Snorkeling is one of the most fun and tropical experiences one can enjoy on a Hawaiian vacation. Exploring the underwater world and breathing underwater… It sounds like a dream come true.

However, the hard truth is that many people struggle through their first time snorkeling. If at first you don’t succeed, you’re probably normal when it comes to snorkeling. Several things can go wrong that might tarnish the magic.

That being said, snorkeling is still an incredibly fun experience. Here are some of the common side effects and how to avoid them.

Water in Your Face

With an inappropriately fitting mask, you might find that water may slip into the edges of your mask and into your eyes. You should make sure that your mask fits tightly against your face and doesn’t move from side to side.

Foggy Mask

Similarly to the previous problem, if your mask is ill-fitting, it could fog up and cloud your vision. Make sure your mask fits snug against your face. There are also anti-fog sprays you can spritz in your mask.

Water in your snorkel tube

As annoying as it sounds for water to seep into your mask, it’s just as frustrating when ocean water leaks into your snorkel tube and into your mouth. Imagine taking a big breath in and suddenly your mouth and throat are full of saltwater. Not exactly the most fun.

You can easily avoid this by choosing a snorkel tube with a splash guard. These are known as “Dry Snorkels”. If you dip your head underwater and submerge the snorkel, it will temporarily seal itself. Dry snorkels also have a valve at the bottom for dumping out any water that may have gotten in.


Snorkeling involves swimming. It’s a full-body exercise and you’re literally breathing in a tube. If you get too far in your head and put too much pressure on nailing the proper swimming and breathing techniques, you will definitely tire yourself out way too soon. The snorkel limits your airflow to a certain extent and if you try swimming through the water too quickly you will exert yourself. 

To avoid this, just relax and go slow. You’re here to have fun after all. And to see the most beautiful marine wildlife in the whole world.

Another tip for avoiding exhaustion is to check the water conditions before going out. If the water is rough, you might end up fighting the waves to stay close to shore and close to safety. 


It’s hard to imagine getting blisters from a swimming-related activity. But if you use fins that are too small or don’t fit you comfortably, you might earn yourself a few tender blisters on your feet and ankle. 


Wear sunscreen on your back and back of your legs and arms. Since you’re going to be spending a lot of time face down, your back will be exposed to the sun for a while. 

We also highly recommend using a mineral-based sunscreen instead of a chemical-based sunscreen. Chemical-based sunscreens often have an ingredient called oxybenzone, which can harm the coral reef.


When you think of the world underwater, it’s hard to imagine getting bored. However, if you choose the wrong location for your snorkeling adventure, all you might end up seeing is the sand. You might miss out on seeing any vibrantly colored, tropical fish. You may not get to see the coral reef. So make sure you choose the best places to snorkel near you.

However, you can easily avoid this issue by choosing to go on a guided snorkeling excursion. The guides will choose a great snorkeling destination so you’ll be able to see the coral reef and the fascinating marine wildlife that inhabit it.

Snorkel with Kauai Sea Tours

With a history of ten consecutive TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards, Kauai Sea Tours has been providing award-winning tours since 1991. Our team is passionate about creating incredible adventures in paradise and we’re excited to explore the Napali Coast with you and your family. Our team will help you pick out snorkeling equipment that fits well, take you to the perfect location, keep track of the weather, and we even serve food aboard our catamarans.