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snorkel with sea turtles

Is snorkeling with turtles on your bucket list? — if not, it should be. Why? Because it’s easy to do, there are dozens of places around the world where you can partake in the activity, and, most importantly, it’s really out-of-this-world. To steal a phrase, one that sums it up, snorkeling with sea turtles is simply “kickass.” What are you waiting for? Let’s dig right in and give you – you wanderlust enthusiast – a GPS checklist of where you can high-five a leathery fin. 

What does snorkeling with sea turtles truly entail? 

Snorkeling with turtles is an experience like no other. It really is. It’s a chance to get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s most majestic creatures. As you swim alongside them, you can observe their behavior, marvel at their grace and agility, and even learn about their unique adaptations to their environment. Snorkeling with turtles can be a magical experience that will stay with you long after your time in the water has ended.

Pro-tip, bring a camera — preferably a water-tight one. Something along the lines of a GoPro. 

The best places in the world to snorkel with turtles

Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly adventure or an adrenaline-filled thrill ride, snorkeling with sea turtles is the perfect way to explore the underwater world and get your blood pumping in the process. From Hawaii to Mexico, here are some of the best places to snorkel with sea turtles and make memories that will last forever. 

The best thing about these places, aside from the fact that you get to rub elbows with some of nature’s cutest sea creatures – dolphins are overrated – is that after a wacky and phenomenal time in the tides, you can take off your snorkel mask, and wash down the taste of salt from your lips, with another one of nature’s bounties — the bottomless mimosa.

snorkeling with turtles

Where to snorkel with sea turtles?

Maui Island, Hawaii

Maui Island, Hawaii is an exotic destination that offers something for everyone. From breathtaking beaches and lush tropical forests to thrilling activities like surfing, hiking, and zip-lining, Maui Island is the perfect place to relax and explore. It’s on everyone’s to-do list before getting in line for the endless buffet in the sky. With its diverse landscape and rich culture, Maui Island is a paradise that will take your breath away. From exploring the ancient ruins of Haleakala National Park to taking a dip in the crystal clear waters of Ka’anapali Beach, you will never run out of things to do on Maui Island.

One of the most popular activities on Maui Island is, you guessed it, snorkeling with turtles. The clear waters of the island are home to a variety of sea turtles that can be seen swimming around in their natural habitat.

Oahu Island, Hawaii

Oahu Island is the third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands and is the most populated island in that slice of Heaven the US calls Hawaii. It is home to the state capital, Honolulu, as well as many other cities and towns tourists will go bananas for. The place offers a variety of activities and attractions that make it a great destination for visitors from all over the world. From its beautiful beaches to its vibrant culture, Oahu Island has something for everyone.

Where to snorkel with turtles in Oahu? Oahu Island in Hawaii is an amazing destination for snorkeling with turtles. You will be able to see different species of turtles, including Hawksbill, Green, but not Loggerhead, and Leatherback Turtles in Hawaii.

For the calmest and clearest water on Oahu, head to the west side of the island in the lee of the Waianae mountain range.  Makaha Caverns, world-famous for underwater lava tubes, is one of the best places to catch turtles taking a beauty nap. 

Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef

Lady Elliot Island is a small coral cay located at the southernmost tip of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. It is a haven for snorkeling enthusiasts who come to witness its rich marine life and colorful coral reefs.

The great thing about the island is its crystal clear waters — and by crystal, we mean looking through a recently washed window. The Great Barrier Reef, in general, offers some of the best conditions for observing turtles in their natural habitat and other amazing sea creatures. 

Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Tortuguero National Park is a spectacular protected area in Costa Rica. It is located on the Caribbean coast and is home to an abundance of wildlife, lush rainforests, mangroves, and wetlands. The park covers an area of over 47,000 hectares and provides refuge for numerous species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Visitors can explore the park by boat or on foot to experience its diverse ecosystems and observe its many species of flora and fauna. Tortuguero National Park also serves as an important nesting ground for green sea turtles which come here every year to lay their eggs — the park’s name “Tortuguero” – which translates loosely to “the place of turtles” – derives from this distinctive feature.

As a whole, Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Visitors can tango with these gentle creatures.

Ari Atoll, Maldives

Ari Atoll, Maldives is a stunning archipelago of 119 islands located in the Indian Ocean. With its white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush vegetation, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world — romantic, adventurous, exotic, and posh, are just some of the thousands of adjectives used to describe one of God’s biggest hits on the planet. It is known for its beautiful coral reefs and diverse marine life, including whale sharks and manta rays.

The shallow reefs around the atoll provide perfect habitats for sea turtles and other marine species, making it a great spot for snorkelers to observe them. You don’t even have to don your water mask to spot these hard-shelled superstars. Sea turtles can often be seen swimming close to shore or basking on rocks near the surface of the water.


Barbados is a Caribbean island that is known for its stunning beaches, James Bond-worthy locations, and crystal-clear waters. It has become a popular spot not just for snorkeling, but for everything else you can think of — there’s a reason it was a pirate haven back in the 16th century; Barbados simply rocks. 

These gentle creatures are often seen gliding gracefully through the shallow waters of Barbados. You can get up close and personal with them while snorkeling, making it an unforgettable experience. The warm waters around Barbados are home to several species of sea turtles, including green turtles and hawksbill turtles.

snorkeling tour
Ningaloo Reef, Australia

Ningaloo Reef is a mind-blowing World Heritage-listed coral reef located off the coast of Western Australia. It’s one of the world’s longest fringing reefs, stretching over 260 kilometers along the northwest coast. It is home to a variety of marine life, including sea turtles, manta rays, dolphins, and whales. 

Its waters provide an ideal environment for a variety of marine life, including sea turtles. The reef is home to many species of sea turtles, which can be seen swimming around the coral gardens or resting on the sandy bottom. You can also spot them during their nesting season from November to March.

Akumal, Mexico

Akumal, Mexico is a beautiful beach town located in the Yucatan Peninsula — located close to Cancun and dozens of Mayan temples. It is known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear water, and lush tropical jungle. Akumal is also home to a variety of wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, and manatees. 

One of the most popular activities is snorkeling with sea turtles. This activity allows you to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat and get up close and personal with them. So close you can actually poke them — Just DON’T poke them, it’s rude aside from being frowned upon. The waters around Akumal are crystal-clear, making it the perfect place to spot these fascinating creatures.

Marsa Alam, Egypt

Marsa Alam is a coastal city located in the eastern part of Egypt. It is known for its pristine beaches, lush greenery, and rich cultural heritage. The city is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world and has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. It is a resort town, about 12 hours from Cairo. Marsa Alam’s economy relies heavily on its tourism industry, with many locals employed in hotels, restaurants, and other service industries related to tourism. 

Marsa Alam’s key feature is its natural theme-park-like snorkeling atmosphere. Egypt is a paradise for snorkelers. With its crystal clear waters and abundance of marine life. One of the most popular activities in Marsa Alam is snorkeling with sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, and manta rays — It’s a who’s who – a cast list – of that Pixar classic “Finding Nemo.”

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands located in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 1,000 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador. They are renowned for their unique and diverse wildlife, which inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The islands have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a protected marine reserve, making them one of the world’s most important conservation areas. The Galapagos Islands are home to a variety of species including sea lions, giant tortoises, iguanas, penguins, and many more. They also boast stunning landscapes with white sand beaches and crystal clear waters that make them an ideal destination for travelers looking to explore nature in its purest form.

Snorkeling with sea turtles in the Galapagos Islands is a must-do for any nature enthusiast looking for one of those picture-perfect images you’ll look back upon on your deathbed — between your kid’s birthday and that time in Vegas where things got out of hand.

sea turtles
Where can I snorkel with turtles in Oahu?

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, there are plenty of spots to choose from on this stunning island. From the North Shore to Hanauma Bay, here are some of the best places in Oahu to go snorkeling: 

  • Maunalua Bay and Turtle Canyon — Best for sea turtles.
  • Hanauma Bay and Kuilima Bay — family friendly with calm waters.
  • Ko Olina — for beginners with easy access to lifeguards.
  • Makaha Caverns – boat access to underwater lava tubes
  • Shark Cove — best for having a heart attack, it’s frequented by sharks. It gets very crowded by Jaws enthusiasts. For advanced snorkelers. 

In Oahu, not only will you be able to witness the beauty of these animals, but you’ll also get to experience some of the best snorkeling in the world. From shallow lagoons to deep reefs, Oahu has something for everyone when it comes to snorkeling with turtles.