Adventure Nature Sports

Visited Names Top 20 Snorkeling and Diving Spots in the World

The world’s top snorkeling and diving destinations offer crystal-clear water, a breathtaking variety of marine life, and unforgettable travel experiences. The best places to snorkel and dive are ranked by the Visited app, a top travel app with over 2 million international users. You can check out more bucket list destinations and get your own personalized travel map using Visited. Mark off where you’ve been and plan your next dream getaway with the Visited app. 

The best places to snorkel and scuba dive, according to Visited users, are:

1. Cancun

Cancun, Mexico, is the number one snorkeling spot in the world. The Caribbean coastal city offers crystal-clear waters and a rich range of marine life in the Great Mayan Reef. Cancun’s waters offer excellent visibility, ranging from 9 to 30 meters (30 to 100 feet) depending on the time of year and weather conditions. Divers can see abundant marine life, including over 600 species of fish, 100 species of coral, and a variety of sea turtles. Isla Mujeres is an island off the coast of Cancun that is known for its beautiful beaches and excellent snorkeling. There are several reefs around Isla Mujeres, including the Manchones Reef and the National Marine Park. The Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA) is an underwater art museum located off the coast of Cancun. The museum is home to over 500 sculptures that have been created by Mexican artists.

Related Post: Visited Names Top 25 of the World’s Best Beaches

2. Bali

Bali, Indonesia, offers breathtaking diving and snorkeling. The tropical island is located within the Coral Triangle, the global epicenter of marine biodiversity. Divers can see an incredible range of marine life, with angelfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, tangs, octopus, eels, sea turtles, reef sharks, and manta rays. Popular snorkeling destinations in Bali include Menjangan Island, which is part of the West Bali National Park, Amed, and the Nusa Islands. Blue Lagoon Beach is a popular spot for beginner snorkelers and families seeking calm waters and shallow coral reefs.

3. Phuket

Phuket, Thailand, is the third most visited diving destination among Visited users. Phuket has pristine white sandy beaches, clear waters, and a wide variety of marine life. The water is warm year-round and offers excellent visibility for snorkeling and diving, with visibility typically ranging from 25 to 40 meters (82 to 131 feet). Divers can see marine life up close and personal in Phuket, with species ranging from barracudas and tropical fish to turtles, octopuses, whale sharks, and manta rays. The Racha Islands are perfect for beginners, while Shark Point offers thrilling drift dives for advanced divers.

4. Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia offers the world’s largest coral reef for endless snorkeling and diving adventures. The area includes more than 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands spanning over 2,300 kilometers (1,429 miles). The Great Barrier Reef is teeming with biodiversity, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish, and 4,000 types of mollusk. Agincourt Reef, at the Great Barrier Reef’s northern end, offers breathtaking adventures for all levels of divers and snorkelers. Divers can explore the edge of the continental shelf, teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and reef sharks. The Blue Wonder Wall, a coral garden that drops vertically for more than 40 meters (131 feet), is a must-see.

5. Cozumel

Cozumel is an island in Mexico located in the Caribbean Sea. Cozumel is the fifth most popular scuba diving destination in the world. Cozumel sits on the edge of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest barrier reef system in the world, offering a stunning array of marine life. Crystal-clear waters provide excellent snorkeling opportunities, with visibility often surpassing 30 meters (100 feet). Cozumel is known for its drift diving, offering a relaxing way to see a lot of underwater sites without having to swim too hard. 

6. Red Sea

The Red Sea is a stunning diving and snorkeling destination nestled between Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Eritrea, and Sudan. Sparkling clear water and vibrant coral reefs offer something for every diver to explore in the Red Sea. The warm waters have an average year-round temperature of 24°C (75°F), making the Red Sea a year-round hotspot for divers. With over 1,000 species of fish and visibility underwater that can extend up to 30 meters (100 feet), the sea offers incredible snorkeling. For advanced divers, there are shipwrecks to explore, including warships, cargo ships, and even a WWII British destroyer, the SS Thistlegorm.

7. Phi Phi Islands

The Phi Phi Islands are a tropical island group in Thailand in the Andaman Sea with breathtaking diving experiences. The crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and variety of marine life beckon travelers from around the world. The calm, shallow waters of Phi Phi Leh Lagoon are perfect for beginning scuba divers. Experienced divers can find thrilling adventures at Hin Daeng (Red Rock) and Hin Muang (Purple Rock), with manta rays, whale sharks, barracuda, turtles, and more. The small Bida Islands have ample dive sites known for swim-throughs and caverns.

8. Mallorca

Mallorca is the eighth most popular diving destination in the world, according to Visited travelers. Mallorca is part of Spain’s picturesque Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters and endless places to explore, with underwater caves, shipwrecks, and marine preserves. Sites like Cabrera National Park are home to diverse aquatic ecosystems, with colorful fish like groupers, bream, and damselfish. Mallorca offers a variety of coves and beaches with calm, shallow waters that are ideal for snorkeling.

9. Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are a chain of islands stretching out from southern Florida in the U.S. The tropical islands include John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first underwater park in the U.S. The Florida Keys are home to fascinating marine life, with dolphins, manta rays, reef sharks, nurse sharks, and loggerhead sea turtles. For experienced divers, shipwrecks such as Spiegel Grove, a former Navy cargo ship, and the USS Vandenberg offer deep dives into the past. 
Related Post: Top 8 Canal Cruises in North America

10. Maldives

The Maldives offers pristine beaches and beautiful scuba diving in the Indian Ocean in South Asia. Sparkling turquoise waters and clear visibility make diving an unforgettable experience in the Maldives. Visibility can exceed 50 meters (328 feet), allowing divers to see the stunning array of life in the ocean. There’s something for every level of diver in the Maldives, with shallow, calm waters and more deep dives to explore shipwrecks and ocean depths. The Maldives have plentiful wall dives, where the seafloor drops off suddenly. 

11. California

California is a coastal U.S. state along the Pacific Ocean with plenty of snorkeling and diving options. La Jolla Cove in San Diego is one of the most popular snorkeling spots in California. Clear, calm waters offer the perfect place to see Garibaldi fish, leopard sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, and more. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, often called the “Serengeti of the Sea,” has remarkable snorkeling. The protected waters house a rich ecosystem, including kelp forests, rocky reefs, and plentiful marine life. Lovers Point in Monterey is a top snorkeling destination, while Monastery Beach offers a chance to spot sea otters.

12. Bahamas

The Bahamas is a prime snorkeling destination located in the Atlantic Ocean. The island nation has the third-largest barrier reef in the world, the Andros Barrier Reef, as well as many smaller reefs teeming with marine life. Divers can swim with dolphins, tropical fish, sea turtles, and sharks in the tropical islands. The Bahamas offers dives for all levels, with calm, shallow reefs as well as shipwrecks, wall dives, and underwater caves to explore. 

13. Cenotes

Mexico is home to hundreds of cenotes, which are natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock. Cenotes offer crystal-clear water and networks of caverns, caves, and underground rivers to explore. The water in cenotes typically has visibility surpassing 60 meters (200 feet) for stunning views of the underwater world. All levels of divers can journey into cenotes, with shallow areas for beginners and more advanced dives into underwater caverns and tunnels. Cenotes often include stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over thousands of years, as well as a variety of freshwater fish, turtles, and other marine life. 

14. Sharm El-Sheikh

Sharm El-Sheik is a popular resort destination in Egypt nestled between the Red Sea and the desert of the Sinai Peninsula. Sharm El-Sheik entices travelers with beautiful sandy beaches, clear waters, and abundant coral reefs. Many resorts in Sharm El-Sheikh offer direct access to their own house reefs, allowing divers to step off the beach and start snorkeling. Beginners to advanced divers can enjoy the renowned reefs of the Red Sea and see angelfish, butterflyfish, clownfish, sea turtles, stingrays, moray eels, and even reef sharks.

15. Malta

Malta is an island nation in the central Mediterranean Sea that offers a variety of snorkeling options. Beginners can explore sheltered bays, while more experienced divers can take the plunge to see dramatic underwater cliffs. The Blue Lagoon is the most popular dive spot on the island of Comino, as it offers calm, turquoise waters and an abundance of fish. Marine life in Malta can range from dolphins to octopuses, seahorses, sea turtles, and a wide range of fish.

16. Crete

Crete, the largest Greek island, is located in the Mediterranean Sea. The island includes golden sandy beaches and clear water that’s perfect for snorkeling. Beginners can dive into sheltered areas with shallow waters, while advanced divers can explore dramatic underwater cliffs. Elafonissi attracts beginning snorkelers and families with pink sand, shallow turquoise waters, and plenty of fish. 

17. Tenerife

Tenerife, the largest island in the Canary Islands, has warm waters and a mild climate for year-round snorkeling. Divers can swim along underwater volcanic landscapes and see a variety of colorful fish, octopuses, sea turtles, whale sharks, and manta rays. Playa Amadores is a haven for beginning snorkelers, with calm waters, unique rock formations, and many fish. 

18. Sicily

Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, offers a variety of diving opportunities. Scuba divers can explore clear waters and many coral reefs in places like the Capo Gallo Marine Protected Area near Palermo and the Marine Protected Area of Ustica Island. Advanced divers have plenty of dive destinations, with cave dives, wall dives, and wreck dives from Roman galleys to World War II airplanes.

19. O’ahu

O’ahu, part of the U.S. Hawaiian Islands, offers beautiful snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean. O’ahu has dive spots for all levels, with calm bays and shallow reefs for beginners and dramatic coral reefs and underwater caverns for experienced snorkelers. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is a top destination for beginning snorkelers, with clear turquoise waters and abundant fish. Divers can spot sea turtles, octopuses, dolphins, and colorful fish such as butterflyfish, tangs, and angelfish.

20. Maui

Maui, one of the Hawaiian Islands, has stunning natural beauty and plenty of diving options. Molokini Crater, a partially submerged volcanic crater, has plenty to see, with underwater formations swarming with colorful fish, eels, and green sea turtles. Divers can swim among gentle Hawaiian green sea turtles in their natural habitat at Turtle Town. Honolua Bay includes a world-renowned marine reserve with excellent snorkeling for experienced divers. Divers can see tropical fish, manta rays, and humpback whales in the protected bay area.

Optimize Your Travel 

To optimize your travel experience, download the Visited app today. Visited allows you to browse and save bucket-list destinations and plan your dream getaways. Whether you’re into scuba diving or drinking wine on the beach, Visited includes top travel suggestions for different interests so you can map out your ideal vacation. Get your personalized travel map and plan your next iconic trip with Visited. 

You may also like...