Bali, known for its picturesque beaches and vibrant culture, boasts some of the world's best snorkeling spots. This guide explores the top destinations around the island, from the beginner-friendly waters of Nusa Dua to the thrilling encounters at Manta Point in Nusa Penida, offering insights into the underwater landscapes and diverse marine life that make Bali a must-visit for snorkeling enthusiasts of all levels.

Bali, often dubbed the "Island of the Gods," isn't only a haven for surfers and beachgoers but also a premier destination for snorkeling enthusiasts worldwide. The small island offers some of the most picturesque snorkeling spots globally with its vibrant marine life, crystal-clear waters, and lush coral gardens. Whether you're a beginner or an adept snorkeler, here's a comprehensive guide to the top places you must explore underwater in Bali.

South Coast: Ideal for Beginners

Take to the calm waters and shallow reefs off of Padang Bai village

Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua is perfect for newcomers, features calm, clear waters, and is near many resorts. This area offers a safe and beginner-friendly environment and easy access from the beach, making it an excellent choice for families looking to introduce snorkeling to their children.

Blue Lagoon

Situated near Candi Dasa, the Blue Lagoon is best accessed by boat. While the beach may not be the cleanest or offer many facilities, the underwater world is bustling with life. The area is known for its calm waters, as it's sheltered on three sides and has many colorful corals, offering a diverse ecosystem for snorkelers to enjoy.

Padang Bai Beach

Just a five-minute ride from the Blue Lagoon, Padang Bai Beach is known for its calm waters and shallow coral reefs, making it an excellent spot for beginners. The easy access to vibrant underwater scenes makes it a favored location for a leisurely snorkel.

Nusa Penida: For the Adventure Seekers

Swim alongside manta rays off the aptly named, Manta Point

Manta Point

On the west shore of Nusa Penida, Manta Point is a must-visit for anyone looking to swim alongside majestic manta rays. These gentle giants provide an awe-inspiring snorkeling experience as they glide effortlessly through the waters. There's no beach here, and it's only accessible by boat. It's frequented by manta rays chasing the plankton pushed into the bay by currents from the deep sea. They tend to feed in the morning as a group; if you're lucky, you'll see up to five or six rays in one go.

Crystal Bay

Renowned for its clear waters, Crystal Bay is famous for sighting the elusive ocean sunfish or Mola mola during the season. This location is popular for snorkeling tours; however, it's still very accessible if you want to visit on your own. You can park near the beach and snorkel directly from shore. The beach is also a lovely spot for watching the sunset. 

Gamat Bay

A hidden gem on Nusa Penida, Gamat Bay offers a tranquil snorkeling environment with its vibrant coral and teeming fish populations. If you're coming to Gamat Bay by land, there's parking on the roadside and a trail that takes you to the beach. However, you'll need to bring your snorkeling gear, as it doesn't have as many facilities as Crystal Bay. Its secluded nature keeps it peaceful and relatively undisturbed.

Tip: consider visiting the coral gardens on a snorkeling tour, as access to Gamat Bay is much easier from the ocean.

Wall Bay Point

Known for its long channel of corals and abundance of reef fish, Wall Bay Point provides snorkelers with a lengthy stretch of underwater treasures to explore. This snorkeling spot is only accessible by boat. Typically, you'll get dropped off on one side of the channel, and the current will carry you along the cliffs before you're picked back up by the boat on the other side. The currents can be quite strong, but the corals are vibrant, and some locals claim that the Wall has the most fish on the island. 

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North Coast: Remote yet Captivating

Take a boat like one of these tour boats to get in some snorkeling around Menjangan Island

Menjangan Island

Nestled near the peaceful village of Pemuteran on the border of West Bali National Park, Menjangan Island offers a serene escape far from the bustling south coast. Accessible via snorkel trips from Pemuteran, this uninhabited island lies within the protected confines of the park, surrounded by a vivid tapestry of coral. The island's waters are warm, calm, and clear throughout the year, making it one of Bali's premier destinations for diving and snorkeling. The rich marine biodiversity here includes turtles, reef sharks, rays, nudibranchs, and shrimp, making every dive a memorable encounter with nature.

Amed Beach

Known for its striking black volcanic sands, Amed Beach captivates sunbathers and is a prime spot for snorkeling. The best snorkeling areas are between the Camessa Hotel and Kembali Beach Hotel. A short swim, about 33-49 feet(10-15 m) from the shoreline, unveils a vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful fish and occasional turtle sightings, providing an easily accessible and rewarding snorkeling experience.

Japanese Ship Wreck Point

About 10 feet (3 m) off the shore lies Japanese Ship Wreck Point, an intriguing site for snorkelers. Despite its small size, the wreck creates an impressive underwater spectacle, perfect for exploration. The waters around the wreck are known for their exceptional clarity, enhancing the visibility of the abundant marine life and the myriad types of colorful corals that adorn the area. This site offers snorkelers an opportunity to explore a historical relic surrounded by natural beauty, making it a must-visit location for those seeking a blend of adventure and marine biodiversity.

Tips for a Safe & Respectful Snorkeling Adventure

While exploring these mesmerizing locations, it is vital to preserve the marine environment. Avoid touching or stepping on the coral reefs, don't disturb the marine life, and use reef-friendly sunscreen. Refraining from feeding the fish and ensuring no trash is left behind will help maintain the beauty of Bali's aquatic ecosystems.

Written by Yenyi Fu, updated Apr 22, 2024