Snorkeling with turtles, Gili islands, Indonesia
Gili Air, Gili Meno, Gili Travangan. Those 3 islands are full of beautiful sandy beaches, great restaurants, pubs and hostels. On Top of that these places are also a great snorkeling and diving locations! One of the things you need to know is that motorbikes, cars and any petrol or diesel means of transport are forbidden here. There fore you will not find a rental motorbikes. However you can find a rentab bike or try a horse ridding, which can be pretty amazing during late hours.
HOW TO GET THERE
The only way to get to one of 3 Gili islands is by boat from Bali, Padangbai. Cost around 200 000 IDR, which ist about 12,5 Euro or 14 USD or with another boat from other Islands in Indonesia.
One of the Indonesian boat transport company, with can pick you up in Bali Indonesia and drop you off in Gili islands can be found with the link below. I have personally used their service and I must say it was quite comfortable.
Prices are quite reasonable and depending on island and time of the year, can start from 15-20 Euro per night up to 35-40 Euro and even higher! So better book something in advance in high season time. Booking.com works pretty well not just in Gili islands but also in whole Indonesia, with the link below you can find some interesting places in Gili Travangan. I do really recommend to stay at Gili T as this is one of he bigges and best organised island with many atractions, services and resorts.
SNORKELING TRIP PRICES
Depending on time and location, half day trip can cost you anything from 200-300 thousands IDR and more, up to 900 Thousands for a full day trip. This however is including picking you up from your place, some sort of snack or meal and boat to the diving location. But for sure is worth it as you can go to great coral reefs, swim with turtles or mantas, or even see some great and very big fishes or wracks !
Snorkeling in full face masks is pretty amazing and I strongly recommend you to get one with yourself or rent one one the place. Just be aware it might get a little pricy to rent them in the season and you might end up paying half of the price of the mask for rental per day of what would ou pay for it from Amazon. Same with other diving gear. But still this is an amazing experience. Full Face masks does not get foggy that easly. I do however recommend snorkeling with a normal mask and snorkel pipe. There is a reason behind it. Full face masks are comfortable to wear but less comfortable to put on and quickly put them out. Also With normal pipe you still have mask on if you want to take the pipe put from your mouth. Very useful in salty water. And for some people it might be very uncomfortable, to feel a little bit of water in your mough and not being able to put the maske out very vast or get rid of the water if it gets there easly. Never theless I do recommend you to get yourself your own mask.
WHERE AND WHEN TO GO
When? Local diver told me the best time to meet turtles is between 8-10 am, when the water gets a bit warmer. As Turtles are coming to eat in their favorite places. They mosty look up for fresh grass and roots under it. So look up for a nice green grass under and you have a pretty big chances to see one. While afternoons might also be a good time, over ate afternoons and evenings we have not met any.
Where? Although you can meed turtles all around Gill T and Gili Air. And you do not have to go far from beach, my most favorite spot was in front of villa Amarik in Gili travangan. Water there is not too deep and you can see corals and a lot of underwater grass. This grass is one of the most favorite snack for those turtles. You can also try to get into one of the boat trips driven by locals who will take you to other spots.
Here is a map with some diving spots around those 3 Islands.
SHOULD I BE AFRAID?
Not at all!. Turtles are very friendly and since there are so many tourists over all time of the year this beautiful animals are absolutely not bothered. But still, you should keep the distance, and do not try to touch or hug them as they might bite you back. This might give you a nasty wound! Always remember – you are a guest in their world not vice versa.
If you still have doubts, check out my article about how to stard diving with the link below. It might help you our to overcome your fears and try it.