Seaquarium Curacao – Swimming with dolphins

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

For my last day in Curacao, I wanted to do something special. Therefore, I had arranged a trip to the Seaquarium in Curacao. In this place you could do a lot of different things, including swimming with dolphins. Because I had never done it before, I thought maybe it could be a fun trip and I decided to pay the very steep price ($184) to eventually only be disappointed by the whole activity.

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Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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Entrance to the Seaquarium in Curacao... Exciting!

Entrance to the Seaquarium in Curacao… Exciting!

Because I was a lot earlier than my scheduled time, I wandered around a bit in the outdated Seaquarium complex. After looking at the fish, flamingo’s and some of the sharks I could finally start with what I came for: swimming with dolphins!
After we saw several short films about the dolphins and their trainers we got greeted by their actually trainers, and they told us how we should treat the dolphins.

Basically we had to try to always keep our hands and arms close to our body, because the dolphins do not like moves that are too big and choppy.
Once we hopped in the water, I was very curious how it would go. Of course Go Pro’s or other underwater camera’s were not allowed, since we all had our own ‘professional’ photographer who would take photos of our experience and afterwards sell them for a very steep price.

In my head it all seemed so much more fun, but of course in reality it just wasn’t.

The brochures state that you are going to swim with the dolphins for about thirty minutes, but actually -at most- you play ten minutes with them. And while you are swimming with them, you get shouted at by the photographer who constantly snaps photos. You could almost hear coins falling every time he presses the release button of his camera.

Trainers at the Seaquarium in Curacao, preparing the dolphins for some human interaction.

Trainers at the Seaquarium in Curacao, preparing the dolphins for some human interaction.

For the rest of time, you need to swim at the sides so that other people can take pictures with the dolphins too.

I honestly felt really sad for the dolphins… I noticed that they have to adapt to your pace completely, because they obviously swim a lot faster than a human being. Besides that, I just don’t think they enjoy doing tricks with complete strangers just so that they can be fed.
It looked too nice to be true, and I got caught in the scam! Because honestly; doesn’t it sound amazing to swim with dolphins?

After this painfully expensive joke, the trainers pointed out –for the hundredth time, I think– that we had the possibility to buy some of the photos from our grand adventure for ónly $40 extra.

Of course everyone buys the pictures, because what is another $40? You of course want some photos of your time with the dolphins!

After being rushed out of the dolphin zone, you get to shower and then are escorted to the hall where you can buy your photos.
The pictures are shown on a monitor and I was astonished. I knew the photographer wasn’t that good, since he basically just kept pressing the release button non-stop, but… What was this?
I am far from a professional photographer, but I would’ve made far better pics!

Out of the almost hundred pictures he snapped, it was hard for me to find four decent ones. I thought three were alright, but you had to pick four.

What I really didn’t like, was that the photographer was very rude. He kept pushing me to take pictures where I looked horrible. Pictures where my eyes were closed, other people had their hands in front of my face, you couldn’t even see my face because of water splashing up, …

Every addition to the four photos would cost another $5, so of course he wanted to make as much money as possible.

At this exact moment I realised that it's just completely wrong to go swimming with dolphins...

At this exact moment I realised that it’s just completely wrong to go swimming with dolphins…

After looking at the pictures one more time, I picked a fourth one, rolled my eyes and payed the ridiculous amount of $40.
In total I spent a whopping $224 today at a place I didn’t even enjoy. I felt as if I were scammed but couldn’t do anything against it. I’m sure a lot of people really enjoyed their time swimming with dolphins, but in my opinion this was nothing more than a money-making scheme where the aquarium abuses the animals just for their profit.

The rest of the evening me and Stephanie joked about my “dolphin experience” and later on we drank some beers along with another Dutch girl who had just arrived today.
With our cheap beers, we sneaked into the jacuzzi and at half past twelve we went to sleep at last.

Mambo Beach. A beach owned by Seaquarium Curacao where you of course also had to pay an entrance fee...

Mambo Beach. A beach owned by Seaquarium Curacao where you of course also had to pay an entrance fee…

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