Whether you’re a huge fan of sea life, an avid explorer or someone who just enjoys unique experiences, mingling with the denizens of the deep is an experience that shouldn’t be passed up...

Sunlight on Water – Honokohau Harbor, Hawaii, US

hawaii dolphinsCreativecommons.org/Steve Jurvetson

On the Kona side of the Big Island, Sunlight has been conducting dolphin swims for more than 15 years. They not only emphasize the safety of their clientele, but also that of the marine life you’ll be swimming with. Experience dolphins in their natural habitat and see how these remarkable animals interact with each other and welcome visitors to their domain.

Swims are offered year round, start early in the morning and last for a full four hours. Non-swimming participants can join the excursion and remain on the boat for the trip.

Sam’s Tours - Malakal Harbour, Koror, Palau

palau turtlecreativecommons.org/Stephen Masters

Divers of all skill levels are welcome to be part of the tours of reefs and wrecks around the coast of Palau. Spend the day exploring the fascinating underwater world as fish, mantas and other sea creatures join in your dive. With a fast boat and access to multiple ecosystems, divers can choose to visit areas rich with sharks, turtles, exotic fish or amazing coral structures.

Excursions are offered daily, weather permitting, and last a full day. The dive boats are equipped for emergencies and staffed with highly qualified dive specialists. Non-diving visitors can select snorkeling adventures to experience the beauty of underwater Palau.

Swim With Whale Sharks – Puerto Juarez, Cancun, Mexico

whale sharkcreativecommons.org/Drew and Marissa

No more than two people at a time are taken into the water with a guide to interact with the whale sharks for 10 minutes at a time. Multiple swims are conducted for an average of 35 minutes of one-on-one time with these amazing animals. The tour finishes with a snorkeling adventure in a nearby coral reef. Children older than four are welcome and life vests are provided.

Tours are daily - weather permitting - leaving early in the morning and returning at midday. Fins, snorkels and a light meal are all provided.

Great White Shark Expeditions – Kleinbaai Harbour, Cape Town, South Africa

shark cape towncreativecommons.org/Tim Sheerman-Chase

The closest you can get to deadly predators and still survive, cage diving puts you in the middle of a shark pack with only thin metal bars between you and death.

Group sizes are limited to guarantee maximum exposure, and they’ll even take you out on a second trip if the sharks are absent the first time. No dive experience is necessary and air is supplied from the boat. Children seven and older are permitted to join the cage with parental consent.

Tours leave daily and last four to five hours. Tour guides chum the water to attract sharks and visitors on the boat usually get as much shark-viewing as those that choose to be in the cage.

Swim With the Turtles – Barbadosturtles barbadoscreativecommons.org/Derek Hatfield

Several groups offer tours that highlight an particular aspect of the island and include a stop to swim with turtles.

Select from exploring an underwater cave, sailing the scenic coastline, snorkeling around shipwrecks or swimming in a secluded bay. Choose a small catamaran for a more intimate experience or a larger one for a party feel to the adventure.

For non-sailors, the Hilton Beach is a Hawksbill Turtle Nesting Beach and the turtles can often be seen while swimming or snorkeling near shore.

Dolphin Swim & Snorkel – Anthony’s Key Resort, Roatan, Hondurashondurascreativecommons.org/Theodore Scott

The Roatan Institute of Marine Sciences is instrumental in teaching visitors about the gentle dolphins that inhabit the area. Swim and snorkel in the shallow lagoon where the dolphins congregate and you practically become part of the pod! Experienced divers can join dolphin dives and non-swimmers can wade into a very shallow area with a naturalist to greet the dolphins there. Children of all ages are welcome in the shallow areas but those under three must be held by an adult.

Ningaloo Reef Dive – Coral Bay, Western Australianingaloocreativecommons.org/Angelo DeSantis

Ningaloo Reef is filled with spectacular corals and diverse wildlife. Depending on the area you visit you can swim with mantas, reef sharks or other fascinating sea creatures. Snorkel or dive the reef or join a whale watching tour.

Swimming with whale sharks is available April through June, whale-watching tours are offered June through November, and reef diving is daily, weather permitting.

Diving With Sharks – San Diego, California, U.S.

Meet a great white up close at Isla Guadalupe off the California /Mexico coast. No diving experience is necessary to descend in a cage ato see these fascinating creatures in their natural environment. Adventures are several days long and everything necessary is provided for you. Tours are scheduled August through early November with the best chance of a shark sighting being earlier in the season.