Silver Banks Caribbean Humpback Whalewatching & Snorkelling

Silver Banks, lying 100km north of the coast of the Dominican Republic, is a chain of shallow coral shoals and pinnacles. Long considered a treacherous area for shipping, it is one of world's finest areas for close encounters with Humpback Whales.

In 1996, the Silver Banks was declared a Sanctuary for Marine Mammals. A large proportion of the North Atlantic population of Humpback Whales come to this area from January to March, which is when we are able to observe Humpback behaviour both from the sea surface and by snorkelling with female Humpbacks and their newly born calves in warm, clear water nursing grounds. We do this using fast small boats and stay in the area on a comfortable motor yacht.

Snorkelling with Humpback Whales in the Silverbanks - Rob Smith

Two very distinct forms of Humpback activity can be observed on these week long journeys to the Silver Banks. The first is watching young mothers nursing newly born calves. We approach the whales using small boats that don't disturb these marine giants, and if conditions are right we can take the opportunity to snorkel and observe them underwater. Humpbacks are some of the Planet's most intelligent and charismatic creatures, exhibiting and wide range of behaviours and personalities. Some calves and adults can be very interested in humans entering their submarine world and they can approach quite close underwater. Other individuals may be more interested in feeding or playing with their mothers - equally enchanting behaviour to observe.

The second form of activity is a complete contrast. It involves male Humpbacks performing aggressive shows of strength and dominance, competing for the attentions of females ready to breed. For safety, these competitions can only be observed from the surface, but watching the whales as they leap clear of the water - breaching, spyhopping and lobtailing - is a quite magnificent spectacle.

Starting and finishing in Puerto Plata on the lovely North Coast of the Dominican Republic, these boat based journeys offer some of the best chances of seeing a wide range of Humpback behaviour. Please bear in mind of course that although chances for sightings are excellent, nothing in Nature is guaranteed. These are wild animals with their own agenda.

The small boats we use are Rigid Inflatables (RIBs), which come with 'bimini' tops to provide shade. We launch these from the 'mother ship' on which you will be sleeping and take you with a safe and responsible range of the whales. It is important to bear in mind that we must not scare the whales or interfere adversely with their behaviour. Each RIB run lasts for around 1 - 3 hours, depending on sea conditions and whale behaviour. We normally do several trips per day. Throughout your journey to the Banks, you may often be accompanied by the haunting sounds of humpback whale song, used to communicate between whales during this most social period in their calendar.

Although a journey to the Silver Banks is certainly focused on Humpbacks Whales, other marine species can also be observed. This includes stingrays, bottlenose & spinner dolphins and Bryde's Whales.  With all of these species the generally calm sea conditions, shallow nature of the Silver Banks (20-30m) and excellent visibility can only enhance the marine life viewing experience.

Journeys begin and end at Puerto Plata on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. If you have the time,  we can help you to take a few days to enjoy the relaxed palm fringed beaches east of this city; or plan one of our tailor made Dominican Republic adventures in one of the Caribbean's best adventure locations.


07 - 14 Mar 2020 - from £ 3,280
from US$ 4,090

Puerto Plata - Puerto Plata
(8 Days)
Small Group trip with Aqua-Firma Marine Scientist, Charlotte Caffrey

27 Mar - 03 Apr 2021 - from £ 3,280
from US$ 4,090

Puerto Plata - Puerto Plata
(8 Days)
Small Group trip with Aqua-Firma Marine Scientist, Charlotte Caffrey


Cabin Upgrades:

2020: Deluxe Twin: £180 / $200 pp
  Master Cabin: £390 / $500 pp
2021: Deluxe Twin: £180 / $200 pp
  Master Cabin: £390 / $500 pp

Single supplement:
None if you are willing to share a cabin with someone of the same gender or +85% if you want a cabin to yourself.

Our price includes:
- Accommodation onboard
- All meals onboard
- Non-alcoholic drinks, local beers and wines onboard
- All snorkelling excursions

Price excludes:
- Flights*
- Accommodation before or after*
- Transfers*
- Whale Sanctuary fee of US$350**
- Travel insurance
- Tips
- Items of a personal nature
- Fuel surcharge (if applicable)
- Equipment rentals

*We can arrange all of these things if you wish. The Dominican Republic has some lovely beaches if you want to spend a couple of days before or after. It is also a great place for experiencing its great outdoors by means of trekking, kayaking, biking or rafting.
**This fee may be subject to change without notice

Trip Reviews: Silver Banks Humpback Whale Watching & Snorkelling

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