Ningaloo Reef, Australia
Less crowded than the Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo Marin Park was established to protect the Ningaloo reef which runs along Australia’s west coast from Bundegi Beach to Coral Bay. Surrounding a shallow lagoon, rich in marine life, some 250 species of coral and 500 species of fish have been recorded in the park. The best snorkel site in the area is probably at Turquoise Bay where a gentle current will drift you over spectacular coral bobbies.
Utila is best known as a place to view and snorkel with harmless whale sharks. Weighing up to 15 tonnes, whale sharks are rare to find in open water, but flock to Utila from March to May and August to October.
In 1959 Jacques Cousteau named this spot as one of the world’s best places to dive. Expect to see abundant coral and plant life and an amazing variety of fish, including schools of Angel Fish, groupers, and rainbow-coloured Parrot Fish glide lazily among elegant sea fans.
Rocktail Bay, Kwazulu-Natal, SA
Home to Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles which come to lay their eggs on the sandy beaches, Rocktail Bay contains the Maputaland Marine Reserve, offering extraordinary family snorkelling with huge shoals of fish, dolphins and whales. Visit in May and June when the annual sardine migration brings larger predators including dolphins, seals and the occasional Orca whale.
Safaga,Red Sea, Egypt
Providing shallow waters, perfect for snorkelling, Safarga is considered by many to have some of the best diving in the Red Sea. A protected gulf with great visibility and little current, the best spot is at Tobia Arbaa where glassfish, giant puffer fish, octopus, morays and lionfish play among the reefs.
The family friendly snorkelling sites around the small cluster of islands off the tip of Sulawesi have some of the greatest marine biodiversity on Earth. A world leader in sustainable tourism, every diver pays a park fee that is shared among local communities and seven of the world’s eight species of giant clams can be found here.
Home to an endless variety of coral, tropical fish and large sea creatures, with a mellow current and 60 feet (18 metres) visibility and you've got a true snorkeler's paradise.
The Bismark Sea, Papua New Guinea
Getting to Papua New Guinea is no easy matter, however the snorkelling is worth the trip alone. Diving on the Pacific side is particularly good from August to October when the sea is calm and visibility often exceeds 131 feet (40 metres). Expect marine oddities including squat lobsters, sponge crabs, dwarf scorpion fish and pygmy seahorses.
Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles
The waters around Bonaire have been protected as a national marine park for almost 30 years, making this one of the Caribbean's most pristine underwater environments. Home to an endless variety of coral, tropical fish and large sea creatures, with a mellow current and 60 feet (18 metres) visibility and you've got a true snorkeler's paradise.
Snorkelling at Champagne Beach is a must — underwater volcanic vents make it look and feel as if you're snorkelling in a bowl of warm champagne and the marine life is equally sparkling. For more experienced snorkelers, Soufriere-Scotts Head Bay, at the island's southern tip, provides soft coral blankets on the submerged rim of an ancient volcano crater.
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