One of the most popular activities to do on any sailing vacation is snorkeling. Take a look at our top 10 snorkeling destinations, where you’ll get to discover an impressive array of marine life, as you discover the magic of the underwater world.
1. Huahine, Tahiti
Huahine in Tahiti always seems to make the internet lists as a world-renowned snorkeling destination. At the lagoon in Avea Beach you can expect extremely crystal clear water and calm currents. The marine life is full of everything from Napoleon fish, stingrays and even some barracudas. You can also view the Sacred Blue Eels known for their blue colored eyes and their massive length.
The barrier reefs in Tahiti provide a habitat for sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, porpoises, colorful unspoiled coral, and countless species of fish, all of which make the Tahitian Leeward Islands arguably one of the world’s best places to snorkel.
2. La Digue, Seychelles
There was no way La Digue in the Seychelles wasn’t going to make our list of great places to snorkel. La Digue has giant polished rocks and white sand beaches, but it’s what lies beneath the crystal clear water that marvels snorkelers. Well-preserved coral formations scatter the area and are home to amazing sea life such as snappers, angelfish, parrotfish and much more. Sea turtles and eagle rays tend to live in the area as well – explore many coves to see if you can find them.
3. White Bay, BVIs
One of the best destinations for snorkeling connoisseurs and amateurs alike is Jost Van Dyke, located in the British Virgin Islands. The White Bay area is scattered with patches of beautiful coral within the blue waters. These coral and rock areas are home to squid and stingrays.
Watermelon Cay is also another hot spot that is home to starfish, sea turtles, rays and beautiful coral structures. Many people also enjoy snorkeling at The Baths located on Virgin Gorda.
4. Jardines de la Reina, Cuba
One of our top places to snorkel in the world is Cuba. Head to Jardines de la Reina (which translates to the Queen’s Gardens) and discover a 75 mile stretch of over 200 uninhabited mangrove islands.
Also referred to as the Galapagos of the Caribbean, snorkel here and you’ll see diverse coral reefs, home to tropical fish. Visitor numbers are restricted in order to protect the reef and this has benefited the marine life too – fish populations have increased by 30% here and the shark population is ten times higher than non-protected waters outside the park.
5. Makarska, Croatia
Stretching for 60km along the Adriatic coast, Makarska easily makes it into our list of top 10 snorkeling destinations.
The freshwater springs house some of the most beautiful corals, including the Golden Sponge species.
Snorkel in Makarska, Croatia and you may well get to see an abundance of marine life, including octopuses, seahorses, sea urchins and starfish; then when you’re ready for a break, lie back and enjoy the excellent views of the Biokovo Mountain.
6. Costa Brava Spain
Considered to be among the best places to snorkel in Europe, head straight to the Illes Medes in Spain, which is a protected marine reserve.
The nutrients in the water (supplied from the river Ter) make it a popular place for algae, plants and animals alike. Discover octopuses, barracuda and seabream as you snorkel in these azure waters – if you’re lucky, you might even see a dolphin.
7. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
A constellation of reefs and islands, the Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO world heritage site, spanning 1,600 miles.
The Whitsunday islands are certainly worth a mention as one of the best places to snorkel. The optimal temperature of the water has enabled the coral to grow at an impressive rate. Special mentions go to Manta Ray Bay on Hook Island, where you can see manta rays as you snorkel.
We’d also recommend heading over to Blue Pearl Bay in Hayman island, to watch the parrotfish eat the abundance of coral and Handy Reef, to discover turtles and reef sharks.
8. Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi
This beach became famous thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio and while tourists may flock there, it still rightly holds a position as one of our top ten snorkeling destinations. The reason being is that the bay is made up almost entirely of coral reef. Discover pink skunk clownfish and the less common ocellaris clownfish, in addition to giant clams, parrotfish and butterflyfish.
If you have time, head to other nearby Thailand snorkeling hotspots Monkey Beach, which has a coral reef that spans 50 meters, and Bamboo Island.
9. Exuma, Bahamas
With over 360 islets, islands and cays, there are so many snorkeling opportunities in the Exumas, it can be hard knowing where to begin.
One place you must visit is Fowl Cay restoration reef, where you can find formations of elkhorn, staghorn and star coral.
You should also head over to Thunderball Cave, to see the thousands of tropical fish that swim around the cay. Alternatively, visit privately owned island Saddleback Cay, where you can feed the friendly nurse sharks.
10. Cayo Diablo National Park, Puerto Rico
Straddling the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean is Cayo Diablo, in eastern Puerto Rico.
Snorkel here to see charming hawksbill and green sea turtles laze in the shallow waters and the tropical fish that call the elkhorn and staghorn coral their homes.
Ready to set sail on your next adventure and discover some of the top places to snorkel in the world? We offer bareboat charters, or you can hire a skipper. For more information, get in touch with us. Alternatively, head on over to our blog for vacation inspiration.