20 UNFORGETTABLE UNDERWATER ATTRACTIONS
Even though we might get the chance to visit every single country in the world, we still cannot consider ourselves having seen the world entirely. The reason, clearly, is the water that takes up more than two thirds of the surface. From the vast and deep oceans to small inner seas and lakes, underwater is a whole other level of mystery that we can’t easily unravel. Thanks to today’s technology and the developments in tourism, it has become much easier. So, you don’t have to drink a potion that will temporarily turn you into a mermaid to explore the historic sites or the wildlife underwater. Here are 20 suggestions for you to get in touch with what lies beneath. This article will wash away the fear of water that Jaws created all those years ago!
1- ATLANTIS, DUBAI
Dubai is always one of the pioneers when it comes to luxury and entertainment and it has an outstanding record when it comes to underwater tourism. Hotel Atlantis is a five-star hotel in the Palm Island of Dubai. Their underwater attractions include The Lost Chamber Aquarium where you can observe 65000 marine species and a fine dining restaurant immersed in the sea. The most unimaginable highlights, though, are the underwater suites. Imagine yourself falling asleep and waking up with only glass panels between you and the sea full of sharks. This is both scary and dazzling.
2- ITHAA UNDERSEA RESTAURANT, THE MALDIVES
With its turquoise and crystal clear water, Maldives has always been an all-time classic among travelers. How about looking at this beauty from a different perspective? Ithaa Undersea Restaurant of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Hotel is the first restaurant to have all-glass walls and a glass ceiling. So, you can have a 180o view of the Indian Ocean while enjoying the famous Maldivian Lobster.
3- MUSEO SUBACUÁTICO DE ARTE (MUSA), CANCÚN, MEXICO
There are numerous parks and museums in the world with sculptures, but have you ever seen one underwater? The underwater contemporary art museum of MUSA was established in 2009 off the coast of Cancun and Isla Mujeres. An English Sculptor was hired to make life-sized sculptures. Today, the museum consists of 500 of these and demonstrates the harmony between the art and the marine life. The sculptures are all fixed to the waterbed and are made of materials that are harmless to the ecosystem.
4- MANTA RESORT, ZANZIBAR, TANZANIA
Zanzibar and vacation are two inseparable words, but if you are tired of lying on a hammock by the beach, how about trying a unique experience. Pemba Island of Zanzibar is home to Manta Resort that has a very special room submerged under the sea. This bizarre creation has three levels, each showing a different level of the marine life. All the furniture and products provided are eco-friendly and specialized for the customers. This is an experience you can never forget.
5- UNDERWATER MUSEUM AT CAPE TARKHANKUT, UKRAINE
The second museum in our list lies beneath the Black Sea off the Crimea Shore. Established after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, this museum consists of the busts of communist leaders and heads of socialism such as Lenin, Stalin and Marks. Besides the 50 busts, the museum recently added miniatures of famous structures such as Eiffel Tower and Tower Bridge to its collection.
6- THE NEPTUNE MEMORIAL REEF, FLORIDA, USA
The idea of visiting a cemetery can be terrifying on its own, but an underwater cemetery takes it to a whole new level. This man made reef is 5 km off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida. Basically, it’s a cremation memorial site where cremated remains of people (upon their own will before dying) are placed and displayed. Since its opening in 2007, the reef has accommodated the cremated remains of 850 people and has still been expanding.
7- WEEKI WACHEE SPRINGS, FLORIDA, USA
If you don’t believe in mermaids, you are going to start questioning your beliefs after visiting here. Weeki Wachee is a large waterpark in Florida. What makes it stand out from an ordinary aqua park is the underwater theatre where female dancers wear fishtails and perform a choreography pretending to be mermaids. The place has been used as a filming location in many movies, TV shows and music videos. The park is located in Buccaneer Bay.
8- SUBSIX BAR, MALDIVES
Not everyone likes clubbing, but the idea of sweating on a dancefloor while surrounded by the gigantic Indian Ocean is intriguing enough to make you a hardcore clubber. Subsix Bar was built 6 meters below the surface near the private islands of Niyama that can be accessed via 40 minute long seaplane journey. The place is renowned for its weekly events where DJs from overseas play and offer an entertaining show that lasts until dawn.
9- CHRIST OF THE ABYSS, ITALY
Statues of Christ are always magnificent no matter what your religious beliefs are, but an underwater version will inevitably raise the bar. This bronze statue was created by Italian Sculptor Guido Galetti and submerged into the Mediterranean Sea near the coast of Portofino. The idea belonged to an Italian scuba-diving instructor called Duilio Marcante, who dedicated it to his friend Dario Gonzetti– also a scuba diving instructor – who died near that spot.
10- RUMMU UNDERWATER PRISON, ESTONIA
Water gives an astounding appearance to everything it surrounds and a prison is no exception. Rummu Quarry was built in 1930s for convicts who had community service duties. The area was also abundant in a special kind of marble. During one of the exhibitions in the 90s, the place was flooded with groundwater that partially submerged the lower half of the prison. Today, the prison is obviously not operational. It is still possible to dive in the lake and explore the area; but you must follow the instructions of professional divers because of the sharp objects like barbed wire in the water.
11- MOLINERE UNDERWATER SCULPTURE PARK, GRENADA
This contemporary underwater museum was among the first underwater sculpture parks. It was built by British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor who used ecofriendly material to build human sculptures depicting the local lifestyle. There are currently 65 sculptures from Taylor as well as new additions from local artists. The sculpture park is accessible to scuba divers, snorkelers. The water is shallow, so it is even visible to those traveling in glass bottom boats.
12- USAT LIBERTY SHIPWRECK, BALI
Shipwrecks are all-time classic underwater destinations among tourists. One of the biggest shipwrecks belongs to a United States Army cargo ship called USAT LIBERTY. It was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine during World War 2 and ran ashore in Bali. However, a volcanic eruption in 1963 triggered a water displacement and submerged the shipwreck completely. Today, the area is extremely popular amongst divers visiting Bali. Its closeness to the surface of the water makes it very accessible.
13- UNDERWATER POST OFFICE, VANUATU
Vanuatu is an island that not so many people can locate on the map, but it has the reputation to own the one and only underwater post office of the world. Opened for business in 2003, this post office provides waterproof postcards for tourists from the rich marine-life. Being only three meters underwater, this place is accessible to scuba divers and snorkelers of all ages.
14- UNDERWATER WEDDING, BALI
Through thick and thin, above ground and underwater; Bali is the ultimate destination for romantic getaways, weddings and honeymoon. We all heard about marriage proposals or even wedding ceremonies in a plane, but underwater wedding is a fairly new concept which Bali breathes life into. The wedding packages usually consist of romantic boat tours followed by scuba diving and finally marriage vows with the eye witness of the marine life. The best part is, those who are not certified divers can take introduction lessons without extra charge.
15- SHARK REEF AQUARIUM AT MANDALAY BAY, NEVADA, USA
Shark Reef Aquarium in Las Vegas is one of the largest public aquariums in the world. The place has been opened to public in 2000 after an investment of 40 million USD. The highlights of the park include a Komodo Dragon, a Burmese Python, a Bowmouth Guitarfish and a great hammerhead shark. The entrance is only 15 USD for adults and discounted for children.
16- JULES’ UNDERSEA LODGE, FLORIDA,USA
Imagine a hotel that you can only enter by swimming 9 meters into the ocean with a scuba gear. The one and only underwater hotel in the USA, Jules’ Undersea Lodge, was formerly a marine research lab until 1970s. Having to dive to enter the hotel might sound like it is El Royale becoming real, but you will take necessary diving courses and will be accompanied by trained scuba divers along the way. Once inside, you may enjoy the facilities from the common rooms and kitchens to 2+1 hotel rooms.
17- POSEIDON UNDERSEA RESORT
This five-star hotel will bring a new definition to the word “Poseidon”. It was opened to public in 2008 near a private island in Fiji. Once you arrive at the airport, you are picked up by their private plane and transferred to the resort. The amenities inside the resort include underwater hotel rooms, beach bungalows, underwater restaurants, a wedding chapel and a public library even. Staying here costs around 15000 USD per night, but the hotel staff seems to make sure you get every penny’s worth.
18- SUBMERGED CITY OF SHI CHENG, CHINA
Beneath the artificial lake in Chun’an County of China lies one of the most intact ancient cities in the world. This ancient city is 1300 years old, however its submersion only occurred in 1959 when the government wanted to build a hydroelectric power station. Since the flooding was recent, there hasn’t been any erosion on the city buildings, so it might be worth a visit while the ancient city is still in good shape.
19- CLEOPATRA’S SUNKEN PALACE, EGYPT
There were many earthquakes and tsunamis in the history that wiped out towns and palaces off today’s map. Most of them remain intact and underwater, waiting for divers to explore. Cleopatra’s Palace in Alexandria is one of the most attracting underwater ancient structures. It was buried underwater due to an earthquake that happened 1500 years ago. Many artifacts have been removed and placed into the museums, but the main structure is still there including temple, main quarters and even an ancient museum.
20- GRÜNER LAKE, AUSTRIA
Have you ever wondered how having a picnic underwater would look like? The Grüner Lake, or Green Lake in Austria is one of the most scenic and regularly visited spots in Central Europe amongst hikers. In fact, Grüner Lake is only 1-2 meters deep in winter, but its seasonal expansion is a natural phenomenon. Because it is surrounded by snow-covered mountains, it grows drastically as the snow melts into the lake during spring time. As a result, the park surrounding the lake gets completely submerged in the water for a whole month at the end of the spring. Throughout May and June, you can dive in and explore the paths, bridges, trees and benches underwater.