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Punta Mona snorkeling and dolphin watching

Punta Mona snorkeling and dolphin watching

Destination: Puerto Viejo

Highlights

  • Watch for two species of dolphins
  • Snorkel among underwater gorges
  • Climb up a rocky island with incredible views

Facts

  • Location : Puerto Viejo
  • Hours : 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Price : $75 per person w/ snack

Cruising along the Puerto Viejo coastline with Ivan, local tour guide, feels like a day-long excursion with an old friend. Romp the waves of the Caribbean's cerulean waters in Ivan's shaded panga, a small boat with an outdoor motor, looking for dolphins off the Manzanillo's coast and searching for isolated beaches to land on for lunch and snorkeling.

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Load up and depart from the Playa Parquecito in Puerto Viejo on your way to the waters off Manzanillo; a half-hour journey. Once there, the search for dolphins begins.  Fishermen and tour guides often see both spotted and bottle-nosed dolphins swimming in the coastal waters, looking for fish among the reefs that lie just below the surface.  Keep an eye out for fins breaking the water's surface, often in unison as dolphin pairs and triplets come up to breathe at the same time. If you're lucky, the dolphins will be in playful mood and swim right up to the boat to saunter in its wakes or swim in front of the bow.

After chasing dolphins around the bay, you'll end up on a secluded stretch of sand in a small cove on the coast of Punta Mona. Here, almond trees reach over the beach shading driftwood brought in by the tide. The sand reflects a pale straw color in the light and clear water laps against the shore.  Don a mask, snorkel and some flippers then head out among the rocks and reef off the coast.  While the snorkeling here lacks some of the more impressive marine life spotted in Cahuita National Park, you're still likely to encounter a host of colorful fish including giant blue and tropical parrot fish, silver jack, damsel fish, queen angel fish, grouper and parrot fish.

What make the spot truly incredible to behold though, are the elaborate rock formations and caves that hide just underneath the water's surface. Flow with the waves and follow the fish into undersea crevices, canyons and even a few small swim-throughs easily accomplished on a single breath.

Meanwhile back on shore, Ivan prepares a small feast of watermelon, pineapple, cookies and other small snacks laid out across a giant banana leaf on a table of driftwood. Regain your energy, munch on some fresh fruit, take in the scenery and prepare for a short hike through the coastal rainforest. Along the way, Ivan will point out some of the different wild fruit trees common to the area, sharing his knowledge and experiences of the jungle and the sea.

Cross over a hill and arrive at another white-sand beach beside a rocky island covered in stubbly grass and palm trees. Wade through shallow tide pools and climb 30 feet to the top of the island for awesome views of the surrounding region – from the coastal waters in Panama off to the south all the way to Columbus Island and Limon in the north.

Afterwards, ride back along the coast under the midday sun, nodding off to the sound of the motor, the sea and the breeze en route to Puerto Viejo.

*make sure to bring sunscreen and a swim suit

Departure & Return

  • Departure point : Tour departs from all major hotels in Cahuita, Puerto Viejo Limon, Cocles, Punta Uva and Manzanillo
  • Departure time : Hotel pickup is between 20 and 50 minutes before tour start time depending on hotel location.
  • Return details : Tour returns to original departure point between three and four hours after tour start time

Punta Mona snorkeling and dolphin watching in Pictures

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