The ultimate whale encounter – swim with humpback whales on the Silver Bank, in the Dominican Republic’s Sanctuary for Marine Mammals.
Each year between January and April, the largest gathering of North Atlantic humpback whales on the planet occurs at the Silver Bank, in the Caribbean Sea north of the Dominican Republic. Over this period as many as 3,000 whales gather to court, mate and give birth. Live your dream by spending a week on a comfortable 45-metre liveaboard vessel in the company of these amazing creatures, and be thrilled by spectacular displays of breaching, pectoral fin slapping, lobtailing and spyhopping.
The highlight of this unforgettable trip is swimming in warm tropical waters to encounter humpbacks eye-to-eye in their natural environment, on their terms. Accompanied by experienced personnel you’ll see mothers and playful calves, swim in bone-rattling whale song, witness courtship dances and more. And through this utterly remarkable experience, you’ll develop a profound understanding of humpback whales and the threats they face.
Day1: Fly to Miami
Fly to Miami and transfer by hotel shuttle bus to your overnight hotel.
Accommodation: Airport hotel, 1-night
Day2: Fly to Puerto Plata
Take the hotel shuttle back to Miami International airport for the flight to Puerto Plata, where you will be met and transferred a short distance to your overnight accommodation in Cofresi. After checking in, the rest of the day is free to relax.
Day3: Puerto Plata, Cofresi; en route to Silver Bank
The day is free to relax and enjoy the surroundings of the hotel before transferring to the Ocean World Marina to board your vessel. Once aboard, you will be allocated a cabin and have time to settle in and meet your fellow-travellers before an introductory safety briefing. Dinner will be served, then at around midnight you will set sail, bound for the Silver Bank.
You spend the next seven nights aboard in a twin or double cabin. All meals are included while on board, with the exception of the final dinner, when you are back in harbour and can eat at the restaurant of your choice.
Early morning you will arrive at the Silver Bank, where the vessel will anchor at a designated site. The rest of the morning is dedicated to detailed briefings on snorkelling in general, and humpback whales, while the crew prepare the tenders for whale watching. After a midday lunch, you set off in the two 7.5 metre tenders – for an afternoon of whale watching.
A typical day on the Silver Bank is as follows: after breakfast you get your gear ready and board the tenders for the morning excursion, ready to see and swim with humpback whales. The objective is to spend as much time in the water with the whales as they are comfortable with. Depending on what happens in the water, you return to the mother ship at around midday. After lunch and a short break, you head back out onto the water for the afternoon.
Back aboard, the late afternoon cocktail hour is a time-honoured tradition, when over drinks and canapés you can exchange tales of the day’s sightings as the sun goes down. Dinner is served in the main salon at a fixed time – you dine as a group, served by the attentive crew. On most evenings after dinner there is an informative short presentation relating to whales, and/or a discussion. You can then enjoy star-gazing from the top deck or retire to the comfort of your cabin to relax before more whale adventures next day.
Day9: Silver Bank to Puerto Plata, Cofresi
After a final morning whale watching outing, the tenders are secured ready for departure. Lunch is served on board during the crossing from the Silver Bank. The vessel typically reaches port early afternoon on Friday, and on arrival at Ocean World Marina, Cofresi, you are free to relax on board or head off to shop in Puerto Plata.
Disembark after a light breakfast. The rest of the day is free to explore (baggage can be stored at the marina) until a mid-afternoon transfer back to Gregorio Luperón International Airport in time to check in for an overnight flight to Miami, with an onward connection to London.
Day11: Arrive UK
You should note: Prices shown are for Standard Twin cabin (two cabins sharing a bathroom). Deluxe cabins (twin or double beds) and Master cabin (queen bed) are available at a small supplement.
This tour is extremely popular and can get booked up years in advance - we urge you to book early!
Whale sanctuary fee US$300 per person payable locally
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 11 daysfrom £4,395 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 9 daysfrom £3,595 pp
The Silver Bank lies approximately 110 kilometres north of the coast of the Dominican Republic, and almost the same distance southeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands, in the Antilles. In October 1986 the Dominican Republic recognized its vital importance by establishing the Silver Bank Sanctuary.
This itinerary is available on the following
This attractive liveaboard relocates to the Dominican Republic each year between January and April for the humpback whale season on the Silver Bank. This area is part of the Marine Mammal Sanctuary north of the Dominican Republic, roughly the same distance from the Turks & Caicos Islands further north.