Dolphin Watching Golfo Aranci

Sergio Atzori
Sergio Atzori
Table of Contents

Dolphin watching Golfo Aranci

  • A resident colony of dolphins can be found in Sardinia at Golfo Aranci.
  • The chances of seeing them - even up close - are very high.
  • The excursion usually lasts a few hours to half a day and costs around 30/50 euros.


Usually around € 30 and infants under 2 years old do not pay.

Prices are indicative and not binding. Select the motorboat you prefer to find out the official ticket price.

Departures for dolphin watching depart from the coast of Golfo Aranci, in particular: Sos Aranzos beach, marina of Golfo Aranci.

You can also find departures from Poltu Quatu (Porto Cervo)

There are usually all-day departures every 2 hours from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. in high season.

The duration of the hike is usually around 9o minutes.

It is necessary to arrive early - at least 10 minutes so that all participants can board the dinghy. 

There is no particular type of dinghy.

However, all suppliers use stable inflatable boats with robust, high-performance engines to ensure maximum safety. Inflatable boats for dolphin watching are generally 7 to 12 metres.

Sardinia has mild temperatures all year round. During the summer, we recommend that you bring a hat to protect you from the sun, a swimming costume and a towel for swimming during stops. If you wish, you can also bring a jumper depending on the time of day you choose to go on the sighting tour. If you take the dolphin watching tour in winter, bring a heavy jacket and a cap. Don't forget your camera.

Trip information

Perhaps during the tour you will be asked to look around to increase your chances of spotting them, 4 eyes see better than 2, 6 better than 4. In this case, scan the surface of the sea carefully and you will see a fin pop up when you least expect it.

When it happens, even if it is your first instinct, don't start screaming "I saw it", "there they are"report it to the commander, who will head for the sighting point at an appropriate speed and respecting distances so as not to annoy or frighten them.

Dolphins are friendly and peaceful animals, but they are mammals... just like us! Females are very protective of their young and become 'nervous' when they sense potential danger.

The general advice for safe dolphin watching is to keep a safe distance from dolphins, especially not to annoy them or interfere with their daily activities.

Swimming with dolphins is not possible.

During this experience you will be able to swim in the most beautiful bays of Golfo Aranci but you will not be allowed to swim during the sighting for your own safety and that of the dolphins.

Dolphin watching must be carried out with total respect for the animals, as bathing dolphins would transmit potentially fatal diseases and interfere with their nature. 

Feeding dolphins is prohibited.

The reasons are very simple:

  • It must be avoided that they associate 'boat=food' otherwise there is a risk that they will collide with boats with unfortunately fatal results.

  • It is also important that Delphinians feed themselves by maintaining their eating habits and not by feeding on fish caught days ago or worse frozen.

The excursion includes a tour of the bay of Golfo Aranci and a visit to the water-culture plant. During the experience you can generally admire the small island of Figarolo with its wild nature, the birds that populate it and its mouflons. If the weather and sea conditions allow it, you will also see the cliffs of Capo Figari, Sa Mama Chiatta, the Portone and sometimes it is possible to go as far as the natural amphitheatre.

The dolphins that can generally be seen at Golfo Aranci are bottlenose dolphinsalso known as bottle-nosed dolphins.

The famous and unforgettable Flipper was of the Tursiope genus.

Dolphins are marine mammals, so they spend their entire lives in the water and carry out daily activities such as raising their offspring, sleeping, eating and playing.

In the water they mate, give birth and suckle while continuing to breathe air and occasionally sticking their noses out of the water. Dolphins then have lungs and come up to the surface, usually every 5 minutes, to breathe.

The dolphin community at Golfo Aranci is quite large, but these mammals usually live in small groups of 2-3 to 10 individuals, usually females and pups. Males tend to be solitary or live in alliances and tend to join the group only at certain times.

Generally not: dogs often bark when they see dolphins because they are very, very curious about them. We recommend that you check the description of the individual activity or use the filters by selecting 'animals allowed'.

Parking spaces differ depending on which port you choose for your departure. However, we recommend that you arrive at your port of departure early enough to park your car in a suitable place and avoid any unpleasant penalties.

Porto San Paolo
There are paid and free parking spaces near the marina. There are not many, so come a little earlier.

Golfo Aranci
Parking is not difficult to find. In any case, arrive early because during the high season there may be a lot of traffic.

Always check each activity's card for up-to-date location information.

Yes, the dinghies are usually equipped with an awning but this is usually opened during stops and not while sailing.

Take with you:

  • swimming costume
  • beach towel
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • camera

Drinking water, beverages and a few snacks to break the hunger pangs are usually on board.

Yes, the dolphin watching excursion is recommended for everyone.

The marine weather conditions are usually very calm and navigation always takes place below the coast. For this reason it is a very pleasant trip in a unique area.

If you have any special requirements, please check the activity sheet in the important information section so that you can choose the most suitable tour and supplier.

How to book

Booking online is a must, otherwise you risk not finding a seat. Also, online prices are often lower.
If you want to buy tickets for a trip to La Maddalena On, choose the motorboat you prefer from the proposals, you can see at a glance the duration, the fare and the port of departure.

On the page of each activity you can see the activities then choose your departure date and enter your details. There is no need to print the ticket, you can simply show it from your smartphone on the day of embarkation.

At least 24/48 hours in advance.

The trip to the islands of the La Maddalena Archipelago is one of the best boat trips in Sardinia and is very popular.

Especially in the high season, there is a risk of not finding a place if you book at the last second. For this reason, we recommend that you book as early as possible.

It is generally not possible to reserve a specific place on the motorboat.

All seats on any boat have a good view and there is always something to see in the park.

If you want a more exclusive service that is closer to your needs, you can choose private tours. In this case you will have the whole boat and crew at your disposal for you and your family.

You will be refunded your ticket or asked to choose another date.

All boat trips require suitable marine weather conditions that can guarantee safe navigation.

For this reason, it is up to the captain - for the safety of his passengers and the boat - to decide whether or not to carry out the excursion.

Dolphin Gulf project

In order to protect these marvels and preserve their delicate ecosystem, it is essential to behave responsibly at every stage of the sighting for the maximum protection and safety of the specimens. This is why many operators have chosen to voluntarily adhere to a ethical code of conduct that makes dolphin spotting activity dolphin & eco-friendly.

The "Gulf of Dolphins" project promoted by Worldrise e Friend of the Sea outlines a code of conduct that makes the activity sustainable and is based on international guidelines adapted to the local reality of the Gulf.

The operators who participate are adequately trained to provide information on ecology and dolphins. Among the best practice responsible sightings include keeping a safe distance, reducing the speed of watercraft, not bathing with dolphins, not giving them food so as not to interfere with their life in the wild and not transmitting diseases to them.

During the sightings carried out with the operators participating in the project, the education and awareness of tourists towards these splendid creatures is also promoted. See the complete list of operators certified under the project The Gulf of Dolphins

Curiosities about dolphins

Dolphins rest half of their brain at a time, so they use one brain hemisphere first and then the other to sleep, which is probably necessary to control their breathing system. Dolphins have a real 'language' and communicate with each other with whistles and use the famous 'clicks' to locate prey or obstacles in their path.

You're probably also wondering if dolphins are dangerous. In general they are peaceful and playful animals but the females, like all mammal mothers, care a great deal about their young. If the females were to sense a danger to their young they could become aggressive, like all mothers in the world. Some say that these marine mammals can also be quite jealous.

  • Dolphins breed every two to three years and give birth in the water to an only child, who will then live with its mother, aunts and cousins for a few years;
  • the gestation period of a dolphin is about 12 months, the pups are born in the water and have an umbilical cord;
  • The puppies are suckled until they are about 18 months old and then stay close to their mother until they are about 4 years old;
  • the speed they can reach in swimming is up to about 30 km/h;
  • dolphins have lungs like us, the apnoea time of marine mammals is quite variable, ranging from a few minutes to a few hours (in the case of sperm whales);
  • These dolphins have teeth (about 100-120 teeth) and feed on fish, cephalopods (octopus, squid and cuttlefish) and crustaceans. 

    The main dangers threatening dolphins

    Dolphins can live in some cases for more than 50 years, but they encounter many dangers in their lives and the infant mortality rate is quite high. The main threats include:

    • intensive fishing that depletes the seas
    • fishing nets
    • boat propellers
    • pollution, including noise pollution
    • diseases

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Sergio Atzori
Sergio Atzori

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