Snorkelling can be just as rewarding and as adventurous as scuba diving but if you are heading to the usual popular holiday destinations you can often find yourself overwhelmed by all the other snorkelers that are out to experience the underwater world or come across the avoidable damage and abuse that popular and house reefs tend to be subjected to.
To help you find the ultimate snorkelling experience we have put together some of the best snorkelling destinations that can be found around the world.
If you are new to snorkelling make sure you visit our 'Everything you need to know to enjoy snorkelling' post
Raja Ampat (West Papua, Indonesia)
Raja Ampat has a reputation as one of the best scuba diving locations in the world and is a dream destination for underwater photographers but few seam to realise it is a perfect place for snorkelling as well.
Raja Ampat is home to over 1000 different species of fish, turtles, sharks and manta rays as well as 75% of all known coral species. Reefs cover such a huge area and because it is not well known between snorkelers you'll largely find that you have the place to yourself.
The Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
Unlike most snorkelling destinations that feature hugely colourful reefs that are packed full to small tropical fish, the Galapogas Islands are about seeing large marine life such as sea lions, sharks, dolphins and turtles.
The islands remain a fairly remote and untraveled destination compared to many so the wildlife doesn't come across humans to often, making them friendly and approachable. It is not uncommon for sea lions or turtles to happily swim alongside you.
The Coral Triangle (Asia Pacific)
The Coral Triangle includes the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Solomon Islands. It has nearly 600 different species of reef-building corals alone, is home to six of the world’s seven marine turtle species and more than 2000 species of reef fish.
What makes it especially good for snorkelers is that much of the marine life is within the first few metres, making it incredibly accessible without the need for scuba diving training and equipment.
Kealakekua Bay (Big Island, Hawaii)
Hawaii has a lot of great snorkelling points but Kealakekua Bay has got to be one of the best and receives regular rave reviews on holiday review websites. Not only does this snorkelling site have plenty of marine life and colour including turtle and dolphins but getting there is also part of the experience.
You can get to the small bay in one of three ways: on foot via a rugged jungle trail; by paddle on a rented kayak; on a guided tour offered by a select group of companies licensed to operate in these protected waters.
Silver Bank (Dominican Republic)
Fancy swimming or snorkelling with something a little larger? Silver Banks is one of the few places in the world were you can fin alongside humpback whales. Silver Banks is a safe haven to these huge creatures due to its relatively shallow depth that forces large ships to start away from the area.
Snorkelers can catch up with the humpback whales between December and April, when they pass through the area.