Dolphins are a firm favourite amongst our clients, both young and old. The sociable and playful nature of these wild cetaceans means that they can often be seen in bays, marinas and off the coast of human settlements. Of course, wildlife watching is always a gamble – there is never any guarantee that you will be rewarded with a sighting in return for your patience. However, there are a few destinations which regularly deliver on sightings that we would specifically recommend for those would like to partake in a spot of dolphin spotting on their next holiday.
Our Top 3 Spots for Dolphin Watching on Holiday
Any animal lover will understand that nothing compares to seeing your favourite species in its natural, wild habitat. This is especially true of marine mammals – seeing a dolphin jump through a hoop in an aquarium show is a far cry from the thrill of glimpsing a dorsal fin in the Big Blue.
The island of Losinj – located in northern Croatia’s Kvarner Gulf – is famous for its magnificent array of marine life. Although the island totals just 74 square miles, it plays host to a stunning array of plant species and boasts a diverse coastline of coves and underwater caves. The most famous resident of Losinj, however, is the Bottlenose Dolphin.
Since 1987 the Adriatic Dolphin Project, run by the Blue World Institute, has studied the community of bottlenoses that live around the coast of Losinj and the smaller islands in the Kvarner Gulf. The data collected in the past three decades by this research team has vastly contributed to our understanding of their ecological and social habits.
“Inspired by the work of the Blue World Institute? You can even adopt a dolphin and contribute to the conservation of Croatia’s cetacean population long after you leave Losinj.”
The best way to encounter your favourite finned friends while you’re on holiday is to get out on the waves. There are a number of reputable dolphin watching boat trips on offer in the area. Previous clients have particularly recommended Dolphin Watching Adriatic; their trips start with a visit to the Blue World Institute’s Marine Education Centre in Veli Lošinj to learn more about the species and their environment, before boarding the boat for a two-hour trip.
Stay at: Boutique Hotel Alhambra
The wonderfully luxurious Boutique Hotel Alhambra is perfectly situated on Čikat Bay, surrounded by pine trees and facing the sparkling Adriatic Sea. A recent renovation ensures that guests want for nothing: swanky extras include free iPads for guests’ use, a modern spa with a 20-metre indoor pool and the wonderful Restaurant Alfred Keller.
Jersey, Channel Islands
The wonderful thing about dolphin watching is that you really don’t need to stray far from home to be rewarded with a wild encounter. The unique coastal waters around Jersey are a favourite haunt for cetaceans, grey seals and a panoply of seabirds. Species including the Common and Bottlenose are both sighted in Jersey’s waters, as well as the Harbour Porpoise.
It is definitely worth getting out on the ocean and exploring the wonderful wildlife of the archipelago by boat. Jersey Seafaris offer a range of RIBs that sail all over the Channel Islands – they even have a tracker page on their website which shows you all of the locations in which dolphins have been spotted. They report that sightings are going up year after year, with their trips to Chausey having the highest likelihood of seeing a playful pod.
Even if you don’t manage to glimpse a fin on your boat trip, the Jersey archipelago boasts a fascinating coastal landscape of submerged reefs and islands that are magically uncovered at low tide.
Stay at: Revere Hotel
St Helier is the perfect base for a wildlife watching holiday in Jersey. My pick of the town’s accommodation is the Revere Hotel, which exudes charm and comfort from the moment you step through the door. Some four-poster beds and a medieval-themed candlelight restaurant ensure that you feel every bit the Lord or Lady of the Manor during your stay.
South Shore Coast, Bermuda
Although you can certainly see wild dolphins gambolling off the coast of Bermuda, it is the Humpback Whale that attracts visitors to this island oasis every spring. In March and April, these majestic giants of the ocean pass Bermuda on their migration north along the Gulf Stream to the waters of the Arctic. It is not uncommon to see the puff of a blowhole from the South Shore Coast, where there are numerous viewing points for those with binoculars, but you will have a greater chance of glimpsing them on a whale watching cruise.
If you’re not visiting in spring, never fear – the seas around Bermuda are also home to Blue and Northern Whales, as well as Bottlenose Dolphins. The Fisheries Act protects them while they swim in a 200-mile zone around the island, making it a sanctuary for cetaceans of all types.
Stay at: Coco Reef Resort
Dolphin spotting is a cinch at the Coco Reef Resort in Paget Parish, as every room has a breathtaking view of the pink sand beach and gently lapping ocean beyond. You won’t be able to drag your eyes away from the view – whether enjoying a buffet breakfast at Café Coco, a leisurely lunch on the terrace or a cocktail at the close of the day at La Vista bar.