Plan Your Stay on Cardigan Bay

Dolphins of Cardigan Bay

Dolphin Cardigan Bay - Dolphin Watching New Quay Cardigan BayPhoto by Janet Baxter

Cardigan Bays is home to one of only two resident groups of Bottlenose Dolphins in the UK.

The stunning coastline of Cardigan Bay has the largest population of dolphins in Europe and, on National Dolphin Day, is the best place to spot one. It boasts more than 60 miles (96km) of coast, 30 beaches and a bottle nosed dolphin population of more than 250.

BBC News

Video of Dolphins in Cardigan Bay

All About Dolphins

Bottlenose Dolphins grow to around 4 meters in length and can weigh more than 400 kilos.
They live for more than 40 years and produce only one calf in three years. They cruise at around 10km / hour with a maximum speed of 40km / hour.

Watching dolphins in their natural environment is always a magical experience. Into The Blue gives you the opportunity of taking a two hour boat trip and visiting these majestic animals in their home waters off the coast of Wales.

All trips are organised in association with Marine Connection, a charity aiming to protect and study marine mammals, as well as inform the public on the importance of these protected species, in particular the need to appreciate dolphins in their natural habitat and not in sea life attractions and zoos. As Marine Connection says: "You do not need to touch a dolphin to be touched by a dolphin".

As well as the dolphins there is also a huge display of marine wildlife which varies depending on which location, and time of year, you visit. Species sighted include bottlenose, common and Risso dolphins and throughout the colder months there is also the opportunity to see some of the larger whales, including fin and minke. (whales are not usually sighted at the Welsh location)

Money raised from these trips supports vital research work on the marine mammals that frequent these areas and other marine projects and campaigns worldwide.

New Quay Wales (April to October)
Trips depart from New Quay on the west coast of Wales. Bottlenose dolphins are present all year round, along with the Harbour porpoise who is also a frequent visitor to the area. The coastline between New Quay and Cardigan has always been noted for its marine wildlife which also includes grey seals. During the summer months sun fish are also regular visitors. Unfortunately whales are not usually seen at this location.
Experience Summary: The experience lasts approximately two hours. Each boat carries a maximum of 12 passengers with full commentary and interaction between crew and passengers. All boat operators follow strict codes of conduct to ensure no disturbance is caused to marine wildlife you encounter.

Availability: From April to early October, usually with am and pm start times available. Trips are very popular in the summer, so please allow plenty of notice for booking. If your trip is cancelled due to the weather, you will be re-booked for another suitable date.

Requirements: The minimum age is five. Pregnant women or heavily overweight customers cannot be accommodated. The viewing of specific species cannot be guaranteed. All passengers should dress warmly and wear low flat shoes. Passengers are asked to arrive 30 minutes before departure.

Location: New Quay, west coast with good access from the A487.

Spectators and Facilities: This activity is not suitable for spectators however, they are welcome to watch the departure and return of the boat. There are great opportunities for photographing the marine life.

It is possible to spot dolphins almost anywhere as you explore the beautiful coast of Cardigan Bay. The best places to observe them are:

Or why not try
Winston Evans Boat trips from New Quay beach.

Remember dolphins are wild free ranging animals so there is no guarantee of a sighting. May to November are the best months. The best times being early morning, evening and immediately after high tide.

The New Quay Dolphin Monitoring Group have been observing dolphins in order to learn how they use their remarkable sound faculties as a sensory tool, a hunting weapon and a means of communication.

From the observations made in New Quay Bay, the bottlenose dolphin population appears to co-exist with groups of Atlantic grey seals and harbour porpoises using the same habitat.

Click here for underwater images taken in Cardigan Bay