Snorkeling at Night – The Ultimate Guide

Last Updated: April 28, 2023

Does the thought of snorkeling at night make you nervous? Does it leave you with many questions like, can it be done? Is it safe? Why do it anyway?

Hang on as I answer your questions.

Unlike snorkeling during the day, doing it in the dark gives you a totally different experience. In fact, after such an experience, you might start finding regular daytime snorkeling a little boring.

At night, you experience beautiful memories that can take your snorkeling game to a whole new level.

Can You Go Snorkeling at Night?

snorkeling at night

Yes, you can snorkel at night.

Despite being predominantly a daytime activity, some snorkelers prefer to do it after the sun goes down. At this time, the ocean gets more scenic since most marine creatures get active at night. The corals open up, and some rare sea creatures come out, allowing you to see a beautiful ocean world you would otherwise not see during the day.

However, night snorkeling may not be a great idea for first-timers. The darkness can be nerve-wracking, and if you’re a novice, it might leave you frustrated or even downright frightened.

Nonetheless, it has got lots of perks worth looking forward to.

Why Do People Snorkel at Night?

Snorkeling at night is a unique experience. It allows you to see more than you would during the day. For example, there are a lot of marine creatures that are only out at night, such as the rare mandarin fish. Also, lobsters, shrimps, eels, and puppy-like octopuses get more active.

Corals also get magnificent in the dark. During the day, they are closed up, and you don’t see their total beauty. But at night, they spring up to life, showing off their flower-like colors as they sway in sync with the ocean currents. What a sight to behold!

How to Snorkel at Night – Essential Tips

Since night snorkeling is a whole new experience, you need a few tips to help you witness the full magnificence of the underwater world. Here are some tips.

fish in the dark

Snorkel in a Familiar Area

Preferably, go where you’ve snorkeled in the morning or afternoon. The familiarity helps you know your surroundings better, and in an emergency, you can easily trace your way back to the starting point.

Use a Guide For the First Time

There is a ton to see underwater at night, and you don’t want to miss any of it. So, for the first time, consider the services of a guide who will help you spot creatures you would have otherwise not noticed. They will point them out for you, ensuring you have a great time.

A guide will also help you maintain direction and take you back to your starting point in case you get disoriented owing to the darkness.

Pay Attention to the Weather

Clear skies would be best for your night snorkeling excursion. The presence of a full moon makes it even better since there is increased visibility.

Basically, avoid pitch-darkness since you’ll have very minimal visibility, exposing you to dangerous situations.

Prepare and Equip Yourself

Ensure you have and test any necessary equipment before heading to the water. Do this, preferably in the daylight. Even if you’ve used the equipment before and it worked fine, just test it again to identify any faults present.

Ensure everything fits perfectly and you can use it correctly.

Look Around the Edges

You might tend to focus on one tiny creature that you can already see. But be flexible enough to move your light around and far into the deeper waters. This way, you may catch glimpses of larger, more exciting marine life playing around your light’s edge.

Occasionally Turn Off Your Lights

Some marine creatures, such as bioluminescent planktons, emit their glow, which you can miss if your lights are on. Turning off your light once in a while during the activity exposes you to experience such magical surprises.

Night Snorkeling Equipment

When snorkeling at night, you’ll need a bit more equipment on top of the essential snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, and fins).


One of the necessities is a waterproof flashlight. Ensure it functions properly and has enough batteries to serve you until you get out of the water. In case you are planning it as a one-time adventure you can rent one, or consider purchasing it if you intend to be a frequent snorkeler.


In terms of clothing, you should have a warmer one on to keep you warm during the chilly night. To achieve this, get a thin 1mm neoprene top or a 2mm full wetsuit instead of your everyday rashguard.


You should also have a whistle on your snorkel, tied around your wrist or looped around your neck. It will help if you need to send signals to your buddy or boat in an emergency. With it, you’ll easily be accessible in the dark.

Great Night Snorkeling Destinations

manta rays at night

More operators and beach resorts are now providing night snorkel tours. However, most people prefer locations with streetlights or hotel lights for increased visibility.

Nonetheless, a good location should have plenty of corals and calm and peaceful waters for easy maneuverability.

Maldives – One of the best snorkeling destinations is the Maldives. The resorts here offer night tours. It will be a little expensive, but you’ll still get a lifetime experience.

Curacao – Another fantastic destination is Curacao, where you can see turtles even near the shore. This destination may be ideal for people who fear going into the deep sea in the dark.

Maui & Kona, Hawaii – Maui is an excellent destination where many snorkel tours are available, and you get to see animals such as turtles, octopuses, and lobsters. Kona is known as Manta Ray heaven, with manta rays swimming around at night feeding on luminous plankton. That is quite a magnificent sight.

Florida Keys – In Florida Keys you can see incredible marine animals like sharks, sea turtles, and bioluminescent squid. However, you’ll have to go into the deep seas, because being near the shore will not let you see much.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Snorkeling at Night Dangerous?

No. Snorkeling at night is not dangerous.

However, it can be more complicated than during daylight since you may have limited visibility around you, making you a bit vulnerable in the water.

What Do You Wear for Snorkeling at Night?

You must wear special clothing that will keep you warm on a chilly night. You can wear a thin 1mm neoprene top or a 2mm full wetsuit. Just ensure you are comfortable with the one you choose. In tropical destinations, a regular snorkeling dress code is fine.

Do You Need a Buddy When Night Snorkeling?

Yes. Have a buddy during a night snorkeling session because they will help you in an emergency. For example, if your light unexpectedly goes out, your buddy can help you.

Just ensure you have clear means of communication, such as a whistle or codes of communication like three flashes of light to mean danger.

You can also have them for companionship to make the excursion more interesting.

Are There More Predators Out at Night?

At night, most sea creatures get active and hunt for food. But these are harmless and are only likely to attack if you provoke them.

Nonetheless, before settling on a location, conduct adequate research on the area to find out about any dangerous species that live there and know how not to provoke them.

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