Best Snorkeling Destinations for Advanced Snorkelers
snorkeling guests posing for photo in Raja Ampat

In terms of sea conditions, there is very little difference between the snorkeling trips we would recommend for beginners and the snorkeling trips we would recommend for more advanced snorkelers. Regardless of if we are snorkeling in the Caribbean where the currents are mild to none, or Indonesia’s Alor where the currents can rip like a river, the areas where we snorkel are essentially the same. Yes, in very specific sites there could be some current, but it’s never the main current, we brief you fully before it, and we always drift with it. Any site we are taking you to, on any of our snorkeling safaris around the world can easily and safely be snorkeled by someone who’s never snorkeled before. The biggest reason why the following list of snorkel safaris have received the “Advanced” rating has more to do with overall trip logistics than anything else. These trips are longer, might require a bit more domestic travel, and a few have slightly more basic accommodation as a result of their remoteness. While these tours are amazing, and we want everyone to join them, we just want to make sure that you don’t bite off a bit more than you can chew, so to speak. Basically, the hardest part of these specific snorkeling tours are the flights.

Alor & Komodo Safari | 14 Nights

This is not a particularly difficult snorkeling trip, it’s actually our most popular snorkel safari by far. We run anywhere from six to ten of these each year and have run these tours with everyone from advanced freediving folks to beginners without any issues whatsoever. The big reason why I say it’s advanced is that it requires quite a bit of flying at uncomfortable hours. The snorkeling is as good as it gets in both destinations, as are both resorts. You have everything from stunning reefs, big animals like mantas, turtles, and sharks, and if you are lucky whales. You also have the opportunity in both places to see weird and wonderful critters like cuttlefish, octopus, frogfish, and nudibranchs.

Borneo & Sulawesi Snorkeling Safari | 15 Nights

This snorkel safari combines two fantastic areas of Indonesia, Borneo, and North Sulawesi. As with many of these tours on this list there is a fair amount of flying, just short hopper flights, but flights nonetheless. Snorkeling in both areas is really quite easy as neither area is known for currents like Komodo & Alor are, for example. This trip is a great choice for those that want to see fantastic reefs and marine life like turtles, mantas, and of course all the beautiful reef fish, but also be able to experience a bit of the terrestrial wildlife as we stop in an Orangutang sanctuary where these beautiful ginger giants roam freely. One of the other great things about this trip is that it also includes a stop at a wonderful jellyfish lake full of thousands and thousands of stingless jellyfish.

Epic Indonesia | 27 Nights

At twenty-seven nights long with stops in four different snorkeling destinations across Indonesia, not to mention a stop in Bali and a few airport hotels, this trip is really for those people who are super passionate about their snorkeling. That being said, this trip will no doubt be absolutely epic as we snorkel in Alor, Komodo, Wakatobi, and Misool, arguably the best snorkeling destinations in Indonesia, if not the world.

Halmahera Snorkeling Tour | 10 nights

Halmahera is a fantastic destination for snorkeling, and Kusu Island resort is one of the newest resorts on the market. It’s absolutely fantastic, from the food to the general atmosphere the owners have cultivated, to the stunning coral reefs just steps from your private water or beach villas. There are a few things about this trip however that bear mentioning, and part of the reason why I put it in the “Advanced” category. The first is that you do have to acknowledge that is a good chance you will experience current, but again, nothing extreme, we just drift with it. The second is that Kusu Island resort is very remote, which requires several short flights and a boat ride. The third is that there is no electricity on the island after eleven or twelve at night. The rooms do have AC, but that goes off with the power. Having spent nearly three weeks there, and being the type of person that tends to run hot, this was never an issue for me as the sea breeze kept me at a comfortable temperature.

North Indonesia Snorkeling Safari | 20 Nights

Very much like our Epic Indonesia Snorkel Safari, this tour takes us to three amazing snorkeling destinations, Bunaken National Park in North Sulawesi, Halmahera, and Raja Ampat. Obviously, with so many wonderful destinations in one trip it will require us to take several flights, boat rides, and overnight stays in airport hotels to reach each destination. This is why we recommend this tour for those that just can’t get enough snorkeling.

Triton Bay & Raja Ampat Safari | 12 Nights

From a snorkeling perspective, this is one of our easier trips. Both resorts have fantastic house reefs, surrounding reefs are very close by, and neither area has particularly strong currents that we need to pay special attention to. This is also the only snorkeling trip we offer where we can almost guarantee you will see both whale sharks and mantas. The only real challenging thing about this particular snorkeling safari is the flights. Triton Bay is probably the most remote resort in Indonesia and requires three red-eye flights followed by a three-hour boat ride to arrive. Once you arrive, it’s paradise. The other thing is, because of the remoteness of both resorts, neither has AC. Having run this trip recently, I can tell you it was not an issue for any of our guests as all the bungalows are right on the sea and the gentle breeze is more than enough to keep you cool at night.

Mexico Big Creature Safari | 7 Nights

This is one of the coolest snorkeling safaris I personally think we have. But I will admit, it’s not for everyone. This tour is all about getting in the water with big animals like whale sharks, larger pelagic sharks like mako or blue sharks, whales if we are lucky, sea lions, dolphins, and the list goes on. While all of this sounds ideal, the day-to-day is very different than any of our other tours. We basically spend anywhere from six to eight hours a day in the boat searching for these wonderful creatures. There are no reefs, it’s all blue water. When we spot something or attract a shark to the boat using the smell of fish, we’ll get in the water with it. Encounters can last for hours, others can last seconds. The Sea of Cortez is the best place in the world for finding creatures like this, but again, it’s nature and sometimes you strike gold, sometimes you just have to enjoy the company you are with and the beautiful view of the humpback whales that are everpresent this time of year.

Mexico Mobula Expedition | 6 Nights

Our Mobula Expedition is very similar in style to our Big Creature Safari. We are searching for large aggregations of mobula rays that spend their time in the Sea of Cortez several times a year. When we find them and you are hovering above a thousand or more of these beautiful rays, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. However, the rays do move at a reasonable pace even though they appear to not be moving at all, so to keep pace with them it helps if you are a strong swimmer. Also, there is a fair amount of in and out of the boat as we re-position it to get us back in the water with the fleet.

French Polynesia | 9-10 Nights

This snorkel tour is a fantastic opportunity to explore the remote island of French Polynesia while having some truly incredible experiences on land and underwater. As French Polynesia is home to the largest shark sanctuary in the world, you will be encountering lots of sharks, particularly in Fakarava. That’s the easy part. The only part about this trip that may require a bit of consideration is the liveaboard. The Aquatiki is a beautiful upscale catamaran, and very well equipped to comfortably take six snorkeling guests, but it is quite a bit smaller than any other liveaboard. If you are comfortable on sailing boats then this won’t be an issue, but, if you’ve never had the pleasure of being on a sailboat or a catamaranit would be a good idea to get in touch with us first.

blacktip reef sharks

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.