The ocean’s most impressive creatures spend most of the time at depths, that are often only accessible to scuba divers. However, in the case of the Galapagos, there is iconic marine life that feasts on nutrient-rich reefs found all throughout the archipelago. Take for example, the Galapagos green turtles, which nest on the beaches and are a frequent sight at most snorkeling sites (December to March is a great time to see pregnant females very close to shore). Blacktip reef sharks also love the shallow coastal waters. While they might appear threatening at first, these small and sometimes inquisitive sharks are very safe to swim with and make for some beautiful moments in the water.
Your love affair with Moorea begins on a clear day in Tahiti as you look out towards the horizon. Lush giant peaks rise out of the blue waters high into the sky, leaving you wondering if you’ve just discovered paradise. As you near the island on the short ferry across from Tahiti, dolphins lead the way into the harbor like a welcoming party. Moorea is known as ‘the magical island’ and for good reasons, with time ticking away so peacefully as you’re living out your Polynesian dream. Moorea’s twin bays carve out the island’s signature heart shape, and its lush deep valleys spill into a massive lagoon that feels like a giant heated pool. Your precious time in Moorea can be spent recharging your batteries in an overwater bungalow or in a simple beach hut. But with panoramic hikes in its valleys and peaks, diving with sharks, feeding stingrays and so much more above and beneath the gentle waves – Moorea certainly rewards those who manage to roll off the beach for a few hours!
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There are two parking lots and they tend to fill up fast on weekends, so you might have to settle for on-street parking near here. The Ocean Beach Bike Path runs inland along the river from here for bikers and runners. The extreme north end of this beach is called Dog Beach and it’s overrun with happy pooches. To get here, take the Ocean Beach Freeway (I-8) west to the end then follow Sunset Cliffs Boulevard to West Point Loma Blvd which ends at the beach.

A major part of marine conservation has to do with restricting the number of snorkelers. Established cruise operators enjoy near-exclusive access to many of the most iconic sites. For example, not every cruise itinerary stops for a snorkel at Kicker Rock off San Cristobal Island. Nor do certain cruises stop for snorkeling with penguins and octopuses over at Bartolome island. It’s only on a multi-day cruise that you experience the complete enchantment of the Galapagos marine world. And with an excellent guide to visitor ratio, it might even feel like you have your own private Galapagos snorkeling guide.
One of the highlights of this beach is Sunset Cliffs further down the road. These rocks provide a phenomenal view of the coast and a panoramic shot of the Pacific. I can see this as a popular place for people to get married against the backdrop of a setting sun. The best part of walking along these cliffs is the feel of the ocean spray on your face and the sound of the crashing waves as well as the seagulls flying overhead. There is no shortage of local activities as this beach seems to be crowded all day until sunset. This is definitely a place worth visiting if you're from out of town and want to spend the afternoon getting your tan on.
It’s all about doubling your pleasure when you go to this private Brazilian spot, and no, we aren’t talking about a threesome post-Carnival. This private island is actually two islands connected by a bridge. Two houses, two decks, two times the fun. The property is on Ilha Grande, a 15-minute crossing by boat from Portogalo and two hours from Rio. The main house rocks four bedrooms, the smaller house two, and there are five canoes on site for all of your paddling needs.

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