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.
Isla Espirtu Santos, Baja
The warm, clear waters of the Gulf of California teem with dolphins, whales, reef fish and other marine life. A day trip to this uninhabited island, a UN Biosphere Reserve, offers all that plus playful young sea lions at the Los Islotes rookery. They circle, dive beneath, and come nose-to-nose with snorkelers, inviting you to follow. Try to keep up as you dive down through endless schools of silvery fish that part like smoke before you or swim through natural openings the rock. Bonus: Whale sharks inhabit this area from May and June. Baja Expeditions offers day trips from 8 AM to 4 PM including lunch, refreshments, guide and equipment.
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