Diving and snorkeling conditions
The unspoiled sea-life and coral of Oman offer a safe, cheap and friendly place to go diving or snorkeling, and are typically more accessible than similar destinations such as the Solomon Islands or Papua New Guinea.
The ocean temperatures of the Gulf of Oman and the northern Arabian Sea are very comfortable. In November temperatures average around 28 degrees Celsius, and this gets even warmer in the summer months (July until September); a full-length wetsuit with a thickness of 3mm and thin boots should be enough to keep you warm while diving. Gloves or caps are not necessary.
The best time to plan your trip is from November til January, when the water temperature and visibility are at their best. The clear waters also help for spotting the increased number of sharks and dolphins in the region at this time of year as well!
Where to go
There is a big network of diving schools offering snorkeling trips in Oman, most of them operated by American or European expats. Most of these schools also offer courses to obtain your PADI (legal diving certificate).
In Muscat, the capital, you can find a great number of diving companies that organize trips to the nine beautiful Daymaniyat Islands, among other locations. The islands lie 17 kilometers from the coast, so the boat ride will only take around 30-40 minutes. Snorkeling and diving fanatics will find what they are looking for here.
The city of Musandam, in the north of Oman, is another great destination for divers. The cold water currents of the sea here have given the area a unique underwater ecosystem, with whale-sharks, hammerheads, turtles and eagle-rays all on view. A list of diving schools that have snorkeling options, and are PADI-accredited, can be found here.
Oman is not all just about calm seas and beautiful marine life though. With a medley of foods to try and incredible "souqs" to lose yourself in, Oman has something for everyone.