With Turks and Caicos boasting some of the world’s most dramatic diving spots, snorkeling may not hold quite the same appeal for adventure thrill seekers – unless you’ve forgotten these islands stretch across the third largest barrier reef on earth.

The white sand perfection of Providenciales’ Grace Bay beach may appear to lead solely to crystal clear turquoise water, but beneath the sea lives exotic marine fauna in abundance.

Seek out snorkeling spots like Coral Gardens (for beginners), Smith’s Reef (for intermediary snorkel­ers) or off the beaten path all the way over by West Caicos (for the adventurous). Just submerge yourself a few feet into the ocean and animated rainbow parrot fish swim out to greet you.

As if brimming with excitement to introduce you to their friends, they lead the way to a technicolor forest of shoals and coral reefs buzzing with marine city life. Juvenile snapper and grunts flash dazzling blue and yellow scales as they curiously inspect their new goggle-faced friends.

TurtleAntisocial Nassau grouper hide inside the rocky rooms of larger shoals that double as underwater apartments and nurseries for smaller fish. Gregarious Hawksbill turtles swim idly by in search of sea grass as sea fans blow to and fro with the tide. Each rise to the surface for air and re-entry back into the shallows unfolds more splendor and excitement from the sun soaked reefs and shoals. For free-diving enthusiasts in search of lobsters and harmless nurse sharks, the rich, no-fishing-zone waters of Providenciales’ 6,000 acre coastal and marine parks rarely, if ever disap­point.

(Photo Credits: Dominique Rolle/Caya Hico Media)