No matter how many vacations or trips I get to take, going snorkeling always ends up being one of the most memorable parts anything that we do.
Whether I’m in Bonaire, Hawaii or somewhere really weird and unique, the beauty of the underwater world and the incredible experiences had with marine life are nearly impossible to top.
So, if you’re thinking about snorkeling on vacation, I think that’s a great decision. You’ll need gear, so let’s talk about your options.
You can of course either buy or rent snorkel gear, and if you’ve ended up here, you’re probably asking, “what does it cost to rent snorkel gear?” Let’s answer that question first, and talk about whether it’s actually worth it (sometimes yes, sometimes no) afterwards.
How Much Does it Cost to Rent Snorkel Gear?
The cost of renting snorkel gear, like pretty much anything else in life, can vary greatly depending on where you are in the world. In areas that are usually more expensive to travel (in terms of meals, snorkel tours, hotels, etc.), renting anything is usually more expensive. In areas that are less expensive, renting things costs less.
That’s because of the cost of living for an area along with it’s related “cost of living index”, which is a kind of rating that takes into account various factors that make somewhere cheap or expensive to live like rent, groceries or transportation. The higher the cost of living index, the more generally expensive it is to live somewhere.
That does affect things like renting snorkel gear. If it’s generally cheaper to live somewhere, a dive shop owner there doesn’t need to charge as much to make a living wage (and the opposite is true for more expensive areas).
Cost of living indexes can vary widely throughout the globe, but I’ve narrowed it down to three specific example areas where you might be interested in renting snorkel gear while visiting. The locations either have a high cost of living (Honolulu, Hawaii), medium cost of living (Barcelona, Spain and the Costa Brava) or a low cost of living (Bali, Indonesia). I’ve personally scouted what it costs to rent snorkel gear in each area and compiled the results below.
|Snorkel Gear Rental in an Area with a High Cost of Living||Snorkel Gear Rental in an Area with a Medium Cost of Living||Snorkel Gear Rental in Area with a Low Cost of Living|
|Example Area||Honolulu, Hawaii||Barcelona, Spain||Bali, Indonesia|
|Cost of Living Index||95.14||64.41||45.91|
|Average Mask & Snorkel Rental (Daily)||$8||$5||$3|
|Average Mask & Snorkel Rental (Weekly)||$35||$22||$15|
|Average Mask, Snorkel & Fins Rental (Daily)||$16||$10||$7|
|Average Mask, Snorkel & Fins Rental (Weekly)||$42||$27||$18|
Your rental term options for snorkel gear are almost always going to be by the day or by the week, and the prices vary accordingly. You can also typically rent just a mask and snorkel alone, or a snorkel set which includes a mask, snorkel and fins as well. You will almost always have a better time snorkeling with a good set of fins, so I would recommend spending a few extra bucks for the complete set.
In Honolulu, an average cost to rent a snorkel set will be about $16 for a day or $42 for a week. Barcelona (or rather the nearby Costa Brava) is about $10 for a day or $27 for a week, and the average cost to rent a snorkel set in Bali is $7 for a day or $18 for the week.
The higher cost in Honolulu, a mid-point in Barcelona and a lower cost in Bali tracks with their relative cost of living indexes. If your specific vacation destination isn’t one of these three, you can use Numbeo’s helpful cost of living index website to find your destination and look at how it compares to the locations I’ve used. That should give you an excellent idea of whether the cost will be higher or lower than the examples.
What to Know About Renting Snorkel Gear
The best part of having your own snorkel gear, whether you own it or rent it, is the flexibility to be able to snorkel wherever and whenever you want. Most snorkel tours will usually provide gear for you if you go on one, but there are also plenty of great spots to snorkel right from the beach in a lot of places around the world.
Before you rent snorkel gear, though, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.
Should I Rent Snorkel Gear Weekly or Daily?
The averages for the cost of renting snorkel gear also tell us a couple of things other than just how much you can expect to pay.
If you’re renting a snorkel set, usually doing it by the week will be a better bargain if you expect to snorkel at least three days during that week. Once you’ve snorkeled on your third day, you’ll be saving money over doing a daily rental each day.
Oddly enough, though, if you’re only renting a mask and snorkel alone, you’ll need to snorkel at least five days before the weekly becomes a better deal over the daily. But, you’ll probably have a better time in the water with fins anyway, so the full snorkel set is still a better choice.
Can I Rent Snorkel Gear if I Need Prescription Eyewear?
Ultimately, it’s not really possible to wear glasses like normal when you have a snorkel mask on, and it’s strongly discouraged to wear contacts while snorkeling.
That leaves those of us who don’t necessarily have perfect vision in a little bit of a bind as far as snorkel gear goes.
It is usually possible to rent prescription snorkel masks (though they are more rare in less-developed areas), and you can expect to add around 10-15% to your total cost to do so. These masks work well for some people with the same prescription in each eye, but not so well for others.
It gets a little complicated. For more information on snorkeling if you need glasses, check out Can You Snorkel With Glasses? 7 Great Ways to See Underwater which has a lot of different options for you that apply to both rental and your own snorkel gear.
Do I Need Better Quality Snorkel Gear?
Most rental snorkel gear, at best, is usually so-so quality. That’s just the way it is.
If you’re only planning on snorkeling once or twice in the coming 5 years, then rental gear should be just fine for you. But, if you think you will snorkel any more than that, it really starts to become worthwhile very quickly to just buy your own snorkel gear.
Not only is snorkel gear pretty affordable as far as active hobbies go (especially compared to something like scuba diving), but the quality between what you usually get when you rent snorkel gear and what you can get if you pick up your own can be huge.
It can be a lot safer and more comfortable, too. If you get your own gear, you can pick out nice masks that have double-lined silicone skirts which are more comfortable and cut way down on water leakage and mask fogging, or special “dry snorkels” that have a unique valve on top that keeps water out of your snorkel while letting you still breathe normally.
After I snorkeled my first couple of times and knew that I could see myself snorkeling more, I quickly did the research and picked up my own gear. It’s been hugely worthwhile. The research process wasn’t all that easy the first time around, though, so I’ve put together the following guides to help make the process of choosing the right snorkel gear a little less confusing:
- What Snorkel Gear Should I Buy? The Full Guide to Getting Started Affordably (for your basics like masks, snorkels, and a bunch of other stuff you probably haven’t thought of)
- Best Snorkel Gear for Travel: 7 Top Masks, Cameras & More (for the best gear if you want to be able to easily travel with it)
- The Best Underwater Action Cameras for Snorkeling: GoPro & More (a must-have item if you plan on snorkeling even somewhat regularly — it’s made me want to go even more)
- The Best Snorkel Gear for Kids: Masks, Fins, Snorkels & More (if you have kids and would like to share the magic of snorkeling with them)
- The Best Travel Insurance That Covers Snorkeling & Scuba (most travel insurance, surprisingly, does not cover issues that might happen when snorkeling)
The Deep Dive
I always encourage people to make time for snorkeling on vacation. As amazing as relaxing on the beach or getting to know a new city can be, some of the strongest and most fond memories that I have from my travels are when I was exploring a whole new world underwater.
Renting snorkel gear is one way to get what you need to jump in the water, and the cost to rent snorkel gear varies a bit around the world depending on the cost of living index of an area. You can expect to spend between $18 and $42 to rent a snorkel set (mask, snorkel and fins) for a week depending on if you are in a lower- or higher-cost area, or between $15 and $35 to rent just a mask and snorkel for a week.
Renting snorkel gear may not ultimately make sense for you, though. If you need prescription eyewear to see or plan on snorkeling more than a couple of times in the next 5 years, your money may well be better spent getting your own quality snorkel gear.
This article is part of a mini-series on what snorkeling costs (gear, tours, etc.), so check out the other articles in this series:
- How Much Does Snorkeling Cost? 4 Key Prices on Gear, Tours & Everything Else
- How Much Do Snorkel Masks Cost? 6 Helpful Price & Gear Guides with Examples
- How Much Do Snorkel Tours Cost? 3 Price Points + Easy Booking Guides
- How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost? A Helpful & Clear Guide
Or, check out one of the various other helpful guides mentioned in this article below: