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Exploring the mysterious underwater world is an exciting adventure while traveling. Snorkeling offers a portal to the rich and diverse life of our seas and oceans. Discover enthralling marine creatures, vibrant coral reefs, and volcanic rock formations as you experience the best snorkeling in the world.

Whether you choose to kick your fins through the turquoise seas of Barbados, swim above a shipwreck in the Bahamas, or venture Down Under to the famed Great Barrier Reef in Australia, a snorkeling adventure is one of the top things to do for water and sea life lovers.

Channel your inner explorer and venture beneath the surface, where you can experience some of the best places to snorkel in the world.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Great Barrier Reef, one of the best snorkeling in the world

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Known as one of the top snorkeling and diving destinations in the world, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is to many a bucket list experience. The natural wonder is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a massive reef system, islands, and an astounding array of marine life located off the coast of Queensland.

Couple snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is also one of the best places to swim in the world, and more than 400 types of coral, a wide array of tropical fish, and other interesting marine life can be viewed here.

Venture to the Whitsunday Islands by boat from Airlie Beach and find yourself transported to an underwater wonderland. Many of the beaches here offer access to fabulous snorkeling simply by wading into the water with your gear.

You’ll have the chance to view over 1,500 species of fish, sea turtles, manta rays, and more while swimming through crystal clear waters.

White sands of Fitzroy Island, Australia

Fitzroy Island, Australia

Venture north to tropical Fitzroy Island, accessed by a 45-minute ferry ride from the city of Cairns and another Great Barrier Reef destination known for its beautiful beaches and amazing snorkeling.

People swimming with fishes in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Swim in the calm waters of Welcome Bay, where you can marvel at vividly hued corals and sea creatures such as turtles, cod, grouper, and clownfish. Snorkeling is one of the best ways to explore one of the most beautiful places in Australia and the largest coral reef system in the world.

Baths of Virgin Gorda, BVI

Rock formation and turquoise waters at The Baths

Baths of Virgin Gorda, BVI

For a memorable snorkeling experience against a backdrop of unique geological formations, head to the British Virgin Islands and explore the famous Baths at Virgin Gorda. Located near the island of Tortola, the Baths at Virgin Gorda is the best-known natural attraction in this collection of beautiful islands.

Pick your way through the protected coastline within the national park, filled with natural pools, caves, and white-sand beaches. Giant granite boulders create a rocky playground with a maze-like path that leads you through shallow waters and hidden coves, perfect for snorkeling.

Calm waves of Devil’s Bay

Devil’s Bay, BVI

Devil’s Bay is one of the celebrated spots to swim among marine life in the clear Caribbean Sea. Take in the sights of the underwater realm; marine flora and fauna, coral, and sea creatures such as tarpon, parrotfish, conch, and starfish.

With unusual rock formations and pristine snorkeling conditions, visiting here is one of the best things to do in the British Virgin Islands.

Molokini Crater, Hawaii

Aerial view of Molokini Crater

Molokini Crater, Hawaii

The Aloha State is host to some of the world’s best snorkeling, with ample marine life and ideal conditions for discovering dazzling sea creatures.

Situated off the coast of Maui, Molokini Crater is a popular destination for scuba divers and snorkelers and is considered an underwater paradise.

The uninhabited island was formed thousands of years ago after a volcanic eruption, leaving behind a crescent-shaped atoll that today teems with marine life and birds.

Many boat tours take curious snorkelers out to discover the rich sea life surrounding the crater. The cove area of the crater is known for having extremely high visibility, up to 100 feet.

Humuhumunukunukuapua’a swimming in Hawaii


Here, you will have the chance to see a wide array of creatures such as more than 250 species of tropical fish, 38 types of coral, as well as octopus, sea turtles, moray eels, and reef sharks.

Keep an eye out for the humuhumunukunukuapua’a too, more prosaically known as a triggerfish, with the status of Hawaii’s state fish.

Bonaire National Marine Park, Bonaire

School of fishes in Bonaire National Marine Park

Bonaire National Marine Park, Bonaire

Visit one of the oldest marine reserves in the world at the Bonaire National Marine Park, established in the late 1970s.

The well-protected area preserves the coral reefs surrounding the western coast of the island of Bonaire, creating an ideal environment for fish and other sea life to thrive.

Snorkeling here is undoubtedly one of the most exciting things to do in Bonaire, so feast your eyes on graceful sea turtles, more than 350 species of tropical fish, rays, and if you can spot them, seahorses, all through clear waters.

Couple snorkeling in Bonaire

Snorkeling in Bonaire

This is a popular area for sea turtles; in fact, you might even get the chance to swim near green sea turtles, loggerheads, and hawksbill turtles. The snorkel spots are found all along the shoreline, marked with yellow stones to alert snorkelers of entry points.

With 17 official snorkeling locations, you don’t have to explore the same area twice. Apart from being a haven for snorkelers, Bonaire is also one of the best diving spots in the world, with coral gardens and a healthy population of marine life.

Devil’s Crown, Galapagos Islands

Devil’s Crown, one of the best snorkeling in the world

Devil’s Crown, Galapagos Islands

Take your mask and flippers to one of South America’s most revered snorkeling spots, the Galapagos Islands. Just offshore from Floreana Island, a crown-shaped collection of rocks is home to a treasure trove of marine life.

The Devil’s Crown was previously a volcanic crater and is now a haven for all kinds of sea creatures. Above the water, popular Galapagos animals such as sea lions bask in the sun on the rocks, occasionally taking a dip in the water.

Marine life in Devil’s Crown, Galapagos Islands

Devil’s Crown, Galapagos Islands

Below the surface, the underwater world will keep you thrilled with schools of parrotfish, king angelfish, surgeonfish, and, if you’re lucky, the black and yellow Moorish idol fish.

Starfish cling to the rocks, and white-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, or hammerhead sharks may make an appearance as well.

Although Devil’s Crown is the most popular snorkeling spot in the Galapagos, it’s best for those who consider themselves confident swimmers as the current can sometimes be tricky to navigate.

Champagne Reef, Dominica

Corals in Champagne Reef, Dominica

Champagne Reef, Dominica

Known as the nature island of the Caribbean, it’s no surprise that Dominica is host to one of the best places to snorkel in the world.

Located on the southwestern coast of the South Caribbean island, Champagne Reef offers snorkelers a unique experience due to the bubbling effect in the water, a result of the volcanic thermal springs beneath the ocean floor. Effectively, this means you’ll be swimming above an undersea volcano.

Yellow frogfish swimming


Dominica’s underwater landscape is just as striking as the dramatic terrain above the surface. Plunging cliffs, as well as colorful soft and hard corals, are a delight to snorkel around. You’ll have the chance to spot eels, seahorses, vibrant sponges, octopus, stingrays, frogfish, and hawksbill turtles, to name a few.

Keep an eye out for the remains of an old Spanish shipwreck here too, usually visible to snorkelers in this area. Underwater photography enthusiasts will enjoy capturing this amazing and unique snorkeling experience in Dominica.

Read: Best Things to Do in Dominica

Silfra Fissure, Iceland

Silfra Fissure, one of the best snorkeling in the world

Silfra Fissure, Iceland

Tropical waters aren’t the only amazing places to snorkel in the world. Iceland offers visitors the unusual and bucket-list experience of snorkeling the Silfra Fissure, a space between two tectonic plates.

Located in Thingvellir National Park in Iceland’s western region, snorkelers can swim between the continents of North America and Eurasia—a photo opportunity if ever there was one.

Man snorkeling in Silfra Fissure, Iceland

Silfra Fissure, Iceland

This unbelievable snorkel spot features clear glacial meltwater with astonishing visibility of more than 300 feet, making it one of the most beautiful places in Iceland.

Kitted out in a dry suit (not surprisingly, the water is extremely cold here), you can swim between volcanic basalt rock formations, float over lava, and gaze at algae in jewel-like colors. You’ll even have the opportunity to view underwater rainbows if the sun hits just right.

Snorkeling the arctic waters in the Silfra Fissure will be an unforgettable experience while visiting Iceland.

Caye Caulker, Belize

Beautiful reef in Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye Caulker, Belize

Snorkeling is one of the top things to do in Belize. Hop aboard a boat to Caye Caulker, a small island off the coast of Belize that’s surrounded by a beautiful reef system. View a spectrum of colorful corals and schools of vibrant tropical fish.

Most snorkel trips in Belize also visit the well-known Shark Ray Alley while in Caye Caulker. This marine reserve has shallow, clear waters with fantastic visibility, and is frequented by nurse sharks and rays looking for leftover fish pieces tossed into the water by local fishermen.

This attracts several other fish species looking for a snack as well, making it a great spot to view a lot of sea life at once.

Turtle Beach, Barbados

Sea turtle swimming in clear water

Sea turtle

Sea turtle enthusiasts will enjoy snorkeling off the coast of Barbados, an island known for its large turtle population.

Located on the southwestern shore near St. Lawrence Gap, Turtle Beach is one of the best places to go windsurfing and snorkeling in Barbados. This stretch of sand is a nesting spot for turtles, so in addition to possibly viewing adults, you may even have a chance to see tiny hatchlings.

The island is home to three species of turtles, the green sea turtle, leatherback, and hawksbill turtles. If you’re lucky, you might see all three while swimming in the warm tropical waters that Barbados is known for.

Cozumel National Marine Park, Cozumel

Marine life in Cozumel

Marine life in Cozumel

Surrounding the southern coastal tip of Cozumel, the Cozumel Reefs National Park is a protected area known for having some of the most dazzling coral and sea life in the whole world.

With more than 260 species of fish and over 100 types of coral, it’s a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkeling in Mexico.

Glide through the warm, clear waters of one of the best places to snorkel in Cozumel, where you’ll have the opportunity to see tropical fish such as snappers, butterflyfish, and blue chromis, as well as sea turtles and lobsters amid the gorgeous coral gardens.

Creole Rock, St. Maarten

People snorkeling by the famous Creole Rock in St. Maarten 

Creole Rock, St. Maarten

At Creole Rock, a jutting out of the sea off the coast of St. Maarten, you can descend into a coral-filled paradise for some of the best snorkeling in the world.

When you hit the water at this marine park, you’ll encounter a kaleidoscope of fish and marine animals beneath the waves, moving with the currents through crystal-clear waters where coral thrives.

You’ll also see sea turtles float above and below you, plus schools of tropical fish darting around. This mini-ecosystem is ripe with biodiversity, including angelfish, parrotfish, and moray eels.

Escambron Marine Park, Puerto Rico

Marine life in Escambron Marine Park, Puerto Rico

Escambron Marine Park, Puerto Rico

Escambron Marine Park, a conservation space created to protect the local habitat, is the perfect location for eco-tourists who love spending time under the water.

This is an active playground for marine life. While you snorkel, you’ll see different marine animals all looking for a haven in the colorful coral.

The park offers clear and calm water, making it an easy dive site for beginners. Its convenient location in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, also makes it an easy spot for you to visit.

You can swim alongside sea fans or gorgonians (a type of coral), and if you’re lucky you’ll find a seahorse hiding among the coral’s crevices.

Blue Lagoon Island, Bahamas

Clear waters of Blue Lagoon Island, Bahamas, one of the best snorkeling in the world

Blue Lagoon Island, Bahamas

You’ll find one of the best snorkeling spots in the world just offshore the Blue Lagoon Island in the Bahamas. This private island offers the chance to swim among dolphins, nurse sharks, stingrays, and sea lions.

The clear, shallow waters and abundance of different kinds of sea life make snorkeling here an unforgettable experience.

Just below the azure waters of Blue Lagoon Island, also known as Salt Cay, your snorkeling adventure will start. You’ll be surrounded by awesome coral formations, where you’ll find different kinds of vibrant tropical fish. You might catch sight of angelfish, as well as octopuses that make their homes among the coral on the island as well.

When you’ve had your fill of the underwater world, head over to the island’s aqua park and try out the big, inflatable water toys for hours of marine-inspired fun.

Read: Best Spots for Snorkeling in The Bahamas

Boca Catalina, Aruba

Turquoise waters of Boca Catalina, Aruba

Boca Catalina, Aruba

On the northern tip of Aruba, Boca Catalina offers you a snorkeling experience where you can view underwater life among the majestic beauty of Aruba’s natural marine environment.

Slip into the beautiful clear water here to see coral reefs teeming with colorful species of tropical fish, along with graceful sea turtles drifting through the sea.

As you swim through the water, you will witness an exotic display of life dipping in and out of the seagrass, including angelfish, barracudas, butterflyfish, boxfish, grunts, and more.

Stingray City, Grand Cayman

Stingray City, Grand Cayman, one of the best snorkeling in the world

Stingray City, Grand Cayman

For some of the best snorkeling in the world, swing by Stingray City, Grand Cayman to come nose-to-nose (or nose-to-fin) with the gentle giants at the ocean’s surface: the southern stingray. Stingray City, likely formed when fishermen cleaned their catches near here, has now become a haven for snorkelers who want to witness this underwater marvel for themselves.

Wade knee-deep in the shallows, across the soft sandbars here, where docile southern stingrays mill around, hoping for tidbits.

In certain select places like Stingray City, wild stingrays have become remarkably sociable and they’ve established an unusual relationship with humans. You’ll be awestruck by the experience of stingrays swimming right up to you and letting you stroke their skin.

Vicente Roca Point, Galapagos

View while snorkeling in Vicente Roca Point, Galapagos

Vicente Roca Point, Galapagos

Vicente Roca Point, off the northwest tip of Isabela Island in the Galapagos, is a marine diversity hotspot. Don a wetsuit and slide into the water to explore hidden volcanic formations and fascinating underwater coral.

Schools of multi-hued fish dart through the ocean, while sea lions and marine iguanas display their speed and grace beneath the waves. Other sea creatures, like green sea turtles, gently drift through the azure-colored waves.

Powerful currents that sweep in nutrient-rich waters bring fish to feed, as well as larger marine predators like sharks and manta rays that like to feed on the smaller fish, creating an exciting environment for snorkeling in the Galapagos.

Scenic landscape of Vicente Roca Point, Galapagos

Vicente Roca Point, Galapagos

This marine spectacle is set against a backdrop of the Galapagos’ extraordinary geological legacy. The archipelago was formed by volcanoes, many of which are still active today.

Menjangan Island, Bali, Indonesia

Clear waters of Menjangan Island in Bali, Indonesia

Menjangan Island in Bali, Indonesia

From Menjangan Island, located in West Bali National Park off the coast of Bali, you can snorkel in shimmering cobalt water and swim above enormous coral gardens.

The marine life you encounter at Menjangan includes a mosaic of colorful anthias, moray eels, sea turtles, reef sharks, and more that will mesmerize you with their beauty below the surface of the sea.

The island’s status as a marine sanctuary means its underwater wonders are protected for future generations to enjoy as well.

Once you’re back on dry land, you can add a bit of culture to your island adventures by visiting some of the temples here, including Gili Kencana and Gajah Mada.

Read: Best Places to Visit in Bali

Bacalar Lagoon, Costa Maya

Bacalar Lagoon, Costa Maya, one of the best snorkeling in the world

Bacalar Lagoon, Costa Maya

Bacalar Lagoon is noted for some of the world’s best snorkeling. Located inland, near Costa Maya, you can see this freshwater lagoon’s otherworldly landscapes and amazing natural spectacles for yourself.

You’ll find masses of stromatolites here, microbial reef structures built by ancient blooms of tiny creatures, which make up part of the lagoon’s incredible terrain.

Beautiful mangroves grow along the lagoon’s edges too. And as light plays upon the lagoon’s surface water, it changes hues, hence the nickname of the “Seven Colors Lagoon.”

Go for a swim in the turquoise-colored Cenote Azul while visiting Bacalar. Hopefully, you’ll also learn more about the lagoon, with its clear waters drawn from ancient springs, inviting you to put on a snorkel and mask and dive right in.

La Graciosa, Lanzarote, Spain

Aerial view of La Graciosa, Lanzarote, Spain

La Graciosa in Lanzarote, Spain

If you want a snorkeling trip to remember, head to Lanzarote, and then to the nearby volcanic island of La Graciosa, nestled in the Canary Islands.

Under the surface of the Atlantic Ocean here, you’ll find multicolored parrotfish and damselfish inhabiting the coral reefs—plus the occasional sea turtle or ray gliding through the currents.

The water surrounding the isle is balmy in summer and fall, so snorkeling is one of the most comfortable, and enchanting ways to take in the island’s dramatic volcanic surroundings.

The island boasts UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status, which ensures that lots of care and conservation efforts go into maintaining the island’s marine biodiversity.

Shark Ray Alley, Belize

Caye Caulker, one of the best snorkeling in the world

Shark Ray Alley, Belize

Shark Ray Alley will offer you a snorkeling adventure with amazing stingrays and nurse sharks; you could be surrounded by these creatures as soon as you hit these warm Caribbean waters, located off the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Belize.

While snorkeling or wading around this shallow offshore “alley,” accessible by small boat tours, you’ll see the gentle nurse sharks and stingrays that hang around here, drifting around the sandy seabed.

Shark Ray Alley was once used by fishermen to clean their fish. It’s now a popular snorkeling locale, and one of the best spots in the world for encountering some of the ocean’s most curious creatures.

Paleokastritsa, Corfu, Greece

Paleokastritsa in Corfu, Greece, one of the best snorkeling in the world

Paleokastritsa in Corfu, Greece

Paleokastritsa’s coastline is full of life and biodiversity in the emerald waters and among the unique geological formations. The water here is known for its clarity, making this the perfect spot for snorkeling in Corfu.

This paradise on the Ionian Sea is resplendent with coral reefs and rocky outcrops. Under the surface, you’ll find an array of species, like colorful wrasses, flounders, sea stars, and curious octopuses, as well as tiny seahorses that hide among the coral and rocks.

People relaxing on Paleokastritsa in Corfu, Greece

Paleokastritsa in Corfu, Greece

These underwater geological landscapes, especially on the western coast, are excellent for spotting barracudas, moray eels, and other aquatic creatures.

Paleokastritsa is a superb destination for snorkelers of all levels, which means everybody can enjoy the sea and the underwater life living here.

Looe Key Reef, Florida

Colorful corals in Looe Key Reef, Florida

Looe Key Reef, Florida

When you visit Looe Key Reef, not far from Key West, you’ll be seduced by the natural beauty on offer and want to jump into the water right away.

Drift along with schools of fish, or perhaps chase a barracuda that streaks by, or gaze at the silvery angelfish darting around the colorful, strangely shaped coral.

School of fish in Looe Key Reef, Florida

Looe Key Reef, Florida

Looe Key Reef is one of the most vibrant coral reefs in North America. But what sets this patch of ocean apart, however, is its history of shipwrecks.

Looe Key is named after the 44-gun HMS Looe, which ran aground here during a storm in 1744 during a war between Britain and Spain. Remnants of the ship remain to this day, which you can explore.

Another well-known wreck in the area is the MV Adolphus Busch. This shallow, coral-covered shipwreck, purposely sunk in 1998, is another one of the reasons why divers and snorkelers flock to Looe Key.

The Montana & Constellation Shipwrecks, Bermuda

View of the Montana shipwreck in Bermuda

Montana shipwreck in Bermuda

If you’re on the hunt for some of the best snorkeling in the world, drop anchor and lower yourself into the sub-aquatic world of the Montana shipwreck, located off the northern coast of Bermuda.

The ship sank in 1863. Since that time, a submerged underwater world has encircled this blockade-running paddle steamer, which is now a thriving reef full of marine life.

The Montana Shipwreck was sent to the Caribbean as part of the United Kingdom’s efforts to aid the Confederate South during the American Civil War.

Couple snorkeling in Bermuda

Snorkeling in Bermuda

Today, the vessel stands as a solemn reminder of Bermuda’s contested maritime history. The ship sank in shallow waters, making it easy to snorkel above.

Then, if you have an extra hour or two, you can also check out the Constellation. She was on her way from New York to Venezuela when she went down, loaded with general cargo and hundreds of cases of Johnny Walker whisky.

The Constellation, which sank almost on top of the Montana, is now a well-preserved wreck on the bottom of the shallow sea; it’s a great dive and snorkeling site.

The jagged reefs around Bermuda have contributed to the maritime legend of the Bermuda Triangle, a place that has claimed many ships and lives in the past.

Isola Bella, Sicily, Italy

Unique landscape of Isola Bella in Sicily, Italy

Isola Bella in Sicily, Italy

Just south of the northeastern tip of Sicily lies Isola Bella. The small islet, known as “Beautiful Island,” is a popular spot for snorkeling because of its rich array of colorful marine species.

When you dive into the water here, you’ll be treated to living coral patches and schools of brightly colored fish.

Isola Bella is attached to the mainland by a thin isthmus, which means that if you want to explore it by land, you should cross at low tide. The island is part of the Isola Bella Marine Park, all within the same horseshoe bay, a haven for marine life including octopus, saddled bream, and starfish.

The rocky coastline and hidden coves here offer ample snorkeling opportunities for beginners and more seasoned swimmers and snorkeling enthusiasts.

Marine life in Cozumel

Marine life in Cozumel

Experience the sense of swimming through a real-life aquarium while snorkeling in destinations around the globe known for their rich marine life. A cruise is a fantastic way to experience some of the best snorkeling in the world.

From classic Caribbean locations to unique Arctic spots, there’s no shortage of amazing places to explore everything the underwater realm has to offer. Browse itineraries and book your snorkeling adventure today.

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