No diving gear, no dive license, no problem, our planet is riddled with insanely gorgeous snorkeling spots. Spots where you can experience the magical undersea world and an array of beautiful wildlife in waist deep water, all you need is a mask and snorkel.
Number one on many lists of best snorkeling spots in the world is Belize. Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The Hol Chan marine reserve is reputed as the best, the images look breathtaking and the experiences even more so, especially as you have an above average chance of snorkeling with Manatees in the sea grass beds. The legendary Shark Ray Alley (the name says it all) is a chance to get up close and personal with harmless Nurse Sharks and huge shoals of Rays, we would imagine this is a must on any underwater enthusiast’s bucket list.
Palau, about 800kms east of the Philippines is a close second spot. Divers and snorkelers regularly use the word "outstanding" to describe this well protected series of over 200 hundred volcanic islands. Turtles, loads of fish and gorgeous old growth coral reefs that are often referred to as the “Underwater Serengeti” make Palau one of the world’s best snorkeling and diving spots. The famous Jellyfish Lake, where you have an unusual chance to snorkel in amongst thousands of jellyfish that have evolved without a sting, is a unique and rare experience in its own right. But just look at these pictures, I would want to go tomorrow.
In third place we have Koh Tao Island in Thailand, the smallest of the gulf of Thailand’s famous islands. Koh Tao is ideal for learning to dive and snorkeling because if it's shallow reefs, knee deep in many places, plenty of boulders and rocks to explore and incredibly beautiful white sand beaches. Turtles, rays and Black-tipped Reef Sharks are all very possible on a morning’s snorkel and with beaches that look like this, why on earth wouldn't we want to chill out here with a mask and snorkel for a few days?
If you want remote and big marine animals, then number four on our list, the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia is a must. A recently declared world heritage site is one of the most remote places on earth, 1200kms north of Perth. Manta Rays, Turtles and Sea Snakes just a few feet from the beach. But the big attraction is the influx of Whale Sharks in the southern hemisphere autumn months; a chance to snorkel with the world’s biggest fish can't be missed. Did we mention, one of the best places in the world to see the highly endangered Dugong? Enough said.
In fifth place we have Bunaken National Marine Park in Indonesia. Bunaken makes it on our list purely for two reasons, visibility that averages 35m and the fact that 70% of all Indio pacific fish species occur here, more than the Great Barrier Reef. Declared on 1991, the marine reserve is also home to Dolphins, Dugongs and Turtles. Plenty of easy access and great snorkeling by just stepping into the water, and let's not forget a chance to see Pygmy Seahorses, we want to go to this place.
And just as an added extra and something totally different.... who wouldn't want to snorkel ancient ruins? The bay of Naples, Italy offers just that! The ruins cover an area three times the size of Pompeii and offers incredible opportunities to see submerged Roman shrines, splendid mosaics, and beautiful statues, all around 2000 years old, definitely something very different and unique!!