Best Snorkeling Places – Go on a water adventure with snorkeling that takes you beyond typical reef landscapes to some unusual places that will thrill your senses. From underground rivers in Mexico to the volcanic carbonation of the Dominicans to the beluga serenades in Canada’s Hudson Bay, these 10 snorkeling sites score great on the novelty factor.
And in the following, we have compiled a list of 10 unique snorkeling sites around the world that you can visit.
1. Churchill, Manitoba, Canada: Belugas
The first Best Snorkeling Places is Churchill Manitoba Canada. Once the ice broke and melted in June 2011, 3,000 Hudson Bay beluga whales headed for the warmer waters of the Churchill River in Manitoba, their summer home. The whale’s snow-white body glided through the saltwater like an apparition that looked curious, even friendly. Slip-on the side of the Sea North Tours Zodiac to welcome them. Arctic-rated wetsuits, hoods, and boots will keep you warm enough for a 30-minute or hour-long visit in early August.
How to get there: Take direct flights to Winnipeg from Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Las Vegas, or Orlando, plus all major Canadian cities. There is no road to Churchill. You have to take a train (40 to 50 hours) or fly (two hours) from Winnipeg.
2. Riviera Maya, Mexico: Cenotes (Best Snorkeling Places)
The Yucatan peninsula may be known for its coral reefs, but there is the most unique view through the masks in the cenotes (seh-NOH-tays) beneath the Mayan forest. Follow the guide into the caves connected by miles of beautifully illuminated underground rivers.
How to get there: Fly to Cancun. Xplor is five minutes south of Playa del Carmen. Both parks run round-trip shuttle services from the hotel area.
3. Rock Islands, Palau: Jellyfish Lake
The next Best Snorkeling places is Rock Island. There is a lake on the island of Eil Malk in the South Pacific where the reality of jellyfish is suspended. You can snorkel through the jellyfish hordes without worrying about being stung. How? For thousands of years, the golden and moon jellyfish in Jellyfish Lake have completely lost their sting because they don’t have to ward off predators. However, after a lifetime of avoiding these dangers of free swimming, most snorkelers still feel nervous about entering the water.
The volume of the jellyfish, as far as the eye can see, is another world. You’ll quickly realize hitting one (or 10) is unavoidable. When it actually happens and doesn’t hurt, the moment is real.
How to get there: Fly to Koror Island in Palau, where snorkeling tour operators offer trips to Jellyfish Lake, a 45-minute boat ride away. The secluded lake is accessed by a short path from the shore.
4. Grenada, West Indies: Underwater Museum
Just a few miles north of the Grenada capital, St. George’s, a 65s sculpture park sits on the ocean floor instead. Artist Jason deCaires Taylor created the Moliniere Bay underwater sculpture park to help restore the bay’s ecosystem several years after Hurricane Ivan wiped it out in 2004. And it worked.
It’s a fantastically strange parallel universe in shallow water six to 26 feet below the surface. Let your guide help you see it all on a snorkeling tour here or at Taylor’s other underwater museum near Cancun.
How to get there: American Airlines flies direct from Miami, and Delta flies non-stop from New York’s JFK Airport.
5. Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada: Salmon
The next Best Snorkeling places is Campbell River. Bob Hope, Goldie Hawn, and other celebrities and heads of state have visited this Vancouver Island city with the intention of snorkeling with large-scale Pacific salmon. Slide into a wetsuit with Destiny River Adventures, and a guide will take you to the hot spots where fish play in the pond at low tide. The five salmon species appear at some point between July and October, with the best views in August and September.
How to get there: Take a ferry or floatplane from Seattle to Victoria or from Vancouver to Nanaimo. By car, Campbell River is three and a half hours from Victoria and two hours from Nanaimo.
6. Dominica, Caribbean: Bubbling Volcano
Volcanic activity is alive and well on Dominica’s Lesser Antilles Island, and there’s nothing like snorkeling on it. See the island’s nine active volcanoes and the world’s second-largest boiling lake or head straight for Champagne Reef. At the southern tip of Dominica, near Pointe Michel, this snorkeling site is easily accessible from the beach. You can hire a guide and rent equipment right on Champagne Beach.
Swim in geothermal vents on the ocean floor that release a stream of tiny, warm bubbles into the 82-degree water. You can hear a buzz and feel a hiss against your skin. It’s like swimming in a glass of warm champagne. Reach one of the 110-degree rock crevices, or let your guide show you the frogs, seahorses, and other marine life in the clear bay.
Getting there: Several airlines offer connecting services from the US to Melville Hall Airport on Dominica’s northeast coast.
7. Bay Of Naples, Italy: Roman Ruins
The next Best Snorkeling places is Bay of Naples. Driving to the Mediterranean Sea on the Zodiac, you’d never know the ancient city sits on the sand and is just 400 meters from Pozzuoli beach. The boat stops at the flashy orange buoy marking the spot. Roll into the sea and you’ll see parts of the residential area of Baiae that were submerged when volcanic activity in the 16th century ravaged the coastline. Currently, a 15-foot underwater archaeological park, Parco Archeologico Sommerso di Baiae includes villas with gorgeous marble mosaic floors.
The shallowest of the five sites, snorkeling tour guides will dive in and retell stories of the statues, columns, and bar-lined streets that served the busy harbor in its heyday. The other four sites are also great for scuba diving and freediving.
Getting there: Pozzuoli is six miles north of Naples. Meridiana fly flies direct from New York’s JFK Airport to Naples in summer. U.S. airlines others offer connecting flights all year round. Or, fly to Rome and take the Eurostar train to Naples.
8. Kona Beach, Hawaii’s Big Island: Manta Rays (Best Snorkeling Places)
Every evening after sunset, a dinner theater show is held off the Kona coast of Hawaii. Microscopic plankton rises to sea level to set the scene. Charter companies bring underwater lights to illuminate the main course and attract more. Spectators adjust their masks, snorkels, and cameras then wait for the action. From the darkness, just about to arrive, as many as 12 manta rays, some with a wingspan of more than 15 feet, swooped into one of their favorites.
Fair Wind nightly manta tours depart from Honokohau Harbor, just north of Kailua-Kona, and go to active dining areas, usually at Garden Eel Cove or in front of the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort.
How to get there: From Kona International Airport, 15 minutes drive south to Marina Honokohau and 30 minutes to Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort.
You may like this:
9. Truck Lagoon, Micronesia: WWII Ships & Airplanes
The next Best Snorkeling places is Truck Lagoon. Two years and two months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the US attacked the Imperial Japanese Navy base at Truk Lagoon, Micronesia, sending 60 ships and 275 aircraft to the seabed. The ghost fleet, now coral-encrusted in crystal clear waters, has long been a must-visit destination among scuba divers. But even snorkelers can see the history of freeze time in this protected lagoon.
Aim over any of the 15 ships and planes that appear near the surface. See tankers and warships with holds still stocked with ammunition, gas masks and human remains here in the largest ship graveyard anywhere.
Getting there: United run regularly scheduled flights from Guam and Honolulu. Taxis, hotel airport transfers, and rental cars are available in Weno, the capital of Truk State.
10. Crystal River, Florida: Manatees (Best Snorkeling Places)
When the Gulf of Mexico drops to 68 degrees, they return to the warm springs of the Crystal and Homosassa rivers. It’s only a four-degree difference, but for a stout marine mammal with surprisingly little body fat, it’s a significant change. Here in clear water less than seven feet deep. They love attention and mornings.
Go snorkeling at 6:30 am, when they will swim straight at you (in slo-mo), roll over, and even rub you occasionally. Depending on the day, you may see 15 or just a couple. Best time to go: November to March, although some manatees stay in the river year-round.
Getting there: The city of Crystal River is a 75-minute drive north of Tampa and a 90-minute drive northwest of Orlando.