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27 Best Places For Snorkeling With Sea Turtles

Snorkeling involves swimming while wearing a snorkel.

This snorkel is a device that allows the swimmer to breathe air from above the water surface while the swimmer is submerged underwater. Snorkeling and dive sites all over the world allow you to swim with marine life such as whales, sharks, dolphins, and turtles.

Depending on your experience level, you can also dive deep into coves and explore underwater caves. Snorkeling with sea turtles is an amazing experience.

When snorkeling you need to observe the laws and regulations of the location. You also need to respect the sea turtles.

As many of you may already know, sea turtles can become easily stressed when around humans. Try not to harass the sea turtle.

Below are some of the best locations around the world.

Best Locations to Snorkel with Sea Turtles

There are many locations around the world where you can snorkel with sea turtles. While documenting every single location on Earth where you can snorkel and dive with turtles is impossible, here are some popular locations where you can snorkel and dive with turtles.

If you wish to know where to swim with sea turtles, then continue downwards.


Akumal (Mexico)

Akumal is a resort found about 62 miles south of Cancun. This resort is located between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. This resort was founded in 1958. The Akumal Bay is a marine refuge home to turtle populations including green sea turtles.

Akumal is considered the ideal place in Mexico to snorkel with loggerheads and green turtles. The Akumal Bay is shallow about only 15 ft  (5 m) deep. A reef also protects the bay. This makes Akumal Bay arguably, the best place to swim with sea turtles.

The green turtles of Akumal nest from May to October. The hatchlings emerge from July to December. The best time to snorkel with sea turtles in this region is from May to August.

Galapagos Islands

These islands may be most famous for their giant tortoises. Still, they also host the only nesting population of Chelonia mydas agassisi (commonly known as the Galapagos green sea turtle, Eastern Pacific green turtle, or the Black (Pacific) sea turtle).

The Galapagos green turtle is also known as the pacific subpopulation of the species. The Pacific subpopulation that nests in Galapagos has a single pair of scales covering the eyes and a serrated lower jaw.

The main nesting site in Galapagos is on Isabela Island and specifically on the beach called Quinta Playa. The turtles of this region nest from December to March.

The hatchlings emerge from February to May. The best time to snorkel with sea turtles in this region is from December to March.

Tortuguero National Park (Costa Rica)

This is a national park found in Limón Province. This park is considered by many the best place to swim with sea turtles in the Caribbean.

This national park is part of the Tortuguero Conservation Area. The area covers both land and ocean and is 194 sq miles or 312 sq km. This park is only accessible by boat or airplane and is the third most visited park in Costa Rica.

The park has a 20-mile shore which is a nesting site for sea turtles. Turtles found within the park include leatherback turtles and green sea turtles.

During nesting season, there are over 2000 gravid green sea turtles that come to nest on the shores. These females can be observed with a guide of course. It is forbidden to go to the shore where the females lay their eggs during the night.

The park is home to rainforests, mangrove forests, lakes, marine life, ferns, mammals, and birds. Some threatened species found in the reserve apart from sea turtles include sea cows, Baird’s tapir, and the American crocodile.

Sea turtles you can interact with in this park include leatherbacks, hawksbills, and green turtles.

The green turtles and hawksbills of this region nest from July to October. The leatherback turtles of this region nest from March to July.

The green turtle and hawksbill hatchlings emerge from September to December. The leatherback hatchlings emerge from May to September.

The best time to snorkel with sea turtles in this region is from March to August.

Key West (Florida)

If you wish to swim with sea turtles in Florida then you can’t go wrong with Key West.

This location is an island found within Florida specifically the Straits of Florida. The island of Key West is surprisingly small and covers an area of just about 4.2 sq miles or 11 sq km.

This island is host to five species of sea turtles including the Kemp’s Ridley, hawksbill, leatherback, green turtle, and loggerhead. Other places to swim with sea turtles in Florida include Melbourne Beach in Brevard County,  Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, Vero Beach in Indian River County, and Dry Tortugas National Park.

In Florida, hatchlings emerge from June to December. The best time to spot the turtles is from May to September.

La Flor Wildlife Refuge (Nicaragua)

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle walking on the beach in Rivas, Nicaragua
Olive Ridley Sea Turtle walking on the beach in Rivas, Nicaragua. – Source

This refuse is composed of several beaches in the South Pacific. These beaches have white sands and share borders with the pacific ocean and tropical forests.

In terms of snorkeling with turtles, the refuse is home to over 30,000 olive ridley turtles that nest on the beaches. Green sea turtles, leatherbacks, and hawksbills also nest here. 

Here you can watch thousands of turtles lay eggs and nest. The nestin season in  La Flor Wildlife Refuge is from July to January and peaks from October to November.

Hatchlings emerge from September to February. And the best time to visit La Flor Wildlife Refuge is from July to November.


Green Sea Turtle swimming with fish in Barbados
Green Sea Turtle swimming with fish in Barbados. – Source

This island found in the Caribbean is one of the biggest tourist hotspots in the world. Not only is the weather great here, but also the beaches are beautiful with turquoise waters and white sand beaches.

There are several places to snorkel when in Barbados. Some of these are Carlisle Bay Marine Park, Freights Bay, Worthing Beach, and Paynes Bay.


Zakynthos Marine Park (Greece)

This park is an excellent place to swim and snorkel with loggerheads.

These loggerheads can be found in Laganas Bay which makes up the park. The southern shores of Zakynthos are essential nesting habitats for loggerhead turtles within the Mediterranean region.

Cameo Island is a private island accessible from Agios Sostis. It is located south of Zakynthos.

The turtles that can be viewed here are loggerhead turtles. These turtles are known to forage around the island and even nest on the sandy beaches of the island.

The loggerheads here are quite tame and tolerant of humans. However, harassing the turtles even here on this private island is illegal and not allowed.

Balos (Greece)

This location is a lagoon on Crete which is an island in Greece. This beach has the ocean on both sides. Loggerheads and monk seals are two rare sea animals that can be found in this location.

To snorkel in Balos, you need to get to the lagoon using a boat. You will need to pack your own snorkeling equipment.

İztuzu (Turkey)

Loggerhead Sea Turtle in the waters near İztuzu, Turkey
Loggerhead Sea Turtle in the waters near İztuzu, Turkey. – Source

Another excellent location where you can swim with turtles in Europe is İztuzu Beach which is also known as Turtle Beach because of the number of loggerhead turtles that can be found here.

This place is excellent for swimming with turtles as well as watching nesting females. The turtles here are protected under e Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area.

The protected nature of this beach means that there are a lot of regulations in place. It is important to do your research before visiting this beach.

For instance, between 1 May and 31 October, İztuzu Beach is not accessible to the public from 8 pm to 8 am.

Tenerife (Canary Islands)

This is an island that is part of the Canary Islands which is part of Spain.

This island is visited by at least a million tourists each year. This island is home to 400 fish species, dolphins, sea turtles, and many marine invertebrates.

When in Tenerife, one of the best places to snorkel is El Bufadero. This dive site is a wonder to behold.

El Bufadero is close to El Palm Mar El Bufadero itself is a cove where you can swim and snorkel with turtle species including the loggerhead and green turtle. The species you are most likely to see is the green turtle.

The cove is about 15 to 25 meters deep depending on your position. You can it to the bottom at only 4 meters though. This is recommended for beginners and intermediate-skilled divers.

Another excellent location to visit is Costa Adeje. This is an excellent location for snorkeling.

Algarve (Portugal)

Young Loggerhead Sea Turtle being held by someone in Algarve, Portugal
Young Loggerhead Sea Turtle being held by someone in Algarve, Portugal. – Source

The Algarve in southern Portugal is known for its tourist destinations. This place is known for its branches and translucent wants which are perfect for snorkeling.

The best time for snorkeling is during the summer. This is because of the temperature and the weather.

Summer is also when the tourist spots of the Algarve are most packed with tourists. To get to beaches with sea turtles, you may need to take a wildlife-spotting boat tour.

During the winter, the temperatures are low which makes it a bad time to snorkel. Spring and autumn are also good times to snorkel. While temperatures are still quite low, it isn’t as cold as winter and the beaches are relatively empty.

The sea turtle you are likely to see in the Algarve are green sea turtles. Some excellent snorkeling spots in the Algarve include Praia do Camilo located in Lagos, Praia do Martinhal located in the eastern part of Sagres, Praia do Burgau also located in Sagres, Praia de Armação de Pêra, Praia da Marinha, Praia Dona Ana, Praia da Marinha, Praia de Benagil, Praia da Ilha da Fuseta, Praia da Ilha da Culatra, and Praia da Ilha de Tavira.

Lampedusa & Linosa (Italy)

Loggerhead Sea Turtle swimming around somewhere in Lampedusa & Linosa, Italy
Loggerhead Sea Turtle swimming around somewhere in Lampedusa & Linosa, Italy. – Source

Another great place to visit in Europe is the island of Lampedusa. This is one of the islands of Sicily.

Together with Linosa, Lampedusa makes up the Pelagie archipelago. Both islands have crystal clear waters and white sand reminiscent of the Maldives Islands.

One place, you may want to visit is the WWF Sea Turtle Rescue and Recovery Centre. There are also many beautiful coves and beaches to visit when you are on any one of these islands.

The Tabaccara Bay is a must for persons who wish to snorkel with turtles.


The Great Barrier Reef (Australia)

The great barrier reef is the largest coral reef system in the world.

This coral reef system comprises over 2900 reefs and 900 islands and covers an area of about 133,000 sq mi or 344,400 sq km and stretches for 1,200 miles or 2,000 km. The reef can be located off the east coast of Queensland in Australia.

This great reef is a breeding and nesting site for six sea turtle species. These include the flatback turtle (which is endemic to only Australia), the olive ridley, loggerhead sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, leatherback sea turtle, and the green sea turtle.

There are about eighteen green sea turtle nesting sites along the reef. Five nesting sites around Moulter Cay and Raine Island (located in the northern part of the reef) host about 30,000 nesting females each year.

The southern part of the reef, particularly the Capricorn Bunker, hosts thirteen nesting sites and about 8,000 nesting females. These turtles nest from late October to February.

The hatchlings emerge from late December to April. The best time to snorkel with sea turtles in this region is from May to October.

Cook Island Aquatic Reserve (Australia)

Green Sea Turtle swimming around somewhere near Cook Islands, Australia
Green Sea Turtle swimming around somewhere near Cook Islands, Australia. – Source

This is a protected marine reserve located around Cook Island. This reserve is close to Gold Coast in the southeast of Queensland.

This reserve starts from Fingal Head which is part of New South Wales, a state in Australia. The reserve was established in late 1998 and covers an area of 180 acres.

The water of the reserve is host to several tourist-oriented recreational activities such as snorkeling, diving, boating, and swimming. This reserve is home to green sea turtles, wobbegongs, leopard sharks, groupers, pufferfish, and parrotfish.

Turtles can be found swimming in the waters of the reverse all year. Tourists can snorkel with these green sea turtles and loggerheads on the island.

Since this is a reserve, interactions with the turtles come with rules. Nesting isn’t too common here although both loggerheads and green sea turtles are known to nest on this reserve.

Nesting here is limited. Nesting season in the Cook Island Aquatic Reserve is from November to March.

Hatchlings emerge from January to May. The best time to snorkel and dive with sea turtles is from May to October.

Maui Island, Hawaii

Beached Green Sea Turtle somewhere near some rocks on Maui Island, Hawaii
Beached Green Sea Turtle somewhere near some rocks on Maui Island, Hawaii. – Source

Maui is the second-largest island in Hawaii. It is also considered the 17th largest island in the united states.

While Hawaii is politically part of the United States, the islands that compose Hawaii are geographically part of Oceania. Others even consider Hawaii as part of no continent. Hawaii is found in the central pacific ocean.

Maui is known for its rich marine life which includes turtles, tropical fish, and dolphins. Sadly many of Maui’s coral reefs have been damaged by pollution and interestingly enough tourism.

Maui is home to five sea turtle species. These include the olive ridley, the loggerhead, the green sea turtle, the hawksbill, and the leatherback.

The most common marine turtles that can be seen in Hawaii include the hawksbill and the green sea turtle which are locally called honu’ea and honu respectively.

Green sea turtles can be found all year round when diving and snorkeling on the west coast and south coast of Maui. They are quite popular in South Maio Turtletown. Here they feed on algae or lie on the bottom of the ocean occasionally coming up for air or to bask.

It is illegal to harass turtles in Hawaii. Harassment includes but is not limited to chasing the turtle, covering it, touching the turtle, or trying to ride the turtle.

Green turtles have been recorded to nest from May to October in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Hawksbill turtles have been recorded to nest on the Ka’u coastline.

The best time to spot the turtles is from April to October. Hawksbill turtle hatchlings emerge from June to December.

Oahu, Hawaii

This is the third-largest island in Hawaii and has a population of about a million people. This island is known for its diverse marine life which consists of tropical fish, dolphins, and turtles.

If you are interested in snorkeling with turtles, places to visit while in Oahu include Turtle Beach (Laniakea Beach), Waikiki Beach, Electric Beach (Kahe Point), and Kaupo Bay (Cockroach Cove). All of these places allow you to snorkel with sea turtles.

The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is another excellent place to snorkel with turtles. If you wish to snorkel with sea turtles in Hawaii, I recommend that you visit the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.


Ari Atoll (Alif or Alifu Atoll), Maldives

This natural atoll can be found in the Maldives and is considered one of the world’s largest atolls. This atoll is spread over an area of 55 by 2 miles or 89 by 3 km.

This atoll comprises 150 islands with about 20 islands accessible to tourists. Scuba diving is a popular activity among tourists that visit this location. Snorkeling is also an important tourist attraction here.

While turtles rarely nest here, however, they are common everywhere. The reef acts as a foraging site for sea turtles including hawksbill, olive ridley, and green sea turtles.

These sea turtles can be seen feeding on sea sponges. Apart from turtles, you can also find whale sharks, dolphins, starfish, nudibranchs, and manta rays in the Ari atoll.

The best time to snorkel and dive with turtles in the Ari Atoll is from January to April.

Bunaken National Park (Indonesia)

This is a marine park located on Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. This park is home to about 390 different coral species and is at the heart of the Coral Triangle.

The marine park is known for its diverse and rich coral ecosystem although the most dominant coral species include barrier ree coral and fringing reef coral. This park hosts several 5-star resorts and backpacker cottages that are frequented by tourists.

The coral here isn’t the only attraction. There are many turtles to be seen. The two species you will come across are green turtles and hawksbill turtles. In a single dive, you will come across dozens of sea turtles.

In Bunaken, turtles nest from April to September. The turtle hatchlings emerge from June to November.

The best time to snorkel with sea turtles in Bunaken is from May to October.

Sipadan (Malaysia)

This oceanic island in Malaysia is one of the best locations for diving and snorkeling in the world. Along with Truk in Micronesia and Galapagos Islands, Sipadan is known for its marine life diversity.

Sipadan can be found off the coast of Sabah in the Celebes Sea. There are hundreds of coral species and over 400 fish species endemic to the Sipadan island.

Sipadan is known for the hawksbill and green turtles found in its waters. The location is also known for its schools of bumphead parrotfish, big-eye trevally, and barracuda (which form tornado-like formations).

Whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, and manta rays also visit Sipadan periodically. The island is also known for its turtle tomb.

This is an underwater cave which tunnels and chambers with skeletons of turtles that get lost in these chambers and tunnels and drown. The green turtles and hawksbills found in the waters of Sipadan don’t mind divers and snorkelers swimming among them.

In Sipadan, green turtles and hawksbills nest from April to September. The turtle hatchlings emerge from June to November.

The best time to snorkel with sea turtles in Sipadan is from  April to November.

Okinawa (Japan)

Okinawa Islands consists of several islands, with the largest being an island that is about 66 miles or 106 km long and 7 miles or 11 km long.

This island is one of the best places in the world to snorkel with turtles. Some excellent snorkeling locations within Okinawa include the Blue Cave which is found in Onna Village on Okinawa’s largest island.

The Ama beach is located in the Kerama Islands and is an excellent place to snorkel with turtles. Other snorkeling locations include Hatenohama (Kume Island), Yabiji reef (Miyako Island), and Kabira Bay (Ishigaki Island).

Keramashoto National Park (Japan)

The Tokashiki-Jima Island is found within the Keramashoto National Park.

This island is known for its turquoise waters and white-sand beaches. This is also an excellent location to dive and swim with sea turtles and fish.

The coral reefs here are well and alive and are home to large populations of green sea turtles. Snorkeling tours here are guided by a local guide with a lot of experience with sea turtles.

Liuqiu Island (Taiwan)

Also known as Xiao Liu Qiu, this island is a coral island located about 8 miles or 13 km off the main island of Taiwan. This island has an area of about 2.6 sq miles or 6.8 sq km.

This small island has a diverse ecosystem. The Chung Au Beach is home to green sea turtles, flying fish, and even sperm whales.

If you wish to snorkel with turtles, then you may want to visit Mei Ren Dong when in Xiao Liu Qiu.


Marsa Alam, Egypt

Marsa Alam is known as the Egyptian Maldives. This is because of its white beaches and crystal clear water. This place is a huge tourist destination with its own international airport – the Marsa Alam International Airport.

Marsa Alam means ‘Harbor of the Mountain’. This town is located in the southeast of Egypt.

The shore to the west of the town is the Red Sea. this is where you will find the endemic marine life.

The town is home to a stunning coral reef, sea turtles in particular the green turtle and hawksbill, napoleon fish, reef sharks, dugongs, dolphins, and tropical fish.

Green sea turtles can be easily spotted at Abu Dabbab Bay. Hawksbills can be spotted along the coral reefs where they feed.

Sea turtles of Marsa Alam don’t usually nest along its coasts. These turtles nest on offshore islands which are off-limits. Access to these nesting islands is forbidden by law.

In Marsa Alam, green turtles and hawksbills nest from July to August with hawksbills nesting only in Hurghada. The green turtle hatchlings emerge from late August to October and the hawksbill hatchlings emerge from July to October.

The best time to snorkel with sea turtles in this region is from June to September.

St Lucia (South Africa)

St Lucia is a settlement in the KwaZulu-Natal province. This location has rich and diverse wildlife.

The location is home to over a thousand crocodiles, leopards, lions, buffalos, giraffes, zebra, hippopotamuses, leopards, rhinos, and many more. The seas of St Lucia are also home to dolphins, whale sharks, rays, whales, and turtles.

Turtle tours and snorkeling adventures are also conducted on the shores of iSimangaliso Wetland Park. turtles you will see here are the leatherbacks and the loggerheads.

Zanzibar (Tanzania)

This island is a tourist hot spot and is visited by over 300,000 people every year. Zanzibar is an autonomous region of Tanzania.

The beaches of this island are rich in coral reefs and beautiful beaches. The coral reefs of Zanzibar encourage the diversity of marine life.

In the north of Zanzibar on Nugwi Beach, you can swim with sea turtles in a lagoon.

Kosi Bay Nature Reserve (South Africa)

Loggerhead Sea Turtle walking on the beach at KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Loggerhead Sea Turtle walking on the beach at KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. – Source

This reserve is also located in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

This location has some of the best snorkeling and dive locations in entire Africa. The best time for turtle viewing is January and February.

São Vicente (Cape Verde)

A great location to snorkel with sea turtles when in West Africa is São Vicente in Cape Verde.

You will need to get to Cape Verde first. São Vicente has an international airport –  Cesária Évora Airport near São Pedro. 

When it comes to snorkeling with sea turtles, the best location will be Sao Pedro beach. Here you can swim with turtles in clear ocean waters.

What Do You Need Before You Go Snorkeling?

Because you enter the water you will need the following.

Goggles And Snorkel Or A Full-Face Snorkeling Mask 

Snorkeling mask being held by someone in front of a sunset
Snorkeling mask being held by someone in front of a sunset.

Snorkeling glasses and the tube is the first thing you need before you go snorkeling. The tube is also called a snorkel.

You can also opt for a full-face snorkeling mask. There are many options out there.

There are anti-fog goggles. The snorkel can be dry or semi-dry.

In locations where snorkeling is popular, you can be sure to find snorkeling masks and tubes in stores.

Water Shoes Or Fins 

Scuba Fins in clear water
Scuba Fins in clear water.

For your feet, you can for water shoes designed for swimming. A good choice is SIMARI Water Shoes. You can also go with fins such as the FINIS Long Floating Fins

Sunscreen / UV Protection

Someone putting sunscreen on their hand
Someone putting sunscreen on their hand.

Using sunscreen is always a must. The sun can be very harsh in many of these snorkeling locations. Even underwater, the sun’s rays can still be harsh.

Applying sunscreen to the unclothed parts of your body is always advisable. Remember to use water-resistant sunscreen lotion such as Neutrogena Beach Defense Water Resistant Sunscreen.

If you forgot to bring sunscreen, you can always find some at a store close to the snorkeling location.

Wetsuit or Thermal Swim Shirt & Swimwear

Wetsuits hanging to dry
Wetsuits hanging to dry.

You will need a wetsuit or simply a thermal swim shirt to go snorkeling. What you choose to wear will depend on the temperature as well as how comfortable you are in the shirt or suit. If the weather is warm, you may need less thermal protection. However, even on the warmest of days, you still need to wear your protective thermal garments.

Aquatic Camera 

Someone underwater using aquatic camera
Someone underwater using aquatic camera.

While you don’t need a camera to swim, you may want to document your experience and take pictures and videos of your experience. For most getting an aquatic camera is a must. While there are many cameras out there I recommend the more affordable AKASO Brave 4 Action Camera for first-timers. If you are looking for a more well-known brand, then I recommend the GoPro HERO10. Most resorts have shops that sell cameras just in case you forgot to take one, damaged, or lost your camera during the course of your adventures.

Things to remember when snorkeling with sea turtles

Person swimming with sea turtle
Person swimming with sea turtle.

While snorkeling with sea turtles is an exciting and wonderful experience there are some guidelines to follow when swimming in places where these chelonians are known to inhabit. 

It is essential to keep in mind that the ocean is the turtle’s home and you are a guest. You must treat all marine creatures with respect. 

As a guest, you should aim to not disturb, frighten or harm the turtle. To ensure this, it is essential that you follow the guidelines provided below if you ever encounter a sea turtle. 

  • Don’t pet or touch the animal in any form or way – Unlike swimming with dolphins programs that allow tourists to touch and interact with dolphins in a dolphinarium, you should never touch a turtle when snorkeling. This can be very stressful for the turtle. You should also not try to ride the turtle. As you can imagine, this can cause severe injuries to the dolphin.
  • Don’t feed sea turtles – the food you may offer the turtle may not be nutritious to the turtle as it is most likely human food. This can have a negative effect on the turtle’s short-term health. Also, if the turtle gets used to getting food from humans, it can lead to habituation. The turtle may become used to getting food from humans. This can lead to poor nutrition which in turn can lead to severe health problems. 
  • Don’t make noise – being noisy can scare the turtle. Noises to avoid include talking, splashing, and any loud noise. 
  • Keep your distance – it is recommended to keep your distance from the turtle. While there is often no official minimum distance given, I’d recommend that you stay about 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) from the sea turtle. And if the chelonian does approach you, I recommend that you stay still and allow it to swim unobstructed. Similarly, you mustn’t swim right above the chelonian. Sea turtles breathe air and will need to surface every now and then to breathe. This ensures that the turtle has a direct and easy path to the surface without being obstructed by you. All reptiles breathe air. 
  • Approach from the side – When approaching the turtles, do so from the side. This ensures that the turtle has a clear path ahead of it in case it wants to get away. The positioning of the turtle’s eyes also ensures that it has a clear view of you when you approach. 
  • Observe the turtle’s behavior closely – Pay close attention to the turtle. For starters do not disturb a resting turtle. 
  • Do not circle or chase a turtle – it is essential to not circle or chase the turtle. The turtle might think you are a predator. This stresses out the reptile. Similarly, don’t harass the turtle by trying o touch or get too close. This is even illegal in many places. Even when taking videos or photos of the turtle do so respectfully. 
  • Limit viewing to 30 minutes. Hanging around the turtle can be quite stressful for the turtle. In order to not stress the turtle too much, limit the time spent around the turtle. This time shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes. 

Safety Precautions To Take When Snorkeling

Person snorkeling safely giving the OK
Person snorkeling safely giving the OK.

There are also precautions you need to take when snorkeling. An example is always wearing footwear when snorkeling so you do not cut your food on coral reefs which can be quite sharp. Coral cuts can be painful. You should also avoid stepping or touching coral. 

  • Do not snorkel when tired or weak – You have to be physically capable to swim before you go snorkeling. As such, it isn’t advisable for the elderly or people who may be unwell. Stay within your limits. You don’t want to be exhausted while snorkeling. Skindving can also be risky if you are not trained in freediving or overestimate your capabilities. 
  • Wear proper gear – I recommend wearing goggles and snorkel, swimwear, and water shoes or fins. Never snorkel barefooted. If your equipment is damaged do not use them. Snorkeling equipment can usually be obtained at snorkeling and dive locations. There should be a swim shop close to the snorkeling and dive location. 
  • Children should be supervised closely by an adult. 
  • Protect yourself from the sun. 
  • Know the local laws and obey them. 

Infographic about snorkeling with sea turtles

Infographic abou snorkeling with sea turtles
Infographic abou snorkeling with sea turtles

Frequently Asked Questions

What are signs that a turtle is stressed?

Some signs that the turtle is stressed include diving toward deeper water, swimming more quickly, using its flippers to protect the face, and yawning. If you notice a (stressed) sea turtle diving away from you, do not follow it.

It is essential to know when a turtle is stressed. If a turtle is stressed by your presence, it is important to leave the turtle alone and stop the interaction between you and the turtle.

Is touching or chasing the turtle allowed?

Touching or chasing after the turtles are considered to be forms of harassment. This is almost always punishable by law. In places such as Hawaii, doing so will attract a large fine.

Why shouldn’t you feed the turtles?

Feeding the turtles sea turtles can negatively affect the natural instinct of the turtle to forage for food. The food can also be unhealthy for the turtle.

Where can you swim with sea turtles?

There are hundreds of locations all around the world where you can go snorkeling and swim with sea turtles.

While it is impossible to objectively provide the best place to swim with marine turtles, here are some excellent places to visit if you wish to snorkel and swim with these majestic creatures: Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica, Key West (Florida) in the United States, İztuzu in Turkey, Canary Islands, the Algarve in Portugal, Lampedusa & Linosa in Sicily, Maui and Oahu in Hawaii, and Xiao Liu Qiu in Taiwan.

Do you need a license to SCUBA dive?

You do not need a license to scuba dive but you will want to be well trained and certified before you scuba dive. Before you go scuba diving, I recommend an Open Water certification course.

Additionally, many dive shops and resorts may not allow diving unless you are certified.


Snorkeling is one of the best activities to partake in especially when on one of the best beaches in the world. If you are a turtle enthusiast or simply love marine life, then you definitely want to snorkel with sea turtles and other marine creatures. 

Many of the locations mentioned in this article have beautiful beaches and coral reefs. Here you can swim with turtles and even dive into coves.

Regardless of how experienced or inexperienced you are, you need to take precautions. Coral cuts can lead to serious injuries so it is always important to wear fins or other forms of water shoes.

Not only that, you should always be in proper gear and obey the laws and regulations of the reserves and locales you visit.

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