Everyone has their own ideal holiday - whether it’s skiing, hiking, exploring cultural landmarks or lounging on a beach, no two holidays will be the same. However, for something a little more exciting, how about stepping out of your comfort zone and taking to the water to experience a different aspect of your chosen holiday destination?
Whether it’s testing out the local water sports, diving under the waves to meet the local marine life, going on boat trips, or enjoying a long swim in the ocean, there are plenty of water-based activities to keep you busy when you need a break from sunbathing.
Here are a few ideas for you to try out on your next RCI Exchange Holiday in the beautiful destinations of Mexico, Florida and the Caribbean.
Swim and win with RCI
To encourage our members to take the plunge and book their next RCI Holiday Exchange or Extra Holiday, we are running an exciting prize draw where, if you are an RCI member, you could win one of three great prizes. So if you are an RCI member, and want to be in it to win it, read on to find out exactly what you need to do before the end of October to be in with a chance of winning.
Mexico for scuba diving
Mexico is a fantastic holiday destination - it enjoys glorious weather, has a stunning coastline and an interesting Mayan history to explore. It is also one of the best places in the world to experience scuba diving, thanks to its crystal-clear waters and thriving marine life. If you are holidaying in Mexico and are a decent swimmer, giving scuba diving a go here is a must.
Many of the resorts signed up to the RCI Holiday Exchange programme, come with dive schools, where you can have lessons while on holiday, and then be taken out to some of the best diving spots by the experts. There are so many locations to dive in Mexico, it doesn't matter which coastal resort you're staying at, there will be a great place to dive under the waves nearby. Here are a couple of the best diving spots in Mexico to inspire you on your next Mexican adventure.
Manchones Reef, Isla Mujeres
The Cancún Underwater Museum, is a perfect place for beginners and expert divers to explore, so a great all-round experience. It is a man-made site that was created in 2010 to preserve the reefs and encourage new coral growth to counteract the effects of climate change on the oceans and reef systems, off Mexico’s coast.
The underwater museum consists of over 500 spectacular life-sized structures placed on the seabed, a little like an underwater art gallery, so if you're an art lover, you can kill two birds with one stone by visiting this place. It is set to get even better, as more structures are to be added in the coming years in an effort to keep the coral growing, so there will be plenty of new art and marine life to see in the future. This is a really unique dive, so if you're looking for something a bit different, this is the one for you.
There are so many incredible dive sites dotted along Mexico’s coastline, but if you’re looking for something a little special, cenote diving is a really great way of experiencing scuba diving in a different light. Though it is worth noting that divers will need their Open Water Certificate for these dives, so it is probably best to avoid if you’re a complete beginner - or one who is a little claustrophobic...
With an estimated 6,000 cenotes - or ancient sinkholes - that exist throughout Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, you won't run out of choices when it comes to fantastic diving sites. Depending on the location of the cenote, it could be teeming with marine life, you’ll often find huge stalactites and stalagmites, and interesting rock formations, as well as a beautiful light show. Often, these are surrounded by jungle, so when you're finished with the dive, there is still plenty to see on dry land.
Boating in Florida
There is so much to do in the Sunshine State that many forget this beautiful destination is much more than rollercoasters and Disney characters. In fact, there is so much to keep you entertained away from the theme parks, you might not be able to actually narrow it down. So, rather than explore this diverse State on foot, climb aboard a vessel for a different view altogether.
Speed over the Everglades
The Everglades National Park spans 1.5 million acres of southern Florida and is one of the biggest national parks in the US. Home to a unique eco-system not found anywhere else on the planet, it is a haven for wildlife spotting and those who want to experience a different way of exploring the park.
For those who want to turn things up a notch, an airboat ride is an absolute must here. Speed over the waters for an exhilarating jaunt with an experienced tour guide. There are many different tours to choose from, with tours lasting from a couple of hours to full days, with wildlife spotting thrown into the trip too, meaning you can get a closer - and safer - look at some of the resident gators…
If you’re a keen twitcher, make sure you take your binoculars as there are over 350 different species of bird in the Everglades, such as the great blue heron, snowy egret, and the osprey. Typically, the drier winter season is the best for spotting wading birds feeding in the shallows and on mud flats, as the tides are lower during this time of the year. Don’t forget to look out for the alligators and crocodiles basking in the sun - just don’t get too close!
Take a dip in the Caribbean
Is there ever a more luxurious, paradise spot than that of a Caribbean beach? Swaying palms, turquoise skies and fruity cocktails… The crystal-clear warm waters of the Caribbean are so inviting for a dip, you might not want to venture back onto dry land. You could pick any beach in this beautiful corner of the world and enjoy a swim and sunbathe, but here are a couple of recommendations to get you started.
Dominican Republic - Playa Rincón
This one often appears in various 'top 10 beaches of the world' lists, so it just had to be included here. Playa Rincón is a very popular beach with holidaymakers, but that shouldn’t put you off visiting. The three-mile-long stretch boasts calm waters, which make it perfect for long swims where you can take in the beautiful views of a palm tree-lined shore, or you could even pop a snorkel on and see what delights await you under the waves.
The beach is serviced by a few small fisherman's huts serving the freshest catches of the day, so it's not overrun by beach bars and restaurants, which just adds to its charm. As an added bonus, the far western end of the beach has a small freshwater stream which makes for a nice dip at the end of the day too.
Jamaica - Seven Mile Beach, Negril
The Seven Mile Beach in Negril is a beach for everyone. The calm waters are perfect for those who want to have a relaxing swim, or take the children out for a paddle, so it’s great for families looking for a beach day - though a word of warning, swimsuits are optional in some areas of this beach!
Though it's not all about swimming and sunbathing here, there are plenty of water sports on offer to get your adrenalin pumping if you've had enough of relaxing. Have a go on a jet ski and enjoy the beautiful views from a different perspective - hopefully while you're upright on the skis, rather than as you're tumbling back into the frothing water! There is also the option for glass-bottom boat tours, snorkelling, and parasailing here, too, for those who are inclined.
Be in the swim to win!
If you’re a member of RCI, booking an RCI Exchange Holiday or Extra Holiday could see you win one of three great prizes in our Prize Draw. If you book either type of holiday by 31 October, you could be in with a chance of winning £500 cash, a free Exchange Holiday plus your maintenance fees paid for a year, or a free RCI Extra Holiday. You will get one entry for a booking in Europe, and two entries into our Prize Draw for booking into a long-haul destination outside Europe. What are you waiting for? Click the RCI Resort Directory below and choose your next holiday to be sure your name goes into the draw.
If you are not yet a member of RCI, you could become part of our holiday exchange community today. Click on the Join RCI button below and sign up in just a few simple steps.