If you want to snorkel with humpback whales, sea turtles, and whale sharks, you may be looking for some of the best snorkeling beaches in the world. Finding the best snorkeling spots means that you’ll be able to float over the most amazing underwater statues and see spectacular marine life.
Best Snorkeling Beaches in the World
We’ve recently updated our list of the best beaches and islands throughout the world for your underwater adventures. Just grab your mask and get into the water for some of the best snorkeling.
1. Isla Mujeres, Mexico
While nature isn’t good at delivering sure-fire animal encounters, Isla Mujeres has nine miles of beautiful beaches that are just off Cancun, Mexico, making it about as good as it could get.
Between June and August, the beautiful turquoise waters are full of fishes, such as bonito tuna, which is what whale sharks love to eat. Whale sharks are one of the largest fish in the area and can range up to 41.5 feet long.
You can find local tour operators who can drop you off in the path of these amazingly beautiful fish, and you can stay out there for up to 20 minutes at a time, encountering these magnificent creatures. This area is the home of two different underwater statue parks, which are filled with over 500 life-like statues in up to 20 feet of water.
2. Key Largo, Florida
Back in 2017, Hurricane Irma did some damage, so you might expect that the Key Largo reefs also suffered harm. However, the upper Florida Key were largely untouched because the area was in the eye of the storm for the duration.
In this area, you’ll find that the high-profile corals are surrounded by nurse sharks, a variety of turtles (green, loggerhead, and hawksbill), and Southern stingrays. This is all just off Molasses Reef, which is an area of the National Marine Sanctuary on the Florida Keys. You’ll also see the Christ of the Abyss statue, which is at the Coral Reef State Park.
3. Glovers Reef Atoll, Belize
The best snorkeling beaches in the world likely have shallow reefs. You’d be hard-pressed to find shallower waters than at Glovers Reef Atoll. During low tide, the coral heads pop up from the sea and beachgoers can easily see them from the Off-the-Wall Dive Center/Resort.
You can don your mask and hop into the water to see a rainbow of yellows, reds, and purples of the soft and hard corals, as well as the thriving marine life. You won’t have to cover a lot of ground to encounter the rich diversity. It’s best to hover over a reef patch to see the many species, such as toadfish, blenny fish, and many others.
4. Little Cayman
While this area sees a lot of scuba divers and most people think that you can only see the large marine life if you become a certified scuba diver, you can find options for snorkeling.
The Bloody Ball Wall is off the Little Cayman island, and it is just 18 feet deep, though it does plummet steeply to 6,000 feet. However, you can stay in the shallow area to see sea turtles, eagle rays, and Nassau grouper, which sort of looks like a labrador retriever.
5. Kona, Hawaii
In Hawaii, you may be surprised to learn that green sea turtles are revered and called Honu. They’re believed to hold guardian spirits and bring good luck. It’s funny how that works, as these turtles are found on every beach in Kona.
When you get into the water, you are sure to see this type of reptile all over, especially at Kahaluu Beach Park, which is a tiny bay that doesn’t have many waves. You can also try Two Step, which is just a 30-minute drive from the town. You’ll see yellow tang, surgeonfish, dolphins, seals, and much more.
6. Koh Kradan, Thailand
Koh Kradan is a quiet island, which is off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. It’s home to the Hat Chao Mai National Park, which allows you to snorkel above anemones and untouched corals. It’s home to many clownfish, as well.
You can seek accommodation on the island, though it is of a rustic nature. If you’d like a more posh accommodation, you can find a luxury hotel on Koh Lanta, a nearby island, and can make a day trip to Koh Kradan.
This small Dutch island is loved by divers all over the world. It lies just outside the hurricane belt; it was the first island in the Carribean to designate a marine park sanctuary for its reefs and coasts. These protections have preserved the corals, which has resulted in reefs that are one of the most colorful options in the area.
Here, you’ll also find 89 different dive sites, and 63 of those can be reached from the shore. The northern half of the island has sites available for snorkelers because there aren’t as many surges and the reef plateau is up to 10 feet deep. You’ll find Andrea I, 1,000 Steps, and Witch’s Hut—all suitable for snorkeling.
8. Taveuni, Fiji
Many people go to Fiji to see the beautiful lushness of the soft corals and forests. However, it’s not as easy as you might think to find the best spots for snorkeling on every island through the chain.
One of our top picks in the area is Somosomo Strait, which is located between Vanua Levu and Taveuni. The reefs encircle the islands from the shore, but you need a boat tour to access Rainbow Reef, which we think is one of the best.
9. North Sulawesi, Indonesia
Indonesian reefs have everything you could desire, including nonstop coral and curtains of fish. Kungkungan Bay Resort is one of the best places to go for snorkeling. It’s a hideaway of sorts, but you do have a house reef that is accessible from the shore.
You may have to go muck diving, where you peruse the wonders below the water amid the sand and muck, but it is worth it.
If you enjoy snorkeling, it is essential that you find the best snorkeling beaches. You may not be able to go to each one in the near future, but it can help you plan for these trips to save the money.
Wherever you decide to go, if you choose any one of these places, we’re sure that you’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to snorkel in some of the most beautiful places in the world.