Snorkeling or Scuba Diving? Which Should You Choose?

There are so many different activities that you can do to enjoy and experience the beauty of the ocean. Surfing, wind surfing, free diving, boating, swimming, etc. The list could go on and on.

However, there are two that are similar and offer a glimpse into the underwater world: snorkeling and scuba diving. But which is better? Which should you do?

In this article I will be reviewing the differences between both and the pros/cons of each. My goal is to help you determine which you should consider trying.

What is the Difference?

Before I dive in (pun intended) to the details of each activity, I think it is important to outline the differences between the two. Although they may seem similar in concept, in reality they are two totally different activities.


Snorkeling (right picture) is when you are at the surface of the water and are looking underwater breathing through a snorkel.

Scuba diving (below) is when you are breathing from an air tank, fully submersed underwater for an extended period of time.

This is the easiest way to tell the difference: If you see someone fully submersed and breathing from an air tank, they are scuba diving. If you see someone with just a snorkel and mask at the surface, with no air tank, they are snorkeling.

Just remember, it is impossible to scuba dive without an air tank. No air tank, no scuba diving.

Snorkeling Pros/Cons


  • See the underwater world
  • Minimal equipment needed: mask, snorkel, fins
  • Cheaper than scuba diving: no certifications required, no large equipment costs
  • Easier to learn
  • Fewer skills required: Swimming is the only skill needed
  • Relatively low risk
  • Physical health, swimming is a good way to stay healthy


  • Can only see everything from the surface. Scuba diving allows you to immerse yourself with underwater life
  • Not as thrilling or adventurous as scuba diving
  • You have to deal with waves. If the ocean conditions are rough on the surface, you can’t escape it
  • Can’t go during the night, you need to the sun to see what is beneath you!

Scuba Diving Pros/Cons


  • Get an up close and personal experience with the underwater world
  • More adventurous and thrilling than snorkeling
  • Be able to breathe underwater for large amounts of time (it’s an amazing experience!)
  • Be able to escape rough water conditions on the surface
  • Feel weightless (literally)
  • Major stress reliever, increases emotional well-being
  • Overall physical health, swimming is a good way to stay healthy
  • Can go at night (with a dive light of course)


  • More equipment is needed than snorkeling. Click the following link to learn more about scuba diving equipment:
  • More expensive: certification, equipment, professional guide, etc.
  • Harder to learn: Certification required (mostly…read the conclusion and you’ll see what I mean)
  • More skills required than snorkeling
  • Higher risk than snorkeling

And the Winner Is…

The answer is: there is no real winner. I know, lame right? Actually, both snorkeling and scuba diving give you an amazing way to explore the beauty of the underwater world.

If you’ve never done either, I recommend that you try snorkeling first. It is an easier transition to the ocean, a way to see how comfortable you are with breathing through a snorkel.

If you were to jump right in to scuba diving, you might be a little overwhelmed and intimidated by the whole concept of being underwater for a long period of time.

It takes some people a while to feel comfortable underwater, and others not long at all. It all depends on the person. That is why snorkeling can help you determine your comfort and enjoyment levels before jumping right in to scuba diving.

If you’ve tried and enjoy snorkeling, then I would highly recommend you at least try diving. There is a way for you to try scuba diving without actually being certified, it’s called DSD dives. If you want to learn more about how click the following link:

I know some people who absolutely love the underwater world, but don’t scuba dive because they aren’t comfortable with it. THAT IS OKAY.

I’ve found that diving is more enjoyable for me because it’s a much more immersive and up close experience with wildlife, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy snorkeling sometimes as well.

Even though this is a diving website, and I prefer diving to snorkeling, both activities can reach the same goal depending on the person: To experience and enjoy the underwater world.

I would love to know your thoughts on the topic, so feel free to leave any comments or questions you have below. Happy Diving (or snorkeling)!

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