The Dutch Caribbean is a fantastic place for any tourist who loves crystal-clear waters, the sun, golden sands, snorkeling, and diving. The ABC islands attract thousands of tourists each year with a variety of great places to visit, friendly local people, good food and wonderful terrestrial and marine activities.
But, if you want to make your holiday truly unforgettable, you should try swimming with dolphins. It is a unique experience, in which you will find out how friendly, caring and adorable these mammals are.
Swimming with Dolphins in Curaçao
Curaçao is renowned for its Dolphin Academy, which located inside the Curaçao Sea Aquarium marine animal park. The natural facility is directly connected to the sea and every morning the dolphins swim together with the trainers outside the lagoon, in the ocean, diving with them in one of the most beautiful coral reef sites in Curaçao.
The Academy is opened daily from 8 am to 5 pm. There are various programs to swim with dolphins, depending on the participants’ age and their expectations. For instance:
The program is accessible for all ages and for 20 minutes you can touch and even hug and kiss a dolphin. You will learn everything about them while staying in waist deep water. The dolphins are very friendly, and they will come to you to pet them. This program offers and interactive way to learn interesting facts about dolphins.
The price is $99 per person and children under four years old pay half price.
If you want to swim with dolphins, this program is for you. You will swim in their natural lagoon, and the dolphins will allow gentle interaction and petting. You can also give them signals to make them wave, spin or even sing. It is indeed an intimate and unique experience. You can even hold on to their dorsal fins, and they will take you for a ride.
The minimum age is eight years old, and the minimum height is 1.30 m (51 inches). The program lasts for about 30 minutes, and swimming with fins is compulsory.
The price is $174 per person. Pregnant women are not allowed to participate.
Dolphin Free Dive (Snorkel)
You have the chance to free dive with dolphins in their natural lagoon. The dolphins will swim next to you, allowing you to pet and interact with them. You are required to have free diving experience, as all the interaction will take place under water. You can also be able to hold their dorsal fins, and they will take you for a ride.
The minimum age is eight years old, and the minimum height is 1.30 m (51 inches). The program lasts for half an hour, and you must have swimming fins and a snorkel set.
The price is $184 per person. Pregnant women are not allowed to participate.
Dolphin Scuba Encounter
You will have the chance to scuba dive in the lagoon with the dolphins and see their behavior in their natural habitat. You do not need a dive certification for this experience. You can touch them while you watch them play and interact with you.
The minimum age is ten years old, and the minimum height is 1.30 m (51 inches). The program lasts for half an hour. Pregnant women are not allowed to participate.
Open Water Dolphin Dive
Swimming with the dolphins while being surrounded by breathtaking coral reefs is something that you should not miss. Diving with dolphins is an unforgettable experience and swimming in the ocean gives you a chance to also see a variety of other sea animals. For this program, you must have a diving certificate.
The open water dolphin dive takes about 45 minutes. The minimum age is 12 years old. Pregnant women are not allowed to participate.
No matter which program you choose, you are recommended to bring swimming gear, suntan lotion, and towels.
A trip to Klein Curaçao
If you take a trip to Klein Curacao by motor boat there is also a big chance of seeing wild dolphins. Dolphins are attracted to the sound of the motor boats and enjoy swimming along with them for a while. Although you will not be able to swim with them or touch them, you do get to see groups of dolphins in the wild.
Swimming With Dolphins in Aruba and Bonaire
Unfortunately, there is no Dolphin Academy in Aruba or Bonaire. Nor is there a center where you can swim with the dolphins. But many dive companies from Bonaire have reported that dolphins sometimes follow their boats. There is a wide variety of dolphins that can be seen in Bonaire, from common and spinner dolphins, to bottlenose, striped or spotted dolphins.
If you travel to Aruba, you might have the chance to see wild dolphins in the ocean. Dolphins are frequently seen around Aruba, especially in Boca Catalina, on the northwest side of the island.
If you encounter wild dolphins out in the ocean, it would be better to opt for snorkeling if you want to try to get close to them. Dolphins often find the bubbles from the scuba gear annoying and might leave.