Snorkeling is an awesome way to really take in the sealife. Whether you are looking at coral or fish, snorkeling keeps you safely on the surface of the water while allowing you to enjoy what the ocean has to offer. Every snorkeling destination offers something different, so here are what we think are some of the most amazing snorkeling spots in the world.
1. Ambergris Caye, Belize
Belize not only has beautiful sea life in its water, but it is also the home of the largest barrier reef outside of Australia. At an impressive 185 miles, the reef is a once in a lifetime snorkeling experience with many unique and unexplored areas. Living in the reef you can find sting rays, eels, shark-rays, and endless amounts of tropical fish. They even have nurse sharks that you can swim with.
2. The Big Island, Hawaii
When you look at it, really all of Hawaii is the ideal place for snorkeling. The Hawaiian Islands have phenomenal water and water life to explore, but the Big Island has more snorkeling to offer than the rest of the archipelago. As the Big Island is bigger than all of the other islands combined, there are many spots to check out the bright coral and tropical fish. Beyond the Big Island though, you should be able to find different snorkel spots all over the islands. Around 75% of the coral within the United States grows within the state of Hawaii so help to keep it healthy by using sunblock free from oxybenzone.
3. Eil Malk Island, Palau
Palau seems to be missed often due to its small size, but what it lacks in land mass, it makes up for in natural beauty. There is only one spot in Palau that is open for snorkeling, but it is entirely worth the effort in getting there to enjoy a completely different experience of swimming among the jellyfish. Yes, jellyfish. Normally that would be terrifying as jellyfish are well known for their stings, but on Eil Malk Island you can safely swim among thousands of stingless jellyfish. There are a number of species at Palau’s Jellyfish Lake that are found nowhere else in the world.
4. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
We would be remiss to leave out one of the absolute best snorkeling locations in the world. The reef itself is comprised of nearly 3,000 individual reefs and is over 1,400 miles in length. The coral in itself is breathtaking, but you will also get to see manta rays, tropical fish, and even the shipwrecks sitting along the reef that have perished over the centuries.
5. The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
It is hard to hone in on one single island in the Galapagos as each one offers its own unique snorkeling experience. The islands are well known as the inspiration of Charles Darwin, but they are also home to a rich array of marine life, including turtles, humpback whales, penguins, sea lions, and many unique species such as the Galapagos Marine Iguana and Galapagos Penguins. If you like to take chances, you could even let the current take you on a ride into the Devil’s Crown, which is the sunken cone of a volcano. Whichever one, or more, of the beautiful snorkeling locations you choose, you will doubtless have some close encounters with incredibly brilliant fish and other animals.
6. Palawan, the Philippines
Even if the Philippines are not the first place you would have thought of for snorkeling, it should not be discounted. The Philippines is an archipelago that is made up of 7,000 islands, ensuring you will not be lacking in snorkeling spots or interesting animals to find. You can swim around coral reefs or alongside huge whale sharks. The island of Palawan, however, offers you a chance to snorkel through the clear green waters of lagoons that have been compared to swimming inside a giant aquarium.
7. Ilha Grande, Brazil
Situated between São Paolo and Rio de Janiero, the Ilha Grande offers a wilderness that feels completely separate from the metropolitan areas of Brazil. With its brilliant blue waters, the island is paradise. In the water you will see seahorses, angelfish, turtles, and other bright and amazing tropical fish. There are also lots of sunken ships in the area still left over from battles with pirates and the Portuguese. The island itself does have hotels and some civilization, but it also has a feeling as if it is completely untouched.
Sitting just east of Madagascar, Mauritius offers crystal clear waters and a lot of simplicity. This is actually a great spot for beginners who are trying out snorkeling for the first time since you can just walk from the beach, straight into the water and start snorkeling. Some of the wonders you can see here include clownfish, angelfish, damselfish, and parrotfish. You may have seen these fish in an aquarium somewhere, but nothing beats seeing them in their natural habitat.
9. The Maldives
Made up of more than 1,000 islands in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is ideal for underwater explorers. The islands are all very small so it does not truly matter which island you choose as the base for your adventure. The area boasts an impressive 700 species of fish, many that you would have trouble finding in other waters. There are also plenty of sharks, turtles, and coral to check out while you are there.
10. Nassau, the Bahamas
Really when you look at it, the Caribbean itself is just an amazing place to go to take in the gorgeous marine life. Nassau itself offers snorkeling to help travelers find their way about. The Bahamas government has been working hard on conservation efforts that allow the water to stay clean and keep the marine life healthy and going strong. This means that the waters you swim through are going to have an impressive amount of clarity, allowing you to see nature all the better than before. Some things that you may see snorkeling in the Bahamas are limestone reefs, coral reefs, tropical fish, and even some shipwrecks along the way.
Snorkeling is available in many locations that have naturally clear water and tropical fish alike. But some places do have limitations on where you can snorkel or even ordinances about the type of sunscreen you should be wearing. Always check before you decide to go snorkeling to make sure it is legal as well as safe. Then get out there and start exploring.
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