The ocean beckons with myriad activities, whether you’re donned in snorkel masks or a skipper cap. From Florida’s Palm Beaches to the Riviera Maya in Mexico, sprawling seas serve as the stomping ground for a memorable vacation, best experienced with some of the destination’s most popular water sports and activities. We rounded up our favorite destinations where we like to get in the water with activities from mild to wild.

Either way, it’s time to get wet and appreciate the privilege of water all around us!

6 best destinations for water sports and activities around the world

  1. Cliff jumping in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Along the sublime coast of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, hundreds of ancient cenotes (natural wells and sinkholes) dazzle visitors with its limestone walls and divinely surreal lakes deep within the rainforest. It’s easy to find them but the hard part is choosing the right one to visit.

Playa Del Carmen Beach Palmaia Resort
Riviera Maya Beach Palmaia Resort

Thrillseekers head to Rio Secreto, a labyrinth of underwater caves best explored with tour groups equipped with headlamps. For a lazy day reminiscent of your childhood, visitors make a beeline to Ik Kil Cenote and Cenote Azul, which are perfect for cliff jumping. Jumping into a cenote is fun and safe for everyone, and you might even find a rope swing or two.

Top off the cliff jump with a relaxing wade in the Caribbean Sea back at your vacation home or hotel. If you want to book some awesome water adventures, or even book a tour at ancient sites while you’re there, check out options with the Viator link below.

  1. Cable skiing in Palm Beach, Florida

The easy, breezy tony town of Palm Beach attracts the affluent traveler with designer-name shopping, destination fine dining and a coastline boasting beautiful beaches. Just twenty minutes from town, travelers can experience the area’s most unique watersport: cable skiing.

Birthed in Germany, cable skiing is a thrilling way to water ski in which the skier’s rope and handle is attached to an electrically-driven cable rather than a boat, and Ski Rixen is the only place in the US that offers a massive course right on a quiet section of the ocean.

It’s an exciting day trip for the entire family, whether signing up for a class or having a private instructor send you zipping across the water.

  1. Surfing in Punta Mita, Mexico

Vacations are unforgettable in Punta Mita, Mexico, an exclusive resort community outside of Puerto Vallarta. Prepare for pure vacation mode as there is not much to do here outside the resorts (travelers simply zone out with a cocktail under the sun).

Adventurists, however, head one beach town over to Sayulita, one of the few remaining surfing beach towns in all of Mexico. Discovered in 1960 as a top surf destination (considering the year-round waves), Sayulita’s waters are so warm you don’t need a wetsuit, making it one of the best destinations for water sports.

The breaks are also some of the best along the coast and perfect for beginners who are guaranteed to ride their first wave. It’s easy to get set up for a surf class: a handful of surf schools are right on the beach, or your concierge can organize your first outing.

  1. Kayaking in Costa Rica

The eco-friendly country of Costa Rica offers a wealth of amenities and adventures, many in and around the beautiful waters. Considering the country has the best-developed conservation program in the world, visitors will see nature at its most authentic here than any other destination in Central America.

Thanks to the sublime sea, guests can take to the calm waters for traditional water activities like snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. The can’t-miss activity is kayaking at Manuel Antonio National Park thanks to its stunning white-sand beaches, evergreen forests, dense tropical jungles and, of course, crystal clear waters.

The bonus? The joy of witnessing sea turtles out at play.

  1. Sailing in British Virgin Islands

It is no surprise British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean is the fantasy islands for sailing. Steady trade winds meet the channel with tame currents and hundreds of protected bays to ensure sailing is effortlessly top-notch.

As a matter of fact, the destination is world-renowned for its spring Regatta & Sailing Festival. With more than 40 islands and hundreds of anchorages, visitors can charter a yacht to explore the destination’s highlights, lounge back with cocktails onboard and island hop for sun and sand.

Sailing is de rigueur here, and it’s what most visitors to BVI come to do.

  1. Diving in Turks & Caicos

The islands of Turks & Caicos are considered to have some of the best waters in all the Caribbean, mainly because they are fully protected by the government. It’s a true blessing, considering the destination also sports some of the best dive sites in the area, many that are still unexplored.

Divers (from beginners to advanced) can explore underwater wrecks and miles of reefs chockfull of colorful marine life all under the sea. The water clarity is unparalleled, and you’ll be hardpressed to find waters this clear in neighboring islands. If they’re lucky, divers may even spot whales in season from January to March.

More stories:

Why San Pedro De Atacama should be your next bucket list trip

6 most unusual underwater attractions on this planet (that you can visit)

6 crazy yet thrilling activities to do in Las Vegas

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