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Swim with Wild Dolphins

Updated on November 17, 2014

Dream of Swimming with Dolphins?

Ever wanted to swim with wild dolphins? The magic of connecting with dolphins in the open sea on a genuine wild dolphin swim experience is one many call life-changing.

Dolphins are gentle creatures, so when we say 'wild dolphins' what that really means is to interact with them 'in the wild' rather than in captivity. HUGE difference! It's a matter of visiting dolphins in their own natural habitats rather than supporting tourist attractions where dolphins are forced to perform for humans.

Consider an opportunity to interact with these incredibly playful and mystic creatures in their own environment. One of the best places to swim with dolphins in the wild is in the Bahamas just north of the island of North Bimini.

dolphin swim
dolphin swim

Swim WITH the Wild Dolphins

... never ON them!

Notice that the people in these photos are just swimming NEAR the dolphins, gently inviting them to play. They are joining WITH them gently in a way that is not threatening. The goal is to swim WITH dolphins, never ON them as you might see at tourist attractions. These are dolphins, not horses.

Responsible tour operators will encourage you to swim with your hands resting lightly on your back or with your arms at your sides, allowing the dolphins to set the pace. Dolphins are attracted to sounds like laughter, singing and clapping. Patience and respect for the dolphin's space along with gentle invitations to play are what creates the magic of a swim with wild dolphins. Photo by Sierra at Divine Dolphin.

IMAX Dolphin Film

IMAX: Dolphins
IMAX: Dolphins

Amazing cinematography! Dolphin lovers will want to watch this film over and over again. Charming stories of friendships made with dolphins and background music that is delightful.


Dolphin Swim Research

Some say the experience of swimming with dolphins in the wild can effect them in ways that last long after having that experience.

"Research has found that 80% of people who swim with dolphins have a change in brain wave patterns from beta to theta states of consciousness. This explains why many participants experience states of bliss, ecstasy, deep peace, and a sense of well being.

Dolphin brains are always synchronized between left and right hemispheres. Human ...brains are not - but are found to become synchronized after swimming with dolphins. This phenomena has been known to support altered states of consciousness, and even out of body experiences.

It is believed that dolphins "see" holographically and so experience themselves as part of a whole, instead of the individuated identity that we have. That means they also see us in our wholeness."

About Captive Dolphins

Consider what life in captivity does to a dolphin...

How can spectators learn anything about the real nature of dolphins when captive dolphins are trained to perform tricks that are not natural at all to their species? How can spectators become aware of preserving dolphins in nature, when the dolphins they're watching have been stolen from nature or were born in captivity and never even SAW the ocean?

"Keeping dolphins captive at resorts or aquatic parks is akin to it separates these sociable animals from their pods." ~ Dr. Horace Hobbs, director International Dolphin Watch

Captive dolphins do not have the skills to survive in the wild. Capture and trafficking in wild dolphins is already illegal in some areas (Costa Rica is just one). Dolphins born in captivity have to remain captive, for they'd never have a chance to survive in the wild. You will not hear about how dolphins were captured at places where dolphins are held in captivity. They won't talk about the disastrous effects of their kidnapping upon the social structure of a dolphin pod. In their efforts to 'educate' you might hear about 'sonic senses' of dolphins, but what they do not say is these SAME sonic senses are rendered useless in a concrete tank.

My first experience connecting with dolphins.  Note the dirty concrete in the background?  The open sea never looks like that.  Bimini was SO much better.
My first experience connecting with dolphins. Note the dirty concrete in the background? The open sea never looks like that. Bimini was SO much better.

Dolphin Swim: Invest in the REAL Thing

Swim with Dolphins in THEIR Environment , NOT a Tourist Attraction!

The photo at right is this author, taken in Mexico in 2002. She was on a Carnival cruise and got caught up in the brochures and marketing ploys there, paid a LOT of money to 'swim with dolphins' during her cruise. The cruise ships call this a 'dolphin experience' , a very expensive tour that is NOT a 'swim with dolphins' but rather a visit with captive dolphins.

Note the dirty concrete in the background. These dolphins are raised in captivity for the tourist trade only. A 'dolphin experience' allows you to climb into this dirty concrete tank and 'experience' some dolphins while the trainer makes them perform tricks. These dolphins are subjected to the slavery of captivity and abuse, and the experience was disappointing, nothing like a real swim with dolphins in the wild.

Where to Swim with Wild Dolphins?

Wild Dolphin Swim Destinations Around the Globe

Bimini, Bahamas is among the top five places on earth to swim with wild dolphins in their natural habitat. Tour operators vary in each destination. Consider searching for those who provide experiences with dolphins in the open sea... in their own natural habitat - and NOT in some enclosed tank.

1. * Bimini, Bahamas * One advantage of swimming with dolphins in the wild in the Bahamas is the fact that the water is very warm, shallow and crystal clear. This location is a favorite due to: warm waters make the experience feel great; no need for wet suits, easy travel access from the US, most reasonably priced, and also the ocean in the Bahamas is crystal clear.

2. Kaikoura, New Zealand In New Zealand, dolphins are attracted to nutrients in the water that are available due to a 1200 meter trench situated just off the coast. So some say this is the best place in the world to swim with wild dusky dolphins because of the very high success rate of finding and swimming with the pods.

3. Oahu and Kona, Hawaii Spinner and spotted dolphin can be found in the Hawaiian waters, and some of the boat operators boast a 99% success rate of finding the pods on day trips.

3. Azores Archipelago This destination is a favorite due to the many different types of species found there. Up to eight different species of dolphins call this home and it is even possible to see super pods of up to 1000 individuals!

5. Red Sea, Egypt Spinner and bottlenose dolphin pods can be found in these waters.

"Keeping dolphins captive at resorts or aquatic parks is akin to it separates these sociable animals from their pods."

— Dr. Horace Hobbs, director International Dolphin Watch

Wild Dolphin Swim in Bimini

Gentle and Playful Visits with Respect for Dolphins

Imagine going out in a catamaran daily to visit dolphins in their own natural habitat. Far from the usual cruise boat activities, this tour operator takes 10 people max to visit the dolphins and swim with them and near them.

Notice the lady's hands held back in the photo. That helps deliver a friendly message and a gentle invitation to a dolphin, one that is not aggressive nor intimidating. Given this patience, eventually the dolphin will delight in joyful play.

 Bimini, Bahamas  image:  CrossCreations
Bimini, Bahamas image: CrossCreations

About Bimini, Bahamas

A Natural Dolphin Home

Bimini is a name derived from the Taino (Native American) words Bibi (meaning mother) and Mini (meaning waters), so the word Bimini can be translated as 'Mother of Many Waters'. Over 100 islands make up the Bahamas, and Bimini is closer to the US than any of them, a long thin strip about 50 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

Jimmy Buffett spent some time on South Bimini while writing one of his books. Ernest Hemingway also lived on Bimini from 1935 to 1937 and did some writing, but mostly he just went fishing a lot. A large part of Hemingway's title 'Islands in the Stream' takes place on the island of Bimini.

Just north of the island of north Bimini lies what natives call the 'dolphin grounds' which is a natural dolphin home and playground.

Islands in the Stream
Islands in the Stream

Hudson is a hard drinking expatriate who has been divorced twice.

He enjoys quiet days in solitude fishing and painting in the first (and happiest) section of the book.

Thse happy times for Hemingway were on that tiny remote island of Bimini in the Bahamas.


Islands in the Stream - by Ernest Hemingway

Some call this novel Hemingway's best ever. It wasn't actually published until nine years after his death in 1970. Three distinct sections of this epic title recount eras in the life of Thomas Hudson, who is a somewhat thinly veiled version of Ernest Hemingway.

The first section takes place in Bimini, where Hudson lives quite the idyllic lifestyle. The Bimini days are marked by a light-hearted and breezy tone compared to the rest of the novel.

In the second section Hudson has moved on to Cuba and became depressed as he had lost his son due to an accidentt. In Cuba, Hudson enjoys a brief reunion with his first wife.

The last section of the novel takes place at sea, where Hudson hunts Nazi subs.

Bimini Bahamas Map - The Bimini Islands are at the far left on the map, closest to the US

bimini bahamas
bimini bahamas

Into the Mystic in Bimini

Healing minerals and the fountain of youth in Bimini

The Healing Hole A pool found within the salt water mangrove swamp of North Bimini lies at the end of a network of winding underground tunnels. During outgoing tides, these tunnels and water channels pump cool, mineral-laden fresh water into the pool.

These waters are said to contain some very special healing minerals, two of which are natural lithium and sulfur. Many claim mystical properties exist in this Healing Hole, also referred to by some as a fountain of youth.

The Seacrest Hotel Bimini, Bahamas
The Seacrest Hotel Bimini, Bahamas

The Seacrest Hotel in Bimini

Here's where we stayed while we swam with dolphins, everyday!

Notice that there's ocean both in front AND behind this place. Decks on both sides and the view is fantastic! Our room was on the top floor where we could watch the sun rise on the front deck and sunset from the back.

No car needed, walk everywhere. You might enjoy renting a golf cart to explore the island. We did. Americans will need to get used to driving on the 'wrong' side of the road.

I'll go back to Bimini one day and would stay again at the Seacrest Hotel. Our boat captain (AL) is also a part of the family-owned Seacrest Hotel.

The Dolphin House in Bimini, Bahamas image by CrossCreations
The Dolphin House in Bimini, Bahamas image by CrossCreations

The Dolphin House

Located in Alicetown on North Bimini Island, there is NO other place quite like the Dolphin House.

Photos cannot really do this place justice, where the owner (Ashley) has been adding to this unique building for many decades. Mosaic designs and dolphin sculptures cover every wall of Bimini's most unique and artistic structure.

The Dolphin House is not a large place, yet definitely memorable as well as the island stories and history learned from the owner named Ashley, a very friendly and personable Bimini native.

There are units are available for rent at the Dolphin House for a memorable stay in Alicetown on the delightful island of Bimini in the Bahamas.

Magical Atlantis Energy

Atlantis and Bimini Bahamas

Ancient underwater cities can be found around the globe, and the sea bed in the area around Bimini is no exception. Consider the well-known story of the long lost city of Atlantis.

Could those underwater ruins be a preserved memory of an ancient alien metropolis? Could these deep aquatic worlds be the ruins of some unknown civilizations? or even proof of extraterrestrial visitations?

Here's our little 'dolphin pod' in the photo below. That's me in the center in black with white sunglasses and my son? Easy, he was the only male, poor kid. Not really, those women spoiled him rotten.

Our Dolphin Pod in Bimini, 2011
Our Dolphin Pod in Bimini, 2011

A Week in Bimini, Bahamas

We spent a week in Bimini and went out on the boat for at least a few hours every day.

No high rise hotels, no taxis cabs nor crowds. Just a quiet island escape.

We walked everywhere, except for the day we explored the island by golf cart. Our room had views of the sea from both sides.

Swimming With Dolphins, Bimini 2011

This video is actual footage from one of our swims with dolphins in Bimini.

Toward the end of this clip, you'll see a young male in black trunks - that's my son.

Listen for the magic of the dolphin sounds.

Divine Dolphin
Divine Dolphin

Sierra and the Divine Dolphin

Check out to learn more about swimming with dolphins in the wild.

Originally a native of southern California, Sierra now lives in Drake Bay, Costa Rica and runs a marine life sanctuary there called the Divine Dolphin.

Sierra facilitates excursions with dolphin and whales in the wild. Her trips visit the dolphin grounds off the island of North Bimini in the Bahamas.

But Sierra, why not swim with dolphins in Costa Rica? Her response:: "Because it is illegal to swim with dolphins in Costa Rica now. And the dolphins in Bimini are AWESOME and it has magical Atlantis energy. Not that Costa Rica isn't magical, it IS for a million reasons... it's just that for actually swimming with dolphins, Bimini is the place to go!"

Wildquest - Another Option to Swim with Wild Dolphins


Wildquest is an organization that hosts groups interested in swimming with dolphins in the wild in Bimini.

In recent years, Sierra has teamed with Wildquest on these magical dolphin adventures.

Enjoy Bimini. Bon Voyage!


Comment on this Dolphin Diary - Enjoy Your Swim with Wild Dolphins?

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    • Thomasjames1992 profile image

      Thomas James 

      3 years ago from London

      And voted up :)

    • Thomasjames1992 profile image

      Thomas James 

      3 years ago from London

      Great hub i love dolphins

    • MusicFan57 profile image


      4 years ago

      Great lens. Dolphins are so beautiful. Why are people still killing them? :o(

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I'd love to swim with dolphins!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Squidalicious lens ;)

    • TarahFlesch profile image


      5 years ago

      I wish I could swim with dolphins! Or manta rays :)

    • Carashops profile image


      6 years ago

      Seeing dolphins in the wild is amazing. Great lens.

    • swatisingh lm profile image

      swatisingh lm 

      6 years ago

      great stunts performed here.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i too like to swim with dolphins .. !!!!

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 

      6 years ago

      I really would love to swim with dolphins, sounds magical!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      When we lived in San Diego, I refused to go to Sea World. Why go see dolphins and whales in captivity when you can, for a small fee, take a whale watching cruise. It is so much more exciting to see these great mammals in their own environment, and often they will show off for you. There was also a catamaran trip where the dolphins would come right up to you, a little more pricey but it would have been worth it if I could have afforded it. I can imagine how uplifting it is to actually swim with the dolphins. Excellent lens.

    • HalloweenRecipes profile image


      6 years ago

      Sounds wonderful. Thank you

    • mjtaylor lm profile image

      mjtaylor lm 

      6 years ago

      Love it! I was in Bimini once on a liveaboard dive trip out of Miami and we happened on a pod of grey spotted dolphin! We all jumped in and had the experience of a lifetime! Two kept coming back to me to play "mirror." I so agree with you about dolphins in captivity; it breaks my heart!

    • mjtaylor lm profile image

      mjtaylor lm 

      6 years ago

      Love it! I was in Bimini once on a liveaboard dive trip out of Miami and we happened on a pod of grey spotted dolphin! We all jumped in and had the experience of a lifetime! Two kept coming back to me to play "mirror." I so agree with you about dolphins in captivity; it breaks my heart!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Such a priceless memory ... to swim with wild dolphins. Love that picture of the dolphin pod in Bimini.

    • Steve Dizmon profile image

      Steve Dizmon 

      6 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I have been out along both the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast and seen many Dolphins accompanying boats, but I have never been in the water with them. I would very much like to experience the adventure. I really enjoyed your lens. Thanks.

    • SquidooPower profile image


      6 years ago

      I recently sailed with dolphins who were so close to my boat I could reach out and touch them. it was amazing.

    • JanieceTobey profile image


      6 years ago

      I would so love to swim with dolphins! Quite a few years ago, I was swimming in the ocean with my son when a dolphin came right up to us.

    • M Schaut profile image

      Margaret Schaut 

      6 years ago from Detroit

      This is something I'd like to try!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Swimming with the dolphins is an awesome thing to do!! Love it!

    • ZenandChic profile image


      7 years ago

      I would love to swim with the dolphins. It was interesting to know you should go to certain places and not the captive ones. Blessing this lens on my school bus trip!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow. You just made me dream :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You covered the subject very thoroughly. Excellent advice.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Great resource! I'm not much of a swimmer but everyone else in my family would love to do this.

    • ben186422 profile image


      7 years ago

      I wanna ride a dolphin...

    • CrossCreations profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolan Ross 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @RinchenChodron: Leaving early June to knock this one off my bucket list, been on top for a LONG time.

    • CrossCreations profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolan Ross 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @ronpass lm: Muchos gracias for the blessing, Ron.

    • CrossCreations profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolan Ross 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @Heather426: Yes, those dolphin encounter things leave much to be desired. Took my kids to one long ago as well, but if I had known then what I know now... would have skipped it, and saved a ton of money.

    • CrossCreations profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolan Ross 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @indigoj: YES, no captive dolphins.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Have you done it yet? I have always wanted to do this. Someday I will - thanks for the info and the lead.

    • ronpass lm profile image

      ronpass lm 

      7 years ago

      Congrats on a great lens - I love dolphins and we often see dolphins at Manly swimming amongst the boats in the marina or on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland surfing the waves at the beach. They are certainly show-offs and fun-loving animals. Some fairy dust from an Angel's Blessing.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      OMG, I am so jealous that you get swim with wild dolphins. I let my kids swim with some in one of those fake encouter things, and they loved it, but your trip sounds amazing. I'm with you, no captivity for dolphins. Angel blessed

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      7 years ago

      I can just imagine your excitement about your upcoming trip to swim with dolphins in the wild. Awesome read and I look forward to pics from your trip! *Blessed!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      7 years ago from UK

      Wonderful! I think there must, as you point out, be a world of difference between swimming in the ocean with dolphins that are wild and free, and visiting a captive dolphin. In an ideal world there would be no such thing as a captive dolphin in any case.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Looks like an amazing experience!


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