Dominican Republic Humpback Whale Snorkeling Trip

Be One of the Lucky Snorkelers to Join This 8 Day Small Group Liveaboard Trip to the Silver Bank

February 8-15, 2025
February 15-22, 2025

Imagine snorkeling next to a majestic 50 foot long (15m) humpback whale. It is an experience so extraordinary that it will fundamentally change you.

Dominican Republic Humpback Whale Snorkeling Trip - snorkelers and a Humpback whale

On this remarkable trip you will have the opportunity to snorkel with thousands of humpback whales, that congregate in the Silver Bank Marine Sanctuary, just off the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The entire North Atlantic humpback whale population gathers here in the winter to court, mate, calve, and rear their young.

This is one of only three places on Earth where you can get in the water with humpback whales, and the most exclusive. Only three boat permits are issued each year, with only about 60 visitors in the area each week. And diving is not allowed. So you can expect to nearly have the place to yourself.

Humpback whales are filter feeders, that every year travel 3,000 to 5,000 miles (8,000 km) between breeding grounds, which are in the tropics, to their feeding grounds near the poles. When not in their feeding grounds they live off fat reserves. These gentle giants can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and live up to 90 years.

Humpback whale spy-hopping next to snorkelers.

You will not only be able to snorkel in the water with the humpback whales, but will also be able to watch from boats as frisky males aggressively compete for the attention of females, by breaching, slamming into one another, lob tailing, spy hopping, and fin and tail slapping. Clearly being in the water with this type of action would not be safe, but it is amazing to watch from close by on the boat.

The times you will be safely in the water with the humpbacks will be around less aggressive and often curious groups and individuals. Whales considered to be approachable in the water include mother, calf, and escort male trios, solitary females, and sleeping whales. Sometimes the whales are curious and cooperative and sometimes they disappear in a flash. And of course during this mating season is when the males produce their beautiful songs, that can last 10-20 minutes each, and be heard up to 20 miles away, while you are in the water.

For this trip you will live aboard a comfortable and large yacht in the Dominican Republic, that has been booked exclusively for your snorkeling group. After a short cruise your yacht will moor on the Silver Banks. Then several times each day your group will venture out on smaller boats, looking for whale sighting and snorkeling opportunities.

Turks & Caicos Aggressor II liveaboard yacht in the Dominican Republic.

This trip is being run by our partner and friend Ben and his team. Based in the U.K., they are experts at running amazing excursions, and have a great appreciation for the underwater world. They have now run numerous liveaboard snorkeling trips in the Caribbean with many satisfied snorkelers. A guide from Ben’s team will be with you for the duration of your trip, ensuring that all your travel is easy and fun.

Where Is the Silver Bank and What Is the Itinerary?

The Silver Bank Marine Sanctuary is part of the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, and sits about 50 miles (80 km) to the north of the country. The Turks & Caicos Islands are to the west. The Silver Bank is a shallow area that almost reaches the surface, and covers an area of around 650 miles (1046 km).

Dominican Republic Humpback whale snorkeling trip map.

For this trip you will book your international flight to arrive at Aeropuerto International del Ciabo in the Dominican Republic. You will be met at the airport by your tour guide and be transferred to the port town of Puerto Plata, where you will board the yacht.

The yacht will travel to the Silver Bank on the first night, and will moor there for five more nights, before returning to Puerto Plata for the final night aboard the yacht. On the last morning, you will be transferred back to the airport for your flight home.

What Will the Trip Be Like?

On the evening of your first day you will board the yacht, where you will settle into your room, have dinner, and receive a briefing about the yacht and what to expect on your adventure. The yacht will leave that evening, and will arrive at the Silver Bank the next morning, and will stay on a fixed mooring.

Each day your group will go out looking for whale activity aboard two 17 foot (5.2 m) zodiac like inflatable boats. These tenders are very stable, with an aluminum hull, and large comfortable inflated tubes to sit on around the perimeter. Each boat has a ladder for easily getting back aboard, a full length sun shade, and all the necessary safety equipment. You will head out a couple times a day, for 1.5 to 3 hours, with a return to the yacht for lunch between.

Two humpback whales with a snorkeler in front in blue water.

As mentioned above, there will be two ways that you will be able to view the humpbacks, from the safety of the smaller boats, and also snorkeling in the water.

From the boat you will get to watch the whales’ activity on the surface. Rowdy males put on a fantastic show, as they aggressively compete for the eye of a female. They will breach out of the water, slam into each other, slap their fins and tails, and come straight up out of the water, spy hopping. The highly experienced crew will keep you safe and out of the water during these encounters.

Humpback whale breaching
Humpback Whale Breaching
Humpback whale pectoral fin waving
Pectoral Fin Waving
Humpback whale fin slapping
Tail Slapping

Humpback whale spy-hopping next to a zodiac boat with a snorkeler in the water.
Spy Hopping

But there will also be many opportunities to enter the water and essentially snorkel with different humpback whales and groups. Mother’s and calves, escort male trios, sleeping whales, and solo females may be watched while snorkeling. And some whales may approach out of interest. What a joy it is to watch a mother and calf giving attention to each other, or to see a majestic male lazily sleeping.

Humpback whale mother and calf.
Resting Humpback Whale Mother and Calf
Two humpback whales with a snorkeler in the foreground.

This trip will be solely focused on magical moments with humpback whales, in open ocean conditions, with no reefs. As the experienced crew observes the different whales’ behavior and positions the tenders to safely and respectfully snorkel with these animals, you can expect to spend a bit of time in the tender, which has a sun canopy. Depending on the whales’ activity, you may be required to climb in and out of the tender more often than you would on a typical snorkeling trip.

What Is the Liveaboard Like?

You will be aboard the Turks & Caicos Aggressor II, a 119 ft (36 m ) steel yacht liveaboard that has been chartered exclusively for the 18 snorkelers in your group.

Turks & Caicos Aggressor II

The yacht is a comfortable home base for this humpback whale adventure. There is a large sun deck on the top, with a hot-tub, shade areas, and comfortable loungers.

Turks & Caicos Aggressor II top deck.

There is also a spacious air-conditioned salon and dining area for socializing and dining together.

Turks & Caicos Aggressor II dining room and salon.

All nine staterooms are on the lower deck.

Turks & Caicos Aggressor II Deluxe Stateroom
Deluxe Stateroom

There are six Deluxe Staterooms that have a double bed, with a single bed positioned above.

Turks & Caicos Aggressor II Master stateroom.
Master Stateroom

There is one Master Stateroom, with a queen bed.

Finally, there are two Twin-Share rooms with two single bunk beds.

All rooms have air-conditioning, TV, and en-suite bathroom, except the Twin-Share which share a toilet and shower.

Turks & Caicos Aggressor II deck layout.
Turks & Caicos Aggressor II lunch spread

Each morning will begin with a delicious breakfast, of hot entrees, fresh fruits, juices, and cereal.

Lunches will be served buffet style.

Snacks and refreshing beverages will be available throughout the day.

Each evening at 6pm, the crew will host a “Sundowner” cocktail party, watching the beautiful Caribbean views and sunsets.

Dinner each evening will be a three-course affair. Soft drinks, beer and wine are included and served with dinners.

Turks & Caicos Aggressor II dinner plate

Trip Details and How to Sign Up

This is a small group charter and we expect it to fill quickly. Your spot is reserved with your deposit. Contact Ben below for deposit instructions.

Trip Dates and Prices:

February 8-15, 2025 – Available.
February 15-22, 2025 – One double occupancy cabin available.

Trip Prices:
Twin-Share Room: $4,995 USD per person (Twin/Double Share)
Deluxe Stateroom: $5,195 USD per person (Twin/Double Share)
Master Stateroom: $5,495 USD per person (Twin/Double Share)

The initial deposit for this trip is $400 US per person. At 12 months before departure there is a $600 US per person interim deposit, and at six months there is another $1000 US per person interim deposit. The final balance will be due three months before departure. A few payment options are available including debit and credit cards.

Individual travelers – Ben will happily find someone of the same sex for you to share a room with. If he cannot find you someone, no single supplement surcharge will apply.

Inclusions:

  • Return airport transfers
  • 7 nights accommodation and full board (all meals and snacks)
  • Complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks onboard the Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
  • Services of snorkel guides and boat skiff for multiple snorkeling excursions each day
  • Accompanied by a snorkel tour leader from Ben’s team

Exclusions:

  • International and domestic flights and visas
  • $600 US per person Whale Sanctuary and Port Access Fee to be paid in cash onboard. A fuel surcharge of $150 US per person may be paid in cash or by MC/Visa onboard. These fees are subject to change. Sanctuary and Port Access Fee is established by the Dominican Republic authorities. The fees for 2024/2025/2026 will be announced as it gets closer to the start date of the season.
  • Snorkel equipment
  • Tips
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Last evening meal in Puerto Plata

Trip Organizers
Ben and his U.K. based team are the organizers and leaders of this trip (more about them below). Galen and Nicole from TropicalSnorkeling.com are promoting this trip, but all signups, trip organization and payments are made to and managed by Ben’s team. TropicalSnorkeling.com does receive a referral fee in exchange for promoting the trip, at no extra cost to attendees.

How to Sign Up or Learn More?

Use the contact form below to contact Ben and his team to request more information about them and express your interest in signing up. They will get back to you shortly with full details.


More About Ben and Our Partnership

Ben and Nicole in Alor

Ben (pictured with Nicole) is our friend and snorkeling trips partner. He and his team are based in the U.K. and have over 20 years of experience guiding in Asia and beyond. He has been running his own business since 2010 and is primarily offering guided snorkeling trips, but he started with diving. He began offering snorkeling specific trips because he was aware that snorkelers often get the short end of the stick when thrown in with divers. He and his team love the freedom and low stress of snorkeling, and are very aware of the different needs of snorkelers versus divers, in terms of the reef depth, and calm surface conditions needed.

From our experience going on two of his snorkeling trips we found them very well organized, the guides were fantastic and very helpful, and the underwater experiences were exceptional. Snorkeling groups really get the benefit of all of Ben and his guides’ years of experience in the water, and with different resorts and liveaboards.

All of his trips are small groups of 12-18 guests, or with a similar ratio of snorkelers to guides. These are premium trips including nearly everything you will need, accommodation, meals, transportation, and more.

His company is licensed and insured. Barring extreme circumstances they do not cancel trips.

Learn More About the Yacht

Turks & Caicos Aggressor II Website


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