Best Snorkeling Destinations for Beginners
aerial perspective of snorkelers snorkeling under cliffs of raja ampat

While snorkeling is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels, when choosing a snorkel vacation, it’s a good idea to choose one that is more suited to your own particular skill level. As you may have seen on our site or in our newsletter, we offer a ton of different options and destinations for snorkeling safaris. If you are new to snorkeling or have never been on a snorkeling safari before there are a few things to look out for. For example, if you have never been on a multi-day snorkel-specific trip before, or really have not spent much time on or around the water, I wouldn’t suggest a liveaboard or a multi-destination snorkel safari, no matter how easy the conditions may be. Second, I wouldn’t go for a snorkel safari that involves a lot of travel logistics or is overly remote. We have plenty of great snorkeling trips that offer fantastic accommodation on solid ground, easy travel logistics, and world-class snorkeling, that don’t involve overly strenuous conditions—not that many of our tours do. Here is a list of snorkeling trips we recommend for those that would consider themselves to be beginner snorkelers.

Resort Based

Belize Snorkel Week – Turneffe Island Resort | 8 Nights

The Caribbean in general is a great place to start out if you are new to snorkeling. Travel is easy, and the sea conditions—current—are very very mild to none at all. Our Belize Snorkel week is all about relaxation, great snorkeling, and just enjoying being on your own private island in the middle of the Caribbean. This tour is based on the fantastic Turneffe Island Resort located in the south of the Turneffe Atoll where some of the best snorkeling is found. Reefs are easily accessed from the resort’s comfortable speedboats.

Wakatobi Snorkel Week | 8 Nights

Wakatobi is a great place for beginner snorkelers for a number of reasons. The resort’s house reef can be accessed via the white sand beach, or the pier which has stairs right into the water. While there can be some current at different sites, they are generally quite mild we always just drift with them. Another reason why we consider it to be a beginner-friendly snorkel safari is that the reefs are so abundant, so healthy, and so shallow. You don’t have to work at all to see the good stuff, it’s just right there in front of you, which surprisingly does help settle nerves a bit by distracting those people that have a hard time switching off the ol’ brain.

Raja Ampat Snorkel Week | 8 Nights

Raja Ampat is often regarded as having some of the best snorkeling reefs in the world, and for those beginner snorkelers that don’t mind traveling a bit further, this is a great trip for those with minimal snorkeling experience. The resort’s house reef is very easily accessible, offers tons to see, and the surrounding sites are not only close—maximum twenty minutes—but they are mind-blowingly beautiful. While current is present at some of the sites, it is very manageable and really not something you need to think about, The guides will do that for you.

Komodo Snorkel Week | 8 Nights

Komodo is an outstanding snorkeling destination for beginners, and a very rewarding one at that as chances for encounters with mantas, turtles, and schooling fish are very good. The resort’s house reef is one of our favorites and is easily accessed by the pier or by the beach at high tide. While it is famous for current, it’s not something we really need to worry about as snorkelers since nearly all of the sites we go to are sheltered from it, or we are gently drifting with it. There are just one or two sites that are slightly more advanced due to the current but under the instruction and watchful eye of the guides we’ve had people who are brand new to snorkeling handle these sites without any problems at all.

Misool Resort Snorkeling Tour | 14 Nights

Misool Resort is another fantastic Raja Ampat Resort-based snorkel safari (Misool is what the south of Raja is called). The resort is perfectly situated for beginners as you can enter the water right from your water villas, the beach, or by the pier where you can then explore the inner bay where the turtles feed and reef sharks pass by regularly, or you can explore the reefs on the outside of the lagoon which are also very beginner friendly. The snorkel sites in the area offer fantastic snorkeling opportunities, they are close by and easy to access by the resort’s very accommodating speedboats.

Sulawesi & Raja Ampat Safari | 14 Nights

For those that want to experience two of Indonesia’s top snorkeling destinations in one go, this Sulawesi & Raja Ampat snorkel safari is a great option as the stunning shallow reefs and calm conditions around Bunaken are a great place to get your feet wet before Raja Ampat. While Raja Ampat isn’t more difficult than Bunaken, it can be a bit overwhelming because there is just so much to see and so many different types of sites.

Beginner Liveaboards

read this blog to get an in-depth look at what it’s like on a liveaboard

Cuba Liveaboard Safari | 7 Nights

This is a great tour to see if you are comfortable being on a liveaboard. It’s a shorter trip, the boat is very large and stable, and the only time you will be on the boat while it’s moving is when we move from mainland Cuba out to the Jardines de la Reina which is only a 3-4 hour trip. Sea conditions tend to be mild, and currents are very very minimal. The snorkeling is also fantastic, you can expect to see a variety of larger sting rays, big schools of Caribbean reef fish, multiple species of shark, and you’ll even have a chance to swim alongside American saltwater crocodiles! Not only that, but this tour will include nightly lectures about the marine life in the area thanks to the onboard marine biologists.

Belize by Liveaboard – Belize Aggressor IV | Length – 7 Nights

This is another great liveaboard snorkeling option for beginners. It’s another quick trip, like Cuba, and because it’s in the Caribbean the sea conditions tend to be more mild. The boat is also very large and stable, so even if the wind does pick up a bit the boat still sits steady in the water. The snorkeling from the liveaboard is fantastic, easy, and because it’s a liveaboard we can explore a lot more than we can from a resort.

Raja Ampat with Coralia | 11 Nights

Coralia is a great liveaboard to snorkel from for beginners, though I would suggest trying one other liveaboard first before jumping on this boat. I say this only because this trip is a bit more expensive than some of our other liveaboard snorkel safaris and because the travel time to get to Raja Ampat is pretty significant. Other than that, the snorkeling is unreal and totally doable for those with minimal experience snorkeling. Oh, and the boat is very, very, very nice!

About Author

Alex Lindbloom
Alex is a Snorkel Venture and Dive Safari Asia guide as well as the video and photo pros for both companies. Alex is also a field editor for a popular underwater photography magazine. Prior to joining Snorkel Venture in 2018 Alex lived and worked all over the world working as an underwater cameraman, with five of those years living/working on a yacht in Indonesia. Alex's images and videos have garnered many international awards such as Underwater Photographer of the Year and can be seen on NatGeo, Discovery Channel, the UN Building, and various magazines.