Discovery Cove is the name of the dolphin swim company, and they have programs in Cozumel, Cancun and Puerto Aventuras. We partook in the dolphin swim on Isla Mujeres.
For US$110 for each person, we were able to swim with the dolphins in a confined area of the ocean. Upon arrival, you are taken indoors to watch a short video about dolphins, their training, what you’ll experience with the dolphins, and how to correctly interact with them. You will then sign your name on a grouping list which places 7-8 people in a group, and you stay together for the duration. As your group is called, you walk outside to get fitted for a life jacket. In this area, there are also lockable lockers where you can store your valuables and clothes.
It’s now time to make your way over to what you’ve been waiting for, the beautiful creatures of the sea. As you step off the dock and proceed down the stairs, you cringe a bit entering the cold water, but you can’t help but smile at the prospect of what’s to come. At the bottom of the stairs, you’ll step onto a grid under the water. There’s a fence behind you under the dock that you will hold onto at times as the currents in the water push you around a bit. Make sure to smile and show your excitement because your every move is being videotaped (which we’ll get to later).
You’ll get to work with two dolphins and a trainer giving commands and rewards to the dolphins and instructions to you and a trainer out in the water in a wet suit, mask and snorkel that will get each person lined up and placed for the dolphins. Our trainer, Teri, was very good at remembering all of our names and instructed each of us what to do. We started with having the dolphins (Olimpia and Regina) give each of us a kiss on the cheek and we had to return the favor by kissing the dolphin on the nose. If you don’t give them a good enough kiss, they will make you keep trying until you do it well enough! After that, they vary the order that each person does their tricks, but everyone gets to perform each event. One trick is the dorsal pull-you swim out to the trainer, float straight up and down with your arms out to your side and the dolphins swim up to your hands, placing their top dorsal fin at your hand and you simply grab and off you go! Each time you get back to the grid, the trainer has both dolphins swim in front of everyone so you can pet them. Next, two people are given a silver pole and each person holds an end up in the air and the dolphins jump over the bar and do tricks for you. When everyone has completed this trick, the last person leaves the bar in the water and one of the dolphins brings it back to the trainer. The next trick was everyone’s favorite –- the foot push. You’ll once again swim out to the trainer, float on your stomach with your arms out in front of you. As the dolphins approach and place their nose on the bottom of your feet, you’re told to keep your legs straight and bring your arms straight up above your head. What a rush! The dolphins lifted me so high while they were pushing me across the water, you could see my feet at the top of the water. After the tricks are performed, the group floats in a circle and both dolphins swim around you and you get to pet them.
After a few minutes of this, everyone heads up the stairs and onto the dock for a final video shot of everyone waving goodbye. You’re then taken back to the building you started in, sit in front of a TV screen, and begin to watch the video of your encounter. As the music begins, the credits begin to roll with the trainers name, the dolphins names, then starring . . . and all of our names were listed. They got close ups of everyone and each person performing their tricks with the dolphins. They do an excellent job getting smiling close ups and running them in slow motion. You know they’re showing you this in preparation for telling you that you have an opportunity to purchase the video.
After watching it, you’ll almost pay any price to capture those moments. Of course, we wanted the video so they immediately hand you one and to pay for it ($50 US), you go downstairs to their gift store where they interest you in purchasing more. While kissing the dolphins, they also took still shot individual photos. In the store, they approach you with these pictures which are $14/each. They have "I swam with the dolphins" T-shirts for a good price of only US$15 and other trinkets.
After browsing through their store, we went back outside where our tour guide was waiting to give us taxi fare for the short trip back to the party boat dock for lunch.
This was a wonderful excursion. The dolphins were amazing and seemed to enjoy the interactions with us. They appeared in good shape and to be treated well by the staff. While we were able to perform tricks with them, we weren’t touching them or requiring a lot of contact for very long. It was enough that it was fun, but not too much to worry the dolphins.
What amazing and wonderful creatures. I recommend this excursion to everyone!