Snorkeling is more than just the practice of swimming on or through a body of water to observe underwater life in a natural setting. It is an adventure activity that you can experience around the globe in a bagillion tropical locations. Okay, a bagillion is a lot, and maybe not even a real number, but remember, there are a lot of fish in the sea! Why not swim the globe while enjoying the tropical destinations snorkeling adventures have to offer? In the words of our favorite blue tang, Dory: just keep swimming! Pack up your travel snorkel fins and let the adventure begin.
The world is a mighty big place. It is full of wonder and intrigue, as well as more different species of marine life to observe and admire than colors for your snorkeling mask. When picking a location for the best snorkeling beaches, think big and be the star(fish) of your own underwater adventure!
Australia - Great Barrier Reef: Alrighty then, mate! So you want to quench your thirst for adventure by snorkeling abroad? Consider snorkeling in Australia if you enjoy life at a slower, friendlier pace. Immerse yourself in the history of the Australian Aboriginal Island peoples and their traditions. While there, snorkel the largest living organism on Earth, the Great Barrier Reef! The GBR is more than 1400 miles of 600 types of hard and soft coral. Not only is it an amazing place to snorkel for the coral alone, but it is also home to hundreds of species of fish, molluscs, starfish, turtles, dolphins, and sharks.
Tahiti: The turquoise lagoon waters of the French Polynesian islands attracts adventure seekers around the globe who enjoy island hopping. Learning about the ancient polynesian heritage is also an attractive aspect of this location. With uniquely formed coral reefs, the French Polynesian Islands, also known as the islands of Tahiti, are home to hundreds of fish species, shellfish, crustaceans, and sea turtles, and are a snorkelers paradise. Snorkeling in Tahiti’s waters next to pearly white sand is also a draw for travelers.
Mexico: Travel across the border to the west coast of Mexico into a world of laid-back culture, spicy cuisine, and basking in the Sea of Cortez at Cabo San Lucas— where the desert meets the sea. Jacques Cousteau himself described this wondrous place as the “world’s aquarium” and the “Galapagos of North America,” so it’s no surprise it’s a favorite for snorkeling in Mexico. See over 600 species of marine life at a fraction of the price as scuba diving!
United States: Adventure seekers around the world travel for snorkeling in Hawaii. Hawaii is typically known for surfing, but snorkeling is world class in these royal blue waters of the Pacific. The beaches are beautiful and the weather is perfect year-round. Visit the Big Island if you want to see big fields of healthy corals. If you want to see gigantic sea turtles, Maui is your best bet.
You now have an idea about where you want to go. Why not make life even more interesting and sign up for a snorkeling program that will add meaning to your travels and life overall? The most common types of snorkeling programs abroad are geared toward vacationers, but many advertise a combination of adventure and volunteering. Whether you are part of a large group, small group, or a lone ranger, make a positive impact on the world AND swim with beautiful marine life. Sounds like a perf opportunity!
Short-term Programs. You’ve been saving your vacation days for this very moment. Dust off your flippers and jet off for one to two weeks spent floating on the sea. These programs are typically small-group, so you’ll be sure to make friends without fins, too. Learn all about marine wildlife on your guided snorkel adventure.
Multi-country Snorkeling Adventures. Australia or Tahiti? Sometimes the decision isn’t as easy as a coin flip. Porque no los dos? Why choose between the two when you can go on a multi-country snorkeling adventure travel program. Collect stamps on your passport as you dip your flippers in the South Pacific Ocean one day and the Coral sea the next. On a multi-country program you’ll get to SEA it all!
Pair it with Volunteering or Language Learning Abroad. You certainly can’t be expected to snorkel 24/7 on your adventure travel program, you’d get all pruney! For landlubbers who need a break from their sea legs, pick a program that incorporates volunteering or learning a foreign language abroad. Really dive into your host country and culture, literally!
Dive One-on-One. With personal snorkeling instruction, you’ll gain more hands-on experience in a faster amount of time while exploring the depths of the oceans and discovering the diversity of wildlife “Under the Sea.” If you’re interested in marine research where you’ll be monitoring whales and surveying turtles, these programs are right up your current – er – alley.
The variety in program types allow adventure seekers the opportunity to help do their part to make the world a better place while at the same time enjoying snorkeling and other activities in natural settings. Since most snorkeling destinations are warm climates, programs may be offered year-round. Check the length of service to find the best program for your situation — programs for teenagers are typically offered only during summer months.
Tips and Advice for Snorkeling Adventures
As with most things in life, there are pros and cons. You just need to take inventory of your life and decide which location or program makes the most sense for you. If you are a student and desire to maximize your time abroad, consider a summer snorkeling adventure program. There are countless programs overseas that are one to two weeks or even shorter.
When planning, be aware of unexpected costs that might incur. If you have never snorkeled before and you are traveling to an exotic place, it would be a good idea to purchase your gear at home before you leave to avoid overpaying. Travel snorkel fins, snorkel, mask, and a wetsuit are necessities. Many places might not have gear readily available, so do not assume you will take care of things when you get there.
Take a dip in your local pool before departure if you are new to snorkeling to help you get used to the gear before jumping in the ocean waters. Practice will also help you get in shape so you can really enjoy your time in the water. Sunscreen and a hat are also a must!
Benefits & Challenges
A benefit of traveling to the best snorkeling in the world is that you will see different sea life and scenery than you would by staying close to home. It allows you to experience a different culture; by learning about other people and places, you will without a doubt learn more about yourself and return home with a grateful heart and head full of memories (in addition to salt water!).
At the same time, however, there are challenges. Time and financial constraints can deter you from signing up for a snorkel adventure going as big as you dream. Plan ahead and find a good program or tour that that will give you the most bang for your buck. You can get started with funds by creating a customizable Fund My Travel campaign, too.
No matter what stage of life you find yourself in right now, the time is right to take the plunge with a snorkeling adventures! You never know what might be just around the next bend, or coral reef in your case. Enjoy the amazing views and friendships you form along the way— you’ll find Nemo eventually!