Ready to dive into something breathtaking? We've got just the trip for you! Since 2017, we've been the proud partner of I AM WATER Ocean Travel as well as its exclusive U.S. tour operator. This awesome company, started by record-breaking free diver Hanli Prinsloo and former pro swimmer Peter Marshall, focuses on one-of-a-kind marine life experiences around the globe, including these four dreamy destinations.
Each ocean adventure is dripping in wellness, from yoga and breath meditation sessions to fresh, healthy meals—all of which nourishes the mind, body and soul. Rediscover your mind-body connection as well as your natural ties to the ocean with Hanli at any of these beautiful locations.
1. BAJA, MEXICO
Swim with these fishes: Endangered whale sharks call these waters home along with massive schools, or tornadoes, of jackfish. This isn't the only place you can find them, but it is one of the richest sources on the planet. Bonus: We're big fans of the local eco-tour operators who support this area.
Why we love it: Explore one of the most fruitful examples of ocean conservation in Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, a 20-year-strong safe haven set on a 20,000-year-old coral reef where numerous diverse marine species dwell. This visit combines beautifully with Isla Espíritu Santo (Holy Ghost Island), a magical place in the Sea of Cortez that EJ safari specialist Lara Ray and her family called a “mini Galapagos-style adventure” (check out her trip report). Picture towering cliffs, sandy bays, lava rock formations and rock art left by the Guaycura and Pericú Indians. It's the perfect island getaway.
2. CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Swim with these fishes: Less remote than other freediving spots in the world, diving in Cape Town gives you access to the city's playful and wild seals and penguins without completely ditching the comforts of urban living. Watch how otherworldly kelp forests in a local bay draped and danced around EJ co-founder Elizabeth Gordon and Hanli in this inspiring video.
Why we love it: South Africa is ideal for both a beach vacation and a safari! Tack on a two-day or five-day freediving experience before or after getting your fill of game drives at some of our favorite reserves around Kruger National Park, such as Sabi Sand. Stay a few extra days in the city to explore the restaurants, museums, and other natural wonders of the Cape Peninsula.
3. NOSY BE, MADAGASCAR
Swim with these fishes: Whale sharks congregate annually in the quiet waters between Nosy Be and mainland Madagascar. Currently, Madagascar does not have official regulations in place to protect whale sharks, but the dedicated team behind the Madagascar Whale Shark Project (MSWP) is working to change that. Along with support from I Am Water and others, MSWP researches the behavior and ecological needs of, and key human threats to, these gentle giants. You can learn all about their work through their tourist and education initiatives.
Why we love it: Madagascar is often overlooked by safari-goers, making this biodiversity hotspot a hidden gem. Less polished than other tourist-heavy destinations, this lush island country is great for an adventurous spirit. Add on some time on the mainland and come face-to-face with an abundance of lemurs, baobabs, and enchanting terrains. Our specialist, Jenny Salentine, has plenty of recommendations after her last visit.
Admire the views between underwater excursions. ©Madagascar Tourism
4. SOUTHERN MOZAMBIQUE
Swim with these fishes: Sea turtles, manta rays, and whales can all be found here, but resident dolphins pods are the main attraction.
Why we love it: The warm, crystal-clear waters make this a super sweet spot to dip your toes into freediving, or test out deeper waters as you gain experience. Feel good knowing that traveling with EJ and Hanli contributes to the I AM WATER Foundation's ongoing freediving courses for local kids with the aim to foster an understanding of marine conservation while learning to snorkel.