You can snorkel wherever there’s water although some sections of sea are certainly more satisfying than others; the Coral Triangle, in Southeast Asia, for instance. This vast underwater area is where the Indian Ocean meets the Pacific and boasts the most marine biodiversity on our big blue planet. Snorkel safari vacations around the Raja Ampat archipelago, in eastern Indonesia, and the islands of the Philippines and Komodo National Park, place you right at the heart of the Coral Triangle. Protected parks, such as Bunaken National Marine Park, north of Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island, provide some simply spellbinding snorkelling with beach accommodation, house reefs and exclusive, snorkellers-only boat trips conjuring an abundance of opportunities to see what lies beneath.
Komodo National Park

1. Komodo National Park

Snorkel the waters surrounding Rinca, Padar and Komodo islands and you’ll be treated to a huge diversity of marine life with everything from torpedo rays and sea turtles to sea horses and iridescent reef fish making the most of more than 500 varieties of hard coral. The chance to snorkel with manta rays before walking with dragons is what makes Komodo National Park such an exciting prospect.
North Sulawesi Island

2. North Sulawesi Island

Amidst Amazon-like jungles of sea grass and hundreds of species of coral you’ll be treated to an incredible underwater spectacle where angelfish, seahorses, and giant clams all make the most of the protected realm of Bunaken National Marine Park. Dolphins and whales are also well known to inhabit the waters around Sulawesi – worth keeping an eye out for as you head back to the beach.
Pemuteran Village

3. Pemuteran Village

Just off the northwest coast of Bali, an artificial Bio-Rock reef has been set up as part of a community-driven project to reintroduce new life to the region, both underwater and on dry land. Snorkellers will find a fascinating collection of steel structures supporting an array of tropical fish, turtles, lobsters, frogfish, shrimps, sponges and coral nurseries. Nocturnal trips over the house reef are simply surreal.
Raja Ampat

4. Raja Ampat

East Indonesia’s least developed archipelago has hundreds of tiny coral cays and uninhabited desert islands surrounded by some of the most diverse coral reefs on the planet. The Fam Islands, in particular, have more than their fair share of secluded coral, with boat rides offering access to literally millions of fish and rare underwater species. Underwater cameras are essential.
Visayan Islands

5. Visayan Islands

Reef sharks, sea turtles and thousands of shimmering sardines can all be seen around the Visayans in the Philippines which makes these islands, just offshore from Cebu, certain to be celebrated by snorkellers. Private boat rides as part of an organised tour take you away from the busy beaches and into underwater heaven with reef walls, cave pools and coral gardens, all close to the surface.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Snorkel safaris or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.


Strictly snorkelling
Ben Stokes, from our supplier Dive Safari Asia, explains how snorkelling safaris allow travelers to experience underwater adventures with minimum impact to the environment:

Strictly snorkelling

“For too long, snorkellers have had to share boats with divers. With snorkellers usually in the minority they are often taken to sites which just aren't suitable – for example, the reef is too deep. The timescale for the outings is also tailored around scuba diving. On our snorkelling safari trips we have exclusive use of boats, so the sites, timing and overall experience is tailored just for snorkellers, which means the sites and the experience as a whole are naturally so much better.”
Why snorkel in the Coral Triangle?

Why snorkel in the Coral Triangle?

“The best way to describe snorkelling in the Coral Triangle for someone who has never been before would be to ask them to imagine going for a walk on a bright sunny day and being surround by the most amazing colourful flowers all around you, with amazing birds and wildlife passing by. But everything you see is new and different - completely alien to you. That's what it's like to snorkel the amazing reefs of the Coral Triangle. My best ever snorkelling experience was with manta rays in Komodo, Indonesia; they glide up to the surface and move in the most amazing ways. They are also quite inquisitive.”
Sustainable snorkelling

Sustainable snorkelling

“Almost all the destinations we visit require us to pay a marine park fee which goes towards protecting the marine ecology of the region. This could include funding rangers for patrolling areas and preventing destructive fishing practices; implementing ‘no-take’ zones; and carrying out research for local government policy on the benefits of protecting the surrounding environment. We use low impact accommodation with usually not more than 20 rooms built using local practices of construction. Each resort has a very high local employee ratio – many of whom could have formerly worked in the fishing industry. Our groups are small and we encourage minimum impact – a no touch/feed policy. We also carry lots of reef-safe sunscreen for all our guides and travelers to use throughout the tour.”
Secret spots

Secret snorkelling spots

“My favourite spots are Raja Ampat and Komodo in Indonesia. The reefs are packed with life and they are great in the shallows – you can see so much life in just a few metres of water – plus you have great chances of seeing manta and friendly reef sharks up close.”
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Tiomax80] [Intro: Lakshmi Sawitri] [Komodo National Park: Charlie Marchant] [North Sulawesi Island: Christian Gloor] [Pemuteran Village: Selamat Made] [Raja Ampat: bubusbubus] [Visayan Islands: Alexey Komarov] [Strictly Snorkelling: dronepicr] [Why snorkel in the Coral Triangle?: Christian Gloor] [Sustainable Snorkelling: q phia] [Secret Snorkelling Spots: Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten]