Did you ever think it was possible to touch two continents at the same time? With this unique excursion in Iceland, you can do just that. Silfra fissure is the only place in the world where you can swim between the two tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia. This snorkelling location was formed back in 1789 after an earthquake struck, cutting a rift into the ground which filled with melted glacial water. Snorkelers have to wrap up from head-to-toe before jumping in, as the icy cold water remains 2-4 degrees Celsius year round. But the experience is worth it to explore a completely unique underwater world that is still constantly changing, as the earth continues to shift.
The world’s first underwater Sculpture Park is a must-visit site for snorkel enthusiasts. Located in the Molinere Beauséjour Marine Protected Area, the series of 75 statues, which are all only 5-8m deep, reflect the culture and history of Grenada. Included in the gallery is ‘Vicissitudes’, a circle of life-sized children holding hands, and also ‘The Lost Correspondent’, depicting a man working at his desk, with the surrounding reef as his office. The underwater environment at Molinere Bay suffered after a Hurricane hit in 2004, but these concrete statues now provide a permanent base for coral to attach itself and grow, and has successful attracted a variety of marine life back into the waters.
At first glance, swimming amongst thousands of jellyfish seems like a reckless activity. But at Jellyfish Lake in Palau, it is a very safe and completely magical experience. These stingless jellyfish are endemic to Palau, and have adapted overtime to living in the saltwater lagoon. There are two main species here; the moon jellyfish and golden jellyfish. To locate the largest smacks (groups of jellyfish), snorkelers simply need to follow the sun around the lake, as the invertebrates like to gather in the warmth. Do note, visitors are asked not to wear fins, as the jellyfish are extremely delicate and can be damaged if kicked.
These tropical waters around Dominica are bursting with bright colours of sponges and crinoids, with a multitude of exotic underwater creatures to meet while you snorkel. Expect octopus, rays, parrotfish, seahorses and hawksbill turtles, just to name a few. What makes this reef a little more unusual and attractive than the rest is its geothermal activity. It gets its name from the large volcanic bubbles which rise from the ocean floor, and swimming through these bubbles is compared to having a champagne bath!
Located in Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley is a now a popular snorkelling spot for swimming with, you guessed it, sharks and rays. The congregation of marine animals in this protected area in Belize was first noticed by fishermen who came here to clear their catches. Completely harmless, the nurse sharks may look menacing but actually have no teeth, and the stingrays are small and gentle. However, this snorkelling experience probably isn’t for the fainthearted.
Immerse yourself in the world of the salmon by taking a trip to Vancouver Island in Canada, where snorkelers can watch the iconic Canadian fish swim upstream to their gravel spawning beds. There are particular areas to enter the river which will not disturb their habitat, and wetsuits are advised, as the fresh water can reach some chilling temperatures. Floatation aids are often provided, so you can simply drift with the water and admire the salmon from the river’s surface, with no kicking or splashing required. Although the salmon migration is a spectacle above the water, the experience of snorkelling alongside them is even more thrilling.
For a sacred snorkelling adventure, look no further than Mexico’s Riviera Maya and Yucatan Peninsula. Here, there are dozens of cenotes; large underwater sinkholes which ancient Mayan’s believed were entrance ways to the underworld. One of the most spectacular cenotes to visit is Dos Ojos, only a 15-minute drive from Tulum. It was recently discovered to be part of the longest cenote cave systems in the world, and has water which remains 24 degrees Celsius year-round; a refreshing way to escape Mexico’s sweltering heat. Join a guided snorkel tour and you can explore underwater tunnels, snorkel in cenotes with bats, and see stalagmites and stalactites.
Enchanting and mysterious, this Italian underwater archaeological park could be called the real-life Atlantis. Although mostly popular wither scuba divers, the ‘city’ is also great for snorkelling, with many sunken ruins resting only several metres below the ocean's surface, including ancient mosaics and marble statues from Roman villas. How did it get here? In the sixteenth century, volcanic activity caused some of the coastline to collapse into the Bay of Naples, taking much of the city of Baia with it. A fascinating snorkelling experience unlike anywhere else.
A hidden gem in the Brazilian jungle, Bonito is home to some of the best freshwater snorkelling in the Amazon wetlands. Take a boat ride up the Rio Sucuri, surrounded by gorgeous jungle greenery, then jump into the crystal-clear river and float your way back downstream accompanied by the Amazon’s underwater critters. The clarity of the water is thanks to the high limestone concentration, so it’s easy to admire the underwater world beneath you. Snorkelers are asked not to move too much in the water, but just go with the flow.
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