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-shirts 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 taxis 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. Do keep in mind the social etiquettes of the country you are traveling to, for example, is the country Islamic or will we be visiting temples or other sacred places where I’ll need to cover up a bit more? In all the resorts and liveaboards we use, no matter what country, you can pretty much dress as you please.
For about 90% of the trip, you’ll be comfortable in sandals or even barefoot. I’d a type of sandal that can get wet as there may be times you need to board a boat from the beach or something like that and leather sandals may not be the best to submerge. I would also recommend bringing a type of trainer for those transit days and land tours.
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.
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. If you are coming on a snorkeling photo workshop, please don’t forget to bring your laptop or tablet to view your photos on.
Though 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, or neck gaiter. 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. Another great thing to pack for the sun is a sarong, which can also double as shoulder coverage should you find yourself at a temple or just want to cover up a bit more.
If you have prescription medication that you need to bring with you, please double-check that whatever it is is allowed in the country you are traveling to. For example, while certain medications with cannabis derivates may be legal in certain states, that is for sure not the case in Indonesia. Also, if you are bringing in any prescription medication, make sure that it comes in the original packaging with the prescription still on the bottle or box.