10 best places for scuba diving with dolphins
Dolphins have always captured our imagination. They were the stars of Greek legends and modern films. Swimming with dolphins is a dream for most scuba diving enthusiasts. That’s why we present here the best places to dive with dolphins.
There are more than 40 different species of dolphins in the world. They can be seen swimming all over the world but it is not always easy to find a dive trip to swim with dolphins. As always in scuba diving, it is not guaranteed to see our favorite pelagics but, to help you find your way around, we present below the destinations special dolphins, in which we count the most interaction with the man. Here are the best sites to dive with dolphins.
The crystal-clear, shallow waters of the Bahamas offers a great diving adventure with dolphins. mammals are often seen near Bimini Grand Bahama. Grand Bahama, is only about 90 kilometers east of Palm Beach, Florida and is almost certain to meet one of the many resident groups. The area is particularly well-known for spotted Atlantic dolphin populations that congregate in the shallow, warm waters of the afternoon to play and socialize after a morning deep water hunt. However, one encounters a multitude of different species such as spotted dolphins, long-billed dolphins, bottlenose dolphins or even striped dolphins. It is possible to dive or meet large groups of dolphins in fins and snorkels. It is a privileged place to meet our favorite cetaceans.
- When to go: All year round to dive with dolphins, the best time to dive is from March to August.
- Type of dolphins: spotted dolphins, long-billed dolphins, bottlenose
- Other fauna: lots of shark seabirds and whales
French Polynesia is a small paradise lost in the middle of the Pacific. Although Thaiti is the main island, polynesia is made up of many islands and lagoons, all as beautiful as the others. To dive with dolphins in Polynesia, the ideal is to go to the second largest attol in the world to dive in Rangiroa. Concretely, Rangiroa Atoll, is inhabited only by two families of Tursiops dolphins, also called bottlese. However, these families often visit the main Rangiroa dive site, the Tiputa Pass . Indeed, on the pass, several dolphins regularly come to play with the divers. In 2016, the spotmydive team went diving in Polynesia and we crossed and played with dolphins during 3 dives on the 7 that we did on the spot. Moreover, they are really players and love caresses. A must ;
In addition, many divers told us they had the chance to swim with dolphins in Moorea. It should be noted that a center specializes in snorkeling with captive dolphins. Do not hesitate to take a tour, it is a beautiful island, on land as under water.
- When to go: All year round for dolphins. To know that if you also want to dive with humpback whales, you will have to go there from August to October. The best conditions out of the water are from March to November.
- Type of dolphins: Mainly bottlenose dolphins
- Other fauna: sharks, rays eagles, turtles, manta rays, …
THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
One of our best diving destinations in the world to dive with dolphins. Along with whales, sharks and other large marine animals, there are many species of cetaceans. Bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins are permanent residents while other species migrate to the park. Nearly 24 different cetacean species have been counted. Long-billed dolphins, in particular, can be found in large groups at Fernandina Island. The highest density of cetaceans is found at the Wolf and Darwin dive sites, often considered to be the best dive sites in the Galapagos.
- When to go: All year
- Dolphin Type: Bottlenose, Common, Risso, Long-billed and Spotted
- Other wildlife: The list is almost endless and includes whales, mantas, marine iguanas, penguins, sea lions, killer whales and many sharks
RED SEA: SATAYA REEF and SAMADAI REEF, EGYPT
The Red Sea is one of the best diving destinations and the wide variety of local underwater wildlife is just one of the many attractions of this destination. Six species of cetaceans live in the Red Sea: Tursiops dolphin also called bottlenose dolphin, Indo-Pacific Tursiops, pantropical spotted dolphin, long-beaked common dolphin, Risso and long bill. And recently, humpback dolphins, which are generally found off the east coast of Africa, have also been observed north of Marsa Alam.
You can swim with dolphins at Samadai Reef near Marsa Alam diving is prohibited and there are strict controls on where boats and snorkellers can access. South of Marsa Alam still, Samadai, known locally as “Dolphin House” is also an exceptional place to dive with dolphins. And many divers have stories of amazing encounters with curious dolphins who join them underwater. No doubt, if the dolphins knew how to talk, they too would have funny stories and might write articles on the best sites to see underwater divers.
Risso’s dolphins – sometimes mistakenly called “belugas” because of their similarity to the beluga – can be seen from diving boats that spring from the water. To dive with dolphins in Egypt, the ideal is to book a liveaboard.
- When to go: All year round, although the best time is from May to July
- Type of dolphins: mainly dolphins, with occasional sightings of bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and Risso’s dolphins
- Other Wildlife: You may also encounter nearby ocean cetaceans at Elphinstone Reef, turtles and many reef fish
Nicknamed “The Mexican Galapagos”, the island of Socorro is one of the best destinations for diving with pelagics in the world. You can dive with manta rays, whale sharks and even humpback whales. You can dive with dolphins on the Revillagigedo Islands all year round. However, we advise you to prefer the high season, from January to April, dive with dolphins in Socorro. In early May, dolphins gather about 500 kilometers from Socorro for the mating season. Know that to visit the Soccoro Islands, the ideal is to book a diving cruise in Mexico.
- When to go: January to April to see pups
- Type of dolphins: Bottlenose dolphins
- Other Wildlife: You may be able to dive with whale sharks, manta rays, humpback whales and up to 10 species of sharks, including hammerhead sharks
NINGALOO REEF, AUSTRALIA
Ningaloo Reef in Australia is known worldwide for whale sharks and manta rays. But this small island is also one of the best places to swim with dolphins.
Common and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins regularly cross the bays and islands of Rockingham and the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park is home to large families of common dolphins.
- When to go: All year
- Dolphin type: common, bottlenose dolphin and Indo-Pacific dolphins
- Other Wildlife: You can also meet whale sharks, whales and sharks
SARDINE RUN, SOUTH AFRICA
The Sardine Run has become especially since the release of the movie “The Blue Planet” of the BBC. Nothing is more impressive than the billions of sardines migrating to the east coast of South Africa. Its incredible sardine beds are more than 15 km long and attract hungry seabirds, whales, sharks and, of course, dolphins do not hesitate to get into action. Divers can be dropped in the middle of binge eating to get a chance to see some of the 18,000 dolphins that hunt sardines each year. The interest of diving during the Sardine Run is to be able to observe the multitude of marine life crease but also and especially to marvel at the techniques of hunting dolphins and other hunters.
Outside the Sardine Run, many things are happening off the South African coast, east and west of the Cape of Good Hope, where the colder waters of the Atlantic meet the currents. warmer Indian Ocean. Indeed, there are many beautiful diving sites in South Africa.
Throughout the year, the common bottlenose dolphin and humpback dolphins of the Indo-Pacific are found all over the eastern coast of Africa, and the dolphins of Haviside or Heaviside in the waters more cold from the west. Bottlenose dolphins can be seen everywhere while diving in South Africa. South Africa ! Of all this list, South Africa is probably the best destination to see dolphins.
If there is one place on this list where you are almost sure to see wild dolphins – that’s it. During the annual sardine race in South Africa from May to July, you will see many types of dolphins, including orcas, and perhaps pilot whales. The sardine trail attracts marine life from miles around the east coast of Africa as they participate in the mobile sardine buffet. Even if you miss the sardines, South Africa has several fantastic dive sites where your chances of seeing dolphins and tons of sharks are very high.
- When to go: May to July for the sardine race, however, dolphins are present all year round in South Africa
- Type of dolphins: Bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins
- Other wild animals: great encounters with sharks, humpback whales, tunas and jacks
While diving in Hawaii, you’ll see a multitude of year-round dolphins such as the spinner dolphin, bottlenose dolphin and spotted dolphins. Be careful though as Hawaii travel agencies offer plenty of trips to dive with dolphins, but they are often captive and see hundreds of tourists a year. The ideal is to favor diving with wild dolphins who are much more fulfilled and players. In this context, if you book your trip to dive with dolphins without passing by spotmydive everyone can make mistakes;, do not hesitate to ask that your output to swim with dolphins is framed by the Dolphin-SMART program which is a government initiative for responsible and humane dolphin tourism. In total, there are around 13 different species of dolphins. Besides, know that it is also possible to dive with killer whales in Hawaii.
- When to go: All year, although the winter months can bring big swells
- Dolphin Type: Spinner, Spotted and Bottlenose Dolphin
- Other Wildlife: sharks, turtles, orcas, whales and manta rays
- When to go: All year
- Type of dolphins: dark dolphins
- Other fauna: seabirds and whales
- When to go: from October to April
- Type of dolphins: spinner, spotted, common bottlenose, Indo-Pacific bottlenose and Risso dolphins
- Other wildlife encountered while diving in indonesia, in Raja Ampat: pygmy and fake whales, pilot whales, sharks, manta rays
- When to go: all year round
- Type of dolphins: bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins
- Other animals: porpoises, whale sharks, turtles
- When to go: The best diving season in the Azores is between June and September. It is also during this period that you will enjoy the best visibility for dscuba diving in the Azores. Note that at this time, the water temperature varies between 16 and 22 °. In addition, during the spring, the plankton density is much higher and, therefore, this is the best time to dive with dolphins to the Azores.
- Type of dolphins: short-beaked dolphins, Rissos, spotted and bottlenose dolphins
- Other animals: Whales in Fanon, whales, sperm whales, groupers, triggerfish, wrasse, scorpion fish, turtles, barracudas, rays eagles, octopus,…
- When to go: The best season for diving in England is obviously the summer of June to August.
- Type of dolphins:Risso, bottlenose dolphins,…
- Other animals: seals, rays,…
KAIKOURA, NEW ZEALAND
Kaikoura, located on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand, is the best place to discover the dark dolphins. They roam in groups of 100 to 1000 individuals in the waters near Kaikoura. You can dive or even swim with new zealand dolphins all year long. In addition, Hector’s dolphin, one of the smallest and rarest dolphins in the world, is located in the south of the island. By the way one of the subspecies, even more rare, the Maui dolphin lives on the western part of the North Island. Both species are classified by IUCN as endangered, and the Maui’s dolphin is even classified as critically endangered and has only a few hundred wild individuals.
RAJA AMPAT, INDONESIA
For lovers of biodiversity, coral and macro-life, diving in Raja Ampat is a must. The destination is simply mythical and all diver must make a pilgrimage. In addition, you can dive with dolphins to Raja Ampat.
Raja Ampat is definitely one of Indonesia’s best diving destinations and its warm waters are home to spotted dolphin, spinning dolphin, Tursiops dolphin and Indopacific Tursiops as well as Risso’s dolphins.
This article is dedicated to dolphins, we will not dwell on the huge diversity that can be found on dive sites in Indonesia.
This small, secluded and charming island in the South Atlantic is the preferred destination for a diving trip to see dolphins. Island divers can swim with dolphins so to speak every day. In particular, there are pantropical spotted dolphins and large groups of bottlenose dolphins. In addition, it is one of the only places in the world where you can dive with spiny-headed dolphins. You should also know that diving in Saint Helene, a small island of nearly 5000 inhabitants, is becoming more accessible thanks to direct flights to the small island, bookable since 2016. Is this one of the next great scuba diving destinations? The future will tell.
Superb diving destination to discover beautiful cetaceans. Large sperm whales hunt around the Azores and dolphins are not outdone since one crosses dozens. In addition, several species are at the rendezvous such as bottlenose dolphins, Rissos, spotted and bottlenose dolphins. They are present all year but are more discreet when the big killer whales are out. Indeed, these great voracious predators tend to elbows and take the place of dolphins. Note that you will certainly be able to see dolphins from the boat but you will have less chance to dive with dolphins in the Azores than in the previous destinations.
UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND
And yes, in the north of Europe, the United Kingdom is home to a healthy population of dolphins, often mistaken for tropical animals. There are around 24 different species of cetaceans in the United Kingdom so it is possible to dive with dolphins in England but also while diving in Ireland and Scotland. There are large white-beaked dolphins, the Risso, Whitebills and Atlantic white-sided dolphins. Note that you will still have a much less chance to swim with dolphins in England than in other destinations in this ranking of the best places to dive with dolphins. However, we wanted to make it appear in this article on scuba diving.
Are you dolphin fans? Do not hesitate to consult our articles on our favorite cetaceans: