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I spent a little over 2 weeks on the wonderful and very secluded island of Aitutaki...
Now, raise your hand if you know where that is!? Nobody? I'm not surprised!
It's a small island in the South Pacific, in the Cook Islands.
It's main island is surounded by itsy-bitsy islands, all in a lagoon!
The lagoon is in a triangular shape made with corral all around it.
When your on one side of the island you can literally enter the water, walk all the way to the corral wall on SAND as you pass by coral formations with tonz of sea life - awe inspiring!
On the lagoon side of the island you can snorkel to your hearts content right off the beach!
You can take tour boats to the tiny-itsy-bitsy islands and snorkel there too!
And they drop you off in the middle of the lagoon too - giant clams! Unreal!
If you gave me the choice to go anywhere in the world, I would return there...
It's my paradise...
I hope your trip to the Maldives is a great one. Would you mind me asking which island you are going to? I had previously looked at the Maldives but could not decide which island would be best for snorkeling. Any friendly advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
Yes, I most certainly do know where Aitutaki is. We have stayed three times in Raratonga, each time on a small house on the beach, very close to the Fruits of Rarotonga. Wonderful, wonderful vacations and fabulous snorkeling. On our first trip to Rarotonga, we took a trip to Aitutaki and stayed over night. Spent the day snorkeling in the lagoon. The lagoon is apparently known as one of the nicest lagoons in the South Pacific. It was definitely a magical place. Hope to get back there some day!
I found Bora Bora (well back in the 80's anyway but pictures still look good) was the best I've ever experienced for clarity of water, color and variety of fish, coral, and giant clams.... and beautiful water temps too... along with reef tubes you could swim through.
Fiji had some nice spots as well but it wasn't quite as impressive until I got out to some more remote islands but the beaches were not as nice....but lots of lava tubes made for some fun passes
Indonesia and Thailand also had some real nice spots too but I don't recall it being quite as nice as the Polynesian islands.
I didn't mind Oz but the visibility wasn't as good and the colors didn't stand out nearly as much.
Belize was pretty good too but again like Oz.. not as much color and variety when compared to Tahiti... but I found all of the above to be miles better than Hawaii for snorkeling.
I think areas with a lot of volcanic flows into the ocean just off the beaches with white sandy bottoms and a sheltered inner cove with a nice barrier/breaker reef off shore in an area with not a lot of pollution or boat traffic all help to make for impressive snorkeling...
whats best would depend on what you have seen. from my experience the best has been Maldives. but depends which island. some have the reef just 50m from shore while others need a boat to get to it. Have been on Bandos and enjoyed it. the reefs start shallow but drop off steeply to over 30m. its great hovering over the blue watching turtles and reef sharks swim below you. Phils and Indonesia have some great snorkeling too. from what i have seen and heard of other places i think some of the South Pacific islands stand out as some of the best.
also depends if you want it right off your beach bungalow or your willing to endure a boat ride (and pay $$$) to get to a site. Sipadan has great snorkelling but you cant stay on the island anymore so need to take a boat from Mabul or Kapalai. There are also some great reefs for snorkeling here in SL. Pigeon Island for example has healthy coral and reef sharks in shallow water. but again you need a boat to access.
You have been to so many places yourself - does any one spot stand out above the rest?
I have yet to find the "best" shore snorkeling spot, but I'm sure the best would be found in the western Pacific - Indian Ocean region. .
if cost is no concern Probably.
For little money. Blue Springs Florida is awsome freshwater. I forget what park entry fee is but i think like $10. tons of fish pack in behind the spring entrance. fish got no where to go. its a crowded scene.
for dense packed marine fish. Disney cruze stops at castaway key. private island in bahamas. has neted off private marine pond that is stocked to the gils with fish. probably in the 10,000 range. pond is massive. all sorts of fish and disney scuba props in the water. If memory is right they have a 3day cruze that stops there. there is no direct way other than thru disney to access this area.
Maui... Anywhere on the island you see reef you will be amazed, even the little reefs...
If you drive south from Kihei and go through Makena you will come to the Ahihi Kinau Reserve and there is a black sand beach where I've snorkeled for countless hours between dives and it is breathtaking. Further down the road through the lava you will get to La Perouse Bay and you will get to snorkel (or dive or both) with spinner dolphins and the reef is also spectacular.
This past July we visited the South Pacific to snorkel and dive. The lagoon in the Cook Island of Aitutaki has spectacular snorkeling. Snorkeling off our over water bungalow at the Hilton on Moorea in French Polynesia was spectacular. Snorkeling in Huhaine was OK but nothing special. The motu off of Taha'a as well as the lagoon around Bora Bora was also spectacular.
Based upon what we say we are looking ahead to our trip in 5 weeks to Fiji.
Yes, I most certainly do know where Aitutaki is. We have stayed three times in Raratonga, each time on a small house on the beach, very close to the Fruits of Rarotonga. Wonderful, wonderful vacations and fabulous snorkeling.
Hi, this sounds great! Would you mind letting me know the address of your small house? Sounds like paradise to me...