SCUBA diving isn't the only way to get up close and personal with marine life. You may not get to go as deep without a tank, but if you know where to dive, a snorkel, mask, and fins are all you need to see the underwater world of coral, fish, and even whales and sharks. The best part: snorkeling requires minimal effort, time, equipment, and no certification. Here are thirteen of the best places in the world to mingle with sea creatures — no training necessary.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands may be most famous for found-only-here land residents, but the National Park includes a Marine Reserve and many unique natives call the water home as well. Snorkel the warm, clear waters of the Pacific Ocean among Galapagos penguins, the only equatorial penguins found in the world, and with dolphins, sea lions and marine iguanas, the only ones on the planet known to swim. These animals, as well as scores of tropical fish, manta rays, eels, sea turtles, and reef sharks swim in shallow water just off the shore. Head to Bartolome Island, known for iconic Pinnacle Rock, or book an 11-day multi-island trip with OARS.
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