If tourists on Bali limit their explorations to above sea level, they will miss out on amazing marine life, fascinating shipwrecks, and stunning coral. This island is one of the top dive destinations in the world, but it is not necessary to go deep underwater in order to see some amazing things. The great advantage of snorkeling is that it does not require much training in order to being exploring – although there are courses available. Even those individuals who are not strong swimmers can enjoy this activity by wearing a buoyancy jacket. It is possible to buy cheap snorkeling equipment in Bali, but it may be better to purchase something a bit more expensive in order to get the most out of this experience.
Best Places for Snorkeling in Bali
There are hundreds of locations where people could go snorkeling in Bali, but in order to really enjoy this activity it helps if there is good visibility and something worthwhile to see underwater. The following places would fit those criteria:
- Padang Bai offers some good options snorkeling especially at Blue Lagoon Beach – there is also a wreck that is well worth visiting. If people want to enjoy the best dive sites, they will need to hire a boat.
- Tulamben is the most popular dive sites in Bali because the wreck of the US Liberty can be found here. Visitors will be able to get a nice view of this wreck while snorkeling, but in order to really get close they will need to go scuba diving.
- There is some excellent snorkeling opportunities just a meter from the shore in Amed – thus making it an excellent choice for those who are new to snorkeling. There is also a Japanese wreck in the nearby waters.
- Candidasa has some of the most interesting underwater attractions on the island, and the visibility here is usually very good. In order to get the most of what is on offer, it will be necessary to rent a boat – this costs about $26 for a few hours (as of mid-2013).
- There are a number of superb dive spots close to Sanur and these areas can also be suitable for snorkeling. The best spots include Nusa Penida and Lembongan, and it will be necessary to go on a tour or hire a speedboat (40 minute ride) in order to reach these locations.
- Menjangan Island is part of Bali Barat National Park, and it is 5 miles to the north west of Bali. There is some excellent coral around the island, but visitors who wish to snorkel here need to pay for a guide.
- The waters around Lovina on the northern coast of Bali is another option for people who wish to spend some time admiring the underwater scenery. There are many dive shops in this resort town, and many of them also offer snorkeling tours.
Best Places for Snorkeling Near Bali
Snorkeling Options Close to Bali would include:
- The Gili Islands are one of the best destinations in Indonesia when it comes to diving and snorkeling. The coral and marine life surrounding these islands are abundant and stunning.
- Lombok Island offers crystal clear and plenty of marine life to admire. The easiest way to get to Lombok from Bali is to get a ferry from Padang Pai.
Snorkeling Tours in Bali
One of the best ways to enjoy snorkeling is to go on an organized tour. This means that visitors can travel to the best snorkeling spots around the island and do a bit of socializing as well. There are many companies on Bali offering this type of tour including:
- Bali Aqua offers diving in Tulamben, Amed, Padang Bai, and Nusa Penida. Tours start from US$45 for 2 hours (as of mid-2013).
- Bali Budaya Tours offers snorkeling around a World War II Japanese shipwreck as part of an East Coast tour package. This tour also includes a chance to enjoy some coral reef and a visit to a Water Palace – total cost is 450,000 IDR for this full-day tour.
- Bai Hai Cruises offers a full day cruise around Nusa Penid (including Crystal Bay and Gamet Bay) with plenty of opportunities for snorkeling.
- Bali Star Island offers snorkeling close to Tanjung Benoa Beach. It costs US$20 (as of mid 2013) for one hour of snorkeling and boat transfer to the dive spot.
- Wisnu Dive Center offers snorkeling and dive trips to a number of destinations including; Lovina Reef, the Tulamben U.S.S. Liberty Shipwreck, and Amed.
- Amed Diving Center offers tours of the local waters.
- Tulamben Wreck Divers offers snorkeling tours of the Liberty Wreck.
- Bali Diving Academy provides personalized snorkeling safaris for single people, couples, families. and groups of friends.
If people want to get the most out of this underwater activity, it can be a good idea to attend a snorkeling course. There are a number of venues offering this type of instruction including:
- Bali Aqua (see above) offers a beginners course that will teach people how to dive safely down to as low as eight meters. Participants will also get to learn about weighting and using the equipment the right way.
- Scuba Dive Bali provides a 12 hour snorkeling skin diver course. Participants who successfully complete this course will receive a PADI certificate.
Snorkeling Equipment in Bali
It is easy to buy cheap snorkeling equipment at any of the beach areas in Bali. They can also be found on sale in local department stores for as little as US$15, but the problem is that these items tend to be of relatively poor quality, and this can take much of the enjoyment out of this activity. It is well worth investing in the more expensive equipment if people intend to engage in this activity on a regular basis. Alternatively, there are many places where it will be possible to hire quality snorkeling equipment – most dive shops will offer this service. Understandably, people can have hygiene concerns around hiring this type of item, but it is possible to wipe down everything using alcohol wipes – especially the mouth piece. One of the most importance pieces of equipment is the mask, and this needs to fit securely but comfortably against the person’s face. It is recommended that people purchase a dive mask with a silicone seal.
Snorkeling to Scuba Diving or Free Diving
It is usual for people who have done a bit of snorkeling to develop a hunger to dive further down into the water. In order to go deeper, it will be necessary to learn how to scuba dive or free dive. Bali is an excellent location for learning how to scuba dive and the courses are plentiful and reasonably priced. Those people who are still a bit unsure about scuba diving can go for an introduction dive, and this will give them a basic idea of what it is all about. Once people decide that they wish to learn the basics, the best option for them will be to complete the PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Course. Free Dive Flow Bali offers a number of courses that will introduce students into the wonders of free diving.