Underwater photographer and adventurer Tanya Burnett-Palmer shares her favorite places to sightsee beneath the waves.
Stingray City, situated on a shallow sand bank off Grand Cayman Island, may be the most popular snorkel site in the world. It’s spectacular fun to be mobbed by a gregarious flock of soaring Southern stingrays in water that's clear as air.
On-site secret: Every snorkel operator runs trips to Stingray City, but check the cruise ship schedules to avoid the crowds.
Keep an eye out for: the stingray’s unusual “vacuum cleaner” mouth. Stingrays are soft and slippery, but their mouths have the suction of a Shop-Vac, and in their excitement I have received the occasional stingray hickey. Don’t worry―it’s a harmless souvenir that goes away in a day or two.
When to go: spring and summer for the calmest conditions; stingraycitytrips.com.