Wild Dolphin Holiday (5D|6N)

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Swim and interact with dolphins in their natural habitat on a 5 day adventure that will last for a lifetime! Get ready to become part of our team of marine scientists, naturalists, and photographers on a mission to explore the pelagic waters off Mazatlan in search for amazing encounters with one of the ocean´s most gracious and clever creatures. Take a plunge into the secret lives of dolphins and become part of the pod while supporting their study and conservation in Mexico. 

Wild Dolphin Holiday (5D|6N)


    Welcome to Mazatlan! you are now just 21 kilometres south from the Tropic of Cancer in Mexico´s northwest coast, where the waters from the Gulf of California meet the tropical waters of the Mexican Pacific. A true coastal paradise that is home to over seven species of dolphins, with three of these being full time residents in the area: the bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins and spinner dolphins.

    Our mission is to search, track and study this particular dolphin community in order to better understand their ecology, behavior and distribution in the area; gathering crucial information for promoting adequate conservation and management measures, increasing public awareness about their lives, their values and the threats they face, and ultimately inspiring others to to take action for the conservation of all life in the ocean.

    During 4 days in a row you will wake up early and set to explore the pelagic waters off Mazatlan in search of dolphins and other marine life in search for amazing underwater encounters. As part of our team you will have the chance to join with your capacities to this mission, as you will be expected to get directly involved in survey activities while collecting scientific data and footage for current research and conservation projects.

    During our dolphin encounters, our goal is to collect sighting data, take photographs of the natural markings found on the dolphins dorsal fins for individual identification, and deploy hydrophones to record dolphin whistles, giving you a hands-on experience in cetacean research and documentation methods.Once data above water has been collected we will strategically enter the water to swim among them and to document behaviours underwater!

    These are wild dolphins, they are not confined or trained, and most times they are quite busy being dolphins (Did you know dolphins might spend up to 80% of their time feeding or looking for food?). So what we do is to follow their agenda! sometimes they are curious and seek interactions, others not so much; but just being in the water around them, listening to their intriguing sounds, and watch them swim gracefully under the blue ocean is a once in a lifetime experience! These underwater encounters provide our team with a unique opportunity to acquire a much broader perspective on dolphin behaviour, social structure and their environment, as we get to see what is happening within the pods.

    During our dolphin surveys there are always opportunities of close encounters with other fascinating marine life such as sea turtles, sea lions, manta rays, sharks, and a great diversity of marine and coastal birds. After a long morning at sea, we always save some time to cruise the bay of Mazatlan and its majestic islands, exploring its coastlines and snorkelling in its best reef locations, providing our participants with much broader understanding of local marine and coastal ecosystems and its conservation challenges.

    After four full days at sea in the midst of dolphins, the last day of your adventure you will spend it taking part on sea turtle conservation efforts in Mazatlan! As we pay a visit to a sea turtle sanctuary nearby you will have the chance to help baby sea turtles get to sea for the first time to begin their lifelong journey, learn about their ecology and conservation in Mexico, and explore the mangrove channels of El Verde Estuary, a natural protected area home to a great biodiversity, particularly coastal birds and a small population of american crocodiles. A great opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers!

    EXPLORE WITH A CAUSE |

    With your participation you will be supporting our Dolphin Ecology Program, and important marine conservation efforts led by our team and allies in the region. Read more about our research and conservation projects!


    Day ZERO. Arrive to Mazatlan | 

    Transfer from airport to Mazatlan and check-in at hotel.

    6:00 PM. Welcome Cocktail | 1 hr., No dinner included.

    Meet the team and expedition leaders, your fellow participants, and receive a warm welcome to Mazatlan. A brief presentation by our head researcher, Oscar Guzón, M.Sc. and information kit will be provided.


    Day 1. Dolphin Expedition

    6:00 AM…. Continental breakfast and briefing |

    Our boats are conveniently located at your lodge, Isla Mazatlan Golden Resort. After a quick continental breakfast (coffee, juice, fruit and pastries) at the terrace, you will be debriefed on security measures on board, our research project and our swim with wild dolphin protocols.

    7:00 AM….. ALL ABOARD! Expedition begins | 

    Navigate offshore in search for bottlenose, spotted and spinner dolphins, as well as other fascinating marine life. Approximate travel time to and from dolphin aggregation areas and search may take +1 hr. Time following, documenting and swimming with dolphins usually takes from 3.5 to 4.5 hours. Depending on our success finding and swimming with wild dolphins we might save some time to explore the islands of Mazatlan and practice snorkelling in its very best reef locations.

    No previous experience is required to join this expedition, however we all have different abilities when it comes to sports and outdoor experiences. So on this first day at sea, we will devote some time in the early morning to perform a training session in Pajaros Island to try out our equipment and provide guidance to those who have least experience snorkeling. We find these sessions very helpful in identifying people in the group that might need more assistance during dolphin swims than others, or simply to familiarise with the equipment and experience the conditions of being in an open water environment, improving your performance during marine life encounters and your safety at sea.

    Lunch is provided at sea: Baguette, sandwich or burrito + snacks + refreshments.

    2:00 PM…. Back at the Marina |

    Free time to explore your first day in Mazatlan. On your welcome package and information kit you will find a friendly City Map with suggestions on how to move around Mazatlan, public transport, sites of interest and attractions.

    6:00 PM…. Dinner at selected local restaurant |

    Round trip Transfer provided starting 30 minutes before at your hotel lobby.

    8:30 PM….. Back at your hotel | nite nite


    Day 2. Dolphin Expedition

    6:30 AM…. Continental breakfast |

    7:00 AM….. ALL ABOARD! Expedition begins | 

    Navigate offshore in search for bottlenose, spotted and spinner dolphins, as well as other fascinating marine life. Approximate travel time to and from dolphin aggregation areas and search may take +1 hr. Time following, documenting and swimming with dolphins usually takes from 3.5 to 4.5 hours. Depending on our success finding and swimming with wild dolphins we might save some time to explore the islands of Mazatlan and practice snorkelling in its very best reef locations.

    Lunch is provided at sea: Baguette, sandwich or burrito + snacks + refreshments.

    2:00 PM…. Back at the Marina |

    4:00 PM…. OPTIONAL EXTRA ACTIVITY | 

    Bird Watching at Paco´s Reserva de Flora y Fauna | 

    Spend your afternoon exploring the private ecological reserve of Paco´s, with over 9 hectares and a biodiversity of over 2,000 species of plants and animals, this family projects is an obligated visit for all naturalists and explorers, offering some of the best bird watching around and an easy hike through beautiful trails through patches of tropical deciduous forests. Make sure to bring bug repellent, breathable clothes and comfortable tennis shoes or hiking boots!

    6:00 PM…. Dinner at selected local restaurant |

    Round trip Transfer provided starting 30 minutes before at your hotel lobby.

    8:30 PM….. Back at your hotel | nite nite


    Day 3. Dolphin Expedition

    6:30 AM…. Continental breakfast |

    7:00 AM….. ALL ABOARD! Expedition begins | 

    Navigate offshore in search for bottlenose, spotted and spinner dolphins, as well as other fascinating marine life. Approximate travel time to and from dolphin aggregation areas and search may take +1 hr. Time following, documenting and swimming with dolphins usually takes from 3.5 to 4.5 hours. Depending on our success finding and swimming with wild dolphins we might save some time to explore the islands of Mazatlan and practice snorkelling in its very best reef locations.

    Lunch is provided at sea: Baguette, sandwich or burrito + snacks + refreshments.

    2:00 PM…. Back at the Marina |

    4:00 PM…. OPTIONAL EXTRA ACTIVITY | 

    Mazatlán Historic Downtown Walking or Bicycle Tour |

    Spend your afternoon exploring Mazatlán and its historic district, walk (or ride) along its streets and be amazed by its beautiful architecture and immerse yourself in local culture and social life. Opportunities to visit the cathedral, the market, museums, art galleries, Angela Peralta Opera House, monuments along the sea side boardwalk and the Plazuela Machado, the heart of the arts and culture movement of the city.

    6:00 PM…. Dinner at selected local restaurant |

    Round trip Transfer provided starting 30 minutes before at your hotel lobby.

    8:30 PM….. Back at your hotel | nite nite


    Day 4. Dolphin Expedition

    6:30 AM…. Continental breakfast |

    7:00 AM….. ALL ABOARD! Expedition begins | 

    Navigate offshore in search for bottlenose, spotted and spinner dolphins, as well as other fascinating marine life. Approximate travel time to and from dolphin aggregation areas and search may take +1 hr. Time following, documenting and swimming with dolphins usually takes from 3.5 to 4.5 hours. Depending on our success finding and swimming with wild dolphins we might save some time to explore the islands of Mazatlan and practice snorkelling in its very best reef locations.

    Lunch is provided at sea: Baguette, sandwich or burrito + snacks + refreshments.

    2:00 PM…. Back at the Marina |

    Free time to discover Mazatlan, read a book, swim in the pool, take a long walk at the beach or simply relax in your room. It has been a long week! and there is still more action coming.

    6:00 PM…. Dinner at selected local restaurant |

    Round trip Transfer provided starting 30 minutes before at your hotel lobby.

    8:30 PM….. Back at your hotel | nite nite


    Day 5. Sea Turtle & Mangroves Expedition | 

    6:00 AM…. Transfer to Sea Turtle Sanctuary |

    You will board a Van or SUV along our team to visit El Verde Camacho Sea Turtle Sanctuary. Drive will take us about 30-40 minutes to get to the camp, where we will be welcomed by our community partners of El Verde Camacho Tursimo de Naturaleza and a park ranger from CONANP (National Commission of Protected Areas) to explore the site.

    7:00 AM….. Sea Turtle Hatchling Release Experience | 

    Take part on sea turtle conservation efforts helping baby sea turtles get to sea for the first time to begin their lifelong journey of survival. These baby sea turtles are born within the sanctuary after their nests are systematically collected to ensure their protection, avoiding threats like poaching, predation and habitat deterioration; providing these millenary creatures with a better chance of survival once they make it to sea.

    8:00 AM…. Breakfast at camp |

    Enjoy a warm cup of freshly brewed coffee and a delicious regional breakfast hosted by the people from the community, and gather energy for the next activity!

    9:00 AM…. Mangrove Exploration | Choose Kayak or Boat Ride

    After breakfast we will embark on an adventure to explore the mangrove ecosystem of El Verde Estuary. This 1.5 hour ride (3-4 km) will take us among narrow channels of mangroves through the shallow and brackish waters of the estuary and wetlands until we reach the mouth of the Quelite River. For a more laid back experience choose our Boat or Skiff ride, the most adventurous can choose the Kayak ride. Whatever your option, be ready to enjoy the best of Sinaloa´s wilderness at this unique location teeming with wildlife.

    2:00 PM…. Back at your hotel |

    6:00 PM…. Farewell Dinner |

    For your last night in Mazatlán we have prepared a special farewell dinner and cocktail for you. A nice opportunity to mingle and share experiences, plus a final slide show and presentation by our team featuring the best moments of our week together and ways we can keep supporting our research and conservation efforts.

    Round trip Transfer provided starting 30 minutes before at your hotel lobby.

    8:30 PM….. Back at your hotel | Good night and safe travels!


    Day 6. Departure Mazatlan |

    Hotel check-out and Transfer to Airport.

    If you desire to extend your visit, either for one day or more, you can do so by booking and EXTRA DOLPHIN EXPEDITION or other suggested activities. Amenities for this holiday end on Day 6 with no breakfast, meals and or lodging included beyond what its included in the extra activity you desire to book. Transfer to airport is still included for the day of your departure. 

    • An authentic Citizen Science expedition that offers you a once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with dolphins in their natural habitat while joining a team of specialists with a mission to study dolphin ecology.
    • Choosing a Vaction instead of a one day tour guarantees amazing underwater encounters with the dolphins and a much in depth experience!
    • Our boats provide a great platform to ensure a more intimate encounter with marine life and awesome photography opportunities.
    • Small groups and personal attention by our highly qualified crew, allow for individual discussions about the lives of dolphins and local environment as well as updated information about their study and conservation in Mexico.
    • Hydrophone on board to record and listen to dolphin whistles!
    • Proceeds from this tour support local marine life research and conservation programs

    Please do not contribute to the capture and captivity of dolphins for display and entertainment, it is a cruel industry. If you love dolphins, visit them in their natural habitat and enjoy the real Sea World! #emptythetanks


    A collection of images from our Wild Dolphin Adventures |

    Small groups & personal attention for a unique experience in nature.

    SIGHTINGS BLOG

    La vida entre dos mundos: mamíferos marinos de Sinaloa

    Con el trópico de Cáncer cruzándolo a solo unos ki

    11 March, 2016 read more

    Humpback whale mother and calf pairs early this winter season

    Female Humpback whales are thought to reach sexual

    15 January, 2013 read more

    First recorded sighting of False killer whales in Mazatlan, Sinaloa.

    On january 10th a thursday morning, our crew left

    26 April, 2012 read more

    ONCA on NatGeo TRAVELER

    In December of 2008, National Geographic´s TRAVELER Magazine, on its 10th edition for Mexico, published an article about research-based whale watching in Mazatlan with Onca Explorations.

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