As soon as you see the clear water that surrounds the Gili islands, you will know you just have to snorkel! You can rent fins and masks almost everywhere on the Gilis. Just ask at your accommodation or at the bar where you are sipping your favorite juice.
At Gili Trawangan, best coral reef to snorkel around is near the north-west coast, but you have to be very keen to go out there. The only access to the reef involves walking over a substantial area of dead, sharp coral. If you are very eager the effort is worth it, and you are very likely to have the waters to yourself.
Small, purple jellyfish are sometimes plentiful around the island, and they seem to love stinging snorkelers, but cause no serious harm. Turtles can often be seen, but remember to respect them and not touch them.
Air is perfect for snorkeling – anywhere along the east coast where the fringing reef is fairly healthy and close offshore. But best area is the east side from near the top. Be careful walking in the shallow waters as there are a lot of very spiny sea urchins in the sea-grass. As a rule of thumb, as soon as the water is up to your knees you are safe to swim!
Meno – north west and north east parts are best for exploring, but also try to see the famous sunken pontoon called Bounty. You can also take a snorkeling boat tour. Most trips last four to five hours with a lunch stop in Gili Air.■