Bali is a travel paradise both on land and underwater. Inland Bali’s soaring volcanoes, lush jungles, and rolling rice terraces give way to wide beaches, both white sand and volcanic black sand, which circle the island on all sides. 

Situated in the heart of Southeast Asia’s Coral Triangle, the island is surrounded by reefs, wrecks, and coral gardens which are pure heaven for underwater explorers. We take you through Bali’s very best snorkel spots below; some of which are dedicated day trips, while many are found immediately in front of your island resort.

Nusa Dua Beach, Bali

Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua is the epicenter of Bali’s package holiday scene with numerous large family-friendly resorts and little in the way of local life to explore. With so many more interesting beaches to choose from it’s not an area we typically promote for accommodation, but it does offer some of the island’s most accessible snorkeling and as such is a good starting point for beginners and families. 

Much of the coastline here has big swells and strong currents, but with Nusa Dua reef forming a natural break, you’ll find easy shallow snorkel points around Tanjung Benoa north of Nusa Dua, and Geger Beach to the immediate south. These are shallow, easy-going reaches and more advanced snorkelers should consider one of the options below.

Where to go in Indonesia
Coral on Nusa Penida, Bali

Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Penida

Lembongan and Penida make up the ‘Nusa islands’, two smaller outposts just off the southeastern coast of Bali. A 45-minute speedboat transfer from Sanur or Padangbai, most visitors will come here as a day trip from one of Bali’s southern beaches, but dedicated snorkelers and divers could choose to stay here with numerous excellent resorts on more developed Lembongan and a handful of simple accommodation on laidback, rugged Penida. 

The headline act here is ‘Manta Point’ just off Penida, where you can swim with huge reef manta rays. Otherwise, it’s a choice of numerous shallow-water spots: Mangrove Point has epic coral just below sea level, while Mushroom Bay and Dream beach offer easy-going snorkeling right off the beach. 

What to do in Indonesia
Pemuteran, Bali

Menjangan & Pemuteran

Far from the busy south coast, the peaceful coastal village of Pemuteran lies on the border of West Bali National Park and serves as the main gateway to Menjangan island, considered the best destination for snorkeling and diving in all of Bali. Accommodation is in a selection of comfortable hotels dotted along a quiet black sand beach.

Snorkel trips are taken out to Menjangan: an uninhabited island that sits wholly within the protected Bali Barat reserve, surrounded by rich, colorful coral. Sitting within a natural shelter, its waters are warm, calm, and clear year-round, making this one of Bali’s very best, and most accessible, diving and snorkeling spots. The underwater life here includes turtles, reef sharks, rays, nudibranchs, and shrimp. 

Our tours in Bali & Indonesia
Amed, Bali at Dusk

Amed

Over on the northeaster coast are the striking black sand beaches of Amed. Set in the shadow of Mount Agung, the area offers outstanding diving and snorkeling, and immediate access to inland adventures of hiking, rafting, and biking. The sleepy villages show a more authentic Balinese slice of life, providing a stark contrast to the over-touristed south.

Amed’s calm and clear waters make for good conditions for divers and snorkelers of all abilities. The near-perfect sheltered cove of Jemeluk Bay is ideal for beginner snorkellers, with enthralling macro life found on the coral reefs immediately out front of your resort. Divers are drawn to the sunken wreck of USS Liberty, off nearby Tulamben, renowned as one of the best dive sites in Indonesia. 

Where to stay in Bali & Indonesia
Padang Bai, Bali

Candi Dasa

Candi Dasa sits on the southeastern coast of Bali. Like Amed and Pemuteran, it’s a laidback destination that again feels a world away from the busy resorts of southern Bali. With largely isolated black sand beaches and a selection of fine resorts, it is also a fine base for underwater exploration. 

The nearby ‘blue lagoon’ in Padang Bai is a sheltered cove, rich in coral and tropical fish, which is especially attractive for beginner snorkelers. As a busy village port, Padang Bai is also a jumping-off point for day trips to the Nusa islands, or further afield to the Gili Islands off the coast of Lombok. Hikes and cycling can also be arranged in the rolling hills of Sidemen just a short distance inland.

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