Want to snorkel with dolphins? They want to snorkel with you too! These friendly creatures are super playful, making for some incredible memories underwater. There are only a few places in the world where you can encounter dolphins in the wild, and even fewer where you can do it without a boat tour or dolphin excursion.
If you’re looking for the best places to snorkel with dolphins in the wild, read on. Some of these places are boat tour only, but it’ll be worth it when you’re swimming amongst some of the world’s friendliest pods of dolphins.
Snorkeling with dolphins in Central America
Belize offers great opportunities for snorkeling with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in the wild open waters of its islands. The best places in Belize to snorkel with dolphins up close are Chaa Creek, Ambergris Caye, and the Belize Barrier Reef. You’ll find lots of tour companies and dolphin excursions to take you to these spots where you can play with the beautiful creatures.
Hands down one of the best places in the world to snorkel with dolphins in the wild, these islands are home to large pods of wild Atlantic spotted dolphins. The dolphins here are unique in that they’re incredibly social and great at interacting and communicating with humans.
Snorkeling with dolphins here is unlike anywhere else, and you’ll be able to interact, play, and watch these beauties put on a show. The dolphins are here all year round, and you’ll find snorkel and boat tours as well as liveaboards to take you to the best spots.
Isla de Cano
The waters around Drake Bay are home to pods of hundreds (or maybe thousands) of spotted, bottlenose, spinner, and common dolphins. You can snorkel with dolphins in Costa Rica all year round, with plenty of boat tours and dolphin excursions to take you to the best spots, but if you come between December and March you’ll have the best chances of snorkeling with pseudo orcas and spinner dolphins.
Snorkeling with dolphins in Egypt
This area is home to two important dolphin habitats, Samadai reef (otherwise known as Dolphin House), and Sataya reef. Both are home to huge pods of spinner dolphins as well as the occasional bottlenose dolphin. Sataya reef is the best place to snorkel and freedive with dolphins in Marsa Alam, visited by less tourists so you can get right up close to huge schools of wild dolphins. The best time to snorkel with dolphins in the Red Sea is between March and November.
Snorkeling with dolphins in Fiji
Spinner dolphins are playing in the waters of this island in Tailevu all year round, giving you a great opportunity to snorkel with these beauties in their natural habitat. If you come between June and October you might also catch humpback whales in migration going past the coast of Kadavu island.
Snorkeling with dolphins in New Zealand
You’ll have to throw your wetsuit on for this one, but off the coast of Christchurch you’ll find huge pods of hundreds of dolphins swimming in the cold waters. The most popular here are dusky dolphins, known for their underwater acrobatics and playfulness. You’ll find them swimming just off the shore, and there are lots of snorkeling tour companies to take you to the best sites where the dolphins like to hang out. It’s not uncommon here to snorkel amongst hundreds and hundreds of dolphins, making for one of the best spots to snorkel with dolphins in the southern hemisphere!
Snorkeling with dolphins in North America
The waters around Key West are home to a huge population of bottlenose dolphins, and you might even spot the occasional spinner, spotted, or Risso’s dolphins while snorkeling the reefs here. Dolphins’ Playground is a section of Key West’s waters that’s also an incredible breeding and feeding ground for dolphins. Here you can interact with these beauties and watch them in their natural habitat, making it undoubtedly the best place in Key West to snorkel with dolphins. You’ll find lots of snorkel and boat tours to take you to all the good spots.
Another place in Florida where you can snorkel with dolphins in the wild, Panama City beach is home to a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins living in their natural habitat. The best places to snorkel with dolphins in the wild here is around Shell Island and St Andrew Bay, and you’ll find plenty of tour companies to take you wherever the dolphins are that day.
This is the best place in Hawaii to snorkel with dolphins, and you can do it all year round. Hawaiian spinner dolphins are the most popular here, and you’ll find lots of snorkel companies and boat tours guaranteeing dolphin snorkeling. But if you want to avoid the snorkel and boat tours to snorkel with dolphins in the wild, head to Makua Beach. This spot is home to a pod of spinner dolphins and you can often get the chance to snorkel with them in their natural habitat in the early mornings.
Snorkeling with dolphins in Portugal
Part of the Azores, a group of nine volcanic islands, this island offers some of the best wild dolphin snorkeling experiences in the world. The Azores are quite remote, a 3-hour flight away from Portugal, but you’ll find one of the largest concentrations of dolphins in the world here. The best time to visit is when seas are calmer, between May and September, but you can snorkel with the dolphins here all year round. You’ll find lots of liveaboards and snorkel excursions to take you to the dolphins.
Snorkeling with dolphins in Sri Lanka
The reefs surrounding Sri Lanka’s coastline are home to dozens of spinner and bottlenose dolphins, as well as the enormous humpback whales, sperm whales, and blue whales, making for truly exceptional snorkeling opportunities. The best spot to snorkel with dolphins in Sri Lanka is on the northwest of the island, especially between December and April.