3 Best Snorkeling Fins for Travel: 2024 Snorkeler’s Review

by | Last updated Mar 28, 2024 | Snorkel Packing List

My husband and I LOVE snorkeling and purposely seek out travel destinations with amazing marine life. My love affair with the underwater world all started in Hawaii in 2009. Our most recent adventures have been in the Maldives, which arguably has some of the best snorkeling in the world! I share all this to say I have had a lot of practice testing out snorkeling gear to see what works and what doesn’t. After snorkeling at 39 different sites, here is what I consider the three best snorkeling fins for travel.

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Top 3 Snorkeling Fins

If you don’t feel like reading through this detailed review, here’s the TL;DR version of my top 3 picks!

Cressi

BEST FINS FOR SHORT DISTANCE

RATING: 4.4/5

Scubapro

BEST FINS FOR LONG DISTANCE

RATING: 4.6/5

Mares

BEST FULL FOOT SNORKEL FINS

RATING: 4.6/5

01- Best for Short Distance: Cressi Palau Fins

Cressi Palau Short Snorkeling Fins

Best snorkeling fins: Cressi Palau Travel Snorkeling Fins

My favorite pair of travel fins for snorkeling shorter distances in calmer locations is the Cressi Palau Travel Snorkeling Fins. These compact fins have gotten a lot of mileage and are still going strong!

Cressi has been making diving and snorkeling gear since 1946. They are an incredibly reputable brand.

They also make some of my favorite snorkel masks, which I review in my Top Masks for Beginner to Serious Snorkelers blog post.

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BEST FEATURES OF CRESSI PALAU FINS

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Open Heel Foot Pocket

They have an open-heel foot pocket to easily accommodate dive booties.

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Adjustable Strap

The adjustable strap really gives you a nice, customized fit up to at least 3-4 consecutive sizes.

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Lightweight & Packable

Weighing in at 2.2 pounds total and 18” long, they are super easy to pack as pictured in my 21” carry-on Travelpro suitcase below. Plenty of room to spare!
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Overall Amazon User Rating

4.4/5

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HOW CRESSI FINS PACK IN A SUITCASE

Cressi Palau Snorkeling Fins in my Travelpro 21_ carry-on suitcase

Cressi Palau Travel Snorkeling Fins in my Travelpro 21″ carry-on suitcase

02- Best for Long Distance: Scubapro GO Fins

Scubapro Go Travel snorkeling fins

Scubapro Go Travel snorkeling fins

When I was in St. John USVI snorkeling from Little Lameshur Bay to Yawzi Point, I noticed my husband was having no problem.

I was struggling a little with the longer distance. At that point, I knew I needed to get a pair of slightly longer fins for snorkeling sites that required a little more thrust.

That is when I was introduced to the Scubapro GO Travel Snorkeling Fins.

On a recent trip to the Maldives, I got to try them out. We snorkeled long distances at the house reef at Outrigger and the house reef at Le Meridien.

I have a few short snorkeling videos posted from those two resorts on my Best Snorkeling Resorts in the Maldives blog post if you are interested.

I also used my Scubapro GO fins when I had to keep up with a fast-moving whale shark during a snorkeling tour in the South Ari Atoll in the Maldives. They did not disappoint!

My husband even noticed the difference because I am easily keeping up with him now.

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BEST FEATURES OF SCUBAPRO GO TRAVEL FINS

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Open Heel Foot Pocket

I love the open heel, so I can wear my dive booties.

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Self-Adjusting Bungee Heel Strap

This is the first time I had a pair of snorkeling fins with a self-adjusting bungee heel strap. This strap made it super easy to slide on and off and was very comfortable on the back of my heel.

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Packable

The Scubapro GO Travel Fins are 22” long and 2.6 lbs. for the pair compared to the Cressi at 18” long and 2.2 lbs. Although not as small as the Cressi fins, they are still packable. 

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100% Monoprene

They are made from 100% Monoprene, which is supposed to be ultra-strong and can sustain heavy-duty use. I’ll see if that’s true the more I use them.

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Positive Buoyancy

Oh, and they have positive buoyancy, so they float! I found that out when I was stepping down the ladder of our overwater villa in the Maldives, and I accidentally dropped one of the fins in the water. To my surprise, they floated resulting in an easy recovery.

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Overall Amazon User Rating

4.6/5

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HOW SCUBAPRO FINS PACK IN A SUITCASE

Packing the Scubapro fins in my 21” carry-on Travelpro suitcase is a little tight, and I have to pack them at a slight diagonal as seen in the photo below.

Scubapro Go Travel Snorkeling Fins in 21 inch carry-on suitcase

Scubapro GO Travel Fins in my Travelpro 21″ carry-on suitcase

However, when I pack them in my medium-sized Travelpro suitcase, no problem. They fit great!

See the photo below. I also included the Cressi fins to show you the size difference between the two.

Scubapro GO Travel and Cressi Palau Snorkeling Fins in 24" Travlepro suitcase

Scubapro GO Travel (top) and Cressi Palau Fins (bottom) in 24″ Travlepro suitcase

03- Best Full Foot Fins: Mares Avanti Tre

Mares Avanti Tre Full Foot Fin

Mares Avanti Tre Full Foot Fin

Although I’m not a personal fan of full foot pocket fins, I realize some people will love and prefer them.

I wanted to include at least one highly-rated full foot fin in case you are in that camp, which is the Mares Avanti Tre Fins!

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BEST FEATURES OF MARES AVANTI TRE FINS

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Made of Tecralene

These fins are made of Tecralene, so they are elastic but soft.

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Orthopedic Foot Pocket

They also have an orthopedic foot pocket with open toe offering a very comfortable fit.

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3-Channel Inserts

The 3-channel inserts on the blade move more water giving you additional thrust.

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Versatile

This design is great for both snorkeling and diving, so it’s quite a versatile fin. The Amazon reviews speak for themselves!

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Overall Amazon User Rating

4.6/5

How to Choose Snorkeling Fins

full foot pocket vs. open heel snorkeling fins

Full foot pocket vs. open heel snorkeling fins

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FULL POCKET VS. OPEN HEEL

Most gear guides will recommend full foot pocket fins for snorkeling because they weigh less, making it easy to kick around.

Plus, no dive booties/socks are required, so they are great for swimming around in warm tropical areas. They are super easy to slide on. It’s like putting on a pair of shoes.

I personally do not like them and much prefer open-heel snorkeling fins with a strap.

Why? 4 reasons.

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#1- Accomodates Dive Booties

There are many locations where we do off-shore snorkeling like in St. John USVI or Bonaire, which requires walking across sharp, pointy rocks to access certain entry points. Dive booties/socks are essential! Open-heel snorkeling fins accommodate those booties.
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#2- Customized Fit

In my opinion, the dive booties + open-heel fins give you more of a customized fit. When you find the right size, the combo fits your foot like a glove and feels super secure. I never have to fiddle with or adjust my open-heel snorkeling fins when I’m in the water.

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#3- Eliminates Pressure Points

I tried wearing full foot pocket fins without dive booties/socks, and the fins would sometimes rub at certain pressure points on my feet. I never have that problem when I wear the dive booties + open-heel snorkeling fins.

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#4- Great for Packing

The heel strap can be folded in, which is great for packing! 

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SCUBA DIVING VS. SNORKELING FINS

Yes, there is a difference!

Scuba diving fins tend to be longer and stiffer. These differences give you the thrust that’s needed to move your body (AND all that gear strapped on you!) in deep water, where the pressure is greater.

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LONG VS. SHORT VS. TRAVEL FINS

Long fins (>25”) are used by scuba divers, when you need more thrust, efficiency, and speed.

Most snorkelers will find short fins (<25”) work best because they are easier on your legs and a little easier to maneuver around.

Short fins will also decrease your risk of injuring the coral as you snorkel around. My Scubapro GO Travel fins fall into this category.

There are also “travel” snorkeling fins like my Cressi Palau fins that are even shorter than the average short snorkeling fin (15-20”).

This “travel” size is great for packing and for snorkeling shorter distances!

Refer to my suitcase photo earlier to visually see the size difference between short fins (white Scubapro Go fins) and travel fins Cressi Palau fins).

Top Tips on Finding the Best Fins

Wearing a Coolibar rash guard in Bonaire

Getting ready to snorkel Angel City with my Scubapro GO Travel fins in Bonaire

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TIP #1

Try the fins on BEFORE committing. That means if you like dive booties or socks, try both on together to make sure they fit.

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TIP #2

Purchase your snorkeling fins in one of two ways. Go to your local dive shop OR purchase the fins from a reputable seller that has an acceptable return policy.

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TIP #3

Note any pressure points. If you feel the fins are rubbing in any weird way when you try them on, they are not for you. Move on to the next pair.

Final Thoughts

Make sure you purchase fins suited for snorkeling and not just diving! There is a difference. The Cressi Palau and the Scubapro GO Travel fins are both fantastic options. I use both depending on the type of snorkeling I’m doing.

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Questions about finding the right snorkeling fins?

Let me know in the comments below!

2 Comments
  1. Debra Marie Santos

    Thank you so much for taking the time to educate me on snorkeling gear. You definitely seem to know what’s best in giving choices. Much appreciated. I am going to St Croix with my daughter in October. And we both love the underwater sea life. You have been very helpful

    Reply
    • Nichole

      Thank you so much for reaching out! Yes, we LOVE snorkeling! St. Croix is beautiful. One of our favorite snorkeling spots in St. Croix is Frederiksted Pier. If you all plan to snorkel there, check out my article on our favorite snorkeling spots in St. Croix: Best St Croix Snorkeling Spots
      Enjoy your trip with your daughter!

      Reply

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