With a growing movement to end dolphin captivity for entertainment purposes, a handful of hotels are now promoting offers that allow visitors to see popular marine animals in the wild.
Just last week, World Animal Protection released a comprehensive new study in which it shined the spotlight on the grim lives of captive dolphins. The report, titled Behind the Smile, called the practice of keeping dolphins captive and using them for entertainment “extreme animal cruelty” and said it was a practice perpetuated by unethical travel agencies.
In fashion now
The report went on to suggest that unsuspecting tourists are fueling this multibillion-dollar industry while travel companies, including names known as Expedia, are reaping the rewards.
Whether captured in the wild, subjected to captive breeding, forced to live in inhuman and sterile ponds, dolphins suffer at every stage of their captivity, Behind the Smile said, adding that dolphin sites often do. “False or exaggerated claims about their benefits for conservation, education and research.
The report follows last month’s announcement that TripAdvisor and Booking.com are no longer selling unethical animal entertainment tickets.
And earlier this year, a fourth dolphin died in captivity at one location, Dolphinaris Arizona, which has since closed.
For those looking for an alternative, more humane way to be exposed to dolphins, a variety of hotels offer programming or opportunities to do so, allowing guests to interact with marine mammals in the wild. Here’s a closer look at some of the options.
Located along the Gulf of Mexico, Caloosahatchee River, and San Carlos Bay, the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village offers nature lovers the chance to spot dolphins in their natural habitat on the Dolphin Cruise & Sunset from the hotel departing from the adjacent Tarpon Point Marina.
Located in the world’s most biologically diverse region, Crocodile Bay Resort offers guests off-the-beaten-path land and water excursions, including its all-new aquamarine life-watching tour, Tuesday Cruiseday – designed to bring guests within reach of possible dolphin encounters and nature views with humpback whales chasing the sunset.
Key West, Florida
Located on Key West’s only natural sandy beach, The Reach Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton (re-emerging in December 2019 after a multi-million dollar reinvention) features adventures taking off straight from the resort’s beach, including an adventure snorkel with dolphins where guests watch dolphins in their natural playground, then snorkel around shallow corals and sponge gardens.
Charleston, South Carolina
HarbourView Inn, the only waterfront hotel in Historic Charleston, offers guests the opportunity to set sail at sunset aboard the Schooner Pride and spot dolphins swimming along the harbor of Charleston.
Key Largo, Florida
In its continued commitment to protecting Florida Key’s unique ecosystem, the new Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo offers a Cay-1 program with curated experiences that connect guests to area wildlife, such as ethical dolphin encounters. with Dolphin Plus Marine Mammal Responder as they swim in the island’s natural lagoon.