Explore Islamorada

Just think of it as a goldfish bowl in reverse. Here, you sit inside the world’s only underwater hotel and look out as the fish swim by. Jules’ Undersea Lodge was originally a research laboratory, created so that scientists could study the continental shelf off the Puerto Rican coast. Ocean experts Ian Koblickand Neil Monney decided to develop the facility—which sits at the bottom of the Emerald Lagoon in Florida’s Key Largo Undersea Park—into a lodge. They named the venture after Jules Verne, author of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea—and managed to fit it out with hot showers, a DVD player, a microwave, and a fridge.

The lodge usually accommodates two couples, although six can stay here at a squeeze. The journey is not exactly straightforward. To reach the lodge, you must scuba dive down 21 feet (6 m), although you do not have to be a qualified diver to do this: In three hours, the Jules’ staff can teach you all you need to know. Couples can even get married here—the notary public dives down for the service.

The bedding, admittedly, is not all that romantic. The duvets and pillowcases all have an underwater theme; cuddly fishes are available for those who left their teddy bears at home. Still, this underwater escape has attracted its fair share of notable guests, including former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau, rock star Steve Tyler of Aerosmith, and Jon Fishman of the rather-too-aptly-named Phish.

The big attraction is the real fish, though. Wake up in the morning and you will see angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, and snappers peering in at you through the windows. Are you watching them? Or are they, perhaps, making their own observations on the behavior of the strange humans inside?