It's hard not to pick Hanauma Bay for Oahu's best snorkel spot as it's filled with so much to see, including Reef triggerfish, known in Hawaiian as Humuhumunukunukuapua'a. This nature preserve, an ancient volcanic crater, used to be mobbed but now allows only a maximum of 3,000 visitors per day (and all must watch an informative introductory video at the Marine Education Center before hitting the sand and water). Note: The center is closed on Tuesdays, so adjust your itinerary accordingly.
This temperate Dutch island is beloved by divers for good reason. It lies outside the hurricane belt, and it was the first Caribbean island to designate its coasts and reefs a marine park sanctuary. Together, these protections have preserved the surrounding corals, resulting in reefs that remain the most colorful in the region. Moreover, of Bonaire’s 89 dive sites, 63 are reachable from shore. The sites on the northern half of the island are preferable for snorkelers, as there are fewer surges, and the reef plateau starts between 2 and 10 feet deep. Top snorkel sites include Andrea I, Witch’s Hut and 1,000 steps — so named for the staircase to the water. Fear not: It’s really just 78 steps, but the name keeps the crowds away.
Fins- We always recommend renting fins, especially when swimming long distances. I used to be a huge cheapskate when it came to renting fins but trust me, they do make a difference. Rent fins that are not too tight but also not too loose. When swimming with fins, be mindful that you don’t kick and knock over any corals. Check if your fins fit properly- ill fitting fins can make or break your snorkeling experience.
But Indonesia has more than just Bali. The nearby Gili Islands are another incredible island getaway. Both destinations make for a more active tropical vacation and the weather remains pretty constant all year round (though April to October sees slightly drier weather). Both Bali and the Gili Islands are close enough that you should be able to visit them both on your trip to really get the most out of this idyllic corner of the world.
I awoke at six when the babies in nearby tents did, and then again, at seven, when the heat became too much to bear. Exhausted and frazzled, I walked to breakfast. At the next table, a trio of kids excitedly debated where to start their day. It was nice to see how happy T.I. made them. But for me, sitting in the “open air” plaza beneath a completely sealed dome felt like waiting out a significant delay at the airport. Polishing off some bacon, I realized I actually wasn’t beholden to air traffic controllers or freak storms. I could spend the twenty-four hours I’d planned to, but I could also leave. With a spring in my step, I took the long way back to my tent, pausing for one last look at the sea. I felt happier than I had the entire stay. I could have gotten one of the most coveted beach chairs under a palm tree in the sand. Instead, I settled the bill I’d racked up on my faceless money watch and breezed through the turnstile.
It always amazes me how so many people think travel and living abroad is expensive. That’s simply not true. If you stay long-term and rent a villa (or try housesitting) you can live for a fraction of what you would pay to live in a European or American city. Additionally, when you’re working remotely in a tropical paradise you can make a clean break from debt-fueled consumerism and the corporate rat race.
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I could have played a round of mini golf in the fading light or booked a hot air balloon ride for the following day or even watched The Simpsons at the theater named after a form of Indonesian puppet theater. Instead I went to the fanciest restaurant, where TI’s signature excess is best exemplified by a corn poulard dish that comes with corn on the cob and popcorn. Over a pretty good salmon teriyaki, I watched a hairy man wearing only a speedo get turned down when he requested a table. (Shirts were required, shoes were not.) It had been a long day of doing mostly things I really like—laying around reading, swimming, eating—but I didn’t feel rested or rejuvenated. I felt restless.
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Eco Tour • Snorkel • Kayak • Paddleboard • Sunset Combo Option
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