Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
Established way back in 1959 by the Bahamas National Trust, this collection of tiny cays surrounded by coral reefs bathed in electric-blue water is the oldest land-and-sea park on the planet. Determined to give the area the highest level of protection so that "only osprey" would fish here, the government upped the ante in 1986 by declaring the 176-square-mile sanctuary a no-take zone. The protection has been so successful (conch populations are 31 times higher than in the surrounding area; grouper and lobsters that breed here are repopulating the archipelago), it's become a model for other refuges worldwide. It's accessible only by boat; snorkelers and divers can base at Staniel Cay Yacht Club or Sampson Cay or take a live-aboard cruise.