One of the most enjoyable ways to things to do on a seaside holiday destination is taking to the waters, equipped with a mask and snorkel. An easygoing sport that pleases young and old alike, it’s a fabulous way to witness what is going on under the waves. Catch glimpses of vibrant pristine coral, a rainbow of tropical fish, regal sea turtles, graceful rays and perhaps even a shark fin (from a distance!) at these incredible snorkeling spots across the world’s oceans and seas.


Virtually entirely surrounded by a coral reef, the stunning Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is a fantastic destination for snorkelling. There are many places to snorkel on the island, however, a good place to start is at Blue Bay Marina Park in the southeast of the island. You can snorkel right off the beach through crystal waters full of a range of colorful fish like parrotfish, clownfish, vibrant coral and other aquatic life. Families might prefer the pretty Trou aux Biches with its tranquil, shallow waters. In the north, Pointe aux Piments has an protected coral reef that is easy to access and which is a popular spot for sea turtles. Alternatively, another great place is the spectacular Ile aux Cerfs, with its white sandbars, turquoise lagoon, colorful fish and brilliant coral.

Where to Stay in Mauritius.

In villa veritas turks and caicos diving

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

There are many fabulous places to snorkel in the Caribbean, among the top is this chic island of the Turks and Caicos.

“The archipelago has the third largest barrier reef in the world,” details Laura Blair of In Villa Veritas. “The water is the most lovely turquoise and the spectacular reef is teeming with a fabulous array of fish and coral life.”

You can snorkel right from the beach on Providenciales, another great draw for snorkeling lovers. The best place for this is at the north coast’s Bight Reef and Smith’s Reef. Over these two reefs you can often spot barracudas, trumpetfish, stingrays, turtles and lobsters. To go a little further afield, In Villa Veritas can arrange snorkeling boat trips for their guests so you can swim above the most exceptional areas of the reef’s rainbow coral.

Where to Stay in the Turks and Caicos.

Northern Lau Group, Fiji

Described as “one of the world’s most beautiful places” and “Like No Where Else,” the pristine waters of the Southern Pacific Ocean are just one of the reasons this area is such a spectacular and naturally amazing place for snorkeling. Discerning travellers looking for a luxurious and conscientious experience of the Fijian waters can find this at Kaibu and Vatuvara Islands.

“The islands boast some of the planet’s most unspoiled surrounding reefs with an abundant marine life and multiple varieties of hard and soft coral,” explains Jacqui Reyes of Vatuvara Private Islands. “With the island beaches as significant nesting sites for endangered hawksbill and green sea turtles, there’s great chance of seeing these incredible creatures while snorkeling in the water.”

Vatuvara Private Islands accepts their responsibility as stewards of our natural environment and has joined together with the Vatuvara Foundation in protecting marine life with ridge to reef conservation. Whether delighted with snorkelling just off the island or traveling a bit further and deeper, scuba diving off one of the island’s three Marina boats, there is plenty to explore.

Where to Stay in Fiji.

Saint Barthélemy

The lovely Caribbean island of St Barthélemy offers some great snorkeling. According to our local expert Peg Walsh of St Barth Properties, the best place is off Colombier Beach, although you can only reach it by goat path or boat. The path starts very close to St Barth Properties’ Villa Les Embruns and Villa Brume to Mer and the hike takes around 20 minutes. Peg suggests spending the day there and bringing along a picnic lunch, a cooler filled with cold drinks, snorkeling gear. St Barth Properties can also organize renting a catamaran or private boat half or full day excursions to the bring which include drinks, lunch, snorkeling equipment and towels.

Where to Stay in Saint Barthélemy.

sea turtles bahamas

Harbour Island, The Bahamas

Of the thousands of islands of The Bahamas, one of the best places for snorkeling and diving is Harbour Island, located two miles off the north coast of Eleuthera. Made famous by Jacques Cousteau and National Geographic, the waters off this idyllic small island include impressive ridges and coral canyons full of alluring sea life. As such, this is an excellent spot for those who love underwater photography.

“On the whole, snorkeling and diving are much better during the rainy season, May to November, when the water is warmer and clearer,” recommends our local villa expert Pamela H. Murdock. “However, in the dry season, with the cold water, there is an abundance of rays and very rich plankton fill the water creating a lot of action. Snorkelers hoping to swim with sea turtles should come June through November. Whereas you can catch giant manta rays and other rays from January to March and sharks from May to November.”

For guests of her villas, Pamela can arrange excursions with the best boatman on the island who knows the best places to snorkel and observe the seasonal sea life.

Where to Stay in Harbour Island.

Sri Lanka

Offbeat and beautiful Sri Lanka is a great year-round snorkeling destination where you’ll be able to observe a huge range of tropical fish, coral and marine life, plus its warm waters are relatively shark free. The three-mile Bar Reef on the west coast at Kalpitiya is the largest in the country and the stunning waters around Pigeon Island, north of Trincomalee on the east coast, are ideal for snorkeling. If you’re looking for some intrigue other than fish, head to the southern and eastern coasts to discover some captivating ship wrecks around Trincomalee, Arugam Bay, Tangalle, Hikkuduwa, Weligama and Kirinda.

Where to Stay in Sri Lanka.


The crystalline waters and long stretches of beautiful beaches will always impress visitors coming to beautiful Barbados, it’s no wonder that snorkeling is a favourite pastime of most holidaymakers.

“The calming depths remain picturesque and absolutely breathtaking,” describes Betty Cathrow of Blue Sky Luxury. “There are some amazing spots on the island for snorkeling as well as the popular Carlisle Bay wrecks.”

The bay is home to six shipwrecks through which swim schools of tropical fish, sea horses, rays, octopi, turtles and eels. These wrecks range in depth from 12ft to 55ft so you may also want to do some diving.

Avid snorkelers can swim with turtles and enjoy sightings of unique marine life of the Caribbean Sea all just a few steps to your door at the gorgeous Leamington Pavilion, one of the best beachfront holiday retreats in Barbados and available through Blue Sky Luxury. Travel virtually to this exquisite villa in this video tour here.

Where to Stay in Barbados.

Riviera Maya, Yucatan, Mexico

Home to the world’s second largest reef, the 450 miles (724 km) Riviera Maya coastline is one of the world’s top snorkeling destinations. While it may be a busy at times, Akumal is an incredible place for snorkeling, especially for swimming with sea turtles. You may also catch a glimspe of some of its other 150+ species of reef fish and nearly 100 varieties of coral. Akumal is a popular spot for night snorkeling during which you can marvel at a “Wall of Fish,” thousands of silver fish that swim in a dense school. More advanced snorkelers will appreciate the challenge at Yalku-ito, where freshwater flows into the ocean creating a mixture of freshwater over the heavier saltwater which attracts unique schools of fish. You can also snorkel in the cenotes sinkhole though these are best explored by scuba diving.

Where to Stay on the Riviera Maya.

Mahé, The Seychelles

Comprised of 115 stunning islands, the Seychelles is an fantastic place for snorkeling in the Indian Ocean. While many of the smaller islands offer excellent snorkeling, the archipelago’s main island of Mahé features a number of destinations to suit all levels. You can snorkel all year round in its warm waters, plus the reef is abundant in well preserved coral and marine life, especially angelfish, parrotfish and sea turtles. Beginners may prefer to get their feet wet in picturesque Baie Lazare or Anse Royale, due to their shallow lagoons and reef located close to the shore. The long and lovely Anse Soleil beach has some breathtaking aquamarine waters and pristine coral, whereas Anse Major requires a little more effort since it’s reachable by an hour long hike through the forest of Morne Seychellois National Park. Nonetheless, the coral is stunning and it’s a great place to admire the Seychelle’s beauty both above and below the water.

Where to Stay in Mahé.

Búzios, Brazil

The north of Brazil has some excellent snorkeling destinations, however, if you’re looking for an easy seaside getaway close to Rio de Janeiro, consider the luxury resort of Búzios, found only a two hour drive north. This stretch of coastline features 21 beaches and 26 hidden coves fringed with gorgeous turquoise waters and filled with exceptional marine life. The picturesque peninsula was once the hideaway of French pirates, therefore, you there are a number of shipwrecks which you can explore. You can also take a boat ride out to nearby Ilha Feia for some exceptional snorkeling. You won’t be short of other activities and entertainment during a holiday here at one of the area’s beautiful luxury villas.

Where to Stay in Brazil.

Where are our travel experts taking us this month? We’ve got a fabulous new luxury home with phenomenal mountain views in New Zealand, refined apartments in a historic palazzo on Venice’s Grand Canal as well as hot deals in Saint Barthélemy and Costa Rica, plus great local tips for making the most of June on the Mexican Riviera.

Touch of Spice Slope Hill Serenity

New Opening: Slope Hill Serenity by Touch of Spice, New Zealand

Our members down in New Zealand at Touch of Spice have just added the exceptional new Slope Hill Serenity in Queenstown. Touch of Spice has a carefully selected portfolio of New Zealand’s most luxurious boutique accommodations.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect for this new offering. The snow is just starting to sprinkle the mountain tops and the property is located at the base of one of New Zealand’s best ski fields: Coronet Peak. The contemporary, chic house features five bedrooms, four bathrooms and sleeps up to 10 people. There is a nice patio area that’s ideal for enjoying an evening meal and those fabulous views of the mountains.

To learn more about this or other luxury homes and apartments in New Zealand, contact Touch of Spice here.

Excellence Villas Venice Apartment 2

New Openings: excellence.Villas, Venice have just opened two fabulous apartments in the Ca’nova palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice, decorated personally by company founder Katharina Allès Trauttmansdorff.

The private historic palazzo is minutes away from Piazza San Marco, the Palazzo Ducale and right across from the Santa Maria della Salute basilica. Both two-bedroom apartments are on the third floor, accessible by a new elevator. The apartments have been redecorated in a classic style with a contemporary twist. The Borsato faces the Grand Canal, whereas the Hayez looks onto a quiet square. There is also a lovely terrace shared by all guests of the palazzo.

Be one of the first to stay at these gorgeous apartments by contacting at this link.

Villa Galaxie St Barths Property 2

Special Offer: St Barth Properties, St Barthélemy

St. Barth Properties has an exclusive offer for UltraVilla readers. They will generously pay the 5% island tax on any new confirmed booking of seven nights or more that are made during the month of June 2016. The perfect place to stay on the island is the stunning, contemporary and luxurious six-bedroom Villa Galaxie.

Located above the quieter side of Gustavia, Villa Galaxie boasts a breathtaking seascape and fiery sunsets. A terrace with a gorgeous infinity pool provides a focal point and is configured to include spacious living and dining areas. Sleeping accommodations include a master (French king) suite housed in a private pavilion. The other five lovely bedrooms, all with en suite baths, are located in an adjacent pavilion. The villa’s chic décor is ultra-modern with a white palette, and techno amenities include a surround sound music system. Gustavia’s shops, restaurants, and Shell Beach are just a short walk away. This is an exceptional vacation home and ideal for an extended family and is the perfect venue to host a celebration.

Contact St. Barth Properties here to scoop up this great deal.

Last Minute Special: Papagayo Luxury, Costa Rica

Don’t be scared off by a little volcano smoke. Despite the recent eruptions of the Turrialba Volcano, it is still completely safe to travel to Costa Rica. Only the area within an approximate 50 km radius of the volcano has received any falling ash or debris, the rest of the country remains mostly unaffected, including where Papagayo Luxury is located, in the northwest corner. You can learn more about the eruption in this article from our Journal.

Papagayo Luxury also has an UltraVilla exclusive offer. Book any of their rentals for stays during the month of June and you will receive a 10% discount. (This offer is not valid for bookings for stays after June 30th 2016.) For more information on this great deal or future trips to Costa Rica, contact the Papagayo Luxury team here.


June on the Mexican Riviera, Local Tips by Villa & Apartments Abroad

Heading down to the Mexican Riviera this month? Lucky you! To help you plan, our local expert, Sylvia Jones of Villas & Apartments Abroad gives us the inside scoop on the area’s top events in June:

June 2nd-5th: American Express is hosting the first ever Masters of Food, Wine & Golf event at the Mayakoba Resort. For three consecutive days, gastronomic masters will gather to offer their culinary delights, along with an impressive list of magical wines, tastings, pairings, and cooking classes that are sure to excite “foodies” from around the globe. This festival promises to attract an international attendance, including celebrities and golf professionals. It will no doubt be one of, if not the most important attraction to Mexico for the summer.

June 3rd: Cancun welcomes handsome Mexican idol, Alejandro Fernandez on his world tour. The Mexican people love music, especially their home grown artists who have made it big.

June 9th: World famous DJ Nicole Moudaber will be performing at the “Blue Parrot,” in Playa del Carmen. This talented DJ is quite familiar to the hot beds in the summers around the world. She knows how to spin and pack a beach, sending sound waves into the depth of the ocean.

Thank you Sylvia for these great tips! For help planning your perfect trip to the Riviera Maya, contact Sylvia here.