Top 6 Places to Swim with Dolphins
Fancy a swim with a dolphin? Well of course you do. Over the past three decades the activity has become a practical prerequisite for a successful beach holiday – most notably if you ever want to win “Parent of the Year”.
And so, with that, discover our top 6 spots to swim with everyone’s fave marine mammal.
Shark Bay, Western Australia
Chance wildlife encounters in UNESCO World Heritage Sites is oh so Australia. Take singular Shark Bay, for instance, where the resort enclave of Monkey Mia sees bottlenecks of bottlenoses on the beach. The dolphins-in-residence of Shark Bay come to hydroplane feed (as avid viewers of BBC’s Planet Earth well know) three times a day. Visitors can wade in and get close to the marine mammals (not swim per se) but rangers do encourage touchy-feely restraint.
Where to stay: Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort
Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, Western Australia
Still in wonderful WA, the Rockingham suburb of Perth is awash with pods of bottlenose dolphins in the waters of Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. Half-day tours provide more up close and personal thrills than dolphin lovers can fathom.
Where to stay: Medina Grand Perth
Bimini Island, Bahamas
The WildQuest Retreat in Porgy Bay, Bimini Island takes dolphin encounters to another stratosphere. Not only can you swim with the creatures at your leisure (in their natural habitat no less), the capable staff also offers yoga – yes, yoga – with the dolphins. Presumably, makarasana is part of the routine.
Where to stay: Bimini Bay Resort
Kaikoura, New Zealand
Dolphin encounters with a Kiwi twist occur between Picton and Christchurch on the South Island. Kaikoura is killer on view alone; this is the quintessential peninsula village where mountains and ocean collide in magnificent fashion. If you can manage to set the camera aside for a spell, however, slip on a wetsuit and go a few laps with a pod of dusky dolphins. These wild and gregarious creatures make Kaikoura a South Island must-do.
Where to stay: Austin Heights Quality Bed and Breakfast Apartments Kaikoura
Waikoloa, Big Island, Hawaii
From epic surf swells to fertile volcanic rainforests, Hawaii is a choice spot to brush up against wildlife. The Big Island resort of Hilton Waikoloa ups the ante with the Dolphin Quest lagoon, however. Home to a family of bottlenose dolphins, replete with wee ones, the encounter experience is fully interactive and benefits from the stewardship of marine biologists.
Where to stay: Hilton Waikoloa Village
Dolphin Discovery Cancun – Isla Mujeres
Cancun is a beach resort mecca par excellence with a few clandestine gems. Isla Mujeres may be the most spectacular bauble of the lot and feels oceans aways from the busy pace of Playa del Carmen. One notable magnet on the island is a 10,000 m2 area of turquoise water run by Dolphin Discovery. The dolphinarium outfit has been in the game since 1990 and runs several swim-with-dolphins attractions in the likes of Anguilla, Los Cabos and Cozumel. The Isla Mujeres spot feels like a bona fide marine reserve and above and beyond dolphins, offers encounters with sharks and rays.
Where to stay: Avalon Reef Club Isla Mujeres
Ever swam with dolphins before? Tell us all about it!