My friend Toby told me he was hoping to do some snorkeling while in East Bali. Thinking about our options, Padangbai, Candi Dasa and Amed would all work. I’d never go snorkleing in Bali without a boat, after reading too many stories of lone Europeans gone for good, not able to get to shore after renting a snorkel from a local.
According to my guidebook, 2 of the islands off of Candi Dasa (Gili Tepekong & Gili Biaha), are good for diving. However there are currents and the water is cold. Last time I was in Candi Dasa I saw waves, but the local guy on the beach was telling me “good you go snorkeling now, flat.”
For a better snorkeling experience, try Blue Lagoon, the small bay at the eastern end of Padangbai. The 3 little islands close to Candi Dasa (Gili Mimpang) are also good. You can organize snorkeling through your hotel, although it will cost more than going direct to the boat owner. also dive shops will take you snorkeling. The cheapest way is go with a local boat. East Bali has hundreds of boats parked up on the beach and running into someone saying ‘Hey Boss you want go snorkeling?”isn’t hard. You should always shop around and negotiate. Make sure you know where you are going, and that the equipment is included in the price.
Other places that will work for snorkling are Pasir Putih Beach in Perasi and many of the beaches in Amed. Nusa Lembongan has good snorkeling too, and can be accessed on a day trip from the port of Benoa (Bali Hai Cruises).