Best time for dolphin watching holidays

Dolphins tend to be fairly permanent residents of the seas they inhabit, meaning that, in theory they can be observed year-round.
In practice, being wildly exposed in the open ocean leaves boats at the mercy of Mother Nature, who conspires with cyclones, rough seas and downright miserable weather to make some seasons thoroughly unsuitable for sailing. On the flipside, choosing your departure date carefully means you can combine your dolphin watching tour with seeing other creatures such as humpback whales or puffins, or enjoying tropical flowers in bloom, while in some destinations you can time it to tick off the greatest number of dolphin species.
Take a look at our chart for the best times to watch dolphins in each destination, as well as the worst times to watch them, to help you avoid storms and sighting-free trips.
Best times to see dolphins
When & where to see dolphins: Azores - Central America
When & where to see dolphins: Egypt - Ireland
When & where to see dolphins: Jersey - Mauritius
When & where to see dolphins: Newfoundland  Western Australia

Dolphin watching, month by month

If you’re travelling in January, February and March then you should look out for dolphins in New Zealand, Hawaii, Western Australia, Baja (in Mexico), Central America, Belize and Sri Lanka. April is the start of dolphin watching season in Egypt, Scotland, La Gomera (in the Canaries) and both the Ligurian and Ionian seas. May, June and July are the best months to watch dolphins off the coastlines of the Azores, Ireland, Egypt, Madeira, Fiji, Newfoundland and Jersey with several of these locations still providing ideal conditions into August and September. In the Azores, pods tend to be largest in these months, and you may also see a few cute calves. New Zealand’s and Western Australia’s dolphin watching seasons start in October and November whereas Belize and Sri Lanka typically pick up the binoculars around the end of the year in December. You can see dolphins in Namibia’s Walvis Bay pretty much all year round, while the best time for dolphin conservation holidays in Greece is definitely between June and September. Basically, avoid rough seas and crowded destinations, particularly around the school holidays.

Our top Dolphin watching Holiday

Whale & dolphin research in Ligurian Sea, Italy

Whale & dolphin research in Ligurian Sea, Italy

Whale and dolphin conservation trip

From €700 6 days ex flights
Small group travel:
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Dolphin watching or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best time to watch dolphins in the wild

Amanda Stafford, from our supplier Dolphin and Whale Connection discusses the best time to swim with dolphins in the Azores: "You can swim with dolphins here, but it very much depends on the time of year and on sea conditions – so for this reason it’s best to go in May to September. The islands are in a very isolated location, there’s no other landmass nearby, so when the weather comes in the sea can be pretty treacherous. So it very much depends on the sea conditions being calm and safe enough for us to let people swim. It’s done on a per-trip basis – as with any wildlife encounter, you can’t guarantee it."
Written by Vicki Brown
Photo credits: [Page banner: Jeremy Ricketts] [Top box: Pagie Page] [Amanda quote: Ravi Sarma]