Coral reefs, along with tropical forests, are among the planet’s richest ecosystems. They host an incredible diversity of animals and plants, including a quarter of all the world’s sea fish. Outstandingly beautiful, coral reefs are unique places for snorkeling. Check out our 10 favorite coral reefs for snorkeling!
West Bay, Roatán is regularly named among the most beautiful and healthiest reefs of the Caribbean. Hard corals, soft corals and sea fans, draw a magical underwaterscape contrasting with the blue.
Siladen Island is part of Bunaken National Marine Park, one of the oldest marine protected areas in Indonesia. This tiny island is entirely fringed by coral reefs offering fabulous coral drop-offs where soft corals, sea anemones and sponges thrive.
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.
Everyone passionate about the sea world won’t want to miss the opportunity of snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, especially if they happen to visit Australia. Norman Reef is one of the most accessible spots in the outer reef, the external part of the barrier famous for its exceptional biodiversity. Here, snorkelers swim amongst hundreds of bright-colored fish species along the drop-off.
Gordon Reef has both a shallow reef flat and drop-offs on the open sea. You will find clownfish, angelfish, several species of butterflyfish, and shoals of sea goldie living above an exceptional coral wall.
While the fringing coral reefs all around Bonaire have suffered in recent decades from storms and bleaching events, it remains among the healthiest and the most spectacular in the Caribbean. 1000 Steps, located on the island’s west coast, boasts pristine azure waters and a fantastic display of coral, sponges, and reef fish. It hosts some of the most beautiful staghorn coral in the Caribbean.
In Hawaii, the coral formations are recent and not often spectacular. Anyway, for a snorkeling session over one of the most beautiful coral reefs of the archipelago, go to Big Island and head to the spot of Captain Cook Monument.
The Puerto Morelos coral reef, listed as a Marine Park and stretching for miles in parallel with the coast, is probably the most beautiful and healthiest in the Mayan Riviera. On the reef and seagrass beds, you will see rays, turtles, barracudas, and dozens of fish species.
In the best-preserved areas of Aharen Beach, in Okinawa, coral formations build delicate shaped, bright-colored gardens. Fluorescent yellow and purple coral are certainly the most beautiful, a delight for snorkeler’s eyes -and the perfect subject for underwater photographers.
Hol Chan Cut, a protected area for over 20 years, can’t be missed by snorkeling fans visiting Belize. Its elkhorn coral reefs, especially, are among the most beautiful and best-preserved of the Caribbean.
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!
Get monthly updates on trending destinations, amazing snorkeling trips, useful snorkel gear tips, and so much more.