A Return to AdventureWith the Family
|TOUR GUIDE: Explore Caribbean waters with a dolphin by your side (PhotoDisc)|
Unless we wanted to incur the wrath of our three- and six-year-old daughters, swimming with dolphins had to be part of our Mayan Riviera itinerary. Puerto Aventuras, one of the top dolphin-swimming spots in the world, sits about 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, our Maya home base. Unfortunately, time quickly became a coveted commodity, and after we corralled the kids, we had to opt for the closer-by Xcaret, the eco-park that we'd visited the day beforewhich luckily offers a first-rate dolphin program.
Upon arrival, my wife, Susan, and daughter Katie enrolled in Delphi Kids, a program suited for younger children, while my other daughter, Allie, and I immersed ourselves in the dolphin program for big kids and adults.
At Delphi Kids, the young children joined gentle dolphins in the water, where trainers reviewed basic dolphin biology before giving the kids plenty of playtime with the sociable mammals. The 30-minute funfest ended after each child received a kiss on the cheek from a friendly dolphin.
The main dolphin program delves a little deeper into dolphin science while swimming for a full hour with three well-trained, curious, and affectionate dolphins. For the finale, a pair of dolphins locked on to the soles of my feet and pushed me, face down and arms outstretched like Superman, at alarming speed across the water. Allie rode piggy-back with her eyes closed, screaming with glee.
Access and Resources
At Xcaret Park (800.292.2738; www.xcaret.com), the Delphi Kids program costs U.S. $116, which covers both the child and parent. The Dolphin II program for bigger kids costs U.S. $115 per person (U.S. $104 if you book online). Check the website for updates and schedules, and to make reservations.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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