Humans have long had a fascination with the mysteries of the underwater world. We’ve come a long way from fearing treacherous sirens and the beastly Kraken to listening to Sir David Attenborough narrate the adventures of sea creatures in the Blue Planet series. However, if watching documentaries is not enough to quench your curiosity, here are the world’s best snorkeling destinations so you can experience the wonders of the sea first-hand.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
One of the Caribbean’s well-kept treasures, Ambergris Caye is a feast for the eyes—exotic birds fly over the forest, while coral sand beaches dot the coast. At Hol Chan, you can see schools of big barracudas and shy fairy basslets, with their intense yellow and purple hue. Three minutes away you’ll find Shark Ray Alley, where friendly stingrays rub against your legs excitedly waiting for the dive masters to feed them.
Ilha Grande, Brazil
Travelers willing to escape Rio de Janeiro’s hustle and bustle can find peace on the pristine island of Ilha Grande, where locals walk barefoot and the elderly smile at you from their windows. Snorkelers at Lagoa Verde (Green Lagoon) will see an explosion of colorful sergeant major fish, while at Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon), gentle seahorses and sea turtles are the stars of the show.
3.The Big Island, Hawaii
Smack-bang in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii has attracted visitors to savor its incredible nature ever since Thomas Cook set foot on the island. The tide pools of Kahaluʻu Beach Park are the perfect place to spot sea turtles feeding on seaweed, but in Kealakekua Bay, the multi-colored coral is teeming with amber buttery fish and magenta pencil sea urchins.
Palawan, The Philippines
The Philippines conjure up the quintessential paradise destination with over 7,000 islands of silvery sand beaches and turquoise waters. If you head to Palawan, the vibrant marine life of Tapiutan is brimming with white striped clownfish (Nemo), bannerfish, and slow-moving blue starfish.
Komodo Island, Indonesia
Best known for the famous giant monitor lizards, Komodo Island is also a top snorkeling spot due to the nutrient-rich cold waters coming from the Indian Ocean, attracting exquisite marine life. Sought-after Pink Beach is home to slumberous hawksbill turtles and an energetic underwater jungle. To watch 4-meter wide rays, head to nearby Manta Point.
Whether it’s flamingos at the mudflats, the wild orange trees, or the crocodiles in the lakes, it’s easy to see why the region is dubbed the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean.” However, the real gem lies undersea, where snorkelers can see the ever-elusive dugong (sea cow), playful dolphins, and sea turtles at the Two-Mile Reef.
This small tropical island is located off the northeast coast of Borneo, and was described by Jacques Cousteau as an “untouched piece of art.” The flourishing underwater reef is swarming with schools of jackfish and humphead parrotfish, and over at Turtle Tomb, bales of turtles seem unbothered by the presence of humans