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A sprawling archipelago of 17,000 islands, located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, Indonesia is home to 20% of the world’s coral reefs. Waters teeming with marine life, including over 2,000 recorded species of fish and 500 coral reef species, calm, clear waters with average temperatures ranging from 28 to 30°C/ 82 to 86°F, and a year ‘round warm and humid climate puts Indonesia at the top of any keen snorkelers’ bucket list.
1 - If you’re planning to head to this show stopping snorkel destination, experts say to avoid traveling between November and April during the rainy season and opt for the dry season between May and October for the best experience.
2 - Because you’ll likely spend a majority of time on and in the water, bring a great waterproof camera because the sights are jawdroppingly spectacular.
From national parks to secluded bays, we’ve rounded up our 10 favorite places for snorkeling in Indonesia.
The friendly Komodo Dragon is just one of the many creatures that share the underwater habitat of this UNESCO World Heritage Site dazzling with vibrant reefs, candy-colored coral gardens, and an impressive array of tropical fish. Keep a sharp eye out for creatures like otherworldly tiny seahorses that look like little toys, elusive snake eels, and majestic manta rays.
After a day at sea, relax on the tranquil and beautiful Pink Beach and dig your toes in the glittery pink baby powder sand. Don’t forget your waterproof camera when visiting Komodo Beach to take some snaps and boomerangs of blue sea and pink sands–definitely postcard perfect and IG worthy.
One of the world’s most jaw droppingly beautiful snorkeling sites that looks like a scene out of a sci-fi movie, Raja Ampat is a remote location that offers a range of habitats that live just a few feet under the water line.
Lined with resorts that offer snorkeling opportunities right from your front door, take a trip around the various islands to discover blue water mangroves and a marine area that boasts over 2,000 species of reef fish, 600 species of coral reef, and seven different types of sea turtles.
Located southeast of Sulawesi, Wakatobi Island is home to colorful coral reefs, and unusual snorkeling spots like Sombano Lake. Also known as Akku’a Nu-lumu, this 500-meter long lake averages depths of just one meter, fringed by mangroves filled with thousands of blood-red shrimp.
Formerly known as the Spice Islands, the Banda Islands have only recently opened up as a prime snorkeling spot. Boasting some of the most dramatic underwater landscapes in the region, with sweeping coral gardens and vibrant species of fish, snorkelers can encounter blockbuster big predators like hammerhead sharks and Napoleon Wrasse.
Combining spectacular reefs and exhilarating marine life encounters, it’s a must-visit for adventurous divers. Its deep water basin and powerful currents have created the perfect environment for migrating scalloped hammerheads. For the best chance of seeing these shy and ethereal predators, schedule your trip between September until November.
Known as the “Galapagos of the East, Cenderawasih Bay is the place to be if you're looking to snorkel alongside whale sharks where a host of dedicated tours offer opportunities to swim safely alongside these beautiful beasts.
Cenderawasih Bay is also home to more than 1,000 species of fish and 500 corals. Though less visited than its popular counterparts like Raja Ampat, Cenderawasih Bay is a good option for those looking to avoid crowds.
Nusa Penida, a short distance from Nusa Lemongian, is home to one of the world’s best spots for swimming with manta rays. You can combine both destinations on a boat tour; there are dozens of reputable companies offering access to both points.
Northeast of Nusa Lembongan is the Mangrove of Nusa Lembongan, a sprawling underground forest teeming with tiny colorful fish.
Set right in the heart of Amed, this tiny bay offers one of the most secluded snorkeling experiences in the region. Its reef drop-off is teeming with a kaleidoscopic of colorful fish, including schools of bright yellow damselfish.
Suited best for confident, experienced swimmers because the drop-offs are dramatic and small fishing boats regularly move through the waters, Jemeluk Bay is on the top of many veteran snorkeling enthusiasts bucket lists.
The Bunaken Islands in Indonesia is home to Bunaken Island National Marine Park, five small island hotspots for snorkeling enthusiasts. Gorgeous coral formations, alive with hundreds of fish species, are teeming with marine life.
A one-mile long reef fringing the island’s southeastern shore is a great place to explore the multicolored forest of sea life including butterflyfish, trumpetfish, huge porcupine fish, and angelfish, the most colorful and photogenic creature in the reef flats.
The Gili Islands, known for their pristine waters, incredible coral, and diverse marine life, are three small islands in Indonesia. fingered by white sand beaches and colorful coral reefs.
While many visitors make sure to put in as much snorkeling time as possible checking out the armada of sea turtles that hang out just a few feet from the beach, if you’re looking for something a bit more unique, be sure to make your way to the Gili Meno statues, an underwater sculpture garden.
Because the site is not only what mermaid dreams are made of, it makes for some of the most epic photo ops on earth., so don’t forget to bring a great underwater camera or waterproof camera case that’s built to last because you won’t be able to get enough of this place!