We decided, after talking to other guests, that we would take Sydney, my three-year old to do the family dolphin experience. Kids of any age can go. It is about 70 USD for each adult and kids under 12 are free. There are many other dolphin programs available if you would rather swim with them or be a trainer for a day, etc. This one worked best for us as none of us had experienced dolphins up close before.
If you have a chance to come here with kids of any age (even kids at heart), you should definitely do this. it was well worth the money and a great value compared to other tours I have been on.
After our arrival at the dolphin encounter, the friendly staff instructed us where to wait. You will want to reserve ahead of time as they are often booked up. We were 20 minutes early, so we watched the sea lions while we waited. A quick 2 minute boat shuttle took us to the dolphin encounter area where we were lucky enough to have a sea-lion come out and give us all a kiss first. Sydney saw this and the dolphins in the pool beside us and started to giggle with delight. her eyes lit up and she was grinning from ear to ear. She even started talking back to the dolphins when they started making their squealing noises, it was awesome.
We were then instructed to get in the water and under the friendly and professional guidance of our instructor, we learned a bit about the dolphin’s and got to touch them, kiss them, dance with them and feed them. It was a fantastic experience. I wondered if Sydney would be timid or afraid at all, but she was having the time of her life and loved every minute, this was definitely the highlight of our trip.
After we had a quick lunch (I would recommend heading back to your hotel for lunch as it wasnt the best), we noticed a bird sanctuary on the way out. we stopped in and for a bit, you could hold the parrots and cockatoo, take a picture and even have the bird “kiss” a sunflower seed from your mouth if you wanted. Again, Sydney loved all of this and wasn’t afraid at all. The tropical birds are her favorite at the pet store at home!
The dolphin encounter is in Nuevo Vallarta or Vallarta Nayarit as they are now calling it. We did see a bit of Nuevo Vallarta as we were driving through. If we decided to return to Puerto Vallarta again, that’s where we would stay. There are pros and cons to each. in my personal opinion, you should stay in Puerto Vallarta and near downtown if you require these:
want to be close to the Malecon
want a more authentic Mexican experience
want to be where the restaurants and bars are
wants lots of nightlife options
I would stay in Nuevo Vallarta if you:
want a family friendly area
want newer hotels
want a more resort- feel as opposed to a city feel
– would like activities like the dolphin encounter, a zoo, a shopping center and great golf courses all within a short walk or taxi
Note – Nuevo Vallarta is about a 20 USD cab ride from the hotel zone of Puerto Vallarta.
Since our dolphin encounter, we have just been enjoying more r and r at the hotel. Its been more great sunny days. this is going to be our last full day before we fly home. we are taking in the famous Sheraton champagne Sunday brunch (included with our all-inclusive) and then will spend more time at the pool. I miss having a long beach to walk on. the beaches here are smaller and quite rocky in this area. the beaches in Nuevo Vallarta have nicer sand and longer for walking.
The hotel has given us a late checkout of 2pm tomorrow which is nice as we don’t need to go to the airport till 5pm. overall its been a great holiday after our bumpy start and I would recommend the Sheraton to almost anyone. It’s very similar to North American standards. They have been very accommodating and it is a good solid 4 star resort. Puerto Vallarta is a great value destination and the weather is predictably awesome almost all the time, which is a definitely bonus. Not a cloud or a rain drop since we arrived!
Adios! I will post pictures when I return.