Underwater photographer and adventurer Tanya Burnett-Palmer shares her favorite places to sightsee beneath the waves.
The best place in the country to experience the gentle West Indian manatee is in the springs and protected estuary of this coastal hamlet. Guides will gladly help you with manatee etiquette; for instance, gentle contact is allowed, but only if initiated by the manatee.
On-site secret: Swim slowly and stay calm and you may enjoy a manatee encounter for 15 minutes or more. Keep an eye out for: a whiskery face nuzzle, a flipper hug, and a full-body rub. Though the manatee defines your interaction, they can be very sociable.
When to go: all year. In winter there are more manatees, but in summer there are fewer crowds; 800-291-3483 or