From fluorescent coral, giant clams and fish in every shape and colour to turtles, seahorses and stingrays, there’s something about the underwater world that is magical.
Whether you’re looking for Nemo, determined to see a sea turtle or want to get up close with a manta ray, here’s our Listopedia of the best snorkelling spots around the world.
Just off the coast of Maui, this dramatic crescent-shaped volcanic crater is a hotspot for snorkellers and divers. The crescent’s calm, clear waters are brimming with 250 different marine species so expect to see plenty of parrot fish, bluefin trevally, moray eels and if you’re lucky, manta rays. The crater itself is made of rock, and without dirt to drift into the water, you’ll often have visibility down to 150 feet. Catamarans and snorkel charters run tours from Maui out to the crater.
A popular day stop on South Pacific cruise itineraries, this small island in the Loyalty Islands group is home to a hidden gem in the form of a small yet seriously colourful snorkelling spot. Most cruise passengers hop off their tender and spend the day exploring the markets but make the effort to walk over to the other side of the island where a grassy cliffside covered in towels and some handmade signs mark this secret spot. Climb down the short wooden ladder straight into a small pocket of colourful soft coral, giant clams and schools of small fish that’s great for kids or those who don’t want to head out into deep water.
There are 26 atolls in the Maldives, with dozens of small islands clustered along their edges. Making the most of this aquatic playground are luxury five star resorts, each with an island or two all to themselves. Picking just one spot to spend a few days in paradise is tough, but if snorkelling is at the top of your list, the house reef at Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi is one of the best. You’ll see sea turtles, eagle rays, reef sharks and plenty of fish from the water or through the glass floor in your over water villa perched over the ocean in the North Male atoll. For something different, book into the LIME underwater spa and watch the aquatic life go by from your massage table. During March’s annual coral spawning, the spa becomes the best spot for a front row seat, with viewing sessions conducted by the resort’s resident marine biologist.