean. With its shallow reefs, its calm and warm waters, its exceptional marine biodiversity and its dozens of snorkeling spots just a few steps from the shore, Bonaire offers some of the world’s best snorkeling.

10. GUADELOUPE

A great barracuda in Pigeon Islands, Guadeloupe
Protected since 1996, the Pigeon Islands are home to huge great barracudas. – picture shared by Pandiboo

Guadeloupe is a French archipelago made up of two main islands and a number of neighboring islands, which has the biggest coral reef in the Lesser Antilles. Do you feel like swimming with lemon sharks in 3ft of water in Petite Terre, exploring the crystal-clear coves of Les Saintes, or snorkeling the Pigeon Islands that captivated Jacques Cousteau and inspired his underwater research and adventures? Guadeloupe awaits you.