A little bit about the best snorkeling locations around the world:

Snorkeling is where you use snorkel fins, a snorkel mask, snorkel, and a buoyancy vest to keep them from bumping into delicate corals. In the same ballpark as skin diving and free diving that can be done really in the same manner.

Skin diving is using the mask, snorkel, and fins while diving into deeper water from the surface to get up closer to marine life. The snorkel in this instance is really just to find your target for speculation.

Freediving is an up and coming competitive sport. You use the mask and fins to try and stay underwater as long as possible and only surfacing to re-oxygenate.

Will you try out snorkeling, skin diving or freediving at one of these locations?

Turks & Caicos Islands (Pirate Islands)

Turks & Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory southeast of the Bahamas. They are a group of 40 islands with white sand beaches near the great barrier reef.

The names origin comes way back in the 1800s when Islamic corsairs once preyed on vessels in the Mediterranean. They were once called Turks and Caicos comes from a Lucayan word ‘Cayo Hico’ meaning Islands. So, come to the Pirate Islands!

It seems that Bight Reef and Smith’s Reef are the two main snorkeling sites accessible from the beach. Either beach is located on the central north coast of Providenciales and the west of Grace Bay. There are so many islands though! Learn more about Turks & Caicos here.

snorkeling turks and caicos

Photo:Sam Ketay via Creative Commons

See Aldabra tortoises in Seychelles

Seychelles is a series of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean just off east Africa. In Seychelles, the Anse Cocos beach was the hideout for pirate Olivier Levasseur who hid a treasure worth more than $160,000 that is said to remain unfound.

For those that love the idea of walking to an amazing snorkeling beach, I recommend these locations in Seychelles: Constance Ephelia near Port Launay beach which is said to have the best underwater fauna from all Seychelles. La Reserve located on Praslin, where they have snorkeling near the granite boulders which guard the beach.

Other good places to snorkel are Anse Severe on La Digue, Felicite and Coco Islands shores. While Petite Anse beach is said to be the best one on Mahe, from where you can snorkel with all kinds of fish! There are so many options!

anse lazio seychelles best beaches around the world

Anse Lazio

Maldives

The Maldives are also in the Indian Ocean and consist of more than 1,000 coral islands. This is the location of the first underwater cabinet meeting! Mohamed Nasheed, The President, transferred the cabinet meeting of October 2009 to the bottom of the ocean to raise awareness of sustainability and coral bleaching.

There are hundreds of amazing Islands in the Maldives though I recommend Baros Maldives there’s the House Reef rite out your door full of biodiversity! The western part of the island has a deep blue area where you get the opportunity to look at and swim with manta rays.

Woman free diving wearing snorkel and fins underwater with reef in background

Photo:Sebastian Pena Lambarri via Unsplash

Aruba

Aruba is a Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea. I have personally been here and have seen the California Lighthouse that is said to be open to the public to climb all the way to the top. However, it just so happened to be closed when I went. Though the former lighthouse is located on the northwest tip of the island in Oranjestad.

Boca Catalina is a short 5-minutes’ drive from the high-rise resorts in the Palm Beach area on the main road toward the California Lighthouse. Here you can find palometas swimming near the shores, trunkfish and sergeant majors while there’s many more the deeper you venture. This location is a mix of locals and tourists alike with little beach huts for shade. Learn more about Aruba here.

Hawksbill Sea turtle swimming

Photo:Cockroach Catcher via Creative Commons

St Thomas US Virgin Islands

Explore Black beards castle on St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. This castle is a token left over from the island’s history of pirates and is an old watchtower. The island was founded by the Danish in the 1600s so even though they are now a US territory they still drive on the left side of the road.

When I went a few years ago I went on a tour with Virgin Islands Ecotours were I enjoyed one of their hike, kayak, and snorkel adventures. The guide was so informative and inspiring it influenced me to get a BS in environmental science. She had little tidbits about EVERYTHING we were seeing.

She told us about the mangrove trees and how they take hundreds of years to grow and how they are impacted by the cruise ships and tourism. We kayaked through a grove of these magnificent trees as she told us about all the species that they harbor and how they really help against erosion. They even hide all the boats from the ports in them when there are storms! don’t worry they are outside the hurricane belt.

She showed us about the worlds deadliest tree! They really cannot do anything to remove them since the tree burns like acid when touched and you cannot burn it because inhaling it is also fatal! That might sound gloomy though prior I had no idea anything like that existed and they are all heavily marked.

There are also trees here where the leaves dry out so firm that you can send them through the mail. You simply etch your message into them, dry them and send them on their way. It was amazing! The US Virgin Islands also consist of Saint John, Water Island, Hassel Island and Saint Croix.

Man snorkeling with fish swarming around him

Photo:loonyhiker via Creative Commons

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are comprised of three Islands Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. They all have their own amazing qualities! The largest Grand Cayman is known for its snorkeling and medium island Cayman Brac has The Brac Parrot Reserve and is home to endangered parrots and limestone cliffs. While the smallest island called Little Cayman is home to so much biodiversity like endangered iguanas to red-footed boobies!

By far the coolest place to snorkel (at night) is at the Bioluminescent Bay on Grand Cayman. There are tours that provide wet suits for those that worry about jellies and there has never been a shark attack in Cayman. The bioluminescence is caused by millions of single-celled plankton called dinoflagellates that give off light when disturbed in the water at night!

brain looking lime green sponge umungst the reef

Photo:cmiked via Wikimedia Comnons

Caye Caulker Marine Reserve in Belize

Belize is on the eastern coast of Central America near the massive Belize Barrier Reef, dotted with hundreds of low-lying islands called cays. This area is overflowing with biodiversity and has a rich Mayan culture. Belize is the only Central American Country where English is the official language, though apart from English, there are many regional languages such as Kriol, Spanish, Garifuna, and Mayan.

Caye Caulker Marine Reserve was declared a marine reserve in 1998 and includes the portion of the barrier reef that runs parallel to the island, as well as the turtle-grass lagoon adjacent to the Caye Caulker Forest Reserve.

The Belize Barrier Reef borders the entire country of Belize and is 190 miles long. This reef system is the second-largest barrier reef in the world, second to the Great barrier reef. It is part of the larger Meso-American Barrier Reef System, stretching 560 miles. The reef system also borders Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala.

swarms of fish around some coral snorkel

Photo:Davey6585 via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re still searching for more travel inspiration check out these links:

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