Here are our top tips for minimum impact on the reef while getting the maximum out of your snorkeling experience.

Reef friendly sunscreen or sunblock

Recently silence has discovered that certain ingredients in sunscreen are hazardous to coral reef. Some companies are now producing reef-friendly sunscreen without the dangerous ingredient, so if you plan to spend a lot of time in the water, please think about changing to a reef-friendly sunscreen brand.

snorkeler diving down to photograph coral reefDo not walk on or kick coral reef

This one sounds really obvious so you may be surprised to hear that loads of snorkelers are still walking over reef or kicking the corals with their fins. The damage that this does to coral is immense. Not only are they incredibly fragile in structure but even just touching some corals can cause the death of the entire colony. Some coral is also toxic to humans and can cause severe pain, fever and other unpleasant symptoms.

Do not feed the fish or other marine animals

Many snorkel operators feed the fish in order to bring them closer to the snorkelers. Most often the food they offer, like bread or seeds, does not form part of the fish’s natural food source. Hand fed fish are more vulnerable to predators, and a healthy marine ecosystem depends on competition for habitat and food. Also, some creatures bite. Feeding eels, for example, has lead to many a missing finger.

Do not touch animals (not even for photography purposes).

If you see something lovely and want to photograph it, but find that it isn’t in the best position, come back in a while, or wait at the surface and see if it moves. Please do not move nudibranchs and other critters to make for a prettier photo. Many creatures live in well camouflaged environments to prevent predation, and moving them can put them in danger. Also some creatures are poisonous to humans, or can sting. Many such fish are very well camouflaged and you may not notice them until it’s too late. A sting from a stone fish or scorpion fish is incredibly painful and long lasting, and will probably ruin you entire trip. Also “riding” creatures like whale sharks, manta rays and turtles is unkind, dangerous to man and fish and an all round bad idea.

Learning how to snorkel is a great experience, enjoyed by everybody young and old. It is very easy to learn at any stage of your life, opening up a whole other world you might not have realised is there.

Snorkel Venture specializes in snorkeling trips to the worlds premier destinations, escorted by expert western leaders and using the very best local team to deliver our trips. Your safety and comfort is our utmost priority, however, we have come up with a few handy tips on how to snorkel safely, minimizing the chance of discomfort and making the most of your vacation.

Silhouette of snorkelers on the surface

Be confident in the water

If you haven’t tried it before, learning to snorkel is easy to learn and fast to pick up. If you are competent swimmer you will have no problems at all, but even if you aren’t, consider wearing a snorkel vest or try using a ‘noodle’ for extra buoyancy and support. There is no shame in using such equipment and if it helps you experience the underwater world, then why not.

Use Quality Snorkel Equipment

All of our trips offer the opportunity to rent quality snorkel equipment locally, but if you are interested in buying your own equipment – and this might sound obvious – definitely don’t scrimp on your gear. It is worth buying the best products from the best suppliers. It is a crucial element to the trip and there is nothing worse than entering the water to find your mask leaks or your fins are damaged.

Learning how to snorkel safely is helped greatly by the gear you use. Feel welcome to ask a member of our team as we are always happy to help.

Drink plenty of fluids

Our trips take us to exotic places in the world. The sun shines with glorious temperatures and warm ocean conditions. It is a paradise where the food is delicious and a cold beer at the end of the day goes down all to well.

The nature of combining snorkeling with the exotic is a recipe for success, but remember in these hot climates it is so important to remain hydrated and try to lay off the alcohol if you have a day planned for snorkeling.

Protect your skin

The excitement of getting into the crystal water, to cool down and explore the underwater world is very appetising. Protecting your skin against the sun is a habit all to easy to miss. Sunburn is both painful and dangerous, so make sure to apply plenty of sun lotion to exposed body parts – particularly the ears, back of the neck and scalp. Also, make sure you use a sunblock that is safe for the underwater environment.

Another tip is to wear a UV rash vest which is ideal to protect yourself against the sun and the occasional jellyfish that you may come across. There is a huge range of inexpensive rash vests available online, but it is worth knowing that most of the resorts we use on our snorkel tours will have their own range available for purchase or hire.

Stay fit and healthy

If you don’t feel 100% when you are away, it’s best to rest up and relax at the resort or on your liveaboard. Occasionally we come across strong currents, where if you are not feeling your best might be a challenge to swim against.

Enjoying safe snorkeling sessions begins with feeling fit and healthy.

Snorkelers above reef in Wakatobi

Relax after meals

Traveling brings an eclectic mix of delicious food and you are likely to be offered many irresistible treats. You can certainly eat well if you want too.

After meal times, take time to relax and let the food digest before rushing back into the water. There is nothing worse than feeling heavy when snorkeling.

Never touch the marine life

This one might sound obvious, but the temptation for some people to reach out and touch the marine world seems to be overwhelming. This is the most important rule of snorkeling and always remember to respect underwater life.

We want to preserve and protect the marine world we enjoy and love. The reef systems are very fragile and take many years to repair. Touching the reef is easy to damage, even with a poke of a finger. Some marine species are also poisonous and touching them can lead to serious allergic reactions.

Remember to keep your fingers to yourself and if you need to stand up in the shallows, look for a sandy spot where you can avoid standing on the coral itself.

These simple set of tips and tricks will help you to learn to snorkel safely and to maximize your trip enjoyment, wherever in the world you travel.

At Snorkel Venture we have been exceptionally lucky to have travelled to a vast number of places across the planet. On our travels, we have snorkeled some of the world’s best destinations; anything from pristine coral reefs to extraordinary untouched reef systems forgotten from time.

As a result, we have decided to share with you our Top 5 Snorkel Spots to visit before you die:

1. Bunaken Island, Indonesia

Not everyone has heard of Bunaken, if you have stumbled across this article, then lucky you as you are in for a treat.

The Bunaken National Marine Park is submerged and made up of a collection of small islands of the northern coast of Sulawesi. The marine park was founded as recently as 1991, which means you have pristine reef systems loaded with fish, colours and virtually no other visitors.

Things to look out for – Bunaken is a magical place with thousands of fish and rainbow coloured coral forests. You can see everything from butterflyfish, parrotfish, boxfish, clownfish…. the list goes on.

2. Belize

Belize has recently emerged as one of the leading snorkeling destinations. The barrier reef system that runs off the Caribbean coastline is one of the largest in the world, unsurprisingly with that accolade comes an astonishing array of places to snorkel.

Top destination – it is hard not to mention the famous ‘Blue Hole’, but visiting the Turneffe Atoll and Glover’s reef is an absolute must which is a paradise for snorkeling.

Things to look out for – Everything from sharks, stingrays, turtles and barracudas, not forgetting a vast array of exotic fish found in every crook and cranny.

3. Jardine de la Reina, Cuba

Cuba is a destination that has reared its head in recent times, it’s known for its rich cultural delights with few people seeming to realize the wonders of the marine world that can be found in the Jardine de la Reina national park.

The waters here are blissfully warm with fantastic visibility where you can see right up to 40m.

Things to look out for: fringing corals reefs to seagrass beds which play host to a diverse range of marine life from large pelagic to small colorful reef fish and critters. The vibrant reefs are characterized by fields of soft corals and Gorgonian fans. Look out for the huge Goliath Grouper too.

4. Raja Ampat (West Papua, Indonesia)

school of batfish in coral reef

How on earth do you not name Raja Ampat in a list of top places to snorkel before you die? If you haven’t heard of it, google its name and look at the images which will have you packing your bags before you can say the word ‘snorkel’.

It’s hard to find anywhere else as good as Raja Ampat, the marine systems found around the thousands of islets are incredibly rich with the region holding the greatest concentration of marine life in the world.

Warm water temperatures, sterling visibility and the range of snorkel spots on offer add to Raja Ampat’s wonder.

Things to look out for – You will not struggle to find extraordinary marine life here, in each direction you turn something different and wonderful. Masses of schooling fish, rich coral gardens, bommies and slopes.

5. The Philippines

Green sea turtle swimming over coral reef

Some people seem surprised when we say The Philippines is up there as one of our favorite places to snorkel.

The reason why?

The wealth and range of reef sites that you can discover are exceptional. Consider the fact the Philippines is made up of over 7000 islands, many of which are uninhabited. These islands are surrounded by fringing reefs and a dizzying variety of marine life ready to encounter.

Things to look out for – It’s not only the marine life that is good, topside you have breath-taking countryside, lovely curries and white sand beaches to relax on.

Indonesia is a huge archipelago made up of over 17, 000 islands and sits in the heart of the Coral Triangle with some of the healthiest and richest reef systems found anywhere on the planet, not to mention the world’s most biodiverse! One reef in Raja Ampat for example, could contain more species of reef fish than the entire Caribbean Ocean. 

Picking the right time to visit Indonesia plays an important part – it is one of the largest countries in the world by accrued land mass – and with that, the weather can vary greatly depending on where you plan to visit.

In general, Indonesia can be visited at most times throughout the year. The countries position close to the equator means that the climate is always warm and humid, with daily temperatures sitting on an average of  26 – 28 degrees C (79-82F).

Indonesia has a clearly defined wet and dry season, and it varies depending on where you want to go. Here’s a break down of some of the countries top snorkeling destinations with respect to each areas seasons. 

Bali and Komodo

Wet Season: December-March

Dry Season: April-November

We recommend planning a snorkel trip to either of these areas for August-September as this is the most predictable time of year for weather and marine life. Even though it’s the so called dry season in Bali, a quick afternoon shower is not out of the question. Komodo however, will go months without a drop of rain in the dry season. 

With all of this in mind, Bali and Komodo are still great year round, it just becomes a bit less predictable where weather and visibility are concerned. Marine life-including mantas-are prolific in the area and can still be seen year round with relative certainty. 

Raja Ampat 

aerial view of raja ampat

Wet Season: June-October

Dry Season: November-May

Raja Ampat is a very tropical location, more so than Bali even, and despite it being the dry season it is not uncommon for it to rain in the afternoons for an hour or so.  The wet season here can be quite wet with rain and tropical storms coming though with quite a bit of force so it’s really best to plan a trip here for the dry season.


Wet Season: December-March

Dry Season: April-November

Bunaken enjoys a much more mild climate with less extremes in weather patterns and can really be snorkeled year round. However, if you do plan a trip to Bunaken in the wet season, the visibility can be anywhere from 10-15 meters in the worst case, which isn’t much a problem as the reef are only a meter deep!

Our passion for snorkeling has led us to base our entire business around the sport. We learnt to snorkel as young kids, exploring the sandy bottoms of beaches and even pulling on a mask and snorkel to swim around swimming pools.

Snorkels have been used by humans for hundreds of years, using reeds to help breathe underwater primarily for fishing, the technique was then used for exploring and having fun.

Snorkel Venture has been a natural progression from a marine-based travel business which is over 10 years in the making.

The reason why?

We strongly believe that snorkeling can change a person’s life.

Group Photo of happy Snorkel Venture guests

The benefits attached to snorkeling are tremendous, it’s a great tool for stress relief, physical fitness and general happiness. There is nothing better than being able to swim amongst the exotic underwater world, calmly taking in sights and feelings never experienced before.

At Snorkel Venture we set out on a quest to promote and arrange our own snorkeling holidays to the worlds very best destinations. Our ethos is simple: to inspire people of all ages and capabilities to go out there and experience extraordinary snorkeling, backed up with the comfort, expertise and safety of a travel company who has been there and done it for themselves.

Every snorkel destination in the world is different, offering up a bounty of marine life all colors of the rainbow. We combine exotic marine life with beautiful destinations, warm temperatures and excellent accommodation.

We have a full range of vacations ready and waiting to change your life, for the better.

Start your own snorkelling adventure with us today, to discover something amazing and to realize the health benefits of this wonderful sport.