The 20 Best Destinations for a Snorkeling Adventure

FOTO: Una joven disfruta el esnórquel en Hawai. (foto de Bicho_raro/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Patrick Clarke
by Patrick Clarke
Last updated: 10:00 AM ET, Fri April 20, 2018

Under the Sea

Snorkeling is an easy, fun and affordable way to explore a new destination, whether you're swimming to a shallow reef from the beach or taking a boat ride out to explore a decades-old shipwreck. If you're looking for some inspiration for your next snorkeling adventure, consider one of these underwater paradises.

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Located just inside of the expansive Belize barrier reef, Ambergris Caye is a popular spot for both snorkeling and diving. Visitors can encounter nurse sharks and rays near Shark Ray Alley and explore shallow corals in Tres Cocos.

Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii

Hawaii's Kealakekua Bay, otherwise known as Captain Cook, is a snorkeling hotspot thanks to a wide array of sights, including coral, fish and some of the clearest water in the Aloha State. Keep your eyes peeled for parrotfish, butterfly fish and cauliflower coral.

Baa Atoll, The Maldives

Baa Atoll's marine life is so diverse that the destination was designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 2011, putting it in the same conservation with the Galapagos and Indonesia's Komodo Island.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The world's largest coral reef system and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia is on every snorkeler's and diver's bucket list. It draws approximately two million visitors each year.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Wildlife enthusiasts flock to the Galapagos Islands year after year to experience rare species that can't be found anywhere else. The uniqueness of the Galapagos extends below the ocean surface as well.

Palawan, Philippines

Snorkeling in El Nido is a must when visiting Palawan island in the Philippines and Coron Bay is a fantastic spot for wreck diving as a result of several sunken Japanese warships and excellent underwater visibility.

Ilha Grande, Brazil

Undoubtedly one of the world's top snorkeling destinations, Ilha Grande is an island located between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo that boasts one of the world's most robust collection of marine life, including coral, sharks, whales, sea turtles and penguins.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Founded decades ago in an effort to protect the namesake dragon and world's largest lizard, Indonesia's Komodo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was chosen as one of the New7Wonders of Nature in part because of its rich marine biodiversity.


The Caribbean island of Bonaire's coast is lined with coral reefs so snorkelers routinely flock here. Lac Bay and Klein Bonaire are popular snorkeling spots in Bonaire that visitors will want to dive into before heading home.

Silver Bank, Dominican Republic

The Silver Bank can be found roughly 80 miles north of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and 100 miles southeast of Turks & Caicos. The ocean depths here vary dramatically, making it a popular spot for snorkelers hoping to get up close and personal with humpback whales.


Located a few hundred miles north of Indonesia and east of the Philippines, Palau comprises more than two dozen main islands and hundreds of islets and sandbanks. This snorkeling haven is home to countless species of coral and fishes. Visitors to this tiny archipelago will definitely want to explore the Rock Islands.

Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands' location within the Coral Triangle makes them one of the premier destinations for snorkeling. In addition to a wide array of coral species, the Solomons boasts one of the highest concentrations of World War II wrecks in the Pacific, including aircraft, ships and submarines.

Isla Holbox, Mexico

The Mexican island of Isla Holbox sits about 120 miles northwest of Cancun and is a fantastic spot for those bold snorkelers hoping to swim alongside whale sharks. Your best shot to see the world's largest fish is to take a boat out during the summer months from May to September.

Key Largo, Florida

Snorkeling in Key Largo, Florida is both extremely fun and cheap. Be sure to check out the famous Christ of the Abyss statue in the Dry Rocks area. Book a boat tour and that will likely be one of your many stops.

Vanua Levu, Fiji

Fiji's second-largest island, Vanua Levu is home to Savusavu Bay, where visitors will find some stellar snorkeling spots, including Split Rock. Here, divers will find colorful coral surrounded by clownfish, giant clams, parrotfish and a handful of other species.

Little Cayman, Cayman Islands

Little Cayman's shallow reefs are perfect for a snorkeling adventure. The water is typically warm and calm so exploring the marine life and underwater sights here will be equally relaxing as it is intoxicating.

Kahaluu Beach Park, Hawaii

This tiny cove is located on the west side of Hawaii's Big Island in the town of Kailua-Kona. Snorkelers will find a large quantity of fish here and the best part is most are comfortable around people.

Hat Chao Mai National Park, Thailand

This protected area in Thailand's Trang Province features some of the world's most pristine reefs. Snorkelers exploring this untouched region will be greeted by gorgeous coral and plenty of clownfish.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Splash into the Bora Bora Lagoon and you'll be overwhelmed by colorful marine life ranging from tropical fish and manta rays to expansive coral gardens and reef sharks.

Apo Island, Philippines

If swimming with turtles is your thing, consider making Apo Island your next snorkeling destination. This volcanic island in the Philippines is home to sea turtles and sprawling coral gardens that are visible just a few meters from shore.

Grab your diving mask and fins.

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