Turquoise waters, colorful reefs and exotic ocean life await you this summer at various snorkeling destinations around the world.
From Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to Komodo Island in Indonesia, here is a list of the world’s ten best snorkeling destinations.
1. Norman Reef, Australia
Norman Reef is located seventy kilometres off the east coast of Australia and is a part of the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. This amazing snorkeling and scuba diving destination is known to be one of the world’s best with incredible visibility reaching up to 100 feet (30 metres)! The Australian city of Cairns offers the best access to this underwater sanctuary.
2. Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii
A great snorkeling spot with an interesting history, Kealakekua Bay is also known as ‘Captain Cook’ as monument in the bay commemorates the 1779 death of the famous British navigator. Learn about the series of unfortunate circumstances that led to the captain’s death as you snorkel around the monument itself. In order to get there, you can choose to rent a kayak, hike to the monument or join a snorkeling tour.
One of the best places to see marine wildlife is in the historic #KealakekuaBay, a Marine Life Conservation District about 12 miles south of Kailua-Kona on Hawaii Island. The bay is teeming with wildlife, from flame angelfish to spinner dolphins. Kayaking is a great way to explore the area. More information is in our Island Guide.
3. Ilha Grande, Brazil
A relaxing and untouched island paradise, Ilha Grande offers a magical refuge from the crowded beaches of Rio de Janeiro. The island’s lush wildlife offers fantastic hiking; Lopes Mendes a three-kilometer (1.9 miles) white-sand beach with turquoise water–considered one of the best in the world– and Lagoa Azul, a snorkeling spot where you must keep an eye out for sea turtles!
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4. Banana Beach, Thailand
On the popular Thai island of Phuket, Banana Beach is hard to find but well worth the effort as it has somehow remained a ‘Secret beach’ over the years. Spend the whole day discovering sea life in a secluded beach known for its shallow clear blue waters, large palm trees and spectacular sand. Located on the northwest side of the island, Banana Beach is south of the Sirinat National Park and Phuket Airport, and close to the “Andaman White Beach Resort”.
5. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
One of the world’s most acclaimed honeymoon destinations due to its heavenly beaches and romantic escapes, Bora Bora is also great for snorkeling! Take your other half on a wonderful aquatic adventure to the snorkeling spot nicknamed the ‘Aquarium’ for its visibility and plentiful ocean life located off the lovely island of Motu Piti ‘U’u Uta.
6. The Florida Keys
Home to the world’s third longest barrier reef, the Florida Keys have the US’s only tropical coral reefs and therefore boast some of the country’s most spectacular snorkeling. Key Largo, Key West and the Middle Keys (Islamorada, Marathon and the Big Pine Area) have the best snorkeling spots known for their particularly healthy coral reefs, you will not be disappointed with the aquatic life in this lovely holiday destination.
7. The Maldives
A prestigious archipelago holiday destination in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is known for its aquamarine water and white sand beaches. Recently affected by climate change, some of the coral reefs have unfortunately been bleached, although most of the islands still offer gorgeous snorkeling. Being so close to the water, which at its highest point is eight feet (2.4 meters) above sea level, the ocean is literally at your doorstep.
Despite recent storm damage, Bonaire remains an exceptional island for snorkeling in the Caribbean. Although some reefs have been swept away, there are still many amazing areas to explore that offer incredible visibility, warm water, great shore access and the protection of diverse marine life. The little island off Bonaire’s west coast named Klein Bonaire is an optimal place to start.
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9. Culebra, Puerto Rico
This tiny island seventeen miles off the coast of Puerto Rico offers miles of coastline and warm, clear blue water. Easily accessible from many beaches including Flamenco Beach, Culebra’s rich and colorful sea life can be discovered solo, or, for a more “in-depth” experience, as part of a tour.
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10. Komodo Island, Indonesia
Komodo National Park is filled with magnificent volcanic islands, exceptionally healthy coral reefs and untouched white-sand beaches. The World Heritage Site’s marine biodiversity is world renowned and has been deemed one of the world’s best snorkeling destinations. No doubt a once in a lifetime experience. You might even spot the mighty ‘Komodo dragon’ in its natural habitat.
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