The Best Dream Snorkeling Vacations


Last Updated on July 9, 2024 by Snorkel Ken

Woman with basic snorkel gear swimming over the coral reef with a turtle
Beautiful woman diver swimming among the coral reef during a snorkel vacation.

Snorkeling is one of the best ways to see and appreciate the semi-wild side of the best vacation spots. Besides being an activity that is easy to do, there are numerous colorful and memorable sites you can see and enjoy. Especially after putting your daily routine on hold. Ono the other hand, with the raising awareness of protection of ecosystems, particularly marine conservation, snorkeling brings people closer to flora and fauna in their natural habitat. Therefore, it is vital to learn more about the best dream snorkeling vacations in order to make an informed choice and enjoy your vacation in every possible way.

  1. Cozumel, Mexico

The stunning underwater beauty of Isla Cozumel makes this destination one of the world’s top snorkeling and diving spots. This can be attributed to the decades of environmental protection by the federal government despite the bruising effects of hurricanes and the ever increasing tourist traffic. Cozumel offers many different remarkable sites that can be accessed from the shore or by boat. Some of the most famous spots in Cozumel include Palancar, which offers five different selections with the Gardens and the Shallows being the best for snorkeling. There is also a 40 foot airplane that was sunk in the shallow water for a movie that was shot in the 1970’s, and a nondescript strip of beach known as Dzul-Ha with magnificent coral formations offshore. However, some sites in Cozumel can have rather strong currents and it is vital to always plan accordingly.

  1. Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Young woman snorkeling over coral reef in tropical sea on a background of green island
Young woman snorkeling over coral reef in tropical sea on a background of green island

The premier destination in this spot is The Baths which are massive granite boulders that extend from the shore to sea. Although the main attractions are the shallow area for their hidden grotto and labyrinthine passages, snorkeling further out is also superb. The entire region teems with sea life and a rocky underwater terrain which offers a break from the abundant coral. However, you must take precaution to avoid being washed against protruding boulders. On the other hand, you can arrive early (before 10 a.m) so as to avoid crowds.

  1. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Since Grand Cayman is one of the busiest spots in the Caribbean, a good number of visitors are business people; however, most people travel to this destination for snorkeling and diving. Grand Cayman boasts great visibility, a rich coral reef, and a wide range of sea life, large and small. One of the most popular snorkel sites in the island is Stingray City, where wild rays have grown accustomed to being watched and fed by masked landlubbers. Eden Rock is another favorite spot that is known for its exceptional underwater grotto including the Cemetery reef and the sunken wreck of USS Kittiwake. 

  1. Barbados

Besides being one of Caribbean’s most popular cruise vacation spots, the western part of Barbados (which is also known as the Platinum Coast) is a prime area for snorkeling. This territory has gentle waters, diverse ocean life (such as sea fans, brain coral, sponges, sea turtles and a wide variety of colorful fish) and numerous underwater sightings including shipwrecks that are very close to the surface. On the other hand, you can enjoy group tours where you will be taken to numerous exciting spots around the island for snorkeling and swimming. You can also head out on your own and visit Heywood Beach and Mullins beach which offer numerous coral formations that are worth exploring.

  1. Turks and Caicos

Although Turks and Caicos is a high end destination that is frequented by rich and famous people, it is also a very popular snorkeling destination because both islands are surrounded by a very extensive coral reef system. Therefore, you will be treated to abundant marine life, excellent visibility, and quality snorkeling and diving services. You can also catch a once in a lifetime sight of migrating humpback whales teaching their calves to come up for air.

  1. Tobago Cays, St. Vincent

Nom nom nom

The Tobago Cays primarily consist of 5 uninhabited islets that are surrounded by crystalline water and rich coral reefs protected as a marine park. It is a pristine spot perfect for snorkeling. Tour operators offer thrilling day trips with a stop at Mayreau Island where you can enjoy your snorkeling adventures. You can also arrive by chartered or private yacht. Although the area gets busy especially in high season when souvenir and food vendors arrive in motorboats, they are not obtrusive in any way. There is a turtle feeding area and the underwater terrain overflows with different species of tropical fish and other creatures.

  1. Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

Curacao earns its spot among the best dream snorkeling vacations due to its reef that is so close to the shore you will encounter numerous different species of fish and beautiful coral just a few feet from the beach. On the other hand, with the temperate waters all year round and an average visibility of about 110 feet, you have an excellent underwater destination. The island offers more than 50 unique snorkeling sites and one of the best is the underwater marine park at the island’s southern end. The park offers 12 miles of stunning coral gardens, sunken ship wrecks, colorful fish, turtles, and dolphins. Curacao also offers a wide variety of restaurants, shopping complexes, hotels and nightlife.

  1. Utila, Honduras

Although Utila is the smallest among Honduras’s Bay Islands, it is best known as a spot for viewing and snorkeling with whale sharks. An adult whale shark can weigh 15 tons and measure 20 to 50 feet long. Moreover, the whale sharks are harmless feeding on krill, plankton, and other small prey. Nothing compares to sharing the experience of sharing the water with such huge animals. Although shark whales are hard to locate especially in the open water, they are most numerous around the island from August to October and March to May. Moreover, Utila offers excellent shore snorkeling including Blue Bayou which has a pier and beach for easy entry and Airport Reef with a sprawling reef formation.

These are the best dream snorkeling vacations that offer beautiful and diverse ocean life beckoning a closer look. Snorkeling is a safe and fun way of getting a close-up look at the magnificent underwater world these spots have to offer.


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