Best Time to Snorkel – Morning or Afternoon?

Last Updated: December 5, 2023

Looking for a way to explore the underwater world? Snorkeling offers a great way to do exactly that.

However, when it comes to snorkeling, there are many factors that can affect your experience. One of these is the time of day you choose to go snorkeling. Should you go early in the morning or later in the afternoon?

The best time to snorkel depends on a number of things, including air and water temperature, wind speed and direction, cloud cover, and visibility. There are times when one factor may outweigh another, but generally speaking, early morning is the most preferred time of day to snorkel.

Why? Because in most cases, early mornings are characterized by calm water, bright sunshine, and fewer people on the beach.

morning snorkeling vs afternoon snorkeling

That said, if you’re planning a vacation with snorkeling in mind, it’s important to know what to expect when snorkeling at different times of the day. That’s why I’ve broken down this guide into two parts: morning and afternoon snorkeling.

Is There a Preferred Time of the Day for Snorkeling? 

If you are a beginner snorkeler, you’re probably wondering if there is a time of day that is more preferable to go snorkeling. The answer depends on where you snorkel and what kind of experience you’re looking for.

If you want to see lots of fish, then you’ll want to go early in the morning or late afternoon when there are fewer people around. If you want to see more colorful corals, then try going midday when the sun will light up their colors better.

Is it Better to Snorkel in The Morning or Afternoon?

Many snorkelers believe that the best time to snorkel is in the morning. This is understandable, seeing as the winds and waters tend to be calmer then. You will have an easier time snorkeling when there’s a low tide, warm water, and gentle winds.

If you’re going out for a morning dive, however, make sure you take time for breakfast before heading out with your gear. This will give you energy for a long day of exploring underwater treasures.

Morning Snorkeling

So, what are the merits and demerits of early morning snorkeling expeditions? Let’s break them down for you.


  • Ideal for early risers

If you’re someone who likes to get up early, morning snorkeling may be for you. How so? Well, simply because sea water tends to be calmer in the morning hours and there are fewer people out in the water. The sun is just rising, so there’s plenty of light underwater.

  • Its cooler

The water and air temperature is cooler in the morning than it is during the afternoon. This will help you to stay comfortable while you’re swimming around and exploring the ocean. You won’t be uncomfortable while you are trying to enjoy yourself and take pictures of all of the amazing creatures that live below the surface of the water.

  • More wildlife around

You will spot more fish and marine life at this time because they are more active then. They are feeding or looking for food which makes them much easier to see than later in the day or evening when they are just hanging out.

  • Ideal for photography

The water is usually clearer in the morning because there are fewer people in the water. This makes it easier to take photos, and you’ll have more chances of getting good shots of marine life like fish and turtles. You might even see dolphins or whales during your trip.

If you want a professional-looking photo, this is the best time to go snorkeling as well because the sun will be shining directly on your subject, like the coral reef or whatever you’re taking pictures underwater, without any shadows obstructing it and ruining your shot.

  • Fewer crowds

If you like snorkeling with other people, then this one might not be for you, but if you prefer being alone in nature, then this is perfect. There are usually fewer people on tours in the morning because most people are still sleeping off their hangovers from last night’s parties or from just waking up from a good night’s rest.

Besides, you won’t have to worry about bumping into anyone or getting stuck behind someone who doesn’t know how to swim.

  • You’ll get car parking

Many places have limited parking spots, and they fill up quickly. If you can get there early enough, you’ll have a guaranteed spot right next to the beach.


  • Lower light penetration

The sun rises in the east, so it makes sense to face west if you want to see fish, corals, and other marine life. This means that morning snorkelers will often have to wait for an hour or two before they can start seeing anything in the water.

With the sun overhead, it’s hard to see anything on the ocean floor anyway, so you may as well wait until midday or later when the sun is setting and casts brighter shadows on the sea floor.

  • No lifeguards

Some beaches don’t have lifeguards on duty early in the morning. If you’re a first-time snorkeler that doesn’t know how to swim well, this can be dangerous if you get into trouble.

Afternoon Snorkeling

Are there times when you’re better off taking a dip in the afternoon than in the morning? Here are the pros and cons of afternoon snorkeling.


  • Easy to get transport

If you are staying in a resort or hotel, it’s easy to get transport at this time. Likewise, if you are staying on your own, it might be easier to find a taxi driver who is not busy with other clients around this time.

  • Water is warmer

The sun warms up the ocean throughout the day, which means that it’s warmer in the late afternoon than it is early in the morning. Warm water feels great on your skin and makes for a more comfortable experience overall.


  • It’s busier

You will find yourself trying to avoid bumping into other swimmers and boats. This can make your snorkel experience less enjoyable than it could have been if you had gone earlier in the day when there were fewer people on the water.

  • You’re likely to get sunburn

Afternoons tend to be hot. As such, you’re likely to get sunburned if the sun is out brightly over long periods of time or if you spend too much time out in the water without reapplying quality sunscreen.

Is it Better to Snorkel on a Sunny Day or a Cloudy Day?

The best time to snorkel is when there is no wind or waves. You should avoid snorkeling during heavy rain as it can ruin your equipment. You should also avoid it if there is a storm brewing in the area because visibility will be poor, and it can get dangerous.

If you want to get an amazing experience from your snorkeling trip, it is better to go on a sunny day as the sunlight helps to illuminate objects underwater and makes it easier for you to see what you yearn to see.

Why Do People Snorkel at Night?

Many people choose to go snorkeling at night because they find it more exciting. It gives you an opportunity to see many different types of fish that are not active during the day.

Additionally, if you’re interested in seeing sharks and other large fish, it may be easier to see them swimming around a reef at night because their prey isn’t as active then.

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