When we think of snorkeling, we think of the Caribbean, California, warm climates and all-inclusive resorts. Real adventures, however, happen when you stray off of the beaten path. I’ve compiled a list of often overlooked snorkeling spots for you to consider for your next destination.
Each of these locations offer unique snapshots of natural marine life, less populated with classic tourists.
1. Tobermory, Canada
Snapshots of marine clarity: Canada’s very own Georgian Bay in Lake Huron is often ignored because of the cool water temperatures. Tobermory is actually the site of 22 shipwrecks protected in Fathom Five National Marine Park, which creates a fresh underwater historical site like no other.
This is also a great place to learn or practice your snorkeling and diving. Stay in one of the Bed & Breakfasts at the water’s edge, or even go camping in the warmer months for the full experience. Tobermory provides a freshwater twist on your average snorkeling trip.
2. Medes Islands, Spain
These sheltered waters provide year-round snorkeling in the Western Mediterranean Sea. A string of seven islands create a protected underwater paradise uninhabited by humans. Fishing is no longer permitted around Medes Islands, so the sea creatures have grown fiercely over the past few years.
Medes Islands is both accessible from mainland Spain and affordable, therefore a great location to include in your Euro trip.
3. Lord Howe Island, Australia
Lord Howe Island is a protected UNESCO World Heritage site, which forbids any disruption of the island, its creatures and the surrounding reef system. Regulated visits limit the number of divers at a given time, giving you an isolated chance to experience underwater life.
Cool currents mingle with tropical waters, breathing life to a diverse marine ecosystem. Plan a trip to Lord Howe Island if you want to see octopi, stingrays and turtles on their untouched reef.
4. Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Do not forget your underwater camera if you visit Raja Ampat in Indonesia. Fewer tourists visit this area, giving you freedom in your swim, and undisturbed areas to swallow. The diversity, history and enormity of the area is enough to overwhelm anyone, so make sure you plan your snorkeling trip through a registered diving tour group.
Caves made to explore, white beaches made to lounge, and seabirds singing: Raja Ampat is a vacation oasis often overlooked as a snorkeling destination.
5. The Canyon, Aran Islands, Northern Ireland
When you think “Ireland,” “snorkeling” does not come to mind. An underrated limestone dream in the Atlantic Ocean, Aran Islands’ Canyon houses plenty of fish. The canyon is 30-45m wide, so that only some lighting allows vision to the far side.
The islands are reachable by ferry or plane from Galway. This beautiful area in Galway Bay is often overlooked due to the cold water temperatures.
6. Newfoundland, Canada
Where the Gulf Stream meets the Labrador Current, thousands of whales gather for a unique marine experience. Icebergs, seabirds, and shipwrecks combine to create an ocean oasis on Canada’s coast.
Clear water means exceptional visibility to check out the estimated 8000 shipwrecks resting in the area. When you’re not in the water, try hiking the geological trails that are scattered with trilobite fossils. Canadian snorkeling and dive trips offer much more than an underwater experience!