Snorkeled the World, Eastern Indonesia the Best
I am an avid snorkeler and have been lucky enough to snorkel all over the world. My vote for best snorkeling in the world is Eastern Indonesia, West New Guinea, Papua New Guinea. There are amazing reefs throughout these countries with fantastic coral colors and shapes and these reefs are unknown to most of the world. The Coral Triangle has fantastic coral and is worth the trip.
Here are my experiences that hopefully will be helpful to others. I prefer more shore snorkeling as I get a little freaked out in open water. I have emphasized coral quality versus quantity of fish. I have only included locations not already on Galen and Nicole's list in 2013.
- Roatan- good coral, reasonable shore snorkeling
- Turks and Caicos Provo- good coral, excellent shore snorkeling
- Eleuthera, Bahamas- OK coral, excellent shore snorkeling
- Grenadines & Tobago Cays- good coral, mostly boat snorkeling in reasonably shallow water
- US Virgin Islands, especially St. John- good coral, excellent shore snorkeling. In my opinion the best shore snorkeling option in the Caribbean because it is mostly easy sand access.
- British Virgin Islands, Virgin Gorda- good coral, good shore snorkeling and boat snorkeling
Melanesia and Micronesia (The Coral Triangle)
- Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora- excellent coral, lacks color but great quality. Moorea has good shore snorkeling on the island and excellent shore snorkeling on motus (near shore islands).
- Palau- excellent coral, mostly open water boat snorkeling
- Papua New Guinea, East Coast- amazing coral and colors, some shore snorkeling and open water boat snorkeling
- Fiji, Mamanucas- excellent coral, excellent shore snorkeling on some islands, mostly boat snorkeling on others
- Indonesia, Sulawesi and Eastern Islands- amazing coral and colors, mostly boat snorkeling, some shore snorkeling
- Philippines, Palawan, El Nido- excellent coral, mostly boat snorkeling but reasonably shallow water
- Great Barrier Reef from Cairns- excellent coral, all open water boat snorkeling.
I hope this helps. My lifetime goal: to snorkel Raja Ampat and Indonesia West Papua.
Happy snorkeling everyone!
P.S. Thanks to Galen and Nicole for this site. It has been extremely helpful and informative. Keep up the good work.