Snorkelling in Niue: Advice for Travellers
The warm crystal clear waters are all too inviting in Niue. What’s more, they are teeming with life, from colourful fish to otherworldly coral. Niue is home to tens of snorkelling spots, as well as a couple of fantastic guided tours to hidden gems. Needless to say, snorkelling is going to be a big part of your Niue getaway, so make sure you’re aware of the best practices for snorkelling in Niue, as well as safety advice, with this list of snorkelling tips for Niue.
1. Check the Tide
Arguably the most important thing to know about snorkelling in Niue is that most of Niue’s snorkelling spots are tide dependent. This means that there is a “best tide” for the enjoyment and safety of snorkelling in each snorkelling spot. As a general rule, low tide is the safest tide for swimming in Niue’s snorkelling spots, but low tide can be too shallow for some snorkelling locations. See our tide recommendations for each snorkelling spot around Niue in What You Need to Know About the Tide Times in Niue.
2. Asses the Sea Conditions
While there are safer tides for swimming in Niue, it’s always best to check out the sea conditions before jumping in, as large swells can be dangerous. When you visit each snorkelling spot around Niue, take five minutes to check what the sea is doing before making the call to swim or not.
3. Bring Your Own Snorkelling Gear
Although snorkel hire is available at dive shops and a limited number of accommodations have complimentary snorkelling gear, it’s best to have your own. Your own will likely be better quality with not as much wear and tear as rental gear. Plus, you’ll always want to have your snorkel gear on you as you travel around Niue thanks to the number of snorkelling spots available!
4. Wear Reef Shoes
Niue is a rocky coral atoll that, while it makes for stunning land formations, it’s not very kind on the feet. Reef shoes are essential for snorkelling in Niue so be sure to bring yours or buy a pair if you haven’t got some already! See 10 Best Reef Shoes to Bring to Niue for recommendations.
5. Avoid Wearing Fins
While fins are good for swimming in the open water or where there are strong currents, it’s actually best to avoid wearing fins in most of Niue’s popular swimming spots. Fins can more easily damage coral than just swimming in your reef shoes. As long as you are swimming in Niue’s main snorkelling spots at the correct tide, you should be fine without fins.
6. Check out the Guided Snorkelling Tours
While Niue has many snorkelling spots that you can just access from shore, very few of them compare to what you can access with guided snorkelling tours. Guided tours can take you by boat to either an outer reef or a hidden chasm with an abundance of marine life that very few visitors get to see. Along the way, it’s often the case that you also get to swim with dolphins. Find out more in The Best Guided Snorkelling Tours in Niue.
7. Lookup the Top Snorkelling Spots
As mentioned with regards to the tide, snorkelling in Niue takes a bit of planning, which also includes where to go snorkelling. Snorkelling in Niue is best and safest on the west coast of the island, as the water conditions on the east coast are much rougher. Check out the 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Niue for snorkelling spots and their locations.
8. Wear Reef-Safe Sunscreen
Sun protection is essential when you’re out snorkelling in Niue, but make sure you wear sunscreen that doesn’t damage or kill the coral. Standard sunscreens have a harmful chemical called oxybenzone that encourages coral bleaching in young coral and can even cause them to die. Make sure you wear sunscreen that is labelled “reef safe”, which tends to be natural mineral sunscreen. See What are the Best Sunscreens for Niue? for more advice.
9. Take Plenty of Water
As well as sun protection, you also want to avoid dehydration while you’re out and about in the sun. Plus, with some snorkelling spots being down 30-minute sea tracks, it’s best to be prepared as you’ll be likely spending a while at each snorkelling spot. See more health tips in the 10 Health Tips for Niue.
10. Hire a Car or a Bike
Finally, the best way to get around all of Niue’s snorkelling spots is to hire a car. Niue has very limited transport, where The Taxi can take you to snorkelling spots but isn’t always available. Your only other options for getting to Niue’s snorkelling locations is to either hire a car or hire a bike. A car is the easiest way to get around, obviously getting you further faster, but a bicycle is also worth considering for visiting snorkelling spots close to where you are staying. See How to Get Around Niue for more details and advice.