World's Most Unique Snorkeling Sites
(Courtesy of Thinkstock/iStockphoto)
Churchill, Manitoba, Canada (courtesy of brian.gratwicke via Flickr. CC Attribution)
Once the ice breaks up in June, 3,000 Hudson Bay beluga whales head for the warmer waters of the Churchill River in Manitoba, their summer home. The whales' snow-white bodies glide through the saltwater like apparitions that seem inquisitive, even friendly. Slip over the side of a Sea North Tours Zodiac to greet them. Your arctic-rated wetsuit, hood, and cinched booties will keep you warm (enough) for a 30-minute or hour-long visit in early August. After the icy shock, your racing heart calms and you hear a pod in the distance whistling and chirping like canaries before eight or 10 whales appear, some within arm's reach. Sing to them through your snorkel, and they'll sing back.
Getting there: Take a direct flight to Winnipeg from Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Las Vegas, or Orlando, plus all major Canadian cities. There's no road to Churchill. You have to take the train (40 to 50 hours) or fly (two hours) from Winnipeg.
Mayan Riviera, Mexico: Cenotes (courtesy of Riviera Maya Destination Marketing Office)
The Yucatan Peninsula might be known for coral reefs, but its most unique views through a mask are in the cenotes (seh-NOH-tays) beneath the Mayan jungle. The freshwater-filled sinkholes are like upturned mouths, some 2,000 of them, scattered around