Where are the best places in the world to go snorkeling? Wilderness Travel has narrowed them down to six for those looking to explore the world underwater this winter and spring.
From the remote Coral Triangle off Indonesia to a lake filled with non-stinging jellyfish in the South Pacific to daily snorkel sessions with humpback whales in the Dominican Republic, these destinations let adventurers focus on the incredible marvels that are found closer to the water’s surface rather than at the depths of scuba divers.
- Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Offering some of the best marine biodiversity in the world with a multitude of species in its legendary coral reefs, the famous Coral Triangle is beyond remote and as beautiful above the water as below. Travelers on Wilderness Travel’s Snorkeling Raja Ampat will join a marine biologist aboard a 100-foot wooden schooner on a 12-day trip to snorkel its abundance of reefs with hard-to-spot marine life. Guests will also explore the area’s limestone rock islands, mangroves and secluded coves filled with deep blue water, as well as kayak, paddle board, hike and enjoy spectacular birding.
Spring Dates: May 7-18, May 20-31 (fall trips available in Sept., Oct. & Nov)
Pricing: Starting at $5,695 per person
- Vanuatu, South Pacific
Located in the South Pacific, little-known Vanuatu has more than 80 islands filled with vibrant coral reefs, deep blue waters, volcanoes and rainforests. Wilderness Travel’s 11-day Vanuatu: Adventures in the Isle of Happiness snorkeling trip introduces travelers to this remote region, its native peoples and their customs. Guests will journey above the clouds on an active volcano, as well as hike and kayak to waterfalls, caves and grottos. The trip includes opportunities to see plentiful marine life, including dugongs, turtles, moray eels, reef sharks and blue-spotted rays.
Spring Dates: April 15 and June 10, 2018
Pricing: Starting at $5,995 per person
- Baja, Mexico
The brilliant blue waters of the Sea of Cortez along the Baja Peninsula in Mexico are home to abundant sea life, including sea lions, sperm whales, gray whales, blue whales, mobula rays, dolphin and whale sharks, making it an ideal place to snorkel the warm waters alongside these magnificent creatures. Wilderness Travel’s 11-day Baja: Exploring the Sea offers three different itineraries that let you choose between snorkeling with whale sharks and getting up close with gray whales and their young from aboard a skiff—you’ll be at eye level! All trips include sea kayaking, sea-to-table cuisine and hiking by day through the desert landscape.
Spring Dates: Feb. 2, 13, March 16, 2018
Pricing: Starting at $6,550 per person
- Galapagos, Ecuador
It’s hard to find more wildlife than in the Galapagos, but in addition to its famous land creatures, there are plenty who make their home in the sea, as well. Wilderness Travel offers several small ship cruises with just 16 passengers and an expert naturalist guide to both the Western and Eastern islands of the Galapagos. The adventures include snorkeling excursions to Devil’s Crown and swimming among penguins, daily hikes and sea kayaking amidst wildlife with no fear of humans.
Spring Dates: Trips run nearly every week from February through June and start again in August and December
Pricing: Starting at $6,695 for a 10-day trip
- Palau, South Pacific
Described as one of the world’s last Edens by National Geographic, Palau, located in the Pacific Ocean features fantastic snorkeling, as well as a lake full of non-stinging jellyfish. “Palau has amazing underwater life with mind-blowing snorkeling, and as the location of many World War II battles, it is filled with history,” says Barbara Banks, director of marketing and new trip development for Wilderness Travel. On the company’s Palau Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking, one of their most popular trips, travelers hike to Japanese plane wrecks in the jungle and snorkel over wrecks in the sea.
Spring Dates: Feb. 17, March 18 with additional trips in Sept., Oct. and Nov.
Pricing: Starting at $6,195
- Dominican Republic
If you want to snorkel with whales, this is the place to do it come winter and spring. Populations of humpback whales winter in the area, one of only three places in the world where humans can swim among them. This gives visitors the opportunity to witness fin slaps, breaches, spyhopping, courtside dances and even a mother nurturing her calf. Wilderness Travel’s eight-day Snorkeling With the Humpbacks of the Silver Bank includes two snorkel sessions daily with accommodations aboard a 124-foot motor yacht. The trip’s leader provides informative evening talks about whales and their behaviors before adventurers dive into the waters with the great mammals by day.
Spring Date: March 17-24, 2018
Pricing: Starting at $5,095 per person
Fall Snorkeling Expeditions
Later in the year are two other fantastic snorkeling adventures that include swimming with the magnificent humpback whales of Ha’apai in Tonga, as well as an 11-day small ship cruise to Komodo, a National Geographic Tour of a Lifetime in 2015 that includes seeing its legendary dragons.
All photos credit Wilderness Travel