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.
St. John, US Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands National Park covers two-thirds of this island and includes some of the most unspoiled snorkeling spots in the Caribbean. Float around Saltpond Bay on St. John's far south tip and watch for sea turtles feeding on the seagrass, or follow the underwater snorkel trail in Trunk Bay on the north shore (great for beginners). To reach Reef Bay, you'll need a boat or hiking shoes, but the park service offers guided boat trips and hiking there takes you past pre-Columbian rock carvings. In this broad, shallow bay see stingray, Queen conchs the size of six-packs, sea fans, butterflyfish, angelfish, blue tang, fairy basslets, sergeant majors and even the occasional baby shark. Stay at Concordia Ecolodge, a short walk from Saltpond Bay and a quick drive to Reef Bay trails.
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