Top Ten Snorkelling Sites in the World

You don’t necessarily need to strap a tank on your back to experience some of the world’s greatest marine environments. From pristine shallow reefs to big animal encounters in the open ocean and even swimming between tectonic plates, discover the best snorkelling spots across the globe.
1. Jellyfish Lake: Koror, Palau

Located on an uninhabited island off Koror in Palau, Ongeim'l Tketau Jellyfish Lake has one of the most unique snorkelling experiences in the world. Once connected to the ocean, the saltwater lake is home to thousands of jellyfish, able to flourish due to a lack of predators. Their stings are undetectable by humans so snorkellers can swim in a jellyfish soup.

2. Sailfish Snorkelling: Alphonse, Seychelles

Snorkellers can try and keep up with the fastest fish in the ocean, the sailfish, off Alphonse Island in the Seychelles. Heading out into the open ocean, teasers are deployed off the side of the boat to lure sailfish from the deep blue; there's nothing quite like seeing their silvery silhouettes slip past - although at 70 miles per hour, you might struggle to keep up.

3. Silfra Fissure: Iceland

One of the most iconic sites in the world, navigate your way through the glacial waters of Iceland's Silfra fissure, the only place you can snorkel between tectonic plates and boasting the longest visibility in the world at 100+ metres. Temperatures stay a consistent two to four degrees centigrade so prepare to don your dry suit, while the water is so clear and fresh you can drink it (we did, it' delicious).

4. Hanifaru Bay: Baa Atoll, Maldives

Join the world's largest manta ray conga line in Hanifaru Bay in the Maldives. Between June and November, hundreds of manta rays gather alongside whale sharks to feed in the plankton-rich waters of Hanifaru Bay; there is nothing quite like being surrounded by a flash mob of dancing manta rays.

5. Rainbows End: Somosomo Strait, Fiji

Featuring a gentle sloping reef carpeted in hard and soft corals, Rainbow Reef is an explosion of colour not to be missed. The visibility is so clear you can see the reef from the boat, but jump in and a whole new world will reveal itself, with huge clouds of blue-girdled angelfish, red-tooth triggerfish, parrotfish, Napoleon wrasses, blue ribbon eels and so much more.

6. Tagus Cove: Isabela Island, the Galapagos Archipelago

Only accessible by boat, Tagus Cove is located to the north of Isabela Island, a staggering 124 miles from the nearest inhabited areas. But it's worth the voyage as snorkellers will be met by Galapagos penguins, sea lions, flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, green turtles and sting rays galore.

7. The Open Ocean: Mo'orea, French Polynesia

Not a specific site per se but the deep blue of the open ocean. Head to Mo'orea between July and November to snorkel with humpback whales, which gather in the warm waters to breed and rear their young.

8. Sea of Cortez: Baja California, Mexico

In May snorkellers can witness the largest ray migration on Earth just off the shores of Baja California. Snorkel above massive schools (we're talking thousands) of mobula rays as they effortlessly glide in union below; their acrobatic displays are so beautiful they were featured on the BBC's award-winning Blue Planet II series.

9. Shark Feeding: Nassau, Bahamas

Not technically snorkelling or scuba diving, discover the world of snuba at Stuart's Cove. Breathing through a regulator, snuba allows snorkellers to breathe up to five metres underwater, and with ample shallow reefs and wrecks around Nassau, there's plenty to explore. Don't miss the Vulcan Bomber wreck, which you might recognise from James Bond's Thunderball.

10. Largahan: Apo Island, The Philippines

Located off Dumaguete, the small volcanic Apo Island is surrounded by eight reefs with a huge array of fantastic snorkelling sites and a mammoth amount of marine life. Largahan is a nice easy snorkelling site, great for spotting macro critters with over 300 different types of nudibranch alone.

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Jacqui is our 'Top Ten Snorkelling Sites in the World' expert and as a seasoned traveller has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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