There are over 330,000,000 cubic miles of ocean on the planet, from the deepest, darkest waters of the North Sea to the crystal clear tranquil waters of the Caribbean. Snorkelers and divers are truly spoilt for choice, yet so many marine adventurers congregate around the same locations, leaving so many relatively unexplored and untouched regions.
In this guide we’ll help you to cast your net a little further, showing you 5 snorkel hotspots that are seriously underrated and are just as deserving of your time as a Caribbean or Australian adventure.
The Galapagos Islands is where Charles Darwin compiled many of his notes on evolution, and where his revolutionary ideas where formed. It’s part of the Republic of Ecuador in South America, but it’s like no other island on earth, with many tourists saying that a visit to the Galapagos is like stepping onto another planet.
There are a huge number of animal species that live here and can only be found here, and this is as true of the island’s rocky shores as it is of the waters that surround it. It’s the ultimate snorkeling adventure for someone who wants to get close to weird and wonderful marine life and to see things that they simply won’t find anywhere else.
There are a number of different islands in the Galapagos, including the simply named Nameless Island or Pan de Azucar in Spanish, which is primarily used by SCUBA divers. The islands are small, with a combined area of around 3,000 square miles (around half the size of the city of Beijing) but you could spend a lifetime exploring its otherworldly coastlines and still not see everything there is to see.
That is the beauty of the Galapagos Islands, and that’s why this is one of the best places for divers, snorkelers and adventurers.
The Greek islands have some of the best coastlines in the world, with the cleanest and clearest waters you will ever see. Santorini is a great example of this and one we’ve discussed at great length on this site. But there is more to Greece than this sun-drenched paradise, especially if you’re looking to throw on some flippers and explore the Aegean.
Paxos is a great example of just how beautiful these islands can be, and it’s also not as popular as other islands, so at times it will feel like you have the entire region to yourself. Legend has it that Paxos, also known as Paxi and Paxoi (Παξοί), was created when Poseidon struck Corfu with his trident. It’s small, coming in at just under 30 square miles, but it’s breathtakingly beautiful and is a haven for snorkelers and swimmers.
You can spend all day exploring the crystal clear waters and getting to know the local marine life, before spending your evenings enjoying some sunshine and ouzo outside one of the many local tavernas.
The Sunshine State is a hotspot for tourists, but the vast majority are there to see the fake animals in Disney World or the captive ones in Sea World. Very few of those tourists make their way to the coast to explore the beautifully clear and diverse Emerald Coast, and the ones that do are often there to take the party boats or the gambling cruises out to International waters.
There is so much more to this area though. The city of Destin is a great example of this, with sand as white as sugar and water as clear as anything you’ll find around the coastline of Kos and Rhodes. There are a number of snorkeling services that take eager explorers into the warm and clear waters where they can see the marine life, explore shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico, and even swim with the dolphins.
There are over 10,000 dolphins said to be living in this region, and they are used to humans, so they are very playful and friendly. What’s more, these services are much cheaper than what you’ll find around the Caribbean and other hotspots. They don’t charge a premium because the demand simply isn’t as high as it is elsewhere.
You can hire an experienced captain to take you out on a snorkeling adventure for less than $20 per person, and there are also a number of Florida dolphin cruises for families.
Destin isn’t the only place to have some underwater fun either, Key West is also a snorkeler’s paradise, although it’s a little more popular and tends to attract many more tourists as a result.
Best known as a tax haven, the Cayman Islands also have everything that a tourist could ask for, with year-long sunshine and a picture-perfect coastline. George Town is one of the best places for snorkelers on the islands, with rainbow reefs, countless exotic fish, and even a few shipwrecks.
It is everything that a snorkeler could want, and you don’t even need to go that far to get it. The Wreck of the Cali is just 100 feet away from the coast of George Town and is only 20 feet deep, making it one of the few historic shipwrecks you can explore without needing to strap on the SCUBA gear. It’s also free to visit, and there are a number of local companies that can supply you with essential gear at an affordable price.
If it’s shipwrecks that you’re looking for then set sail for Aruba, where you’ll find shipwrecks like the Antilla, a colossal German ship that went down during the Second World War and is currently rusting 30 feet below the surface of the Caribbean Sea.
There are reefs nearby as well, and visitors to the Antilla note that the ship has become home to so much coral that it actually looks like a manmade reef itself! The only downside to snorkeling in Aruba is that it’s a little more expensive than other options on this list, with snorkeling tours costing upwards of $50. But you’ll get a guide and some necessary equipment included in this price, which makes it an ideal option for inexperienced snorkelers. Aruba is an overlooked Caribbean hotspot that deserves way more attention than it gets
Happy Gringo.com can help you organize the perfect South America and the Galapagos Islands tour for an unforgettable snorkeling adventure. Please contact one of your travel experts in this link.
This was a guest post by the author Jenny Hughes, she has written several blogs all across the spectrum but specializes mainly in traveling and exploring to see animals of all kinds. With several years in the field, Jenny has been raising awareness on cleaning up our oceans to help save all the wonderful animals that live in them.