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Swimming with Dolphins in Cancun

Isla Mujeres dolphin waits for humans to join it
Swimming with dolphins in Cancun is a sure way to smile, laugh, gasp and fly, all within an hour.

We have gone swimming with stingray, barracuda and sea turtles among our Caribbean excursions, so it was only natural that we add dolphins to the list. The experience was uniquely different from the other three.

We visited Dolphin Discovery on the island of Isla Mujeres in Cancun after a half-hour ferry ride across the water from the Marina Aquatours Hotel Zone. Isla Mujeres is about eight miles long and a growing tourist destination with snorkeling, diving, shopping and restaurants for visitors who want to spend the day there after swimming with dolphins.

Choosing the Right Program


Dolphin Discovery offers four programs depending on how much time visitors want to spend with the dolphins, what they want to do with them and of course how much they want to spend.

The basic Dolphin Discovery program offers four interactions with a single dolphin -- sing, handshake, hug and kiss. The price at the time of this writing is $109 for ages 13+ and $89 for ages 6-12. Call Dolphin Discovery to discuss children under 6.

Dolphin Swim Adventure adds “free time,” a belly ride and snorkeling to the above list of four. With a belly ride, the dolphin swims on its back while the visitor holds onto its fins. That program is $139 for ages 13+ and $89 for ages 8-12.

Dolphin Royal Swim increases the number of dolphins from one to two and adds dorsal tow and foot push to the first group of four activities. With dorsal tow, visitors grab the dorsal fins of both dolphins, which then plow through the water, pulling the visitor along. With foot push, the dolphins lift visitors into the air by pushing on their feet. The cost for this program is $169 for ages 13+ and $99 for ages 8-12.

Sea Life Discovery Plus is the fourth option. It adds manatee feeding and sea lion interaction to the list. It costs $199 for ages 13+ and $99 for ages 8-12.

Children must swim with a paying adult. Each program has set times every day, so schedule accordingly.

The Experience


After we chose our program, Dolphin Swim Adventure, we joined a group of eight other people. Our guides had us put on life jackets and explained in detail dolphin behavior and what we would do with them in the water.

He took us to a very large enclosed pool at the edge of the water and introduced us to the dolphin. We climbed down into the water and stood on a submerged platform that allowed the water to come up to our waists.

The guide carefully led the dolphin through a series of maneuvers with each of us individually that included kissing, petting, waving, singing, being pulled through the water by its fins and being pushed forcefully through the water with its snout up against the bottom of our feet.

Everyone smiled and most laughed at the antics. All of it was captured on camera and video, which the staff showed us and offered for sale after the end of the event.

Watching other people in the water with the dolphin was almost as much fun as being in the water with it.

Although there are some natural concerns about dolphins in captivity, the dolphin with our group acted with great enthusiasm throughout the entire hour.

The large swimming area, steady supply of food, protection from predators and ongoing interaction with people and other animals all seemed positive.

Dolphin interaction rates are somewhat high compared to other Caribbean excursions, but still represent a good overall value.

Other locations where you can swim with the dolphins include:

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Attractions   

December 28, 2010
Swimming with dophins on a Cancun vacation is a sure way to laugh, gasp and fly, all within an hour."/>

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