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Swim with Dolphins in the Wild

Updated on April 2, 2021
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writer, creative thinker and animal lover - especially dogs and dolphins.


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.

Swim WITH Dolphins, Never ON Them

There's 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. Instead you swim NEAR the dolphins, gently inviting them to play 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.

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

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."

Concerns About Captive Dolphins

Consider what life in captivity does to a dolphin. "Keeping dolphins captive at resorts or aquatic parks is akin to it separates these sociable animals from their pods." ~ Dr. Horace Hobbs, Director of International Dolphin Watch

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 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?

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.

This was a dolphin encounter in captivity.  Note the dirty concrete in the background?
This was a dolphin encounter in captivity. Note the dirty concrete in the background?

Dolphin Swim: Experience the REAL Thing

Swim with dolphins in the open sea - NOT a Tourist Attraction!

The photo above 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. The cruise ships call this a 'dolphin experience' - very expensive and NOT a 'swim with dolphins' but rather a visit with captive dolphins in a concrete pool.

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.

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

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.

No high rise hotels, no taxis cabs nor crowds. Just a quiet island escape. Bimini is a quiet area with only a few small hotels and restaurants. We walked everywhere, except for the day we explored the island by golf cart. Our room had views of the sea from both sides.

Our Swim With Dolphins in Bimini

Just north of the island of north Bimini lies what natives call the 'dolphin grounds' which is a natural dolphin home and playground. 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 ten people max to visit the dolphins and swim with them and near them.

Each day the boat left the marina around 2 or 3 PM and stayed out until around sunset. Whenever we'd spot a pod of dolphins, the captain would stop the boat. We'd suit up in life vests, snorkel & fins and enter from the ladder on the rear of the boat. The waters were calm and we'd snorkel around, watching the dolphins play below us. The sounds they make are delightful - it sounds sort of like an infant cooing. You can hear it on the video.

Bimini Bahamas Map

bimini bahamas
bimini bahamas

Into the Mystic in Bimini

The Healing Hole is a pool found within the salt water mangrove swamp of North Bimini. It 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 in Bimini

Notice that there's ocean both in front AND behind this place. There are 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 rest of the island. Americans will need to get used to driving on the 'wrong' side of the road.

Seacrest Hotel  Bimini, Bahamas
Seacrest Hotel Bimini, Bahamas | Source

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 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.

The Dolphin House
The Dolphin House | Source

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

Swimming With Dolphins in Bimini, Bahamas

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

Listen for the magic of the dolphin sounds.

Sierra and the Divine Dolphin

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 dolphins 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

Enjoy Bimini. Bon Voyage!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Carolan Ross


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