You can watch dolphins in the wild off many of Mexico’s coasts as well as swim with dolphins in some delphiniums
A rewarding water experience is to get up close with dolphins and swim with them at one of Mexico’s many excellent dolphin centers…
Dolphins are marine mammals and closely related whales and porpoises. They swim in pods in shallower waters near continental shelves, feeding on fish and squid. In addition to being highly intelligent, their attractive looks and playful nature has endeared them to humans and have enjoyed prominence in human pop culture. Learn more (Wiki)
It’s possible to swim with dolphins at many dolphin centers situated at beach towns and resorts across Mexico. Mexican laws make it illegal to capture dolphins from the wild, so all the dolphins you swim with in Mexico are born in captivity and trained for the purpose of swimming with humans.
Advice for Swimming With Dolphins in Mexico
To help you prepare for your swim with dolphins, we have published a number of tips and advice from experts.
When to Go
You can swim with dolphins all year-round in Mexico. Most dolphin centers have enough dolphins to run several programs a day, six days a week. All dolphins are properly cared for and are given sufficient rest. Most dolphin centers close one day per week to allow all the dolphins at the center to rest and to enable deep cleaning and other maintenance jobs to be undertaken by center staff.
What to Wear
Take your swim gear to the dolphin center with you. Do NOT apply any sun-tan lotion before swimming with the dolphins; if you have sun tan lotion on you, you will normally be asked to shower in your bathing suit to wash it off before you enter the water with the dolphins. Cover your upper torso with a long cotton t-shirt, as it will be exposed to the sun. If you have very sensitive skin, you can cover your arms with a long sleeved t-shirt. Some dolphin centers offer snorkeling equipment and flippers (where these are required for the swim program, not all are); all centers provide flotation vests, which are obligatory.
If you suffer badly with asthma or have other severe breathing difficulties, or if you are currently unwell with a cold or flu, you cannot swim with dolphins. Swimming with dolphins is not beneficial to anyone who has had a heart attack, stroke or epileptic fit.
Swimming Pool or Lagoon?
Most dolphin centers in Mexico you will swim with the dolphins inside a large, specially adapted swimming pool. Some centers, like the one in Isla Mujeres, allow you to swim with dolphins in sea water, inside a specially constructed lagoon.
What to Expect
Most centers offer at least two different program types; the more expensive programs offer you more time with dolphins and usually in smaller groups so you get a more ‘personal’ experience than if you purchase a less expensive program.
When you arrive at the dolphin center, you will be given a briefing by one of the center’s trainers or the lead guide.
When the briefing is over, you’ll be taken to the locker area where you are asked to leave all jewelry, watches, phones, etc. You can also store your other personal items here and you’ll need to leave your camera behind, too, even if it’s waterproof. The centers do not allow you to take photographs of the dolphins; most have a photographer taking pictures of you and your group’s experience with the dolphins, and offer these for sale at the end of the program.
The next stop is the pool or the lagoon. Most programs include a combination of “dolphin show” time, where the trainers get the dolphins to perform a number of stunts in return for food, and “personal time”, where individuals in the group are given an opportunity to swim with the dolphins, stroke them, etc.
Most programs end with a spectacular display of dolphins performing a series of synchronized water aerobics right in front of you, as you stand near the edge of the pool or the lagoon.
Dolphins can often be seen swimming off Mexico’s Pacific Coast as well as in the waters around Baja California Sur and the Sea of Cortes (also known as the Gulf of California). Your viewing experience will depend on climatic and sea conditions, as well as how close or far the dolphins are from the shoreline. Some resorts offer boat tours which take you out to the sea to get a close-up glimpse of dolphins and / as part of a whale watching excursion (in season).
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