- Follow @contiki_us
Not a member yet? Sign up
3rd Mar 2014
About 70% of the world is covered by ocean and we’ve really only just scraped the surface when it comes to discovering what lies beneath. Foreign sounds, unfamiliar textures, creatures you can’t even imagine lie beneath the sparkling big blue and most of the time, we go on our daily lives forgetting it’s there. Exotic marine life, shipwrecks, treasures and some of the most beautiful sights you will ever see lay beneath the waterline. Discover it up close and personal with our top five underwater playgrounds.
5. Cool off at Koh Tao, Thailand
Image via villaseaviewgarden.com
White sandy beaches and sparkling blue waters are calling. Jump on a boat and head to one of the many snorkelling and diving areas around the island. Explore the colourful reefs or head to the HMTS Sattakut shipwreck for something a little different. If you have a change of heart and don’t feel like hitting the water, jump on a quad bike and explore the island, spoil yourself with some fresh seafood or just sit back and take in the beautiful scenery.
4. Hidden gems at Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Image via tectonicablog.com
Cenote Taj Mahal is a hidden world that can be found in the coastal line of Playa del Carmen. These underwater caverns offer an enchanting and popular dive and snorkelling spot and boast some of the greatest water clarity. The only way to explore these is with a guide, no matter how experienced you are. If you’re a little bit claustrophobic and would prefer to skip the caves, head to Manchones Reef and check out the 400 life-sized human sculptures, just off the coast of Cancun, designed to encourage coral growth. They’re an eerie yet captivating sight and suitable for all levels of snorkelers and divers. While you’re there, sink your teeth into some authentic Mexican food, visit the ancient Mayan sites and practice your Spanish with the locals.
3. Shipwrecks and sea life at Paihia, New Zealand
Image via petemesley.com
Discover the Rainbow Warrior shipwreck, located only 5-10 minutes off the coast of Paihia, often referred to as the Jewel of the North. Slowly taken over by coral and marine wildlife, the shipwreck lies peacefully at the bottom of the ocean as an accessible and incredibly scenic spot for diving. Schools of bigeye fish hide within the ship while others, including leatherjacks, roam the outskirts. Not only an exceptional diving spot, Paihia is a water baby’s paradise, the prefect place for catamaran sailing, swimming, jet skiing or chilling out on the beach. Explore the best of New Zealand’s North Island.
2. World class adventure at the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
As the largest reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef is hard to beat when it comes to diving. The reef contains over 600 different types of coral and 1600 species of fish and even gets an annual visit from one of the only albino whales in the world, Migaloo. Some of the world’s best diving spots are right at your door. So, what are you waiting for? Throw in some yacht cruising around the Whitsundays and a quick stop at Cape Tribulation!
1. Only the best at the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Image via thegalapagostravel.com/
Imagine a place where the marine life is abundant, sea lions are playful and you can happily swim with sharks and stingrays. Yes, it does exist. The Galapagos Islands, is the ultimate underwater playground. See the famous blue footed bobbie, play with penguins, get up close and personal with the giant sea turtle or brush paths with a shark. The waters of the Galapagos are undeniably one of the most exciting to dive. After snorkelling the underground lava tubes, finish the day relaxing on the beach while watching the sunset.
Have you entered Contiki’s Adventure Challenge? Click here to find out more - contiki.com/adventurechallenge.