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

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

There’s nothing more annoying than jumping in the water with a nice clear snorkel mask and only to have it slowly fog up on you during the snorkel. No matter how many times you rinse it out it just keeps fogging up. So, to combat this creeping layer of fog on your lens, here are the reasons why the mask is fogging, and five easy steps to keep a mask fog free forever.

Ok, so far as I know, there are three reason a mask will continue to fog up, no matter how much anti fog you rinse it out with. The first reason being is that it still has that thin transparent film on the lens left over from the manufacturing process. I don’t really know what this film is because it’s invisible, probably something silicon based to keep lenses from sticking together, but whatever it is, it keeps the mask in a perpetual fog once strapped to a face and then submerged. The second reason for continuous fogging is if you have an older mask that once upon a time used to stay fog free but now just keeps fogging up, the likely cause for this is a build of oils on the lens—most commonly from left over sunscreen that inevitably ended up on the glass through repetitive lathering sessions before the snorkel. And the third reason is a combination of things that did or did not happen prior to the snorkel. These things could be that you didn’t put enough, or any anti-fog in your mask. Or, you put the anti-fog in your mask, rinsed it out, put the mask on your face, and then waited around on the boat while the other snorkelers got ready and the tropical sun and your own body heat in your face ruined all the magic behind the anti-fog solution.

The 5 Steps

1.  Burn it or toothpaste it

  • The reason we burn a mask or vigorously rub an abrasive toothpaste on the inside lens of a mask is to remove that invisible layer leftover from manufacturing. Cleaning it with anti-fog will not fix this. The fire option works best and is really quite simple. There’s a tutorial video here, or just wait for the safari and one of the guides will do this for you. The toothpaste option does work, but it can take several attempts before it removes the entire layer.

2.  Keep sun screen and other oils off the lens

  • A buildup of body oils and sunscreen on the lens will have the same affect as the invisible production film. If you are putting suncream on, just make sure you wash your hands with soap before you start to rub the anti-fog in your mask as your finger will likely still have the thick oils on them, which will quickly be spread all over your mask. If you find that your mask is fogging up again after a period of if working fine, these oils are likely the cause and you’ll do best to burn it again. I burn my mask before every trip just to be sure.

3.  Rinse the mask out with anti-fog

  • You should always rinse your mask with some form of anti-fog before every snorkel. Not at the start of a trip or at the beginning of each day, it has to be before each snorkel session. Anti-fog can be anything that you purchased, baby shampoo, dish soap, or even spit. The baby shampoo option is the best in my opinion as it doesn’t sting the eyes even if there’s a bit leftover after you’ve rinsed it out, but it’s also gentle on the environment. The other option are not unless otherwise noted.

4.  Don’t put the mask on until you’re about to get in the water

  • It’s always a good idea to put the mask on just before getting into the water. If you put it on and wait around in the heat your face is going to be just to warm for the magic of the anti-fog to work well and your mask is just more likely to condensate. Also, if you are particularity warm, like you’ve just been lying in the sun and now about to jump in the water for your snorkel session, it’s a good idea to cool your face off with some cool water before gearing up.

5.  Repeat

  • Basically this should be your routine every time you go snorkeling. It might seem a little neurotic in the beginning, but eventually you’ll do it without thinking and it will just be part of your snorkeling process. After all, there’s nothing worse than only being able to see blurry colors of what you assume is the reef and its luminous tropical fish.


In my experience as a snorkel guide for Snorkel Venture, I’ve found that a lot of guests turn up on tours thinking that they will be comfortable snorkeling in their swimming suit and a lycra rash guard because the tropical water is warm. While this may be true for certain individuals who are immune to being cold, the vast majority of guests who didn’t bring an insulated exposure suit like a wetsuit, do start to get cold several days into our snorkeling expeditions. No matter how warm the water, after three to four snorkels every day for a few days in a row, most will find that they are getting cold soon into the snorkeling session and eventually end up renting or borrowing an exposure suite from the resort. To avoid this, I always suggest to guests that they bring their own. Then of course there is the question and debate about which kind of exposure suit is best for your. To make things quick and simple, here’s a little break down of the pros and cons of the two most popular types of exposure suits, the more traditional neoprene wetsuit, or the newer and very popular thermal suits, both of which now have an eco friendly option from one of the industries most trusted brands.

Neoprene Wetsuits

Neoprene wetsuits have been around for ages now and have become the most common type of exposure suit. There are a variety of styles from full suits, shorties, ones with hoods, front zips, back zips, and ones with cup holders. Just kidding about the cup holders.  These are not the only options either, each of these different style will be offered in a variety of thicknesses to suit each persons susceptibility to getting cold and water temperatures. Wetsuits are a great option as an exposure suit as they are quite durable so long as you take care of them and they instantly make you look like a super hero. However, there are a few downsides to them with the most common complaint being their difficulty to put on one. They are very tight, particularly the first few times you wear them, and it does take some time to get one on and take it off again, which a lot of people find very annoying. So annoying in fact that I’ve known people who would rather be cold then put on a wetsuit. However, once you move beyond that ‘getting to know each other phase’ a wetsuit can be very comfortable and offer a significant amount of warmth. In regards to traveling, they are quite heavy and a rather large item to pack into your suitcase, particularly the thicker ones.

Thermal Suits

fourth element thermal suits

Thermal suits have becoming increasingly popular since the were released in the last decade or so, particularly for those who are tired or cumbersome neoprene and also for those with an allergy to the material. These thermal suits may look, feel, and fit more like a pair of trendy pajamas than an underwater exposure suit, but don’t be fooled because these will keep you a very comfortable temperature for the duration of your snorkels. In terms of how they fit and feel thermal suits are very different than wetsuits.  Instead of being made from neoprene, they have a soft fleece lining and a durable nylon exterior. The function in the water is nearly the same as a wetsuit though, as the fleece traps a thin layer of water which your body heats up and in turn keeps you warm. However, out of the water they fleece wicks the water from you skin which again helps keep you comfortable during windy surface intervals, unlike neoprene. The designs are as varied as the wetsuit designs, with full suit options, top and bottom sets, shorts, bikinis, vests, hoods, and anything else you could imagine. The top and bottom set fit just like a fleece sweater set would and are very easy to put on as they have front and back zip options. Another point in the ‘Bonus’ column, particularly for those that like to duck dive, is that thermal suits are neutrally buoyant which means you don’t need to wear weights to counteract the buoyancy of neoprene. The thermals are also very light weight, dry very quickly, which relieves a lot of the stress of packing.

An Eco Twist

Whether you are preferential to the old school neoprene wetsuits like I am, or prefer the more sophisticated thermals, there is an awesome and highly durable eco friendly option to each type of exposure suit thanks to Fourth Element, a company who’s products have been on the cutting edge for years already. Their sleek thermal option is all fabricated from recycled ghost nets, which are responsible for unimaginable destruction on reefs and marine creatures alike, and transforming them into a thread which their thermals and an assortment of other products are then made from. For their wetsuits, since they are made largely of rubber based, they are using post consumer scrap tires along with a host of other post consumer materials to formulate the neoprene. Regardless of your choice, you can snorkel easy knowing that not only they you will be warm throughout the trip, but also that your new suit is not contributing to the production of excess materials with a significant reduction in energy consumption during the manufacturing process.

Indonesia is a massive country with over seventeen thousand islands so it’s understandable when people get confused about what location is where. To help with that this short video will break down all of Indonesia’s top snorkeling destinations including what you can see and how we arrive. Don’t hesitate to ask any further questions, we are always happy to help!