Swim with Dolphins in Costa Rica: A Magical Experience You’ll Never Forget

swim with dolphins in costa rica

Dive into the adventure of a lifetime ! Swimming with dolphins in Costa Rica is an unforgettable experience. It is one of the best activities for tourists who want to explore the natural beauty of this Central American paradise.

Costa Rica is known for its rich marine life, warm waters, and the wide variety of dolphins that can be found in both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

In this blog post, we’ll explore where to swim with dolphins, this unforgettable experience combines natural beauty, thrilling encounters, and the warm embrace of the ocean.

Keep reading to discover Costa Rica’s best spots for this bucket-list-worthy escapade!.

Best Places to Swim with Dolphins

Hotspots in Costa Rica

The Pacific Coast

The Pacific coast of Costa Rica offers many opportunities to go swimming with dolphins. Two prime locations are the Osa Peninsula and Marino Ballena National Park.

The Osa Peninsula is a biodiversity hotspot and is home to many species of dolphins, whales, and sea turtles.

Marino Ballena National Park, famous for its whale-tail-shaped sandy beach, is another perfect destination for watching and swimming with them.

Boat tours are commonly organized to provide close encounters with these amazing marine mammals.

Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast

The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica also has some excellent spots for swimming with dolphins.

Tortuguero National Park, known for its lush flora and unique wildlife, is one such destination.

The park’s canals are home to bottlenose dolphins, and boat tours are available to explore these mystical waterways.

Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is another great location. The warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and the abundance of marine life make it an ideal destination for this unforgettable activity.

Swim with Dolphins: Tours and Packages

Choosing the Right Swim Tour

Boat Tours

Boat Tours

Boat tours are a popular way to go swimming with dolphins in Costa Rica.

They offer a relaxed and comfortable experience, allowing you to observe these magnificent creatures from a safe distance.

Some tours may also include other activities such as snorkeling, fishing, or visiting nearby islands and attractions.

Snorkeling Tours

Snorkeling Tours

For those who prefer a more immersive experience, snorkeling tours provide the opportunity to swim alongside dolphins in their natural habitat.

These tours typically include expert guides who will help you locate the dolphins and ensure your safety while in the water.

Scuba Diving Tours

Scuba Diving Tours (Optional for advanced swimmers)

Advanced swimmers might be interested in scuba diving tours, which offer the chance to explore the underwater world and swim with dolphins at greater depths.

These tours are usually reserved for experienced divers and require previous scuba diving certification.

Best Time to Go Swimming with Dolphins in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Dolphin Season

Pacific Coast

The Pacific coast of Costa Rica offers year-round opportunities to swim with dolphins.

However, the best time to visit is during the dry season, from December to April.

During this period, the weather is more predictable, and the water is generally calmer, making it easier to spot dolphins and enjoy your swim experience.

Caribbean Coast

The Caribbean coast’s dolphin season typically runs from February to April and September to November.

These months offer the best chances of encountering them in the Caribbean Sea, as the water is clearer and calmer.

However, it is still possible to see dolphins outside of these months, although the weather can be more unpredictable.

The Different Species You’ll Encounter in Costa Rica

Common types in Costa Rica

Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins are one of the most commonly sighted species when swimming with dolphins in Costa Rica.

These playful creatures are known for their acrobatic displays, leaping out of the water and riding the bow waves created by boats.

They are often found along the coast, making them easy to spot on your adventure.

Spotted Dolphin

The spotted dolphin is another species commonly seen during dolphin swims in Costa Rica.

They are easily recognized by the unique spots that cover their bodies.

These dolphins are known for their curious nature and often approach boats and swimmers, providing an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Rare Dolphins in Costa Rica

Spinner Dolphin

Spinner dolphins, named for their impressive aerial spins, are a rarer species to encounter while swimming in Costa Rica.

However, the Osa Peninsula is a prime location to search for these acrobatic animals.

They are often found in large groups and can be seen leaping out of the water in a breathtaking display.

Risso’s Dolphin

Risso’s dolphins are another rare species found in Costa Rican waters.

They are easily identified by their robust bodies and unique markings, which include white scars and scratches.

Although they are not as common as other species, with a knowledgeable guide and a bit of luck, you may be able to spot them during your swim adventure.

Responsible Tourism in Costa Rica

Guidelines for Swimming with Dolphins

Observe from a Safe Distance

When swimming with dolphins in Costa Rica, it’s essential to maintain a respectful distance.

Close encounters can stress the animals and disrupt their natural behavior. Follow your guide’s instructions and never attempt to touch or feed the them.

Follow Boat Operator Guidelines

Choose a reputable tour company that follows sustainable practices and guidelines to protect the dolphins and their habitat.

Responsible boat operators will maintain a safe distance from the animals, avoid chasing them, and limit the time spent with each group.

Avoid Feeding and Touching

Feeding and touching dolphins disrupt their natural behavior and can make them dependent on humans for food.

It’s also illegal in Costa Rica and can result in fines or penalties. Observe and appreciate these magnificent creatures from a safe distance and leave them undisturbed in their natural environment.


Swimming with dolphins in Costa Rica is a magical experience that will create lasting memories.

By choosing responsible and eco-friendly tours, you can enjoy this unique adventure while ensuring the protection and conservation of these amazing creatures and their habitat.

Costa Rica’s diverse coastline offers numerous opportunities to swim with dolphins, whether you prefer a leisurely boat cruise, snorkeling, or scuba diving.

As you embark on this unforgettable journey, remember to respect them and their environment, creating a harmonious and enjoyable experience for both you and these magnificent marine mammals.

So, pack your bags and head to Costa Rica, a destination where you can immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Pacific and Caribbean coasts while swimming with dolphins.

And while you’re there, don’t forget to explore other attractions such as waterfalls, tropical gardens, and the diverse wildlife that Costa Rica has to offer.

The memories you make will last a lifetime and serve as a testament to the enchanting allure of this Central American paradise.


Where can I swim with dolphins in Costa Rica?

Some of the best places to swim with dolphins in Costa Rica are the Osa Peninsula, Marino Ballena National Park, Tortuguero National Park, and Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. These locations offer unique opportunities to encounter dolphins in both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

When is the best time to swim with dolphins in Costa Rica?

The Pacific coast offers year-round opportunities, with the dry season (December to April) being the best time. On the Caribbean coast,  sightings are most common between February to April and September to November.

What types of tours are available for swimming with dolphins in Costa Rica?

There are several tour options, including boat tours, snorkeling tours, and scuba diving tours for experienced divers. Each tour offers a different level of interaction and immersion with them.

Is it safe to swim with dolphins in Costa Rica?

Yes, swimming with dolphins is generally safe when you follow guidelines, maintain a respectful distance, and choose a reputable tour operator. Guides will ensure your safety while you’re in the water and help you locate them.

What can I do to make sure my dolphin swim is eco-friendly?

Choose a responsible tour operator that follows sustainable practices and guidelines for dolphin tourism. Avoid close interactions, feeding, or touching them, and support local conservation efforts to protect these amazing creatures and their environment.