The Most Luxurious Snorkeling Spots in the World
From fluorescent coral, giant clams and fish in every shape and colour to turtles, seahorses and stingrays, there’s something about the underwater world that is magical.
Snorkeling is incredibly peaceful and you can easily lose hours taking in underwater landscapes and following fish from a distance, watching them in their natural habitat almost unaware of your presence.
Whether you’re looking for Nemo, determined to see a sea turtle or want to get up close with a manta ray, to help plan your next adventure, we’ve pulled together the best places to snorkel around the world.
Molokini Crater, Maui
Just off the coast of Maui, this dramatic crescent-shaped volcanic crater is a hotspot for snorkellers and divers. The crescent’s calm, clear waters are brimming with 250 different marine species so expect to see plenty of parrot fish, Bluefin trevally, moray eels and if you’re lucky, manta rays.
The crater itself is made of rock, and without dirt to drift into the water, you’ll often have visibility down to 150 feet. Catamarans and snorkel charters run tours from Maui out to the crater.
Lifou, New Caledonia
A popular day stop on South Pacific cruise itineraries, this small island in the Loyalty Islands group is home to a hidden gem in the form of a small yet seriously colorful snorkeling spot. Most cruise passengers hop off their tender and spend the day exploring the markets but make the effort to walk over to the other side of the island where a grassy cliff-side covered in towels and some handmade signs mark this secret spot. Climb down the short wooden ladder straight into a small pocket of colorful soft coral, giant clams and schools of small fish that’s great for kids or those who don’t want to head out into deep water.
Huvafen Fushi, Maldives
There are 26 atolls in the Maldives, with dozens of small islands clustered along their edges. Making the most of this aquatic playground are luxury five star resorts, each with an island or two all to themselves. Picking just one spot to spend a few days in paradise is tough, but if snorkeling is at the top of your list, the house reef at Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi is one of the best.
Night Snorkeling – Get a chance to observe marine life in our house reef that does not come out at daylight. It is mesmerizing to watch feeding corals while they extending their polyps to catch plankton.
Take your torch and jump directly on the resort reef with an experienced guide to (re)discover Maldives marine beauties. New colors and new species will appear just as the sun is beginning to set. This is the best and closest time you will get to watch the busy diurnal fishes rushing around as they head off to shelter for the night, meanwhile nocturnal fishes come out to play. Discover and be marveled by the emission of the spectacular green-fluorescent light from living organisms.
You’ll see sea turtles, eagle rays, reef sharks and plenty of fish from the water or through the glass floor in your over water villa perched over the ocean in the North Male atoll. For something different, book into the LIME underwater spa and watch the aquatic life go by from your massage table. During March’s annual coral spawning, the spa becomes the best spot for a front-row seat, with viewing sessions conducted by the resort’s resident marine biologist.
Rabaul, Papua New Guinea
If you’re after untouched, unspoilt snorkeling, head over to PNG where the water hovers at a balmy 26 degrees Celsius year-round. Fringed by small extinct volcanoes, the area outside Rabaul Harbour is a hotspot for divers keen to explore the WW11 wrecks. For snorkelers, tours out to the Submarine Base don’t disappoint and offer plenty of history too. Kabaira is another great spot for snorkeling in crystal clear conditions.
Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef
If you plan a Heron Island snorkeling trip, you will get everything here what you need for a perfect snorkeling holiday. The resort organize snorkeling lessons for novice snorkelers, help you when and where can you snorkel around the island, and of course you can book also boat snorkeling trips.
This is a perfect snorkeling spot, more than 60 % of the 1500 fish species and more than 70 % of the coral species can be found here.
The water around the island is relative shallow (10-25 meters deep). For novice snorkelers is suggested to stay close the shore, where the water is just 1-2 meters deep, but you will see also colorful fish and beautiful corals there for sure !
The water temperature is 18-23 degrees in the winter months ( June-August) but much warmer in the summer : 26-30 degrees (December-February).
As the Heron Island is a natural coral cay, there are so many beautiful spots to explore around the island.
A Heron Island snorkeling holiday can offer you lifetime experience : swimming with tropical fish, sea turtles, mantas, dolphins or with the harmless shovelnose shark!
Turtle species like the Green Sea Turtle and the Loggerhead Turtle are daily visitors around the island. If you visit the Heron Island between October and March, you will see something extra in addition : each year a breeding population migrates to the region to mate and nest here!
Another special experience on Heron Island is the Whale watching : the humpback whales northern migration begins in June. You have a big chance to watch them till September.
Known as the world’s soft coral capital, Fiji’s islands are surrounded by more than 4,000 square meters of reef. May through to October are the best times to visit if you want to swim with manta rays, the Yasawa Islands are famous for shark diving while the kids will get a kick out of the Hawskbill turtle breeding program on Treasure Island where tiny little turtles swim around in a big pond if they’re not ready for the ocean.
Akumal Beach, Mexico
Compared to the party beaches of Cancun and the luxury resorts lining the Riviera Maya, Akumal Beach is a deserted beach on the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s a different story as soon as you stick your feet in the water. Sea turtles munch on sea grass in this quiet lagoon — you’ll find big, little, fast and slow turtles literally every couple of meters. They’re not hard to find and they’re not shy so expect to spend a morning of fun swimming up and down the beach with new friends.
Don’t make the mistake of associating Oman with the desert. Musandam Peninsula, in the north of the country, is home to the dramatic Fjords of Arabia and the reefs at the base of these mountains are well known snorkeling hot spots. You’ll spot barracuda, nurse sharks, sunfish, and rays swimming between soft and stony coral.
Telegraph Island in particular is a popular snorkeling spot for day trips out on the fjords in traditional Dhow boats. If you’re after a luxury snorkeling experience, head down the coast to Six Senses Zighy Bay, where you can walk straight from your private beach villa into the ocean.
Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Enjoy a day at Rottnest exploring the land and ocean trails. Hike the Wadjemup Bidi trails, Snorkel the Parker Point trail, Swim at The Basin and meet the famous Quokkas.
There’s more to a visit to Rottnest Island than getting the perfect Quokka selfie. Just a quick ferry ride from Perth, Rottnest Island’s rocky shores are home to plenty of reefs and a vast array of marine life. A self-guided snorkel trail starts at Parker Point, with 12 plaques dotted along a 2km loop.
Limestone reefs surround the island protecting calm, crystal clear lagoons that are home to corals, seagrass meadows and around 400 species of fish – including colorful tropical ones not usually seen so far south of the equator. The island’s southern beaches that contain Parker Point, Little Salmon Bay and the eastern end of Salmon Bay is the number one place to go snorkeling on Rottnest, especially for less confident snorkelers.
This area is safe, not too deep, well protected from surges and breaking waves and has the most coral of anywhere around the island and fantastic fish life with plenty of colorful tropical species to see. We will explore the Parker Point Snorkel Trail which features a number of plaques on the sea bed which allow you to read about the abundant flora and fish life in the area.
Ao Sane, Phuket
The southwest coast of Phuket is where you’ll find this quiet beach. It’s definitely well away from the crowds of the more popular tourist spots and is marked by big granite boulders along the shore and just one restaurant. The parrot fish are used to people so expect to see plenty as you snorkel along the coast. Wait for high tide to snorkel right out to the coral just to the right of the restaurant.