G+ YouTube Pinterest Instagram
The Gap Year Blog

Top 5 Places to Snorkel

26 Jun 2016 17:25 PM


Kealakekua Bay is filled with colourful marine life and is titled the largest deep-water bay in Hawaii. The bay is home to many ancient religious temples and archaeological sites but these can only be discovered via foot paths or kayak. The best snorkelling in Hawaii is done in this underwater natural playground! There is an extensive coral reef and an abundance of ocean life, including bottlenose or spinner dolphins that leap and jump in the air. It’s also possible to find pilot whales living in these waters year-round!

Flickr | Charles Chandler | Kealakek


Champagne Reef in south-west Dominica is a marine protected reef that gets its name from the champagne-like bubbles emerging from its depths. These bubbles come from gases released in volcanic activity under the earth! The reef is shallow enough for snorkellers and the water temperature over the vents makes the sea floor warm to the touch. A myriad of sea life can be seen at this top rated snorkelling site including lobsters, parrot fish and hawksbill sea turtles. Seahorses and the remains of a 17th-century Spanish shipwreck can also be discovered during your marine exploration!

Flickr | Scuba_thib | Klein Bonaire, Bonaire


Klein Bonaire or ‘Little Bonaire’ is the Dutch name for this small and uninhabited island off the west coast of Bonaire. It’s surrounded by a beautiful coral reef home to thousands of tropical fish so snorkelling cannot be missed! Head to No Name Beach, one of few true pristine, white-sandy beaches in Bonaire and also happens to be protected by the national park. The good snorkelling spots have shallow reef areas and fairly steep drop offs for shallows and depths to explore. The reef offers copious amounts of marine wildlife including anemone, angelfish and turtles! Excellent water clarity is typical of snorkelling in Klein Bonaire and these make perfect conditions for observing breathtaking corals and magnificent sponges.


Belize's oldest and most popular snorkelling sites, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve started as a community-based initiative due to concerns over the destructive fishing activities in the area. The entire reserve is divided into four zones: The Reef, The Seagrass Beds, The Mangroves and Shark Ray Alley. Over 160 species of fish, along with nearly 40 species of corals, 5 sponges, 8 algaes and 3 species of sea turtle reside in these zones. Perfect for the inexperienced, this region offers all the beauty that the Caribbean has to offer in the Reserve’s shallow waters, white sands and nearly 100 feet of visibility.

Flickr | SNORKELINGDIVES.COM™ | Loggerhead turtle rising while snorkeling Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Belize

The Philippines

Tubbataha Reef is a protected National Park and World Heritage UNESCO site that preserves marine life in the remote island in Palawan. This remote area located within the Coral Triangle supports more than 350 coral species and 600 fish species. Around 100 bird species use coral atolls as nesting grounds so these can be seen during marine exploration too! The reef has been ranked among the top 10 snorkelling sites in the world to experience the biodiversity, large marine mammals and impressive underwater terrain. The site can only be accessed on a live-aboard boat which makes the experience unique still.

And there you have it! These are 5 of our favourite snorkelling destinations that span across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Let us know if you agree or believe we’ve missed one out! Be sure to also check out our marine conservation projects in Belize and the Philippines! 

By Anaka Nair - Online Journalism Intern