Swimming with dolphins in a responsible way

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

Swimming with dolphins is on the bucket list of a lot of people. These amazing animals amaze young and old. Unfortunately, swimming with dolphins often happens in an irresponsible way. That's why I want to tell you where you can swim with dolphins in a responsible manner. Get your diving mask, put your fins on and let's jump right into the water!

Sam Van den Haute CheckoutSam

Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!

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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swimming with dolphins in a cage seaquarium Curacao

I too am guilty of it! But believe me… Swimming with dolphins in a cage is NOT fun!

Swimming with wild dolphins or swimming with dolphins in captivity

First, you need to decide if you want to swim with wild or captured dolphins. Actually, this is an easy decision, but I’d like to explain both options to you.

When you choose to swim with trained (caught) dolphins, you contribute to a terrible system. Dolphins are often caught in the wild and then sold to dolfinaria or other marine “fun” parks. Here, these poor animals need to work for all of the tourists that come and look at them, giving them a lot of stress. Whatever you say or do, there is no way to swim in a responsible manner with dolphins in captivity…

Unfortunately, I have to be honest and tell you that I also swam with captive dolphins in Curaçao, and I really regret that very much. It was very expensive, but above all: you just notice that the animals aren’t happy.

There is nothing more beautiful than watching animals in their wild environment, and so I hope you can learn from my mistake and choose to swim with wild dolphins instead.
In addition, swimming with dolphins in the wild is an experience that you can hardly beat. Usually you will see several sorts of dolphins; common dolphins, spinner dolphins, spotted dolphins, … depending on where you are. Each species looks different with its own unique and miraculous features.

swimming with wild dolhpins

Swimming with wild dolphins is so much more fun and a lot cheaper!

Where can you swim with dolphins?

Swimming with wild dolphins is possible in different locations around the world. One of the most popular locations is the wonderful Hawaii where you can swim with the active and amazing spinner dolphin.
New Zealand is also a popular location where you can swim with the spotted dolphin. AustraliaTasmania and Egypt are other popular places to swim with dolphins.

The Portuguese Azores Archipelago also has a large variety of wild dolphins at any time of the year. You can also go to certain places in the Bahamas or Caribbean. Although many places in the Caribbean mainly offer swimming with trained dolphins. In addition, you can always ask dive shops where the best sites are to snorkel with wild dolphins. It doesn’t matter where you are, usually there is always a responsible and yet amazing opportunity to swim with wild dolphins.

swimming with dolphins

Swimming with dolphins should be fun for both animal and human!

What places should you avoid for swimming with dolphins?

In places like Zanzibar, wild dolphins are endlessly chased with boats full of tourists, which cause these beautiful animals a lot of stress. In Mexico and the Dominican Republic, dolphins are often caught or bough so that tourists can meet them, often unaware of the horrible past of this animal. Avoid this at all costs, because otherwise this tourism industry just keeps on going, making many more victims…
You’d better wait to swim in the wild with dolphins instead of jumping in a pool with a captured dolphin. In the wild, the animals are a lot more interactive and you won’t believe how close they will get to you!

swimming with wild dolhpins

Dolphins are curious! They don’t need to be caged to come close and interact with you!

How much does it cost to swim with dolphins?

How much you ultimately pay to swim with dolphins depends on where in the world you are. If you want to swim with them in the best conditions (and almost have a guarantee of seeing them), you often pay a little more, but this is also to guard their safety and health. In the Azores you can already swim with wild dolphins for 85 euros ($96) per person, in Hawaii you pay about 110 euros ($125). Children usually pay a little less and must be at least four years old.

Keep in mind that this is still a lot cheaper than swimming with captured dolphins!
For less than fifteen minutes of ‘fun’ with Flipper, you pay an average of €250 or $280. Photos often not included, and of course you can’t bring your own photography gear…

Tips for swimming with dolphins

Dolphins are active and usually very friendly marine mammals, but just like any wild animal they can get scared. So don’t flip around your arms too wildly and never try touching them. This isn’t only out of respect for them but also for your own safety.
In some places like Australia and the United States, it is completely prohibited to touch dolphins.
Don’t swim with dolphins if you are pregnant. They can feel the hormones and the presence of a child in the uterus and they might get “excited”. They use their sonar and can therefore see when you are pregnant and become curious about your stomach. For this reason, companies recommend (or sometimes forbid it) to swim with dolphins if you are pregnant. All for your own safety.

Enjoy! These amazing creatures can read you like a book so it’s essential to stay calm but mostly… To have fun!

swim with dolphins

Are you jumping into the water, or are you just looking at them from the boat? It’s always magical to see these beautiful animals!

Responsible excursions

Would you like to swim with dolphins? Go swimming with wild ones!
Depending on where you want to swim with wild dolphins you can take a look at these great excursions:


» All tours and excursions with wild dolhpins

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  1. Roger Middleton says:

    I’ve been wanting to surprise my family with a trip where we go swimming with dolphins but I want to make sure that it’s fun and exciting for them. I liked that you had mentioned that it can be very important to avoid touching them or scaring them by acting out. They’ll love the trip and hopefully, I can find somewhere that will remind us to not touch them or scare them because I’d hate for it to be anything but a good experience.

  2. Diane Phinney says:

    Oh my friend, you are so correct. Those dolphins in captivity are not happy. I will not visit or support any “trained wild animal” displays. Sometimes I do visit to see the conditions which are mostly unhappy.

    • Yeah, I was so sad after doing it. I would never want to do it again and I hope people that come to my website change their minds as well 🙂

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