Snorkeling is always one of my absolute most-favorite things to do on vacation. Somehow it’s both adventurous and relaxing at the same time, and I always come away feeling refreshed and energized.
I always seem to have a new experience and make more incredible memories no matter where I am in the world since the underwater universe and its inhabitants can be completely different from one area or country to the next. Want to swim with whale sharks? Try Isla Mujeres and Isla Holbox in Mexico. Sea turtles? Hawaii is a safe bet. Incredible coral forests? Indonesia will leave you speechless.
And, while lots of great spots exist in all of these places to snorkel right from the beach, usually your best snorkel experiences are going to happen with a tour guide. Not only do snorkel tour guides always know the best spots which are often difficult to get to, they also have boats to take you to those spots and the knowledge about local conditions and secrets.
That brings us to our first question: How much do snorkel tours cost? Snorkel tours are priced at different amounts depending on the cost of living in the area, and half-day snorkel tours typically cost between $68-160 per person in an area with a high cost of living, $48-80 in an area with a medium cost of living, and $38-53 in an area with a low cost of living.
If you’re a newer snorkeler, taking a snorkel tour with a licensed guide is the safest way to get started (just let them know that you’re new and they’ll be glad to help you). If you’re an expert snorkeler, there’s no replacement for a local guide’s knowledge about the best spots. So, I always recommend snorkel tours to any snorkeler, no matter their skill level.
As always, there’s more to know about snorkel tours and how much snorkel tours cost, so let’s get to it.
As I mentioned, snorkel tours can often cost different amounts (like anything else), largely depending on where you are, and the tour costs are usually closely tied with an area’s cost of living. If the area is expensive to live in, the tour operators need to charge more to make a living wage. If it’s not as expensive, prices can be lower.
Snorkel tour prices also vary some by what’s included. Some tours will provide food or some tours are longer than others, both of which usually increase the cost a bit. Some snorkel tours will take more people out on a tour at one time, which usually lowers the per-person cost.
But, no matter where you are, there are reliable average tour costs to be found. You just need to do the legwork to find them, which can take some effort.
I’ve done a lot of that work for you here, though, so hopefully it can be helpful. Below are the data on three example areas that well-represent a high, medium and low cost of living vacation destination. You should be able to use this guide to figure out about how much snorkel tours cost in any area you’re traveling to, even if it isn’t the exact destination I’ve used.
|Snorkel Tour in Area with High Cost of Living||Snorkel Tour in Area with Medium Cost of Living||Snorkel Tour in Area with Low Cost of Living|
|Area||Honolulu, Hawaii||Barcelona, Spain||Bali, Indonesia|
|Cost of Living Index||95.14||64.41||45.91|
|Average Half-Day Snorkel Tour Cost (Per Person)||$112||$71||$47|
|Half-Day Snorkel Tour Cost Range (Per Person)||$68-160||$48-80||$38-53|
|Average Full-Day Snorkel Tour Cost (Per Person)||$208||$124||$67|
|Full-Day Snorkel Tour Cost Range (Per Person)||$172-249||$80-157||$56-77|
I’ve broken it down into three main categories: destinations with a high cost of living (a cost of living index between 76-100), medium cost of living (51-75) and low cost of living (26-50), all based on the helpful Numbeo Cost of Living Index.
The excellent snorkeling example destinations I’ve chosen are Honolulu, Hawaii (high cost of living), Barcelona, Spain (medium) and Bali, Indonesia (low), but you can easily use Numbeo’s website to look up your vacation destination to figure out which range your location falls into. From there, the snorkel tour costs at your destination should look really similar to what you’ll find here.
I’ve combed through hundreds of snorkel tours at lots of vacation destinations and ultimately calculated cost averages for the top-rated snorkel tours on Viator for each of these areas to learn what snorkel tours cost at these type of vacation destinations for half-day snorkel tours (3-5 hours) and full-day snorkel tours (6-9 hours) which will include you in a group up to 10-12 people.
Honolulu on the Island of Oahu in Hawaii is one of the world’s top vacation destinations, and for good reason. Not only is the snorkeling fantastic, but it offers tons of cosmopolitan amenities alongside stunning tropical surroundings and great weather year-round. It’s also a pricey place to live with a cost of living index at 95.14.
That does have an impact on the services people can offer, and I’ve found that half-day snorkel tours usually range between $68 and $160 per person, averaging out at about $112/person. Full-day snorkel tours typically go for $172-249 and average $208.
There’s a fairly big range for the half-day and full-day snorkel tours around Honolulu, mostly because Oahu has some wonderful and very-nearby snorkel sites, and other sites that are also great but pretty far away. So, it kind of depends on how far you want to go (and if you want to pay for it).
In my personal experience, high-cost-of-living vacation destinations hover around $100/person for a half-day snorkel tour and closer to $200/person for a full day, so this analysis does track well with my experiences. Hawaii comes out even a little more expensive because it’s just a really expensive place to live, worldwide.
Other examples of higher-cost-of-living destinations with snorkeling might include Miami, Florida; Valletta, Malta; Dubrovnik, Croatia; or Nice, France.
Barcelona, Spain might not immediately come to mind as a snorkeling destination, but the Costa Brava, an easy drive or train ride north of the city, is a sun-soaked paradise with tons of culture and tranquil blue water. It’s also a middle-priced place to live worldwide with a cost of living index of 64.91.
Does the more affordable cost of living in Barcelona and the Costa Brava affect how much snorkel tours cost? Yep!
The research shows that the average half-day snorkel tour in the Costa Brava came in at $71/person (with a range of $48-80) and full-day tours average $124/person (with a range of $80-157). It’s always nice to get a little bit of a discount on snorkeling, and the Costa Brava delivers just that.
Other examples of mid-level cost-of-living destinations with snorkeling might include San Juan, Puerto Rico; Thessaloniki, Greece; Mallorca, Spain; or — believe it or not — the Maldives. (Also, the inclusion of the Maldives in the middle-of-the-road list for cost of living and snorkel tour prices makes this a good time to note that affordable living and snorkel tours don’t necessarily also translate to affordable overwater bungalows. 🙂)
Bali is like a whole other world in the best way possible with its warm climate, volcanic backdrops, lush jungles, blue waters and good vibes. It has rocketed up the tourism popularity charts over the last couple of decades, but it maintains a relatively low cost of living with an index of 45.5.
And, that also definitely helps to lower snorkel tour prices. For a half-day snorkel tour, you’re looking at an average of $47 per person (with a range of $38-53), or a $67 per-person average for a full-day snorkel tour ($56-77 range).
Those prices are an incredible deal for snorkeling tours no matter how you look at it, so you’ll be able to fit in plenty of trips. Bring your reef-safe sunscreen! You’re going to need it.
Other examples of snorkel destinations with lower cost of living indexes might include Phuket, Thailand; Suva, Fiji; Davao, Philippines; or Cancun, Mexico.
It used to be that the best way to find snorkel tours at a vacation destination was just to fly there and then hit up a handful of dive and snorkel shops near the water to find out who’s offering tours and when. That feels like ages ago, but even just 6 or 7 years ago, it was still common. We’ll still do this from time to time now if we have a connection to or relationship with somebody local, but there’s an easier way.
Now, the rise of serious (and seriously-useful) online tour-booking companies has changed all that. It’s really easy to check out a huge number of tour options well before your vacation, read reviews from others who have been on that tour, and decide on and book a tour. It’s a piece of cake.
I like to look on Viator for snorkel tours before I head anywhere on the ocean. They tend to have the largest number of tours (they were acquired by TripAdvisor a while back, so you get the Viator tour listing plus those from TripAdvisor), and it’s really easy to just search for “Honolulu snorkeling” (or wherever I’m going/whatever I’m into) and find plenty to choose from.
The Deep Dive
What snorkel tours cost can vary across the globe, largely dependent on the cost of living of the area that you’re visiting. It’s definitely helpful to have an idea of what kind of tour costs you’re looking at before visiting, though, and this guide should help you find just that (and also point you in the right direction for booking tours).
And, while snorkel tour costs can vary from location to location or country to country, they’re always much, much cheaper compared to tours for something like scuba diving. The knowledge of the local guides is always invaluable, and I’ve never taken a snorkel tour that I’ve been disappointed in. Really. There’s always something new and beautiful to experience, and snorkel tours are an excellent way to make sure that you find it.
Check out snorkel tours wherever you’re headed over at Viator.
Also, this article is part of a mini-series on what snorkeling costs (gear, tours, etc.), so check out the other articles in this series below: