Dolphin boat trip
Swimming with dolphins was certainly on my bucketlist and the experience didn’t disappoint. Off the west coast of the island, dolphin sightings are pretty much guaranteed. There are numerous excursions offered, but I’d opt for the small boat outings rather than catamaran-style vessels. A speed boat day trip can be booked from a tourist kiosk in Flic-en-Flac that includes a BBQ lunch for 1,400 MUR per person.
I found myself amongst a pod of around 20 – 30 dolphins. Jumping in with them in their natural habitat is mind-blowing! Beg, borrow, steal a pair of snorkels and jump in and swim with them, as other snorkelers were able to clearly hear them clicking away underwater. It’s quite hard to catch the moment to dive in as they glide off so quickly, but even just watching them jump and twirl from the boat is delightful. It’s probably not worth chartering a private boat as there were quite a few other tour groups in the same area offering the same experience, so you won’t be swimming alone.
After five or six opportunities to swim, head across to clearer waters for some snorkelling. Although there are some beautiful fish and brightly coloured coral, it didn’t amaze me. What did, however, was the next stop: the crystal rock. It’s a micro-island amongst clear azure waters and is a very unusual sight.
Finally, Benetier Island, where the guides prepare a fabulous fish and chicken BBQ lunch for the group. The island itself feels a bit like a tourist trap: there are a lot of people trying to sell their captive guests jewellery, clothes, drinks, fruit etc. etc. But don’t let this bother you, instead enjoy the floating market stalls, which you could actively browse if so inclined. Overall, it was fine for a couple of hours to eat, sunbathe and swim. The water was extremely shallow so it was more wading than swimming but it was wonderful to be standing far out at sea.
The trip started at about 8:30 am, but if you can find earlier options then it’s worth getting out to sea as early as possible, when the dolphins are on the lookout for breakfast and before too many of the other day trippers arrive.