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Barracuda Point, at the northern tip of Sipadan Island, is so-called for the large schools of barracuda that frequently visit the area. Divers have an 80% chance to dive with these schools but they often stick to deep areas that are off-limits for snorkelers. We can still enjoy a great reef untouched by bleaching, green turtles are frequent in the area and, even if the fish is scarce, the flourishing corals still manage to keep you jaw-dropping.

How to get to Barracuda Point snorkeling spot?

Barracuda Point snorkeling location is on the northern tip of the coral reef surrounding Sipadan Island. The island is uninhabited and the only way to visit it is to book a tour from the nearby diving resorts of the islands of Mabul, Kapalai, Mataking, Kulapuan, Pom Pom, Timba Timba and Pandanan, as well as via the diving centers in Semporna.

The Malaysian government limits access to Sipadan island to a limited number of daily snorkelers and divers. Overnight stay on the island is strictly forbidden and, if you want to visit this area more than once, you will have to obtain a permit each day. Considering the limited number of daily passes that are allowed, demand is always high and you will need to book well in advance.

Blueface angelfish at Barracuda Point Reef
A blueface angelfish at Barracuda Point reef.

Please mind that several resorts reserve their allowance for scuba divers only, hence you are advised to check ahead with your accommodation if they can apply on your behalf as a snorkeler as well as the availability for the days you intend to visit. Staying in the nearby islands and resorts will not guarantee you a spot to visit Sipadan during peak season so it is best to travel on the shoulder seasons.

Your diving center or resort will take you to Sipadan Island with their boat, upon arrival you will register with your passport at the conservation center before heading back to your boat and starting the snorkeling sessions. Lunch is usually included and served in a sheltered open building near the conservation center where basic toilet facilities are available.

Barracuda Point snorkeling map, Sipadan

Water entrance for snorkeling Barracuda Point

Be mindful that the ocean can get quite rough on the boat transfer to the island as well around the drop-off where you will snorkel making this place level marked as “intermediate” as conditions can vary a lot. Your boat captain and guide will choose the best spots to visit based on the sea conditions and usually take where you are more sheltered from the winds.

Water entrance is from boat ladders.

Barracuda Point snorkeling exploration tips

You will snorkel alongside the reef drop off which has a variable deepness between 2 to 7 meters, if the ocean is not too rough the visibility is still exceptional. From the drop off the reef continues down more or less gently and you may notice some divers well below you.

Palette surgeonfish at Barracuda Point
A palette surgeonfish at Barracuda Point.

The entire area is densely covered by hard corals and scattered with sporadic fish. We assume the abundance of fish is not as equal as other spots around Sipadan due to the almost constant presence below of barracudas making it not an ideal place for fish aiming for a long life. Among the fish you can still see at reef are the palette surgeonfish, the pinktail triggerfish and the blueface angelfish.

Grouper in Sipadan
A grouper.

Green turtles are frequently seen around the waters of Sipadan and, if you are lucky enough, you may also spot reef sharks. The most common corals that populate this section of the reef are the staghorn and lettuce leaf.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

There is no accommodation on the island, but most tours include lunch, check when you book.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Protected areaSipadan Island Park
  • Maximum depth23 ft/7 m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat
  • Potential DangersCurrent, rough waves
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsSipadan permit fee and boat tour
  • Public toilets & showersSipadan Island has basic toilet facilities

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.