Spotting wild animals in their natural habitats can be one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world. For a lot of people, the chance to see see a dangerous predator or an endangered beauty of the natural environment is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And while we may be biased towards the marine world, we think that special experience is especially true when it comes to marine reptiles.
Most marine reptiles lived among the dinosaurs, such as the Mosasaur, which has been extinct for about 66 million years. Today’s marine reptiles include the saltwater crocodile, the marine iguana, sea snakes, and sea turtles.
If you want to spot them yourself in their natural environments, book a vacation and rent a boat in any of the below locations, where they're most likely to be seen by tourists.
Carlisle Bay, Barbados
Carlisle Bay is a well known tourist spot for watching sea turtles. This is often done by taking a boat out to a clear area and snorkeling with the turtles — even better than spotting from the surface!
They can be easily frightened, so patience is key, but seeing these beauties in their marine environment is breathtaking. Many people have relayed their experiences and said that they loved swimming with the turtles and that it was an experience they will never forget.
But if snorkeling isn’t your style for your Barbados boat day, that’s okay. Glass-bottom motor boats also go out to look for fish, rays, and yes, you guessed it, sea turtles!
Carlisle Bay is a popular tourist destination, so tourist crowds can be a downside of nature tours here. Apart from that, though, it's a terrific destination to go wildlife watching, accompanied by a great view and weather.
Ideal Boat: Motor Boat
Reptiles To See: Sea Turtles
Everglade National Park, Florida
Everglade National Park, nestled in the southern part of Florida, is full of interesting flora and fauna. One of the many creatures you'll find here is the saltwater crocodile. These guys, also called the American crocodile, can be found around Florida’s coast, all the way to South America.
Once you spot a crocodile, it can be hard to look away. These creatures are fierce, and they definitely have the looks to prove it. Traveling on an airboat is a safe way to watch these animals — onboard one of those, you'll be able to better navigate the marshy waters where they prefer to reside. And needless to say, you don't want to get too close.
Trained professionals guide the boats, making sure that all the passengers on board are safe. They also can help point out animals you might have missed or give facts about the crocodiles in question.
Ideal Boats: Airboat
Reptiles To See: Saltwater (American) Crocodile
Luzon is home to one of the rarest sea snakes in the world: known as the Lake Taal snake, it is only found in Luzon in a singular lake! Around the coast of Luzon, you can see a variety of sea turtles.
Sea snakes are dangerous, as most are venomous — so if you're going to try to spot one, you should obviously be exceedingly careful and travel with a professional guide. The good news, at least, is that sea snakes are generally pretty reluctant to bite; they mostly just want to be left alone. So by all menas look, but obviously, don't touch.
In addition to your standard motor boats or yachts, the Philippines have a unique style of boat called Banca boats, which are traditional Filipino boats that have been motorized for modern day use. They are used a lot for tours, as they are accessible and the locals are very good at using them.
Ideal Boats: Motor Boats, Yachts, Banca Boats
Reptiles To See: Sea Turtles, Sea Snakes
Gili Islands, Indonesia
Banded sea snakes are a common site in the waters off of the Gili Islands in Indonesia. Along with sea turtles, the Gili Islands are a habitat to many more different aquatic creatures, making it a great destination for wildlife spotting of all kinds!
Tourists are known for snorkeling in the crystal clear water and getting up close to the wildlife. Yachts, motor boats, and sailboats are all common vehicles used to float on the water and interact with nature.
Ideal Boats: Yachts, Motor Boats, Sailboats
Reptiles To Watch: Sea Turtles, Sea Snakes
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands are famous for their wildlife already. Unique species, like the many types of finches or the impressive eGalapagos giant tortoise are particularly well known.
Less well known is the marine iguana. Marine iguanas are only found on the Galapagos Islands, and are unique in the fact that they are the only lizard able to live at sea! The best way to see them is to take out a motor boat or a sailboat to circle around the grouped basking rocks to see the iguanas taking an afternoon nap.
Also in the Galapagos Islands, you can find the green sea turtle and several different species of sea snakes. These islands have no shortage of wonderful animals to observe in a boat and through some goggles.
Ideal Boats: Sailboat, Motor Boat
Reptiles To Watch: Marine Iguana, Sea Turtle, Sea Snake
These animals are beautiful, worth seeking out, and are well deserving of our respect and our continued support. So if you've ever had any interest in a wildlife tour by boat, let this serve as a bit of inspiration — you also never know what you could see if you give yourself the chance. It may seem like a long shot, but you will never see a turtle or a sea snake under the water if you never get on that boat.