1. Turks and Caicos Islands
Officially, the Turks and Caicos Islands are presided over by Elizabeth II. Yet this bewitching pair of North Atlantic islands couldn’t be further removed from the image of a gray, rainy England. In 2007 over 265,000 visitors arrived to soak up the sun and explore the alluring world, situated just below the waves. Time and time again, divers and snorkelers vote the Turks and Caicos Islands as one of the top resorts. The water is clean, the facilities are outstanding, and the marine life is incandescent and dazzling. Between January and May, humpback whales are frequently found in these waters (an encounter you won’t forget). Flybys, squirrelfish, blue tang, French angelfish, eagle rays, and manta rays reside here all year round. It is highly recommended to rent a condominium and enjoy what the beaches have to offer here.
2. Tabyana Beach, Bay Islands, Honduras
Diving and snorkeling can be an expensive business, but in Honduras, it remains reasonably affordable. The Bay Islands are home to the second-largest coral reef on the planet, so no underwater experience here is liable to disappoint. Arguably, the Bay Islands’ ultimate dive beach is Tabyana. The powdery white sand here is lined with almond and coconut palms, and the water is almost turquoise. The reef channel at Tabyana Beach is remarkably close to the coastline (around 70 meters), and there’s a kid-friendly snorkel school for first-timers. Expect underwater encounters with purple anemone, sea turtles, eels and starfish. Go even deeper with snuba (a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving) and helmet diving.
3. Santa Catalina, California
Approximately one million tourists flock to Santa Catalina every year. A significant proportion of that number comes for the subaqua treats just off the island’s coastline. Santa Catalina’s coastline contains vast coral reefs, forests of kelp, shipwrecks, and exotic underwater creatures, such as colorful garibaldi and flying fish. Scuba diving and snorkeling are favorite pastimes (Lover’s Cove and Descanso Beach are highly favored for this), along with glass-bottom boat tours, kayaking, snuba, and a ‘semi-submersible’ vessel, which travels five feet below the water surface. Coastal eco tours teach visitors about the multifaceted marine life living close to the shore, and there are plenty of rental shops in which to stock up on gear.
4. Lord Howe Island, Australia
The tiny Lord Howe Island in New South Wales is a precious habitat, and recognized as such. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the crescent-shaped land mass is characterized by an untouched forest, and a rare assemblage of plants and animals, some of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. For snorkelers, the lagoon to the west of Lord Howe Island has perfectly peaceful waters in which to explore. Expect to rub shoulders (or should that be fins?) with the likes of doubleheader wrasse, yellow fin tuna and bluefish. Sites like Comets Hole and Erscots Hole are frequented by over 90 species of coral and 500 species of fish. The volcanically-created labyrinth of underwater caves and trenches add to the excitement. Even better, only a limited amount of visitors can be on Lord Howe Island at one time.
5. Bonaire, Caribbean
Choosing a single best beach on Bonaire isn’t easy; the entire island is encompassed by coral reef, and every inch of its coastline has been officially-declared a marine sanctuary. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that Bonaire is one of the most fashionable diving and snorkeling destinations anywhere. Indeed, the local license plates read ‘Diver’s Paradise’! Families lean toward Lac Bay Beach and Sorobon, as the waters here are calm and shallow. No Name Beach provides for the more serious diver; the likes of yellowtail snappers and parrotfish can be found here. 1,000 Steps Beach offers an isolated diving experience on a craggy coastline. And, relief of reliefs, there are only in fact 75 steps down to the beach!
Safe travels underwater… Until next time the hotelhomes.com team