Snorkeling is fun, low-cost and easy to learn and a wonderful way to explore the rich ocean environments that Bali has to offer. All you need is a mask with a snorkel and a set of fins and you can see some amazing underwater sights. Snorkeling can really be done anywhere in Bali and it’s surprising what interesting things you will find even in the most common locations. But when you’re ready to be amazed, Bali has some world-class snorkeling locations that are easy to reach and spectacular in their beauty.
The best snorkeling sites in Bali
This pristine island lies just off the north-western coast of Bali and, due to a lower number of tourist visitors, is fantastically well preserved. The ocean here is more tranquil and doesn’t usually have the large waves that are a feature of the Bali’s southern coastline, which makes snorkeling easier and increases visibility. There are several stunning snorkeling spots around Menjangan Island, the best known being Pos Dua and the Coral Garden. This is a must-see site if you love snorkeling.
Found in north-eastern Bali, Tulamben is a popular snorkeling destination and has several top quality snorkeling spots. The wreck of the USAT Liberty is a great spot for snorkeling with excellent visibility of the 125-metre long wreck in clear weather. The bottom of the wreck is generally too deep for snorkelers to reach, but from the surface you will still be treated to a landscape of healthy coral growth and an incredible amount of fish living around the wreck. Fishing is banned here, so the fish have prospered and their numbers have exploded. The Coral Garden is an easy to reach shallow reef that is a combination of natural rocky reef and artificial structures and has plenty of soft and hard corals and an impressive variety of ocean life to enjoy.
Within an 8 to 10-kilometre radius of this spot in north-eastern Bali, you can visit a range of snorkeling sites that offer both hard and soft coral and a magnificent variety of fish and ocean life. The Japanese Wreck is a well-known snorkeling spot and has a vast amount of mainly soft coral to explore. Because it rests in just 6-metres of water, the wreck is easily seen from the surface, but you need to be aware of rougher weather that may stir up the fine volcanic sand.
Padang bai is a popular location in eastern Bali for snorkeling, with the Blue Lagoon being the best known of the local sites. It’s flat and calm waters are home to a wide variety of tropical fish and it’s very common for schools of fish to come very close to snorkelers. A great spot for beginners and more experienced operators who love getting up close to ocean life.
Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan
These islands are right beside each other, along with a third smaller island, off the south-eastern coastline of Bali. Off the coast of Nusa Penida you will find Manta Point, which is a fantastic site to view huge reef manta rays up close. These beautiful creatures are large but very placid and can be quite curious around humans. They visit this small coral outcropping to have their skin cleaned by the cleaner fish found here. This is easily visible from the surface and is fascinating to watch. Mangrove Point is on the north side of Nusa Lembongan and is a protected, shallow spot that is used as a nursery for many different fish varieties, so baby fish are often visible before they venture into the deeper water and stronger currents around the islands.
The best time of the year to snorkel in Bali
Being close to the equator, the water temperature in Bali is quite constant and suitable for snorkeling all year-round. The best time for visibility and experience varies at different sites throughout Bali, but generally, the dry season of May to September produces the best conditions and is your best bet for getting some great snorkeling in.