We provide fresh drinking water and fruits. You can bring anything you’d like, especially if picky eaters or special diets. Be fully prepared to guard against sunburn, the sun in the tropics is very intense. There is shade on the boat, but glare reflects right on in. Sunglasses (polarized will give you the optimal experience), hats, towels and cover-ups are needed, even in the shade. It is usually best to put SPF 30+ sunscreen on before you leave your hotel, and again while on your adventure. No spray-on sunscreens please! They over-spray all over the boat becoming a safety hazard, or land on others who may not be appreciative! Please use eco-friendly sunscreen when possible, we do not want to damage the beautiful reefs.
We supply snorkel gear, but its fine to bring your own equipment if you have.
That´s a lot of information so here is a breakdown of what you should bring:
Food & special beverages
What time do we leave and what is the approximate return time?
Tours average 4-5 hours, leaving from Puerto Jimenez or Golfito public docks at 7:30-8am and returning around 12 midday. Due to the nature of our tours (optimal time based on the behaviors of the animals), and courtesy to other guests, it is very important that you are on time .
Do we need to be strong swimmers or wear life jackets?
We are land based mammals attempting to be marine mammals, so there is a certain liability inherent in this activity. It is imperative that we be made aware of any medical or physical limitations of members in your party, preferably upon booking.
We do have life jackets on board for all guests to wear while on the boat and snorkeling in the water should you choose.
Snorkeling at the reef is much less “rule” or physically intensive and equally enjoyable with the myriads of tropical fish and turtles. Floaters are welcome! We do all we can to make our passengers familiar and comfortable with snorkeling. However, it is rare to have rip currents in the Golfo Dulce, usually the water is baby safe.
It is illegal to swim with cetaceans (dolphins and whales) in Costa Rica. Behaviors are showing that with increasing frequency dolphins prefer and are more attentive to boats, then to swimmers in the water. Your best experience therefore is to stay on the boat, where you will be able to see the dolphins and their behaviors better, closer, and for longer amounts of time.
Dolphins are often better viewed from the higher elevation on board. A few feet above the water can make a big difference, and aerial behaviors (spins, leaps, etc.) are always seen better from that elevation! The clarity of the water will still allow you to look down and effortlessly observe the dolphin’s underwater antics from the deck.
Because of the high heat output from the body during active swimming (such as with dolphins), a water temperature of 72 to 75°F is acceptable. With a lower level of activity (snorkeling), a water temperature of 75 to 80°F may be desirable. “Our” water is normally around 76-77 degrees in the winter and up to 82 degrees in the summer/fall. It feels great year round!
What if there is bad weather the day of our Golfo Dulce boat tour?
We will always make our decisions based on “safety first”, and then what is in the best interest of our guests and the marine life. There are occasional instances when the ocean seems okay at the start of the day and then worsens while on the water. If we return to the dock early, a fair compensation will be provided, or we may opt to travel to an area where conditions are better.
While on the water there is a possibility for sea-sickness. You may want to start popping ginger pills about a week before the charter date, and/or use sea-bands. Sea bands are elastic wrist bands that work by acupressure, usually available where you would find other motion sickness remedies. They take about 45 minutes to work so put them on ahead of time… Otherwise, if none of these options are available to you, when you are onboard and feel queazy, our staff members will show you a few tricks to feel right s rain again!
There are always risks involved in being on a boat, and those risks can be higher with an infant or younger child. As parents, we trust that you know and are competent to decide what is appropriate for your child, and are willing to take appropriate risks with their safety.
Should you decide to bring baby, we would prefer that you bring a tummy carrier along. It will allow the baby to be secure (and content) with one of you, and will allow your hands to be free to hold on to the boat. We do NOT suggest that you bring a car seat type of carrier or stroller as we have no way to tie it down and it may slide around. It is not a safe method of cradling baby while on the boat.
Toddlers will need to be on a parents lap or within arm’s reach of parent/guardian at all times, including in the water.
I don’t want to be shark bait! Can you ensure I will come back alive?
Did you know that “Jaws” is still rated the #1 scariest movie of all times? This movie has really given sharks a bad rap. Although the odds are mighty slim that you would even see one of the shy, elusive and fast becoming endangered creatures, please know that the only shark you are likely (if lucky enough!!) to see on this tour will be the white tipped reef shark, very timid and NOT a lover of human meat.
“Sharks have always been feared since time immemorial and shark attacks can be terrible, but they are few and far between. The media greatly hype shark attacks and few people realize how rare they are… almost anything is more likely to kill human beings than sharks. ” PETER BENCHLEY, author of “Jaws”.
Getting on and off the boat is fairly easy. On the Delfin Blanco we have a ladder that we lower down into the water. Below is a person at the bottom of the ladder looking up into the boat. Our other boats are small and so a simple ´pull up´from your guide or captain will get you back on board just fine.