Discover the best places in the world to snorkel on board an explorer yacht charter

Published 07 November 2023

With more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface area covered by the ocean, and up to 80 percent of all earthly life located in it, there really is no shortage of remarkable creatures to encounter when diving beneath the surface. 

Rest assured toothat no matter what your level of experience, as long as you can swim, the oceanbounty is within your reach. Simply put on a mask and snorkel (and perhaps also a pair of flippers) and effortlessly float through some of the world’s most tranquil waters, experiencing the natural beauty of the underwater world without the heavy equipment or time-consuming certification involved in scuba diving.

Top tips before you embark on your snorkelling adventure  

Ensure that you know the currents – what can appear to be calwaters can be somewhat deceptive when their upper calm belies the possible activity beneath. If you think you can feel a strong current building, stay as close to the reef or rocks as possible and turn the snorkel around and head back to the yacht. Always tell a crewmember where you are going, and give them a rough direction, so they will keep an eye out on your progress and sound the alarm if you don’t return, or even send a safety boat with you 

Before adventuring out into the beautiful waters make sure you are properly prepared with protective gear

Be sure to avoid contact with all marine life, including the reef. Coral wounds can be incredibly painful and hard to heal in hot and humid climates. Check to see if you need to cover up with full length rash guards and/or gloves to protect your skin from swaying fire coral, stinging jellyfish and even some plankton. Extra protective layers will also protect you from the sun and, in some areas, are more respectful to the local communities. Covering your shoulders is anyway highly recommended as over a couple of hours this area can burn terribly if left exposed. 

What you might need  

The yacht will have all the snorkeling equipment that you might require, including fins and reef shoes or booties. You might like to take your own underwater camera, such as a GoPro though. If you are prone to ear infections, then take preventative measures and use custom moulded swimming ear plugs that prevent water ingress. 

Each snorkeling adventure is different, make sure to check that you have all the right equipment 

Best places to snorkel in the world  

Many of the world’s favourite cruising grounds provide snorkeling opportunities. While it’s certainly true that the best diving is found in the more remote regions of the world, particularly in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific, if you choose your spot carefully then the more popular cruising grounds of The Bahamas and even the Mediterranean can still offer great rewards. Wherever you choose to venture, consider an explorer yacht charter and you can embark on an adventure anywhere in the world  

The Bahamas' diverse marine life offers snorkelers extraordinary experiences and sights 

Not only does an explorer charter vessel provide the perfect platform for accessing those hard-to-reach locations, but their facilities also include everything required to ensure the most comfortable snorkeling experience possible. Whether you are looking to go further with the aid of a SeaBob, to take the tender to a snorkeling hot spot, or looking to stay close to shore, their experienced crew will know the best snorkeling spots and will have the best tips on how to make the most of your snorkeling experience. 

Reach remote snorkeling locations with a tender or take your experience to another level with a SeaBob

Once back on board you can also take advantage of all the welcoming facilities, which might range from a warming sauna, a relaxing massage, to spa pool and perhaps a viewing window to revisit your findings with fellow guests, sundowner to hand. Burgess charter experts reveal their top recommendations on where to snorkel while cruising aboard an explorer charter yacht below. 

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Perhaps the most iconic snorkeling destination in the world, the Great Barrier Reef stretches more than 1,400 miles off Australia’s mainland shoreline. Offering a wide range of snorkeling and diving opportunities, there are calm, protected reef sites which are perfect for first timersand deeper sites on the outer reefs for those with some experience who don’t mind diving down to get close to the action 

The Great Barrier Reef allows for more than just a snorkeling adventure, with many wanting to get closer to the sea life

The nooks and crannies of the more than 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays on the Great Barrier Reef make perfect homes for a vast array of exotic marine life. A thousand fish species, along with a handful of sea turtle species, inhabit what is in fact the largest reef in the world. What is more, just over half the species of fish that live along the Great Barrier Reef can be discovered in easy-to-access snorkelling spots located just off the beaches. 

Don't leave any nooks unexplored and discover the vibrant marine life Australia has to offer

Don’t miss … The riot of brightly hued coral at Heron Island, located towards the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. The late Jacques Cousteau named the Heron Bommie off Heron Island one of his top ten favourite diving sites in the world.  

Santiago Island, Galapagos

Famous for its unique wildlife both above and beneath the water’s surface, the Galápagos Islands offer truly phenomenal snorkelling experiences. Due to a lack of natural predators, the marine life here is generally tame and friendly with little fear of humans, which means that snorkellers can often swim with the big boys – sea lions, harmless, white-tipped sharks and dolphins – and get up close to Galápagos sea turtles, penguins, and a whole host of reef fish.  

The Galapagos is the gift that keeps on giving with its extensive land and sea wildlife

Don’t miss… The extinct sunken volcanic cone known as the Devil’s Crown, with a kaleidoscope of underwater coral reefs which attract a myriad variety of fish, sea turtles, reef sharks and eagle rays.  

The Exumas, Bahamas

Blessed with mile upon mile of perfect deserted white-sand beaches surrounded by dreamy turquoise shallows, it is no surprise at all that The Bahamas is a snorkeling paradise. Deciding where to explore is the only downside – from Mermaid Reef in the Sea of Abaco to the underwater sea parks of The Exumasand stand-out diving and snorkeling opportunities can be found at just about every anchorage. Strewn down the west side of the Exuma Sound for 100 miles, The Exumas offer plenty of shallow reefs for the novice snorkeler to explore, while divers can go deeper to explore the drop offs and coral walls.  

The Exumas are perfect for any level of snorkeler with many of the reefs being under 20ft deep

Don’t miss…The underwater cave at Thunderball Grotto, located to the west of Staniel Cay Great for snorkeling, the waters are home to a myriad of brilliantly coloured coral reefs that attract exotic marine life including yellow-tail snappers, angel fish and the like. Enter at the ebb tide (low) with snorkeling equipment.  

Baa Atoll, Maldives

The low-lying coral islands of the Maldives can offer some indescribable snorkeling experiences. The dive sites are endless, making it difficult to choose the best. Here even the novice snorkeler can hover in less than a metre of water and gain a bird’s eye view of the wonders that lie beneath. The more adventurous can also dive down to swim with grazing turtles, while swirling schools of fish playfully swim around youHowever, no matter how deep you go, you are virtually guaranteed many magical moments wherever you venture beneath the surface in any of the Maldives’ 26 atolls.  

Make it a family snorkeling adventure in the tranquil blue waters of the Maldives 

Don’t miss The entirety of the Baa Atoll is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Simply don your mask and snorkel and jump into the shallow, clear waters and swim with protected manta rays, whale sharks, docile reef sharks and sea turtlesVisibility is generally best during the dry season from December to April, but the marine life can still be wonderful through the rainy season, although sea conditions then are less predictable and the visibility less swimming pool-like. 

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

The South Pacific is home to some of the most beautiful islands on the planet, and one of the most famous and exotic of these is the island of Bora Bora in French PolynesiaSurrounded by a large lagoon that is three times the area of the island’s landmass, the waters here are good for both beginners and advanced snorkelers. 

Swim alongside the stunning manta rays as you explore the clear waters of the Bora Bora Lagoon

The calm waters of the Bora Bora Lagoon are home to coral gardens and a comprehensive range of marine life including triggerfish, colourful wrasse, surgeon fish, angel fish, parrotfish, and more.  Adventurous snorkelers will find that the outer reef off the Teavanui Pass is stuffed with a stunning array of both hard and soft corals which play host to both manta and sting rays, friendly black-tip reef sharks and shy lemon sharks.  

Take your underwater exploration deeper and visit the ruins of Buddha statues located in the depths of the lagoon 

Don’t miss… The pastel coral garden off the southern end of Motu Pitiaau and Motu Piti Uuuta, nicknamed the ‘Aquarium’.  

Koh Tao, Thailand

Surrounded by crystal-clear water and dotted with an abundance of tranquil beaches, sheltered coves and enchanting bays, the small Thai island of Koh Tao is synonymous with world-class diving and snorkeling. Easily accessible bays cater to both beginners and experts. The gently sloping coastline that lines the eastern side of the island offers a rich coral reef where baby sharks, trigger fish and blue spotted rays frolic in the shallow waters. Alternatively, both green turtles and black-tip reef sharks can be found to the south of the island, along with colourful saddleback clownfish and stingrays.  

Koh Tao Island has more to offer than just stunning seascapes, explore all the beauty the island offers a shore 

Don’t miss…The Japanese Gardens, a dive site littered with granite boulders covered with hard and soft coral that host spectacular aquatic life.  

The Red Sea

The Red Sea is a spectacular playground for snorkelers. Historic shipwrecks and abundant reefs attract all manner of sea life to swim among the coral gardens. Close to shore, the clear, shallow waters are home to several fringing reefs, while further from the coast the visibility remains perfect, thanks to the clear waters and the bright sunlight penetrating deep into the sea, making the reefs perfect for snorkelers of all skill levels.  

Take the plunge down and discover the shipwrecks that lay beneath the surface 

Explore the underwater world through your mask and see dream-like coral structures; and swim with turtles, sharks, lionfish, rays and eels, and discover clownfish in their anemone and reef flats covered by giant clams. No matter where you snorkel in the Red Sea, you will encounter an array of colourful life lying just beneath the surface.  

Embrace the calmness that comes from admiring the vibrant marine life 

Don’t miss…The opportunity to explore the reef under the light of the moon (full moon of course recommended for the best visibility), with the glow of bioluminescent plankton.  

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

If you yearn to get up close and personal with all manner of marine life in somewhere that time and the world forgot, then Raja Ampat should be at the top of your bucket list. Made up of more than 1,500 islands, this Indonesian-owned paradise in West Papua is home to the world’s greatest concentration of marine life per square mile

Admire and explore the jungle-covered landscapes with short hikes that lead to stunning vantage points 

The extraordinarily biodiverse waters here contain approximately 75 percent of all the known coral species in the world – making for literally perfect coral reefs with both hard and soft corals and endless marine life. Calm bays and crystal-clear waters are ideal for all levels of snorkelers. Drift with the current alongside more than 1,000 different species of fish, manta rayssharks and green and hawksbill sea turtles 

Raja Ampat's crystal-clear waters are ideal for snorkelers of all levels

Don’t miss… The network of channels and bays that make up Manta Sandy and Manta Ridge are amongst the most popular snorkeling sites in Raja Ampat. The underwater topography is ideal for plankton and therefore the most likely place to find manta rays and whale sharks.

Start your snorkeling adventure on board your perfect yacht charter experience with Burgess. Enquire now.

To find out more about Burgess’ yachts for sale and yachts for charter, please contact a Burgess broker. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our offices directly: London, Monaco, New York, Miami, Singapore or all other locations.

Yachts, prices and availability are correct at the time of publication.

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