Top 5 marine reserves in the world

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Top 5 marine reserves in the world

Nothing like scuba diving or snorkelling to admire the splendour of sea beds. Come along to the heart of the most beautiful marine reserves!

Top 5 marine reserves in the world

Scandola reserve, Corsican paradise

The nature reserve of Scandola spreads both above and below water level. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1975, it is located in Southern Corsica, about 100 kilometres from Ajaccio. You will immediately be captivated with its small caves accessible exclusively by sea, ochre tinted stone shaped by salt and wind, and water so clear you will have one desire only: to dive right in. In this reserve, no less than 1,000 hectares of marine land are protected and will reveal a most extraordinary fauna and flora. While diving, enjoy nearly 450 species of algae and 125 species of invertebrates. Groupers, bass, morays, red mullets, tuna, swordfish will swim by your side... And if you're lucky, you may run into dolphins looking for attention.

www.reserves-naturelles.org/scandola

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Top 5 marine reserves in the world

In the heart of the Cousteau reserve

Off the coast of Malendure, on the western side of Basse-Terre in Guadeloupe, the Pigeon Islands are a diver's paradise with no less than 16 sites, including two wrecks located 10 minutes from the beach. Its protected seabed reveals many species, such as amazing sea sponges, brains corals, turtles and schools of multicoloured damselfish... You will marvel at the rich fish varieties. In the Coral garden, another surprise awaits you: 10 metres below water, you will find the bronze bust of the famous commander Cousteau watching over the seabed. You may choose to scuba dive, snorkel - with fins, mask and snorkel – or cruise on a glass bottom boat. But even more unusual, go for an underwater walk five or six metres deep with an adjustable helmet that allows you to breath and explore the seabed from the beach.

www.lesilesdeguadeloupe.com

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Top 5 marine reserves in the world

Cozumel Island, Caribbean charm

Facing Playa Del Carmen, a hundred kilometres from Cancun, Cozumel Island is a perfect hideaway for a break from the madness of the city. Over the course of one day, discover the traditions of this Caribbean island, its natural wonders and its San Miguel village. A diving and snorkelling paradise, the island of Cozumel offers beautiful turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, making it a must for cruises off the Caribbean. Treat yourself to a snorkelling session at Stingray Beach where you can see, feed, pet and even swim with rays. Board a flat-bottomed boat to El Cielo and watch starfish. More experienced and adventurous explorers will be seduced by a thrilling and unforgettable dive down Devil's Gorge: a spiral cave plunging down 24 to 41 metres.

www.visitmexico.com/en/cozumel

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Top 5 marine reserves in the world

Fakarava, the ultimate aquarium

Since 2006, Fakarava and a handful of atolls around French Polynesia belong to the world heritage of natural biosphere reserves, listed by UNESCO. Fakarava is made up of motus, stretches of white and at times pink sand, spreading in the immensity of the Pacific, lined by a lagoon worthy of the most beautiful aquariums. Nature lovers bless the magnificence of Fakarava, both on land and under water. Few tourists come to the island, but a certain Henri Matisse visited in the 1930s! The island is home to endemic and rare birds, turtles, crustaceans and fish, as well as trees and plants which grow in a pollution-free environment. Divers of all levels can marvel at the stunning seabed, while the most experienced can venture into the Garuae Pass, which is more than a kilometre and a half wide, densely populated with colourful corals, ballista, sharks and majestic rays.

tahititourisme.com/en

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Top 5 marine reserves in the world

Dive into Madagascar's turquoise waters

A few hours' drive from the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo, will bring you clear waters and famous diving spots. Come and enjoy the wealth of underwater treasures. One of the most beautiful sites is undoubtedly that of the Nosy Be archipelago, with its schools of exotic fish, remarkable mammals and vast expanses of coral. Numerous islets make up this archipelago and offer as many extraordinary sites to explore, a perfect reason to improvise a small cruise. Between the Indian Ocean and the Mozambique Channel, the coast offers many surprises. Underwater, you will admire creatures you never knew existed and feel like being in a giant aquarium. Enjoy a moment of pure bliss. For people less fond of scuba diving, a trip with a simple mask and a snorkel is also possible. Do not forget your fins!

madagascar-tourisme.com/en