Extreme Caribbean Snorkeling

Who says snorkeling has to be tame? These five extreme Caribbean snorkeling adventures are perfect for those who love to fin on the wild side.

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Swim with Stingrays, Grand Cayman
The most popular underwater attraction in Grand Cayman is Stingray City, where divers and snorkelers alike can swim with and feed stingrays that have wingspans up to six feet. (If you prefer to keep your feet dry, you can sightsee by submarine on a 48-passenger underwater vessel.) | Ty Sawyer
See Humpback Whales
Each winter, a seamount off the Dominican Republic hosts a vast gathering of Atlantic humpback whales. The cetaceans, some up to 50 feet long and weighing 50 tons, use the bank as their birthing, nursery and mating grounds. Getting there requires a long boat ride and living aboard for a week, but the reward is no less than the greatest animal encounter available anywhere: meeting the most demonstrative of the great whales in its own element. Humpback season runs from the end of January until April. | Shutterstock
Swim with Sharks,
Hammerheads, tigers and bulls, oh my! Jimmy Abernethy has been obsessed with sharks for a long time. After running his dive operation out of Palm Beach for years, he bought a live-aboard boat, ostensibly to reach pretty sites in the Bahamas. Instead, Abernethy loads his 65-foot Shearwater with barrels of chum and then anchors at places where he knows his guests will have an excellent chance for up-close encounters with what are traditionally thought to be some of the most dangerous sharks in the world. This is primarily a diver's trip, but plenty of action is visible from snorkel depths – for those who dare. | Shutterstock
Swim with Whale Sharks
**Bay Islands, Honduras: **Thanks to a seasonal abundance of plankton, the outer banks north of Utila are a magnet for whale sharks, which can grow to a gargantuan 50-plus feet in length. Your best chance to synchronize swim with Old Tom (the biggest Rhinocondon typus frequenting these waters) comes between February and April, when the annual rendezvous of these animals occurs. Isla Contoy, Mexico: The all-day snorkeling adventure from Delfin Diving focuses on sightings of the largest fish in the world, whale sharks, as well as close encounters with dolphins and giant manta rays. You'll be able to view the nationally protected bird sanctuary on this island (located 45 minutes by boat north of Isla Mujeres) during the ride back from swimming with the big boys. | Shutterstock