Snorkeling and one of the fastest-growing extreme sports today, Scuba diving, are the best activities for observing marine life and coral reefs. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced snorkeler or diver, there are plenty of places to witness enchanting underwater life.
Dive Around the Galapagos Islands
Although known for their abundance of hiking trails and vast number of endemic species studied by Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Islands also offer amazing experiences in the ocean. With crystal clear water, year-round warm temperatures and an abundance of fish life, the islands are prime diving spots.
Great schools of barracudas, bonitos, eagle rays, and hammerheads are regularly spotted in the open water, while strange and exotic species such as the Rainbow Basslet, Red-lipped Batfish, Bloody Frogfish, Pacific Seahorse, and Galapagos Clingfish can be found along the boulder-strewn sea floor.
For divers considering a trip to the Galapagos Islands, Quasar Expeditions offers seven-night cruises on their yachts the M/V Evolution and M/Y Grace (a wedding gift from Aristotle Onassis to Prince Rainer and Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco). Travelers will feel like they’re on a true expedition while also enjoying five-star service and accommodations.
Explore Coral in The Seychelles
In the middle of the Indian Ocean sits Fregate Island, a conservation sanctuary and luxury hideaway. The marine environment around Fregate Island is truly diverse and unspoiled, teeming with color and dramatic topography. Fregate Island is home to the Dive Center at Fregate Island Marina and offers various diving courses and certifications. All guided dives are conducted from one of Fregate Island’s dive vessels. There are numerous beautiful sites, which are exclusive to Fregate Island guests, and suit all levels of diver from beginner through to experienced.
Beyond regular dives, guests of Fregate Island are invited to explore a groundbreaking marine conservation initiative. Fregate Island has partnered with luxury watchmaker Blancpain and Coralive.org to protect the underwater world by regenerating and preserving the corals surrounding the island. The coral reef structures are made out of ferrous metals, which includes power transformers to provide a weak electrical charge. This method promotes growth of coral as well as resulting in a higher survival rate of coral fragments when compared to classic rehabilitation methods. This trailblazing method is the first of its kind in Seychelles, and only 1 of 5 locations in the world that utilize this practice.
Snorkel and Dive Around Borneo
Gaya Island Resort is a five-star property located on the Malaysian island of Borneo, set within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The park lies within The Coral Triangle, also known as the world’s marine epicenter. Home to diverse marine life exceeding 75% of the species known to science with coral gardens found 65 feet from the shore; this underwater realm has over 25 dive spots around 5 islands for all year exploration.
During a stay at Gaya Island, guests are invited to get up close and personal with the elusive marine life through the resort’s Padi Snorkeling and Dive Programs. Suitable for guests ages 10 and older, the different courses and leisure dives are available for exploring the sea, whether travelers are novice or seasoned divers.
Experience the Gulf of Saint-Tropez
Hôtel Lou Pinet, a luxury hideaway in the French Rivera’s legendary town of Saint-Tropez offers a myriad of activities for guests to discover the iconic Gulf of Saint-Tropez, including diving experiences. The hotel concierge team helps guests with arranging diving experiences to take a plunge into the heart of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez to discover its extraordinary rich seabed. With diving opportunities for all levels and capabilities, water enthusiasts can dive down anywhere between 3 meters and 60 meters into the hidden side of Saint-Tropez and explore an entire ecosystem inhabited by colorful corals, unusual fish, fascinating sea life, and even wrecks that lie on the seafloor.
After diving into the blue waters of the coast, guests can unwind back at the hotel and enjoy the Tata Harper Spa, two bars, very own BeefBar restaurant butcher shop, and the largest hotel pool in Saint-Tropez tucked away in a secret garden.
Shark Dive in Fiji
Labeled “the best shark diving location in the world”, Fiji also offers wall dives, swim-throughs, caverns, canyons and incredible blue water encounters. The strong currents of the outer reefs bring nutrient rich waters from thousands of miles around, and in turn, lure in some of the most diverse life in the ocean. With more than 390 coral species, around 1200 fish species and five of the world’s seven marine turtle species, diving in Fiji truly is an underwater naturalist’s dream. Fiji is one of Marchay’s most booked diving destination and often their trips include Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Resort located on lush Vanua Levu Island or Nanuku Auberge Resort which is stretched along two miles of beach on the south coast of Viti Levu. New York-based Marchay, widely recognized as one of the premier travel services, is designed for discerning travelers who want unlimited access to dedicated and highly-personalized travel advice and execution. The Marchay Membership includes unbiased, non-commission influenced service by a dedicated travel manager and team; unlimited bespoke trip planning for members and members-only proprietary benefits.
Snorkel in a Swim Reef in Thailand
The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui features a one-of-a-kind temperate Swim Reef that teems with over 50 species of injured fish rescued from local fishermen. The Swim Reef is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, and offers unique snorkeling and fish-feeding experiences. The pool is approximately 24 meters long and approximately 1.2 meters deep. In addition to the many species of fish, the pool includes three cat sharks, sea cucumbers and anemones.
The 30-minute guided swim reef experience is led by the resort’s Swim Reef Specialist, who teaches guests fun facts about the behavior, habitat and lifestyle of the fish. Guests are also offered an opportunity to feed some of the fish underwater, view the cat sharks, hold sea cucumbers and have the ‘cleaner wrasse’ experience, where they stay as still as possible and the small fish swim up and ‘clean’ their outstretched arm.
Cage Dive with Sharks in Cape Town
One of the most popular attractions bringing visitors to Cape Town every year is their premium Shark Cage diving to get up close and personal with the famous Great White Sharks.
The exhilaration from looking a great white shark in the eye, while also appreciating the sheer beauty of these magnificent creatures is a one-of-a-kind bucket list experience. With the densest populations of great white sharks in the world, “Shark Alley,” located by Dyer Island in Gansbaai (about a 2 hour drive southeast from Cape Town) is arguably one of the best places in the world for cage shark diving. This adrenaline rush activity is open to all as it does not require any prior diving experience and with Great White Sharks being surface feeders, those who do not wish to dive are still be able to witness these spectacular animals from the boat. Advanced booking is required and there are a number of tour operators in Cape Town available to arrange a tour or helpful hotel concierge like the team at Ellerman House his on hand to arrange this experience prior to guests’ arrival. After a day submerged in shark invested waters, the ultimate hotel for adventure and thrill seekers is Ellerman House, a quintessential urban retreat for discerning luxury travelers wanting to experience the very best of South Africa. Located in Bantry Bay, the hotel offers spectacular Atlantic Ocean views against the dramatic backdrop of Lion’s Head. Clifton’s beaches are within walking distance, while the best local attractions are a 10-minute drive away. Featuring one of South Africa’s most impressive private art collections, an award-winning wine list, and gourmet modern cuisine, Ellerman House is an entire destination in itself epitomizing the best Cape Town has to offer.
More Global Diving and Snorkeling Experiences with Niarra Travel
Niarra Travel, a start-up premium travel company offers a number diving adventure itineraries and experiences for water explorers to immerse themselves into underwater wonderlands. Offering travel to regions around the globe, their diving and snorkeling opportunities allow travelers to find themselves surrounded by an explosion of color and life on the richest coral reefs on earth, swimming alongside nature’s giants and exploring fascinating submarine ecosystems. Whether it be for a novice looking for a beautiful spot to gain a PADI certification or a seasoned diver seeking a new challenge, Niarra Travel specializes in creating tailored trips to suit all skill levels. Two unique diving experiences include Misool Island, an island resort in the remote south of the Raja Ampat archipelago protecting one of the richest coral reef ecosystems on earth, with a diversity and quantity of life like nowhere else; and a yacht cruise in Komodo sailing Lesser Sunda Islands to discover its bustling coral gardens and iridescent coral reefs. Other sample diving and snorkeling experiences include Northern Australia, Costa Rica, and can range from a dream week dedicated to to diving on remote atolls aboard a private yacht charter or just a relaxed few days underwater at a tropical island to add to a trip. Each of their property and water excursion partners are at the forefront of marine conservation and a trip with Niarra helps support their work in safeguarding some of the earth’s most vital and vulnerable environments. Niarra Travel is a next generation tour operator that operates according to its two guiding principles of transparency and purpose to ensure that each trip has a positive impact on the ground.
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