Turtles are one of the symbols of the sea. Calm, peaceable and impressive, they are one of the most pleasant animals to observe under water. Of the seven species (all endangered) that exist in the world, two (the green turtle and, to a lesser extent, the hawksbill sea turtle) can regularly be seen when snorkeling, and are sometimes abundant in specific sites. Check out our top 12 snorkeling spots to go snorkeling with sea turtles.

AKUMAL BAY Mexico #1

Would you like to see dozens of green turtles peacefully grazing on the seabed in less than 6ft of water and only a few yards from the beach? Akumal Bay is their home, and you are their guest. Whatever your snorkeling level, put on your mask and with a few strokes of your swim fins, you will soon be enjoying the scene.

Akumal is by far the best spot in Mexico to swim with sea turtles. You can often see them in Puerto Morelos too.

GILI MENO Indonesia #2

The three small Gili Islands, fringed by white-sand beaches and coral reefs, are among the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia, and certainly one of the best snorkeling area in Southeast Asia. In the crystal-clear waters of these paradisiacal islands, turtle-watching is the star attraction!

The Tobago Cays are a group of 5 islets sheltered by a horseshoe-shaped coral reef located in the Grenadines archipelago. Their white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters make them one of the most enjoyable ports of call in the Caribbean. As they are protected by a Marine Park, the Tobago Cays also are a paradise for snorkelers. They are especially notorious for the green sea turtles that gather in great numbers right under the water surface.

TURTLE TOWN Maui #4

In Hawaii, the turtles have their own town! To the south-west of the island of Maui, the Turtle Town spot is visited by large numbers of green turtles. They come for a rest in waters that are 3 to 6 meters deep and sheltered by the rocks. Great sights guaranteed!

A lot of turtles come to the waters of Maui, and they can be seen in almost every spot on the island. You might try your luck at Ahihi Kinau, for example.

AMÉDÉE ISLAND New Caledonia #5

The small Îlot Amédée, spotted for its overshadowing lighthouse built in 1865, is one of the symbolic landscapes of New Caledonia. If it hosts beautiful coral reefs with crystal-clear waters, the islet is better known for being the best spot of the territory (and one of the best in the South Pacific) for swimming with green turtles, many of which are found in underwater meadows that stretch out, facing the beach.

LADY ELLIOT ISLAND Queensland #6

Lady Elliot Island have everything snorkelers could wish for: a pristine sea, nice shallow coral reefs with an amazing variety of fish, and a huge population of placid green sea turtles.

If you visit the Great Barrier Reef, some other islands of the inner reef, such as Green Island and Fitzroy Island, are also great options.

N'GOUJA Mayotte #7

N’Gouja, to the south of the island of Mayotte, is an exceptional site for observing green turtles. There are many of them in this spot, with its superb seagrass beds, and they have long been used to human presence. When you enter the water, it won’t be long before you come across them, sometimes just a few meters from the shore.

The waters of the Mayotte lagoon are widely renowned for the presence of turtles. The Trois Baobabs spot can also be a good alternative, for example.

TWO STEP Big Island #8

At Two Step, the regular visits from dolphins and seals make it easy to forget that this is also one of the very best places on Big Island to see green turtles. They often rest 4 to 5 meters deep. Yet another reason to get into the water at this exceptional spot!

You can see green turtles in almost all the snorkeling spots on the Big Island, and particularly at the Captain Cook Monument.

ANSE DUFOUR Martinique #9

At Anse Dufour, swimming with green sea turtles is something anyone can enjoy! Dozens come to graze on the grassy seabed daily.

Anse Noire, just a few hundred meters east of Anse Dufour, is also a great option to observe sea turtles in the wild in Martinique.

AMA BEACH Japan #10

For snorkelers, one of the best areas to target for encounters with sea turtles in Japan is Ama Bay, east of the island of Zamami. Even a few meters from the beach, turtle watching is especially good all year, but be sure to be here at high tide.

ANSE CAIMAN La Digue #11

The waters around La Digue are one of the best places in the world to see hawksbill sea turtles. In Anse Caïman, you can often see several turtles swimming around the immense blocks of granite immersed in the Indian Ocean, 4 to 6 meters deep. Hawksbill sea turtles regularly visit most of the spots in La Digue, and you can try your luck at Anse Patates or Anse Sévère, for example.

LAC CAI Bonaire #12

The seagrass beds along the northern tip of the inlet of Lac Bay, in Bonaire, is one of the best spots in the Caribbean to snorkel with turtles. Dozens come and feed each day in the bay. Most of them can be found between 2 to 4 meters deep, so it is easy to see them.