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.
More than 3,000 reefs grow among the 20 atolls of the Maldives and, along with monsoon tides of the Indian Ocean, create one of the world's richest underwater habitats. Few places have whiter sand or bluer water, and the sea remains warm and clear all year, the better to observe more than a thousand species of colorful fish – snapper, pufferfish, wrasse, trevally, clownfish, banner fish – as well as micro-marine fauna, manta and eagle rays, and sharks. Some of the best sites are near Kuredu Resort, which offers a variety of snorkel trips. This island nation rises only six feet above sea level at its highest point, and the whole thing could be underwater by 2100, thanks to rising sea levels due to climate change. Better go now.
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