If you’ve never been on a snorkel safari before, let alone the country the safari will be in, you may be wondering what to pack! While we offer safaris to a variety of locations all around the world, the vast majority of them will require a very similar packing list as most of them take place in resorts of a similar caliber and tropical climates.


While we are staying at some of the nicest resorts in the area, these tours are very casual with t-shirt and shorts being the general ensemble for most guests. For all of our tropical snorkel safaris the weather will most certainly be warm, but in some places rain is possible so it’s always a good idea to bring a sweater or rain jacket just in case. Also, there may be some internal flights or taxi’s where the AC is quite cold and a jumper will again come in very handy. Also, keep in mind most of the resorts will have a laundry service so no need to pack two weeks worth of clothes. No need to pack beach towels or anything like that, the resorts will provide all of that.

snorkeling gear being packed with cat in the bag


For about 90% of the trip you’ll be comfortable in sandals or even barefoot. However, for those transit days and land tours it’s best to have a pair or trainers.

Underwater Gear

While just about all the resorts will have all the necessary snorkel gear to rent or borrow, we always suggest bringing your own so you will be consistently comfortable in the water, since rental gear may not always fit you the way your own personal gear would. Not to state the obvious but your own mask and snorkel would be a great thing to pack, as well as fins. For most of our locations full foot fins are just fine, but there are a few locations like the Philippines where we strongly suggest bringing the open heel type of fin so you can wear booties since a lot of the water entries and exits are over smooth stone with the possibility of sea urchins. Also, since we are doing a lot of snorkeling it’s not a bad idea to bring your own wetsuit or thermals to wear in the water. We’ve found that those guests who are usually comfortable snorkeling in just a t-shirt or rash guard are often getting a bit cold in the water after five days or so and will end up needing to rent a wetsuit to stay warm.

snorkeler putting on fourth element thermal at sunset

Underwater Accessories

There are some fantastic underwater cameras on the market now that are not only affordable but also take outstanding photos with the different underwater modes now included in the camera settings. Something else we suggest bringing, especially if you want to do some night or sunset snorkels, is your own underwater torch or flashlight with rechargeable batteries.

Sun Protection

Thought there is always plenty of shade at the resorts and on the boats most of our tours are right around the equator where the sun is very intense so it’s a great idea to bring plenty of sun protection. One garment that has become increasingly popular as it’s a very versatile piece of clothing both in and out of the water is the Buff. This simple bit of cloth can be worn around the neck, over the lower half of the face like a bandit, like a bandanna, or just over the top of your head to keep your scalp from burning during the snorkel sessions. Outside of the Buff we strongly urge you to bring reef safe sun cream as well.

man wearing sun protective clothing

We get a lot of questions about the level of fitness required to join one of our snorkel safaris, and the truth of the matter is we can’t really answer that question with a simple statement of “Guests need to be at this level of fitness to join the Komodo safari,” for example. Reason being is that there are certain fitness factors which will vary from person to person. Some people might have difficulty with walking or climbing steps but feel perfectly comfortable in the water while others might be a bit of the opposite. Prior to booking or selling a tour we do our absolute best to paint as clear of a picture as possible of the physical requirements so as to give you an idea of what the trip will look like so you can make an assessment for yourself. Something else we’d like to mention is that since we started running our snorkel safaris in 2018 we’ve had people of all fitness levels on our tours, including people with limited mobility on land, and we’ve always been able to make sure every guest was as comfortable as possible on land and in the water, for the duration of the trip. We’ll do whatever we can to make sure every guest is there to witness those magical moments. That being said, if you do have specific physical limitations it’s always a good idea to let us know in advance so we can make the necessary arrangements for the tour. 

Aerial view of papua paradise resort and house reef

Common Questions and Concerns

Will we be snorkeling in current?

In just about all of our tours, particularly in Indonesia, there is a good chance we will see current, BUT we rarely encounter it unless we have a gentle drift snorkel planned. We are constantly monitoring the tides and currents and will always select the snorkeling sites where there is very little to no current.

How many stairs are at the resort?

This depends a lot on the individual resort, and this is one of the criteria we actually look at when selecting a particular resort to run our safaris through. Most of the resorts we work with will have the very least amount of steps possible, with just two to three steps leading up to the bungalows or restaurant. However, on some of the tours do have more than a few steps in which case we will try to identify this on the tour description. If you are physically limited by large amount of steps it’s a good idea to let us know so we can make the necessary arrangements. 

What if I get tired in the water?

Unless we’re on the house reef where you can easily get in and out of the water through the resort’s pier or at the beach, there is always a support boat shadowing us just in case a guest does become exhausted. Also, there are multiple guides in the water with at least two of them carrying large floats for guests to rest on if they get exhausted.

How much walking is involved with the land tours?

Some of the land tours will quite a bit of walking, but we can always make arrangements for a shorter or alternative land tour to suite your needs. On our Komodo tour for example the full trek to see the Komodo Dragons is probably just bit more than a mile in total with some hills, but if you didn’t want to do the full trek and still see the dragons the walk can be about ¼ mile round trip on flat land. Whatever the occasion, we will come up with something unique so you can still have a special la

nd excursion.

happy snorkel venture guests

Night snorkeling may sound a bit like a silly idea or maybe even a bit scary, but let me assure you that if you do it right it’s neither, and it can in fact be a highly unique and extremely cool snorkeling experience!

Best Strategies for Night Snorkeling

Aerial view of exposed coral reef

The best places to do a night snorkel are on shallow reefs in a calm bay where you’ll have constant protection from waves and current. On just about all of our tours we do our night snorkels on the resort’s house reefs which work perfectly as we have the resort’s pier to help us in and out of the water whenever we want. We usually plan for a couple group night snorkeling experiences on all of our tours. Just to make the whole experience a bit less scary for anyone who’s never done it before we typically plan to start our snorkel just before the sun sets so there is still enough light in the water so that we can slowly accustom ourselves to the darker waters. By the time the last light has left the water people are so engrossed in the snorkel that they haven’t even noticed that it’s gone completely black.


lights behind coral reef at night

Of course, everyone will have their own underwater flashlight to take with them. For those that don’t have their own the resorts will have one you can borrow or rent. One of the cool things about night snorkeling, aside from the amazing thing you’ll see, is how your focus on the reef changes. During the day snorkeling sessions the ambient light from the sun illuminates the entire reef, but at night you are focused only on the small area that your hand-held light lights up. Most guests find that having a refined field of view of the reef really helps them find the interesting critters as they are not consistently distracted by the enormity and overall beauty of the reef during the day. Also, because you are focused on only one small piece of the reef at a time you go much slower, once again helping you find those cool reef dwellers like the crabs and shrimps you wouldn’t otherwise see in the daytime.

The Night Shift

squid in black water

The shift from day to night brings out a whole new cast of characters. The brightly colored reef fish you were chasing around in the day are now for the most part non-existent as they have crammed themselves into every crack and crevice they can find so as not to be eaten by the night time predators like octopus, cuttlefish, lion fish, and moray eels—which are now out on the prowl for a tasty morsel. Other things you can expect to see are nudibranchs, tons of different species of crabs and shrimps, and with a bit of luck you might find some really cute shark species like juvenile nurse sharks if you are in the Caribbean, or a species known for walking on it’s pectoral fins instead of swimming, called walking sharks, which are sometimes found in the shallows of Indonesia. For those of you whose hair just stood up on the back of your next at the mention of swimming with sharks at night, there is absolutely nothing to fear. If you lucky enough to come across one of these very shy sharks who don’t get much bigger than a couple feet and are covered in brilliant polka-dots, fear is the opposite thing you’ll be feeling.

There is nothing worse than an underwater camera housing that always fogs up. Luckily, there’s a few quick and simple steps to consistently keep your camera housing from fogging up.

1. Keep the Housing Dry

Keeping any amount of moisture out of your camera housing is the quickest and easiest way to maintaining a fog free underwater housing. Any time you are opening up or closing the housing, or even just cleaning the o-ring, you need to be particularly aware of every single drop of water. If you close the housing up with just a drop of water inside that water will quickly turn to into water vapor once the inside of the housing heats up as you being shooting underwater.

2.  Keep the Housing Cool

Since it is quite likely that there will be a small droplet of water hiding in the housing somewhere, it’s always a good idea to keep the housing in a shady place any time your are in between snorkels. Also, any time you are aren’t using it underwater, try and keep the camera turned off so that the heat the camera emits when it’s constantly on wont’ vaporize any water droplets inside.

3.  Be Careful with Air Conditioning

If you leave your housing sitting in an air conditioned environment, like your bungalow, then take it outside into the tropical heat, you are going to notice the housing will fog up immediately. It’s always a good idea to give your camera and hosing a few minutes to acclimatize to the tropical heat before closing everything up. Of course, don’t just hold it in the sun, but find a nice shady place for everything to adjust to the different temperatures.

4.  Silica Packets

These little silica packets are handy, but if you aren’t following the first three rules I mentioned then they just aren’t powerful enough or fast enough to battle larger amounts of fog. If you follow rules one through three before and after every snorkel then there is really not much need for the little packets of silica gel.

That one hour period or so where the sun seems to hover just a few inches above the horizon is an incredible time to go snorkeling. Not only does the sharp angle of the sun on the water’s surface create a memorizing display of dappled light over the reef, but the marine life and it’s behavior is in a transition period which is pretty amazing to witness!

The Light

While the available day light in the is significantly less than our morning and afternoon snorkel sessions, there is still enough natural light in the water—at least for the first half of the snorkel—for you to still see clearly without the use of an underwater flashlight/torch. This stunning and more dramatic lighting is my personal favorite thing about sunset snorkels. The sun’s beams cut through the still water and just bathe the reef in this outstanding light which makes for some postcard perfect photos. As the light begins to fade toward the second half of the snorkel session it’s a good time to turn on that underwater torch we’ve provided you with and start investigating the reef’s inhabitants because you’ll quickly see that a lot has changed.

The Night Shift

Just as the sun is starting to set, fish species like damsel fish and butterfly fish which were casually swimming about in the day time now have suddenly disappeared. Well, they haven’t disappeared they’ve just gone into hiding as the larger predatory creatures like the lion fish, moray eels, sting rays, and especially cephalopods like cuttle fish, octopus, and squid all come out to hunt the smaller reef fish. The creatures which were more active in the day are now tucked into every hole and crevice while the creatures like octopus and moray eels are now out in full view as they try to pry the colorful reef fish from their hiding places.

Predatory behavior is not the only thing to change during the night, mating behavior is also more likely to take place around dusk, with mandarine fish being the most active performers. If you are lucky enough to have a colony of mandarine fish right up in the shallows like we do in Alor Indonesia, then you are in for a real treat. These small but lavishly colored fish mate on just about every single evening just before the sun dips below the horizon. You have to be pay careful attention though as the actual mating can be over in a matter of seconds, but if you’re able to find and follow the larger male as he tries to woo one of the females in his harem then you can watch the entire sequence of events, from the awkward courtship behavior to the sudden flash of color that is the physical act of mandarine fish mating.

mandarin fish