The world is mostly comprised of oceans, which means that there's literally something to explore in every corner of the globe. With so much water covering one surface, there's no denying the fact that an unbelievable world awaits us just below the surface. Most people think scuba diving is the only way to access these otherworldly environments but the truth is, some live only feet below the water.

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For those who aren't scuba-certified, snorkeling is the best means of exploring available. It's a recreational hobby that shouldn't be discounted considering how much of the world's oceans and bodies of water can be seen through a pair of goggles, only a foot below the surface. At some of the world's most vibrant reefs, snorkeling is sometimes even better than scuba because it allows a person to get up close and personal without an oxygen tank or any other specialized gear. If you're hoping to include snorkeling in your oceanside vacation this year, these reefs are just waiting to put on an underwater show.

Belize And Certain Caribbean Islands

Belize is a beautiful country, in general, so it's not surprising that its underwater world is just as mesmerizing. It's not only one of the best places to snorkel in the world, but it's also home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world. This means that the diversity of the wildlife snorkelers will see just below the surface is some of the most biologically diverse in the world, as well. The waters around Belize are crystal-clear as well, making snorkeling easy work for those who aren't necessarily used to navigating foreign waters.

While the marine life around the Caribbean is specific to its waters and isn't as diverse as the Pacific, it's still a treat to see various schools of tropical fish and colorful reef flora swaying in the current. Among those commonly seen, purple sea fans, unique coral arrangements, and tube sponges are the most prevalent in these shallow waters. Marine life often includes sightings of groupers, turtles, and even nurse sharks, around the reef systems. Other Caribbean islands that offer equally as exciting reef snorkeling include Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and Honduras.


The Philippines is an extraordinary destination from its scenic vistas to its traditional dishes, and many people don't peg it for a prime snorkeling destination. Thanks to crystal-clear blue waters and reefs that are shallow enough for snorkelers, there's no reason it couldn't be a perfect vacation. For the most part, what's seen in photos and videos of the Philippines regarding its pristine beaches and tropical settings are pretty accurate - and the access to snorkeling locations is simply the icing on top of what's already a beautiful tropical cake.

Due to its unique location just north of the Coral Triangle, this country gives way to some of the most diverse marine life on the planet. Its reefs are shallow yet bustling with life, surrounded by hard coral and marine plant life that's absolutely stunning beneath a glimmering blue ocean. It's relatively easy to snorkel in the waters around the Philippines although some reef locations do dip up to 15 feet in depth; agile swimmers will be able to make quick work of this navigation. Reefs that are found in deeper waters are just at beautiful from the top as they are from the bottom so there's no need for snorkelers to venture deeper, regardless of the water's depth.


Indonesia's reefs are similar to the Philippines in the sense that it, too, borders the Coral Triangle. However, location does make a difference and whereas the Philippines is to the north, Indonesia sits directly in the middle of the Triangle, which gives it prime reef access. Its proximity to the southern border of the Triangle also provides it necessary nutrients needed to have a thriving reef population, which is why snorkeling in Indonesia is such a colorful and thrilling experience.

Cold currents from the southern part of the ocean also keep the reefs from facing bleaching damage, giving some protection to these stunning ecosystems. The reefs in Indonesia are also home to one of the biggest coral species in the world, which brings a diverse array of tropical fish and flora to the mix. There are several different places around Indonesia that lend themselves to pristine snorkeling conditions, including Raja Ampat, Komodo, Bunaken, Wakatobi, and Alor. Any one of these places would be a stellar destination for snorkeling and reef exploring.

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