Along with many of you (I’m looking at you, Boston) I have fully sprung Spring-Fever. The snow in the mountains is crappy so I’m ready to work on my freckles instead of my turns.
Staring out the windows at a cold drizzle after one or two sporadic days with temps above 65 starts a longing for warmer days. Plus my barre instructors keep reminding me that I will be in a bikini before I know it. Which doesn’t fill me with some sort of body-insecurity-panic or rush to do more plies like it’s my job. Nope. This simply makes me long to throw on some fins and spend the whole day floating above some reefs, staring at some fishes, bikini body or no.
Fish don’t care about my muffin top.
Is now a good time to remind you all that I live in a land-locked state in the middle of the US? So snorkeling has become a driving locale-decider for me in the past several years of vaycay. Or at least in my vacation fantasies. And with anticipation of hopping on an airplane for Belize tomorrow dominating my focus at the moment, I’d like to let my mind wander on to future possible adventures.
So here are the top 5 snorkeling locations I want to go to, ASAP (please):
1. Champagne Reef, Dominica
I always love the option of snorkeling straight from the shore, which is possible on Champagne Reef, located on the western side of the island of Dominica. The island is home to nine active volcanoes, creating a unique experience of snorkeling around freshwater sulfur springs within the Caribbean sea. It’s described as swimming in a glass of champagne.
I don’t know what a flying gurnard is exactly, but now I want to see one, along with the Caribbean reef squid who call this area home.
2. Anegada, British Virgin Island
Straddling the boundary between the Caribbean and the Atlantic sits this inviting 15 square mile stretch of coral and limestone. It cuddles next to Horseshoe Reef, the fourth largest coral reef in the world. The shallow waters surrounding this expansive reef makes it treacherous for boats and therefore extremely protected and easy for snorkelers to enjoy. Sea turtles can be found, along with mojarras, needlefish and mantis shrimp.
A handful of years ago, flamingos were reintroduced to this flat, white-sanded atoll, providing you yet another amazing creature to Instagram if you get tired of fish. (Though I can’t imagine EVER getting tired of fish. )
3. Restorf Island, Papua New Guinea
Shallow reefs off this small, uninhabited island 10 miles off of New Britain in northern Papua New Guinea are teeming with a menagerie of strange species. Spiny devilfish, shrimp gobies, filefish and trigger fish live within the sand flats and surrounding small reefs. Seriously, there are some odd looking fishies here.
Like the idea of maybe discovering a new species? It’s possible, due to the unusual ecosystem and still relatively unexplored depths.
4. Menjangan Island, Indonesia
About 120 square miles of protected National Park in the northwest corner of Bali includes this coral surrounded island. Sea turtles and a wide variety of tropical fish are easily accessible in the crystal clear waters. The only downside is you absoluteley must get a guide to take you to this day-trip-only protected location.
The only inhabitants of this small island are wild deer, known as… you guessed it… “manjangan” in Balinese. (It’s called Deer Island. Bam, you know speak a little bit of Balinese.) Bambi AND flipper, in the same spot!
5. Laughing Bird Caye, Belize
A plethora of wildlife can be found in the diverse ecosystem of the micro Laughing Bird Caye National Park (1.4 acres). Coral gardens, offshore caves, seagrass beds and mangrove roots shelter sting rays, sea turtles, and tropic fish galore.
This one is sort-of cheating as I will be floating above the Belize coral reef in less than a week. But I will be exploring the more well-known Hol Chan and Shark Alley locations, so I’m including this little gem on the list for my next Belize adventure.
I am sure I have missed a ton of big, obvious places, but the goal here was to find some less crowded and perhaps less familiar places to dream of floating around. It’s never too early to start planning the next trip, right? I think it’s well beyond time to grab my flippers and dive in!
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Need more pretty travel pics and ideas? Previous “I Want to Go To There” Posts: