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“Dolphins” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Dolphin Discovery

Dolphin Discovery
Mz 23 Plano 1 Lote 11-Centro Comercial Marina, Puerto Aventuras 77400, Mexico
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Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Zoos & Aquariums
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Attraction details
Owner description: Dolphin Discovery Puerto Aventuras invites you to live the dream of swimming with dolphins in the paradise of the Riviera Maya. Our beautiful, natural lagoon setting is ideal for your hands-on interactions with our family of dolphins, manatees and sea lions. We offer programs for all ages, a family-friendly experience you will never forget.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

My kids - 16 and 12 did this. The staff/trainers were great. I had purchased the 45 minute package for $118 USD (included transfer from our hotel) and they were in the water for about an hour and a half. The dolphins and manatees are in a lagoon, not a pool which was nice.

As people have mentioned, the pictures were insane. $25 for each pic to be put on a disk or $35 for a hard copy. It's a shame because the pictures were good, I just couldn't part with that much money after spending it on the dolphins. We went to snorkel/cenote/zip line and got all those pictures (over 100) on a disk for $40. I would have rather donated to the care of the animals than to the photographers.

Because the swim was extended, we missed lunch and had to hope back on the van to our resort. It didn't matter, because we were at an all inclusive. Don't forget your towels and biodegradable sunscreen.

Visited March 2013
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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Great dolphin swim, worth every penny!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

This was one of the best things the kids did on our trip. They had a blast here! They got to learn about the dolphins, This is a very interactive swim with the dolphins. They had a blast being pulled by them, riding them, do tricks with them, etc. They spent about an hour in the water doing activities with the dolphins and loved every minute of it. By standers are able to watch from all around the marina. I was able to get some great pictures. I do agree with past reviews that the cost of the pictures at the end is very high! So bring your camera and be ready to snap your own if you want to save some money.
The trainers here were great!
Our kids also did the swim with the manatees which they also loved. They got to spend about 30 mins in the water with them mostly feeding them, They had a blast.
They are still talking about this excursion and given the chance would do it again.
I would recommend this especially for kids!

Visited March 2013
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Columbus, Ohio
Top Contributor
134 reviews 134 reviews
23 attraction reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
205 helpful votes 205 helpful votes
“Expensive posing with dolphins for expensive photos, but "No Towel For You..." (read me)”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

First, let me say that we had fun. Our family of five (kids ages 17, 11 and 11) enjoyed our time at Dolphin Discovery in Puerto Aventuras.

We booked online about 10 days in advance, and the website told us we saved 25% by doing so. I did not check their walk-in price, so can't confirm we saved money. We did the Royal Swim. They decide adult vs. child by height, and 11 year olds are both tall enough, so 5 adult tickets cost us $521 by credit card in advance ($104/person; their website says the normal price is $139).

We have done dolphin swims 4 or 5 times in the past - some in Mexico, some in the Carribean. This was by no means the best or the worst. Pretty typical.

There were 11 people in our group. The instructors were friendly and spoke fine English. We spent 45-50 minutes in the water with the dolphins.

What we disliked about Dolphin Discovery is that 99% of our time in the water with dolphins was spent either posing for a picture or waiting while someone else in our group to pose for a picture. Since there were 11 people in our group, 10/11ths of your 45 minutes is spent waiting for someone else to pose (it's somewhat fun watching a member of your family pose, but much less fun burning precious minutes waiting on strangers).

Pose holding the dolphin. Pose getting a kiss from the dolphin. Pose holding their flippers to dance. Hang on to their flippers for a ride (and a picture) - kind of fun. The foot-push was genuinely fun. Doing each of these 11 times burns 45-50 minutes very quickly.

Then we had 10 minutes swimming with nurse sharks (totally harmless and more afraid of you than you are of them) and sting rays (both of our sons got to actually touch a stingray - they feel like wet sandpaper). That was fun, because we actually got a few minutes of unstructured time swimming around looking at the animals - and they took no photos.

When we were done swimming, there were nice fresh-water showers to rinse the salt water off.

We walked back to the outdoor lockers wet, and asked a staff member where the towels were. "Sorry, we don't have towels". Really? $500+ for an hour and you don't offer towels...?!? Gimme a break! That's stupid and cheap. Suddenly this felt a little over-commercialized.

So we're standing ouside the lobby, wet, dripping off, wondering what to do. We can't change into our dry clothes yet, because we're wet. We can't go to lunch yet because we haven't changed into our dry clothes.

And the same staff member (who told us there are no towels) asks "do you want to see your pictures?". Their lobby is a very nice, marble floored, air conditioned storefront. I said "but we're wet...", to which he replied "no problem for me". I decline and wait a few minutes to dry off.

Then another staff member comes over and asks "do you want to see your pictures?". Again I decline and wait to drip-dry in the sun, but am seriously frustrated that we paid $500+ and they're too cheap to give us dry towels.

A third staff member walks over and asks "do you want to see your pictures?". I finally relent and say OK (because I have nothing else to do until we dry off). Now I'm standing in the air conditioning, dripping on their marble floor, being pitched a $249 CD of our photos (or individual prints for $25 each).

Suddenly they DO have nice, clean, dry beach towels - to wipe up the floor - but "NO TOWEL FOR YOU!". Are you kidding me?!? The scene felt like a Swim-With-The-Dolphins sequel to the old "NO SOUP FOR YOU!" Saturday Night Live skit.

So I'm wet (no towel), I'm cold (in the air conditioning), I'm hungry, I've been pressed 3 separate times within 5 minutes to come inside to view the pictures, and now I'm being aggressively pitched another $250 to buy the pictures while they wipe up the floor with the towels I requested for my family.

Suddenly this feels REALLY over-commercialized and a tourist trap, because the entire operation is structured to upsell the additional spend for pictures. Expensive pictures would be fine if posing was free, but paying $500+ only to be upsold another $250 felt like a total tourist trap setup.

So we declined and went back outside to dry off, discuss the expensive photo package, and have lunch (included, in the outdoor restaurant next door, which was fine and nice).

An hour later, before our transportation picked us up, I went back inside (now dry with a full belly), negotiated like crazy, and eventually bought the CD for $189. I am a very experienced negotiator, and felt fairly sure they would have let me walk for less than $189.

They also offer swimming with sea lions, manatees and other water creatures. The animals seem healthy and well cared for. The animal pools were very clean and plenty big enough (versus those of other "Swim With The..." parks we've seen).

The facility is clean and well maintained. There are showers to wash the salt water off at the end, and free lockers. Transportation to and from our resort was included, as was the nice lunch at the restaurant next door.

As other reviews have noted, there is public sitting across from the dolphin pools. If you have a decent camera with a telephoto lens, you'll get some pictures. The angle won't be nearly as good as the pictures they shoot, because they face the participants away from the public seating for most of the posed stuff, but you'll save $200 and get good enough pictures to remember the outing.

As I mentioned, we had fun, but it was very expensive for what we got (basically pictures of us posing for pictures with dolphins). If we'd actually spent $139/person (full price) and paid full price for the photo CD ($249), this would have been $1,000 for a 2 hour outing and we would have felt totally ripped off.

Even for $700 we 1) should have gotten towels, 2) should have gotten some unstructured time playing with the dolphins, and not just posing for expensive photos.

Visited March 2013
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Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“A great experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013 via mobile

This was a great experience for the whole family. My kids, ages 10-13 loved it as did my mom who is 78! The trainers took extra care and were very attentive to everyone's needs. We would do this again in a heartbeat!

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Eastbourne, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Brilliant experience with a few buts ...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

We booked this experience through First Choice whilst staying in Mexico which was our 1st mistake - the experience was slightly high in cost however; we really did want to make our holiday one to remember. We were picked up to go to the experience from our hotel and taken directly there which was very useful. On arrival we met the staff who were very nice and helpful, we were shown around the surroundings and the 'pools' and then given our fab 'trainer for the day' t shirts. We were put in a group of other holiday makers - the group wasn't to big either so it was nice to make friends with other people and not have to share the time with alot of others. It was made clear though at this point that although we had paid for the full experience which was meant to include swimming with the dolphins, bull sharks, manatee and sealions we would not be getting it! Those guests from the UK were given times to swim with the dolphins, manatee and shark but told we were unable to swim with the sealions - apparently this was due to the insurance for UK guests and that the UK tour operators do not cover you. After kicking up a fuss the situation was still not resolved however; we were totally aware it was not Dolphin Discovery's fault and was the fault of our UK tour operator. Dolphin Discovery did try and compensate us with addtional time with baby dolphins which was lovely. The food was reasonable. After your experiences you are shown to an area where you can see all of your pictures from the day - obviously you fall in love with them and then are floored by the prices! The sales team were not very friendly or helpful ... make sure you barter with them on the price however; it will remain expensive.

We swam with dolphins in Florida and both said we enjoyed this experience just as much or maybe even more!

Visited October 2012
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