If you start with the gorgeous beaches, waterfalls, and other natural attributes and weave all the way through the intriguing culture and happening entertainment scene, you’ll see that Jamaica is a bucket list travel destination for more reasons than one. Whether you’re looking for a destination where you can do some sightseeing or somewhere you can jump right into a crazy island adventure, the options are endless on this sunny Caribbean isle.
And speaking of adventures… one of the experiences you probably won’t want to miss out on while in Jamaica is swimming with dolphins. There are two great spots to do this in Jamaica — Dolphin Cove Montego Bay (which was previously called Dolphin Cove Negril) and Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios. These are both dolphin-centric attractions, but there are other marine animals you can also interact with while there, such as stingrays and sharks.
There’s much to learn and love about dolphins at Dolphin Cove in Jamaica! We’ve compiled everything you need to know before going to this attraction to ensure your time there, whether you’re doing a full day trip or just stopping in from a cruise ship, is simply unforgettable.
Dolphin Cove Jamaica is the sort of attraction where you’ll be able to do some of the things you’ve always had on your vacation to-do list. With options like swimming with dolphins and petting sharks on the agenda, you’ll be more than grateful for the decision to push the limits and really live in Jamaica by the time your visit to Dolphin Cove is over. If you’re just about sold, here are some of the best things to do at Dolphin Cove in Jamaica:
There are many ways you will be able to get up close to dolphins while at Dolphin Cove in Jamaica. This can be done through the various programs offered, which start on an introductory level and get more involved as you level up. The first of these is a dolphin encounter program, which takes you about knee-deep into the water to interact with dolphins. This program is great for young children and people who prefer to stay in shallower water.
The dolphin swim package is done in deeper water, and you’ll get to try out various tricks with the dolphins. The third package includes everything contained in the first two packages with the added opportunity to try out a ‘foot push’ (essentially a surfing experience including two very playful dolphins). You can select any program you like based on what you’re comfortable with. If you want to see the dolphins, but don’t necessarily want to get into the water, that’s an option too.
If you’re on the braver side, you can opt to swim with sharks at Dolphin Cove. You’ll have the option to also hold and feed Caribbean sharks at this facility. If you decide to go for this encounter, it is comforting to know that the sharks in this experience are not at all dangerous to humans. Added to that, trainers will be with you for the duration of this experience to help ensure you feel safe and have a good time. In addition to swimming with sharks, you can snorkel with them too! At both the Montego Bay and Ocho Rios Dolphin Cove attractions, you can watch the shark show for free with an added cost to pet the sharks.
Depending on how adventurous you are, snorkeling with stingrays just might have been on your to-do list for quite some time. Attractions like Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios feature a stingray snorkeling experience where you will be able to get close enough to these marine animals to hold, pet, and even feed them at the Stingray Sandbar. At both the Montego Bay and Ocho Rios Dolphin Cove locations, you’ll gain insight about stingrays from the trained and knowledgeable guides who’re always happy to answer questions.
In addition to dolphins, sharks and stingrays, there are other animals at Dolphin Cove that you can interact with, including camels! That’s right, you can meet, feed, and ride camels while on vacation in Jamaica at an added cost of about $10 USD. Once you’re introduced to these amazing mammals, you can go on a Jungle Trail Walk where you’re likely to come across exotic creatures like snakes, iguanas, and parrots.
There are a few things you probably need to know ahead of planning a trip to Dolphin Cove. Here are some of the most important ones:
As with most attractions in Jamaica and elsewhere, if you want to secure a ticket or tour spot, you should make your reservation as early as possible. This is even more important if you will be traveling during peak season (mid-December to mid-April in Jamaica) when tours seem to fill up much quicker.
Be sure to book and confirm all or at the very least most of your tours before arriving in Jamaica. If something changes and you need a refund, you should be able to get a refund for any cancellation made on a Dolphin Cove program as long as the cancellation is made at least 5 days ahead of your tour date or earlier, but you should confirm the cancellation policy when booking. If your tour is canceled due to bad weather, you will also be entitled to a full refund.
You’ll need to travel with enough currency to cover the entrance fees for most tours in Jamaica unless these are already included within your tour package. Entrance fees may vary according to the tour, the program you choose, and even whether or not you want to walk away with photos at the end.
When heading on any Dolphin Cove tour in Jamaica, it is important to wear comfortable clothing. When packing your bag for the day include towels, swimsuits, sunscreen, a camera, and some money for souvenirs. Keep in mind though, it is recommended that you don’t apply sunscreen until after your dolphin activity for the safety of the dolphins and the preservation of the environment. Camera-wise, there are some programs that do not allow photography, such as dolphin programs. For these, it is necessary to purchase a photo package that can come with an added price tag between $60-$100 USD. The price in this instance can vary based on the number of photos you purchase.
If you’re planning on swimming with the marine animals at Dolphin Cove, it is a good idea to leave your jewelry at home. This includes rings, bracelets, and some types of earrings. You can either leave these at home or take them off before your program. Wearing jewelry during these experiences is not advisable because you can lose them while in the water and they can also scratch the dolphins.
Dolphin Cove Montego Bay is located in Lucea, which is between Montego Bay and Negril. It is about an hour’s drive from Lucea to either Negril or Montego Bay. Dolphin’s Cove Ocho Rios on the other hand is in Ocho Rios, on the northern side of Jamaica.
The easiest way to get to Dolphin Cove Montego Bay is by way of a tour, which can take you directly there and back to your resort once the tour is over. Going with a tour will save you from having to find this location on your own, but if you’re up for exploring, then you can also rent a car to get there. Local buses and taxis are also an option for getting to Dolphin Cove. If you’re interested in taxi services, you can book a taxi from your resort and get information about the costs from the resort staff.
Dolphin Cove isn’t very hard to get to if you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, an all-inclusive resort in Negril, or an all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios. Both Dolphin Cove Montego Bay and Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios are ideal for half or full-day trips.
Expert tip: Only use cabs with red license plates when in Jamaica (if you happen to be hiring a taxi yourself instead of going through the resort) as these are the only legally operated cabs on the island. Negotiate upfront (before the cab drives off) if necessary.
Dolphin Cove is near some of the must-see attractions in Jamaica. Here are some of the best ones you should check out while you are in the area:
Seven Mile Beach is a gorgeous and extensive stretch of beach in Jamaica that you absolutely must visit while there. Located in Negril on Jamaica’s west coast, Seven Mile Beach is about a 45-minute drive from Dolphin Cove Montego Bay. Seven Mile Beach is considered one of the most stunning beaches in the Caribbean with soft white sand, crystal clear and calm waters, and lots of room to explore. Check out some of the best all-inclusive resorts on Seven Mile Beach in Jamaica to spend as much time as possible on this gem of a beach while on the island.
Mayfield Falls is a small waterfall located about an hour away from Dolphin Cove Montego Bay. This location makes for a great half-day or full-day trip if you’re looking for the sort of experience where you can relax and have a good time. Mayfield Falls is made up of 21 small cascades and you’ll love the fact that there are lots of natural pools and ‘jacuzzis’ here as well, suitable for swimmers of all experience levels. The 4x4 Jeep Adventure to Mayfield Falls is definitely one of the best excursions in Negril, Jamaica.
Dunn’s River Falls is quite famous - it is one of the largest waterfalls in Jamaica and the Caribbean. That’s why it’s pretty much on the to-do list of every traveler to Jamaica. At Dunn’s River Falls, in addition to a waterfall that is 180 feet high, there’s also a beach, restaurant, souvenir shops, and disability access. While exploring this area, climbing the falls, and bathing in natural pools, you can also check in with local guides for cultural and historical insights about Jamaica in general. Dunn’s River Falls is located across from Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios, so it is a good idea to schedule both of these tours on the same day if you can.
Cool Blue Hole Cascade should definitely be on your list of things to do in Jamaica if you’ll be in the Negril, Montego Bay, or Ocho Rios area for your vacation. This attraction is about 30 minutes from Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios, and it is also commonly referred to simply as ‘The Blue Hole’. At this location, you’ll find a sinkhole beneath a waterfall up in the hills of Ocho Rios. For an admission fee of just about $20 USD, you can jump into the blue hole, swim around, and explore!
As with all things, a wonderful vacation in Jamaica will require some planning. This is especially true if there are specific attractions you want to visit like Dolphin Cove, one of many amazing things to do in Jamaica.
If you’re well on your way to booking your Jamaica vacation, it's worth noting that staying at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica can help you get easy access to some of the best tours. You can book all-inclusive packages at resorts like Sandals in Negril, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay, which have numerous restaurants, bars including swim-up bars, day and night entertainment, unlimited land and water sports and so much more. Either of these resorts will be the perfect starting point for island excursions of all varieties - all a part of your Jamaican experience of a lifetime!