Swimming with dolphins at Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Dolphin Discovery at Isla Mujeres is the most amazing tour that we booked on our recent short trip to Mexico. We booked this tour before arrival through Viator as we usually do.

For this tour we were not picked up from our hotel. We had to take the local bus to Playa Langosta.

There was a blue ferry at the dock. with a Dolphin Princess sign. Very easy to spot it. At the entrance they scanned our tickets and we got a wristband.

The ferry ride was very pleasant. They were serving free coffee, soft drinks and cookies as much as you like at the bar.

During the ferry ride they will try to persuade you to upgrade your ticket to VIP, in order to use VIP lounge at the island and have some extra benefits, like swimming with sharks and sea lions for example, but we didn’t.

At the park you are allowed to take photos, but you cannot take photos during the swimming with dolphins. They have a professional photographer that will take photos of everyone who is swimming with the dolphins.

If you wish to have those photos you can choose different options, we chose to buy all the photos through the app, and it costed around 150 USD. In order to make this option possible you need to download the app and the employees will guide you with that. It is actually very simple and easy.

The photos were expensive, but we wanted to cherish this experience and to keep alive this incredible memory forever. What is the point in having this swimming with dolphins life time experience without any tangible memory to keep.

At arrival, we first went to wear our swim suits and we left our personal belongings in the locker. Later on they divided us into groups of maximum 10 people. Each group had its own photographer. They will also provide you with life-vest. Important to know is that you are not allowed to take anything in the pool with you.

The entire experience lasts about an hour. After being escorted to a pool by our photographer, we entered into the water and stood on the floating platform by the pool wall in the line.

While on the floating platform the water was about 1,5 m deep. This is the reason why very small children are not allowed without supervision. There we met the dolphin trainer, a very cute and tiny Mexican girl, I’m sorry but I don’t remember her name. She was very sweet, kind and informative. First of all she explained very briefly to us what we were suppose to do during our interaction with the dolphins in order to not injure the dolphin but also ourselves.

She answered all the questions we had and finally our dolphin arrived. Dolphin’s name was Gretel, she was a 37 years old adorable female dolphin.

Gretel was very playful and cooperative. Each one of us from the group interacted with her. Each one from the group did 7 different interactions with dolphin. For example: a belly ride, boogie push, hug, hand target, handshake, and kiss with a dolphin.

We truly enjoyed the experience. We also learned a lot of interesting facts about the dolphins. The most interesting one is that dolphins actually never sleep as the rest of mammals. They only sleep with one half of the brain while another half is awake.

Sleeping with one half of the brain helps dolphins remain vigilant for long periods. Dolphins can stay awake for at least two weeks at a time. That’s because dolphins sleep with only one half of their brains at a time.

So, when it’s time to rest, a dolphin will shut down only one hemisphere of its brain, and close the opposite eye (the left eye will be closed when the right half of the brain sleeps, and vice versa). During this time, the other half of the brain monitors what’s going in the environment and controls breathing functions. Within a 24-hour period, each half of the dolphin brain gets about 4 hours of slow-wave sleep. I found this really amazing.

The average dolphin species can stay underwater for as long as eight to 10 minutes. Dolphins breathe through their blowhole, which has a muscular flap that covers it when they go under water, keeping water out of their lungs.

People in general do not have fear of dolphins as they have a reputation for being friendly, charming and benevolent with humans. However, there are differences between the dolphins that are in captivity and those in the wild, since their encounters with people are occasional.

I had seen dolphins in the wild many times in Greece where I lived, but only from the distance. Because those dolphins were afraid to approach the shore and get close to people.

We really had a lot of fun during the interaction with Gretel and we got so much positive energy from her. Each one of us left this pool after about an hour of interaction with huge smiles on our faces and we were all truly amazed and happy.

Later on we had a lunch at the open buffet. They had a great selection of food and everything we ate was fresh and tasty, especially the sweets. In addition to local cuisine, you could also try burgers and french fries, all kinds of pasta and salads. 

As true Eastern European girl, I really love to have a cup of coffee after a good lunch. There were all kinds of milkshakes, soft drinks, beer, wine, but I couldn’t find any coffee by the buffet.

We found later on a nice spot with comfy chairs by the sea to sit and relax under the umbrella. A charming and funny waiter approached us to ask if we wish to drink something.

I asked for a cup of coffee of course. His answer was unbelievably hilarious. He said to me in a funny manner: ”Señorita (corresponding to Miss, in English), I cannot believe what you just asked. This is Mexico, we drink coffee only in the morning, it is 4PM now and it’s Tequila time!”

We laughed so much, but in my opinion the sun was still burning. I was not keen to have such a strong alcoholic beverage at the beach. The last thing I wanted was a headache to ruin my experience. So, since there was no way to get a cup of coffee we decided to have a cold beer instead of Tequila.

Something else I would like to mention, is that there is no need to take your towels with you on this tour. They provide fresh and clean towels for everybody at the desk by the lockers. In order to take their towels you need to leave your ID or your driver’s license as guarantee, so that they know you will return back the towels.

Around 5PM we took a boat to the Isla Mujeres town center by the local port. The ride from the amusement park to the center was about 10 minutes.

We had about an hour and half to explore the town and to shop some souvenirs from the market.

If you are tired to walk around you can rent a golf cart there.

As I remember it was about $30 per hour. We didn’t rent it because we decided to walk around.

I only wish that we could spend more time at the island. I liked the atmosphere, locals are very hospitable and kind. We also met some tourists at the local bar by the port, they all seemed very happy and relaxed.

The Luna bar we sat for a drink before our departure was on the beach. It has nice vibe and live music. Even though I expected to hear Mexican music, the band was playing in reggae rhythm.

They were very talented musicians though, and they were interacting with all the guests constantly. It was really joyful experience unfortunately very short. We had to run and catch the last ferry for Cancun.

The return ferry ride was very pleasant, the sun was getting down slowly. It was a bit windy, but the wind was warm. We sat outside on the balcony and we enjoyed the amazing view of Cancun from the sea.

Even though we spend more money than we planned at Isla Mujeres, and the photos of Dolphin Discovery were quite expensive, we were glad that we went on this tour and that we bought these photos after all. Dolphin Discovery is such a fun experience for all ages. I don’t deny that I felt excited like a kid during the interaction with dolphins.

If you wish to explore accommodation options at the Isla Mujers island then check the previous link. If I ever visit Mexico again, I would choose to spend at least 5 days at Isla Mujeres island. The place is very charming and worth visiting and I will write more about it in my next blog post, so stay tuned. Except the Dolphin Discovery there are many more options and activities to enjoy there. For example Parasailing experience could be a very interesting activity.

While in Mexico our base was in Cancun at amazing Royal Caribbean hotel. On the booking.com website the hotel name is listed as Emporio Cancun Hotel but what ever name you put in the search engine you will end ed up at the very same hotel.

Through the link that I shared above you can see the guests reviews, prices and availability for your desired dates. I will describe my experience and the impression of the Emporio Cancun Hotel in one of my next blog post so stay-tuned and follow my blog to learn more about Mexico and many more beautiful destinations I had visited.

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