Swimming with Dolphins in the Caribbean

Swimming with Dolphins in the Caribbean

Visit popular Caribbean destinations that offer programs where you can interact with friendly bottlenose dolphins, see them perform stunts, respond to your hand commands and hold on to a dorsal fin as they pull you around in the water. Lagoons and water theme parks that offer these programs include the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, Dolphin Discovery in Tortola and Dolphin Cove in Jamaica. Experience one of these encounters to play with and observe the gentle, intelligent creatures while creating lasting memories.

Things You'll Need

Swimsuit; Water shoes.

Step 1

Collect information about dolphin swim programs prior to your trip to the Caribbean. If traveling by cruise ship, port stops will offer excursions to swim with the dolphins. If planning to stay at a hotel, talk to travel agents or search the Internet for facilities close to your destination (see Resources below). The duration is about an hour per session. There are also programs for small children, such as “Be a Dolphin Trainer for a Day.”

Step 2

Start your session in the water with an instructor and a short dolphin orientation. You will be in a small group with both children and adults, getting accustomed to the creatures swimming around you. Your instructor will explain hand signals and how to command the dolphins to perform stunts. You will be in waist-deep water on a submerged mesh platform. Ask a member in your group who is not in the water to take photographs.

Step 3

Begin interacting with the dolphins. As the dolphins swim by, you can touch them, get a handshake, a kiss or swim around holding onto the dorsal fin. If you opt for the program that includes the “foot push,” a dolphin will lift you up out of the water and throw you into the air to land safely in the water. You will receive individual assistance from the instructor. As the session comes to an end, you will have about 15 minutes to play freely with the dolphins.

Step 4

Purchase photos taken by one of the staff members, available in the gift shop. There are DVDs and packages of different action shots of you in the water with the dolphins taken from an advantageous angle. If you have any questions about your experience or about the training and maintenance of the dolphins, feel free to ask the instructor at this point.

Tips

Dolphin photos can be expensive; don’t be afraid to negotiate.

Warnings

Most programs require participants to be a minimum of 4 feet tall. Participants 4 feet tall or under must be accompanied by a paying adult. No expectant mothers are allowed. All participants must know how to swim.

Resources:

Dolphinaris Website

Dolphin Discovery

Dolphin Cay, Atlantis

Wild Quest, Bahamas

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