Swim With Pigs in the Bahamas
These are not your standard barnyard pigs, and this, full disclosure, this is not an organized wildlife encounter program. On the island of Grand Exuma, in the Bahamas, feral pigs will go out of their way to surf and swim with you. Just head to the appropriately named Pig Beach and wait for some handsome piglets to come play.
Swim With Portuguese Water Dogs in Portugal
If you want to spend an afternoon swimming with these water-loving canines (they even have webbed feet!) book a stay at the Conrad Algarve. Romans originally taught the Portuguese water dog to fetch nets and to herd fish. To this day, they’re exceptional divers and navigators. Breeder Carla Peralta is on-hand to arrange intimate, two-hour experiences with the dogs—this includes a boat ride and swim session—in nearby Olhão. It’s just 25 minutes from the Conrad.
Swim With Sea Turtles in Maui
Hawksbill and green sea turtles can be spotted off the coast of Hawaii. In these comfortable and clear waters, you can easily spot them while snorkeling or scuba diving. Look out for their large shells against the rocks, or nibbling algae from a coral reef. If you’re snorkeling with turtles in Maui, consider a reservation at the Sheraton near Pu’u Keka’a, where you can spot sea turtles is at high tide.
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Swim With Sharks in Mexico
From August to October, the world’s largest fish migrate to the warm waters of Mexico. Visitors can swim, snorkel, or scuba with the gentle filter feeders. Off the coast of Isla Holbox you can spot many snorkelers enjoying unbelievable proximity to the whale sharks. Daredevils, instead, can hop inside an ocean-floor cage in South Australia to swim with (absolutely not gentle) great whites.
Swim With Jellyfish in Palau
Thousands of jellyfish will join you on a plunge in Palau’s saltwater Jellyfish Lake. These tiny, golden cnidarians, which were likely trapped in the series of saltwater lakes after the Ice Age, once numbered as many as eight million. Today, visitors are only permitted to snorkel across the lake (it’s extremely sulfuric at the bottom), and patient swimmers can follow the jellyfish as they trace the sun back and forth across the lake. Don’t fear these little jellies; their stingers are basically imperceptible to humans.
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Swim With Manatees in Florida
Crystal-clear river waters gave Florida’s Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge its name, and it’s the only place to swim with manatees in the United States. Some 350 1,200-pound (but very gentle) sea cows spend winter in the warm, shallow waters. Friendly West Indian manatees have been known to greet snorkelers, swimmers, and scuba divers with a gentle nuzzle.
See the full list on TravelandLeisure.com.