Best Snorkeling Spots in Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc’s warm, shallow and calm waters are just perfect for snorkeling. The best time is during the winter season, from November to March, where visibility is at its best and there are no rains, rough seas and strong winds. Even though almost every beach invites snorkeling, it doesn’t necessarily have an awesome lot to see underwater. The most visited locations, as they are the easiest to reach, are all located in the north-western corner of the island. But the truly amazing ones are in the deep southern part, in the tiny archipelago of An Thoi. Here are some of our recommendations, choice is yours
One of the largest islands on the western side of Phu Quoc, Turtle Island is the most famous snorkeling site of all. Majority of underwater life is found at the depth of less than 7 meters, making it an ideal place for snorkelers and beginner divers. These shallow waters host hundreds of multicolored soft corals, anemones and tropical fish, an amazing underwater paradise that will impress even well-traveled snorkelers. There is plenty of sand and shade to relax in between underwater explorations.
Also known as Hon Mong Tay, this small island is located at the southern end of Vung Bau beach and can be reached by kayak from the beach. As it’s not far, one may be tempted to swim, but due to a strong underwater current swimming is not recommended. The islet is surrounded by a shallow reef, rich in marine life. At a depth of 5 meters the sandy bottom meets large underwater boulders and rock formations, which are the habitat of big puffer fish, octopuses, shrimps, crabs and parrot. This is a good spot for spearfishing.
This is one of Phu Quoc’s unique attractions, a diving and snorkeling site that you can’t often see. In these warm and shallow waters nudibranchs have found their perfect habitat and the variety of species is enormous. But what are they? Also called sea slugs, these soft-bodied molluscs display an amazing mix of stripes and spots, all in bright, neon-like colors and come in all sorts of shapes and size, up to 6 cm. As these are among the most colorful creatures on Earth, we recommend you don’t miss this experience. If you plan to invest in an underwater digital camera, this is where you should start using it.
Located in front of Bai Thom beach, the little Mot islet is a snorkeling spot that can be reached by walking at low tide on a rocky natural bridge connecting it to Phu Quoc. Sea urchins and sharp rocks can be an unpleasant way to end your excursion, so proceed slowly, watch where you put your feet and don’t go barefooted. Hard corals, anemones and plenty of reef fish are the residents of these shallow waters.
An Thoi Archipelago
This tiny archipelago in the southern part is made of 15 islands and islets, they are where the most stunning beaches are hidden. Established as a marine park and protected by UNESCO, it is visited by various boat tours offering snorkeling as part of their packages. As they generally stop at one island only, to reach the most beautiful spots, you are recommended to rent your own boat and perhaps stay or camp overnight on a couple of tiny islands that offer very basic accommodation and food.
The most visited island here is Hon Mong Tay, not to be confused with the homonymous one in the north of Phu Quoc. Note that most visited here means a couple of boats from the tours per day, on one or two designated beaches. The beaches here are of the kind that people define tropical paradises, with the turquoise sea lapping at the white sand with a bunch of coconut palms in the background and nothing else. Most importantly, you will enjoy the rare feeling of being a castaway on an uninhabited island, having the beach all for yourself. As nature here is not disturbed and water is very calm, it is truly a perfect picturesque spot you wouldn’t want to miss. Snorkeling is not only easy but also rewarding even at shallow depths.
Heading even further South, Hon Xuong offers small coves devoid of any trace of civilization, truly a place where the footprints you will see on the white powdery sand are your own. It may be difficult to beat the Garden-of-Eden beauty of this shores, but nearby Hon Gam Ghi offers an even better reef to explore.