Snorkeling is the ultimate low impact vacation activity that can be enjoyed by everyone. It is affordable, educational, and fun. The Con Dao Islands are a snorkeler's paradise in Vietnam. The surrounding waters are warm all year long and the coral reefs are healthy – they were not napalmed during the Vietnam-American War. If you plan to snorkel the coral reefs surrounding the Con Dao archipelago it is important that you do your best not to disturb the underwater marine. Coral is a living creature and its roles is very important in maintaining the delicate balance of the underwater ecosystem. Also green turtles and hawksbill turtles are sometimes seen in the waters surrounding Con Dao and disturbing them can cause them unwanted stress. Remember to just leave only bubbles and take only pictures.
Below you will some of Con Dao’s best spots for snorkeling
Ong Dung Beach (Bai Ong Dung) on Con Son Island has a reef located about 700m to 1000m from shore.
Some of the marine life you will find here while snorkeling at Ong Dung include clams, parrot fish, hard coral, crabs, etc. The current can be strong here at times so please take precaution. The visibility here is also not the greatest and the reef here is moderately healthy.
Dam Trau Beach is located near the Con Dao Airport and it also has an offshore reef located approximately 800m from the beach. Like at Ong Dung Beach, the visibility here is not the greatest and the current is quite strong. The easiest way to reach the reef here is by swimming/wading along the banks and once you reach the peak, just swim out 100 meters. It is here at Dam Trau that you have the greatest chance of spotting green turtles while snorkeling.
There are other beach snorkeling spots found in and around Con Dao that are accessible without a boat, but you may need to commission a boat to get there:
At the very north of Con Son Island is Dam Tre Bay. Surrounding the bay are mangrove forest and the sea here is inundated with coral. Getting here requires you to either hike a 7km trail starting near the Con Dao Airport or by commissioning a boat.
On the north side of Bay Canh Island is Bo Dap Beach and about 100m to 200m from shore there are coral reefs. Most people who are participating in the Con Dao Turtle Sanctuary Tour will disembark here and will have a chance to snorkel this spot.
On the western side of Bay Canh Island is Dương Beach. 300m from shore lies a good snorkeling spot.
There is a nice shallow reef in front of the Bay Canh Island lighthouse. here you will find a large concentration of giant clams. In the morning during low tide, these giant clams are exposed to the environment and can easily be seen without snorkeling.
There are many offshore snorkeling sites in and around the 16 Con Dao Islands, some of which can be explored by joining a snorkeling tour. The visibility is not the greatest at these sites however if you are lucky and the conditions are right, you will be rewarded by observing some of the healthiest reefs in all of Vietnam. The most popular snorkeling sites are located around 7 point Island (Bay Canh Island) and Betel Island (Cau Island).