The 7 best snorkeling places in the world

brown tortoise in body of water beside man

These are seven of the best snorkeling places in the world, from swimming with manta rays in Australia to observing whale sharks in Mozambique.

To interact with some of the most intriguing marine life, you don’t need to be a certified diver. In some places, you can actually just wade from the sand into the shallows with your mask and snorkel to experience some amazing aquatic life encounters.

1. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Fernando de Noronha is a volcanic archipelago off the northeastern coast of Brazil. It is a strongly protected eco-wonderland, a favorite of marine biologists and naturalists alike, with a rugged shoreline and a variety of ecosystems.

It is well known for its pristine shores and world-class snorkeling. You can see marine turtles, rays, lemon and reef sharks in its warm, emerald waters, where visibility can reach up to 40 meters. Additionally, there are more resident spinning dolphins on the shore than anywhere else in the world.

woman in body of water
Photo by John Cahil Rom on

The sand seafloor at Baa do Sancho, widely regarded as Brazil’s most stunning beach, enables vessels to halt there without harming the coral. Sueste, Morro de Fora, Baa dos Porcos, and Porto are additional excellent snorkeling locations with reachable shipwrecks teeming with aquatic life.

2. Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Lady Elliot Island, the southernmost coral cay of the Great Barrier Reef, is renowned for having nesting sea turtles, manta rays, and other eco-friendly features. It also has some of the finest snorkeling in Australia.

Discover a seafloor filled with coral gardens and an abundance of marine life, such as leopard sharks, barracudas, and enormous manta rays. Families and novices should stick to the shallow lagoon that surrounds the island’s eastern side, while experienced snorkelers should head to the coral gardens on the western side of the island, where the waters are deeper.

Lady Elliot Island benefits from the highest degree of environmental protection because it is located in one of the Great Barrier Reef’s “Green Zones,” a “no-take” area where destructive behavior is forbidden. That’s one of the reasons the humpback whales that migrate through these waters between June and October keep returning, too.

3. Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii – one of the best snorkeling places in the world

Hanauma Bay is one of the most picturesque and best snorkeling places in Hawaii. It is tucked away in an old volcanic crater, surrounded by palm trees, and home to a 7000-year-old coral reef.

Put on your snorkeling gear and dive straight into the calm, shallow waters after arriving early to avoid the crowds. Not far from the idyllic white-sand beach are hundreds of neon-colored species of fish, corals, eels, and sea turtles. You can also investigate caves and crevices outside the reef that are teeming with additional marine life.

photo of a turtle swimming underwater
Photo by Belle Co on

The bay is a portion of a marine life conservation area and wildlife preserve. To lessen the effect on the ecosystem, it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and a daily limit of 3000 visitors is imposed. Entrance fees apply, and reservations are required.

4. Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia

With its fine white sand beaches, secret lagoons, and astounding variety of marine life and coral reef systems, Indonesia’s Raja Ampat is undoubtedly at the top of the all-star list of spectacular diving and snorkeling locations in Southeast Asia.

Raja Ampat has been referred to as a biological hotspot by scientists due to the abundance and diversity of marine life found here and one of the best snorkeling places in the world. They think that the reef networks there replenish reefs all over the South Pacific and Indian Oceans.

You’ll have full reign to explore Raja Ampat’s blue-water mangroves and a marine area that is home to over a thousand species of reef fish, hundreds of species of coral reef, various species of sea turtles, and majestic manta rays armed only with your mask, snorkel, and fins.

5. Tofo Beach, Inhambane, Mozambique

Mozambique, a nation in southeast Africa, has a wealth of outstanding snorkeling locations along its unspoiled Indian Ocean shoreline. Warm, turquoise seas that lap dune-lined beaches here are teeming with schools of colorful fish and coral reefs in excellent condition.

male traveler swimming underwater with shark

The whale shark population in the waters off Tofo Beach, in the southern province of Inhambane, is what makes them so abundant in marine biodiversity. It’s one of the few locations on the globe where you can see gentle whale sharks all year long.

These waterways are also home to dolphins, sea turtles, and manta rays. You’ll be adding Mozambique to your snorkeling priority list if you consider the fact that humpback whales visit the area from June to October.

6. West Bay and Mary’s Place, Roatán Island, Honduras

One of the best locations to snorkel in the Caribbean is on Roatán, the biggest and most developed of the Honduran Bay Islands. The island is a diving and snorkeling haven, ringed by an extraordinarily varied coral reef abundant in tropical fish.

You can go diving at Mary’s Place, a dive site that revolves around a sizable crevice where sea turtles, eagle rays, and groupers frequently come up to the surface, or you can head to West Bay’s immaculate white-sand beach to see parrotfish, butterflyfish, and angelfish just off the coast.

7. Abu Dabbab Bay, Marsa Alam, Egypt

One of the few locations in the world to see the elusive dugong, a rare, lesser-known cousin of the manatee that has long inspired mermaid myths and legends throughout history, is Marsa Alam in southern Egypt.

Due to their penchant for eating grass, dugongs, also known as “sea cows,” are drawn to and supported by the shallow seas, protective reefs, and profusion of seagrass in Abu Dabbab.

close up of seahorse
Photo by Jeffry Surianto on

Other inhabitants of the harbor include giant sea turtles, parrotfish, angelfish, barracudas, and seahorses, while stingrays live on the sandy seafloor. These inhabitants can be found around the coral reefs that have been well-preserved.

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