Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
Mexican Riviera

Mexican Riviera Dolphin Tour Tips

Dolphin tours are popular on Mexican Riviera cruises.
Dolphin tours are popular on Mexican Riviera cruises.

The Mexican Riviera has joined many other vacation destinations in offering visitors a chance to swim with dolphins.

There are two types of dolphin experiences. They are swimming with wild dolphins in the ocean and swimming with captive dolphins at a facility that specializes in them.

Cabo San Lucas

The Cabo San Lucas area has two facilities that offer visitors a chance to swim with dolphins.

The Cabo Dolphin Center is by the cruise port at Land’s End. The “encounter” is $99 for ages 4 to 8 and $119 for ages 9 and older at the time of this writing. These prices assume visitors get there on their own.

A shore excursion from a cruise line or independent operator will cost a little more but include transportation from the docks. The duration of the encounter is 30 minutes including 20 minutes in the water. A shore excursion including transportation and the 30-minute session will last about an hour and 15 minutes from pickup to dropoff.

Dolphin Discovery is in San Jose del Cabo, which is about 40 minutes from the Cabo cruise port docks. Why would anyone drive there instead of the one at the port? Because it has more programs to offer.

This three-hour excursion will cost about the same as the one at the cruise port for a basic encounter. It has seven programs that range in price from the basic encounter to riding on a dolphin or a package that includes encounters with both dolphins and sea lions. Prices range from about $100 to $200 per person.

Puerto Vallarta

Dolphin Discovery also has a facility at Puerto Vallarta. It is about seven miles or 23 minutes north of the marina where cruise ships dock.

Like the San Jose del Cabo facility, it offers seven different programs than range in price and duration. Prices are slightly less expensive when visitors buy the package directly from the facility.

Taxis are fairly cheap in Puerto Vallarta, but the cost of taking one there may make buying a total excursion from the cruise line a better option.

Budget-minded visitors on a Mexican Riviera cruise should compare prices at all of the facilities to see which ones offer the better deal.


Mazatlán doesn’t have a commercial dolphin facility, but it does have an excursion directly from independent operators such as Keteka or Onca Explorations that allow people to swim in the ocean with dolphins.

These small group tours are led by marine biologists. Like whale watching tours or any kind of snorkeling tour, there are no guarantees of what people will see. Prices are about $100 per person. Do an online search of “Mazatlán swimming with dolphins” to find available operators.