Your face will hurt from smiling so much.
Tobago Cays, nearly at the bottom of the Grenadines island chain, is a small archipelago with a sea turtle sanctuary. A horseshoe reef partially surrounds the islands making for picture perfect calm, clear turquoise water. The only thing keep you from swimming with the sea turtles is jumping off the boat.
Grand Cayman Island has a sandbar called ‘Stingray City’ where, as the name implies, there are a lot of stingrays. Many tour companies will take you out so you will be surrounded by other tourists but it doesn’t damper the experience. I recommend putting on your mask and snorkel and swimming along with them. Just wait until one rubs up against your leg. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced.
Manuel Antonio beach in Costa Rica is a dream for spotting sloths and monkeys. Seeing the sloths slooooowly move among the tree branches is incredible! Especially if you spot a momma sloth with her baby holding on.
Philip Island, just about two hours from Melbourne, is an amazing place to see fairy penguins. You grab a seat on the viewing platform and wait for them to emerge from the sea, just before sunset. Watching them waddle up the beach and squawk as they try to find their burrows in the dunes is so charming it’ll make your heart melt.
On Vieques, one of the two islands off the coast of Puerto Rico, there’s a small bay with an overwhelming concentration of bioluminescent dinoflagellates, the incredible critters that glow like stars when agitated. It’s amazing watching fish dart through the water, leaving a brightly glowing wake. Unfortunately you are no longer allowed to go swimming (probably for the best for the dinoflagellate’s survival), but Island Adventure Tours can still take you out on a pontoon boat to witness it in real life. It’s a must see. It’s impossible to get a good picture. Just go, and be there in the moment.
*Had to use stock photos for the fairy penguins. They ask that you don’t use flash photography to keep from troubling the penguins. With the lighting I couldn’t get a good shot without a flash.
Any questions? Leave a comment. I’m happy to answer!