Imagine jumping into the open ocean, only to be surrounded by hundreds of playful spinner dolphins.
The sound of their clicks and whistles echoes in your ears as you watch them swim below and beside you.
The dolphins keep their distance, but want to be noticed by you as they swim by quickly, jumping and spinning as they go.
After fifteen minutes of dolphin watching from the water, you climb back in the boat and watch as the dolphins swim alongside the boat, matching speed and jumping to spin in the air.
Sounds amazing, right?
Good news: this experience is available year round in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. And if you’re curious about dolphin watching tours in Puerto Escondido, you’ve come to right place. Keep reading for the dolphin tour Puerto Escondido guide!
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Is it Ethical to Swim with Dolphins in Puerto Escondido?
Before we get into this dolphin tour Puerto Escondido guide, we need to address the elephant in the room: is swimming with dolphins ethical?
Well, the answer to any ethics question will always be subjective, but based on my background with ecotourism experiences in Mexico, here is my take:
Swimming with dolphins in the wild in Puerto Escondido is ethical, as long as you keep your distance and respect all marine wildlife you encounter.
Since Puerto Escondido dolphin tours do not involve touching or captivity, and take place in dolphins natural habitat, I believe it’s okay to swim with dolphins in this context.
Now on to the Puerto Escondido dolphin tour guide.
Dolphins swimming beside the boat during our dolphin watching tour
What to Expect on a Puerto Escondido Dolphin Tour
Puerto Escondido dolphin tours give you the opportunity to encounter pods of hundreds of dolphins in the wild, three to four miles off the Coast of Oaxaca.
As the tour boats approach the pod, dolphins begin swimming and jumping alongside the boat playfully. Essentially, they escort and welcome human visitors into their habitat.
If you choose to jump into the water, the dolphins will keep their distance (of at least 10-15 feet), but swim under and around you playfully.
To see and swim with dolphins in Puerto Escondido, you’ll have to book a dolphin tour. Tours are available daily through several local ecotourism companies.
The cost of a tour typically includes a roundtrip boat trip off the coast of Puerto Escondido, life jackets, snorkel equipment, and a local guide. Some tours also include whale watching, hotel pick-up, and other amenities.
Most tours start at sunrise and last for about three hours. Many local companies will allow you to book a private tour or join a group.
Types of Dolphins You’ll See on Puerto Escondido Dolphin Tours
You may see several different species of dolphins, including: Spinner Dolphins, Common Bottlenose Dolphins, Long Beaked Common Dolphins, Pink Dolphins, and more.
When I did a dolphin tour in March I only saw spinner dolphins, but there were around a thousand of them!
Other Marine Wildlife in Puerto Escondido Boat Tours
While most tours are solely focused on dolphin watching, its easy to encounter other marine life, such as sea turtles, mobula rays, tropical fish, and seabirds. If you visit during whale season, you may luck out and see gray whales or humpback whales!
Best Puerto Escondido Dolphin Tours
Hosted by Eco Adventures
★★★★★ 5/5 Stars out of 80+ reviews
Pickup included from anywhere in Puerto Escondido (up to 3.5 kilometers). Pickup outside of Puerto Escondido for an additional cost.
This is the the highest rated rated Puerto Escondido dolphin tour, led by funny, reliable, and reputable local guides. While the price is slightly higher than the other tours on this list, the tour’s high ratings reflect the quality of the experience. Receive a full refund if you cancel 24 hour ahead. The tour includes:
★ Pickup (no transport back after tour)
★ Local guide
★ Use of snorkeling equipment
★ Boat with shade
★ Life vest
“Incredible experience!! Saw hundreds of dolphins, some manatees, and two sea turtles. Captain Israel was reliable and funny. Highly recommend this excursion!“Review from Elizabeth on Booking.com
Hosted by Omar’s Sportfishing
★★★★★ 5/5 Stars out of 70+ reviews
Pickup included from hotels in Puerto Escondido.
This is another highly rated and reputable tour, but at a lower price. Expect a small group, friendly boat captain, and knowledgeable guide. This tour operator includes:
★ Pickup (no transport back after tour)
★ Professional guide
★ Bottled water
★ Life jacket
“We saw everything, hundreds of dolphins, manta rays, sea turtles and a Humpback whale! Several participants jumped in the water with the dolphins. It was such a special experience.”Review from Mary on Booking.com
Dolphin Tour Puerto Escondido Packing List
Regardless of which dolphin-watching tour you book, make sure you have these essentials:
If you want to jump in the water with the dolphins, be sure to wear a swimsuit under your clothes.
I love this full size (yet compact) sand-resistant towel! I bring it everywhere!
Even though most dolphin tours leave at sunrise, you will still need sunscreen!
You’d be surprised how cold it can get when you’re on the boat first thing in the morning. Bring something to keep you warm!
Also see: 202 Mexico Instagram Captions
All of the underwater photos in this article were taken with an 10 year old GoPro. Just a few months after I got back from Puerto Escondido, I bought a new GoPro 11 and the quality is incredible! My one regret is that I didn’t get this GoPro sooner so that I could have better pictures of the hundreds of dolphins I was swimming with!
Where do Puerto Escondido dolphin tours leave from?
Most dolphin tours leave from Playa Principal in the heart of Puerto Escondido.
How many dolphins will you see?
According to Capital Edgar from Eco Adventures, you can expect to see up to a thousand dolphins at once. However, in the worst case, you may see as little as five.
When is the best time to go dolphin watching in Puerto Escondido?
You can see dolphins all year round, though Captain Edgar from Eco Adventures says that he tends to see the most dolphins in January and February.
Do dolphin tours include transport back to your hotel?
Most Puerto Escondido tours do not include transportation back to your hotel. You may need to walk or take a taxi back after the tour.
Is the water cold?
Although the Pacific Ocean is known for being cold, you the temperatures off the Coast of Oaxaca are decent. You don’t need a wetsuit, but don’t expect warm water.
Other things to do in Puerto Escondido
Dolphin watching is just one of many magical experiences you can enjoy in Puerto Escondido.
★ Release baby sea turtles into the Pacific Ocean
★ Explore Puerto Escondido’s best beaches: Playa Carrizalillo, Playa Zicatela, Playa Manzanillo, Playa Bacocho, and La Punta
★ Take a day trip to Chacahua National Park
★ Go horseback riding along the beach
★ Take surf lessons
★ Tour local mezcal distilleries
Final Thoughts: Dolphin Tour Puerto Escondido
Swimming with dolphins in Puerto Escondido is truly an unforgettable experience. I’ve gone on whale watching tours and boat tours all around the world, and this experience in Puerto Escondido was my absolute favorite.
Whether you’re in town for two days or two weeks, be sure add dolphin watching to your Puerto Escondido itinerary!
Other Oaxaca Travel Guides:
The Ultimate Guide to Santiago Apoala, Oaxaca Waterfalls & Hiking
27+ Oaxaca Vegan Restaurants & Vegan-Friendly Spots (Plus Cooking Classes)
Visiting Jalatlaco, Oaxaca’s Most Darling Neighborhood
La Punta, Puerto Escondido: The Ultimate Guide
Playa Carrizalillo Oaxaca: Worth Visiting in 2023? Plus Complete Travel Guide
Essential Mexico Travel Resources
Have a Mexico trip coming up soon? There are a lot of travel companies out there, but some are better than others. After traveling to dozens of countries and living abroad on several continents, here are some of my favorite websites and resources for planning unforgettable trips.