What could be more idyllic than secluded, powdery-white sands fringed by swaying palms, sloping gently into Indonesia’s calm, turquoise waters? Pull on a pair of fins, position your mask and snorkel, and wade into the gently-lapping sea… As you plunge your head into the water you enter a different kind of paradise. Beneath the waves that brush against Indonesia's coast, the waters are teeming with a colourful diversity of marine life.
Depending on where you stay, you can access this underwater wonderland from secluded shoreline spots, from your resort beach, on a day trip by boat, or even on a longer boat-based journey through the seas surrounding Indonesia’s incredible islands.
The best news is that the peak season for snorkelling in Indonesia is during the calm, dry season from October to December, when we might most need a break from the weather at home! Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeller or just beginning, make sure you factor in a chance to explore the beautiful world under Indonesia’s waves as part of your trip.
There are many ways to experience snorkelling in Indonesia. Here are some of our recommended highlights:
On a tropical island in Java’s Karimunjawa Archipelago, exclusively occupied by the Kura Kura Resort. Enjoy pristine snorkelling spots, vibrant coral gardens and a kaleidoscopic array of fish directly from your beach.
Drift over the reef drop-offs near Menjangan Island to experience some of the best snorkelling in Bali, just a short boat ride from the northern resorts.
Swim alongside sea turtles and circling sharks on the reefs that fringe the Gili Islands, a short boat ride from Lombok.
In North Sulawesi’s Bunaken Maritime Park, marvel at the incredible biodiversity of fish species hiding among the huge, swaying sea fans and corals.
Uninhabited islands sit amongst marine wildlife that ranges from dugongs, whales and dolphins to the tiny nudibranchs, slap-bang in the centre of the Coral Triangle at Raja Ampat.
If you are visiting Java to explore the ancient temples of Borobudur and Prambanan, the cultural delights of Yogyakarta, or to see the dramatic sunrises over Mount Bromo, then why not experience the pleasures that lie just offshore from the tiny tropical island exclusively occupied by the Kura Kura Resort?
From your own romantic, private island you can slip straight into the sea any time you wish, avoiding the snorkelling crowds, to swim in crystal-clear water over gardens of coral, colourful fish, and even the occasional sea turtle.
Considered to offer some of Bali’s best snorkelling spots, Menjangan Island is easily accessible from the resorts that fringe the north coast. Once you have had your fill of batfish, giant clams and blue starfish, head along the reef to the dramatic drop-off into the vast ocean beyond. The healthy coral gardens here shelter clownfish, angelfish and hundreds of shimmering damselfish. In the deeper blue, shy turtles can be seen lazily feeding.
Just a short swim from the sleepy fishing villages of Amed, you can snorkel along the coral reef that snakes around the eastern shoreline of Bali. Its dazzling coral formations are brimming with giant trevally, groupers, parrot fish and many others.
The Gili Islands are a short boat ride from Lombok, and are known for their healthy coral reefs that create a visually stunning underwater landscape. Many snorkelling sites can be reached from the beaches, while boat trips can take you to sites such as Turtle Point, Shark Point, and Bounty Wreck, where sea turtles nibble on the coral and reef sharks prowl the waters.
The prehistoric predators on land that we know as Komodo Dragons are not the only wildlife delight to be seen in the Komodo National Park. On boat cruises around the shore, there are many snorkelling sites where you can swim among the vibrant coral gardens and spot graceful manta rays flying through the waters with effortless ease.
Located in the north of Sulawesi, close to the city of Manado, this stretch of water is incredibly biodiverse, hosting over two thirds of the region’s marine species. Corals, sponges and huge sea fans sparkle in the clear waters, offering a flamboyant backdrop to the exuberant colours of the flitting fish. Glance up to admire the vertical reef walls, languid turtles and watchful reef sharks.
Located to the northwest of New Guinea, the waters surrounding Raja Ampat’s hundreds of tiny islets and coral outcrops are home to some of the most diverse underwater ecology anywhere on the planet. Snorkel from wild beaches, or hop on a boat to explore further afield, and you will quickly encounter everything from pygmy seahorses and tiny nudibranchs to wobbegongs, reef sharks, manta rays, whales, dolphins, and maybe even an elusive dugong.
From cruising the jungle waterways of Kalimantan’s rainforest and spotting orangutans, to soaking in the culture in Java to a few days relaxing on Bali and Komodo island - this is a trip full of beautiful contrasts in Java, Kalimantan, Bali and Komodo.