Swimming with Sea Lions in Fuerteventura: What is it like?

Wondering what it’s like to go swimming with sea lions?

You’ve come to the right article as I’ll tell you exactly what swimming with sea lions is like.

Whilst on a trip to Fuerteventura or lots of other exotic destinations around the world, many find themselves with the opportunity to swim with these beautiful creatures.

However, there are a few questions that typically go through your head. What if they stink and I can’t wash away their smell? What if I get bitten?

These were concerns I had myself before taking the plunge and swimming with sea lions in Fuerteventura.

Now, after that amazing experience which I had, I feel confident enough to provide a complete guide to swimming with those beautiful animals.

Without further ado, let’s dive straight into it (pun 100% intended…).

Is it safe to swim with sea lions?

This is the number one concern most people have when swimming with sea lions.

Many people ask “Is it safe?”

The truth is, you could not find a more gentle animal!

They are so playful, kind, and ‘puppy-like’. It’s clear to see why seals and sea lions are often nicknamed water dogs. Not to mention that their babies are called pups.

Swimming with sea lions is not dangerous at all, and you can be sure to have a great time spending time in the water with them!

Whilst I was swimming with sea lions, one of them jumped over my head!

Here you can see their playful nature, as one of them jumped over my head whilst I was lucky enough to share the water with them. What an experience!

What does a sea lion feel like?

A big misconception is that sea lions are slimy. It’s an easy assumption since admittedly, they do look pretty slimy.

Similar to how people think this about snakes, they also are not slimy!

Sea Lions are actually really soft. The reason is because they aren’t just solid skin like dolphins, they are coated in a layer of fur. Again, they’re pretty much just dogs in water.

Their fur is so smooth and soft, especially when wet. It’s actually a really nice feeling and definitely ‘satisfying’.

A picture of me stroking a sea lion

If you go swimming with sea lions yourself, you will understand. It’s hard to put into words as it’s not really like any other animal I have felt before. The feeling is so unique and it’s not like any other animal I have felt, but it definitely is not slimy.

Do sea lions smell?

This is another huge misconception people have about sea lions.

People assume that sea lions will stink of fish and have really smelly breath, which makes sense considering the fact that they’re animals, and well, they eat fish.

But the truth is, they don’t really smell at all.

One of the sea lions kissed me on the lips (yes, I have kissed a sea lion) and I can personally guarantee there was no fishy breath!

Although it wasn’t the best kiss of my life I must admit. It was very wet.

One of the sea lions swimming up to me and poking its head out of the water.

However, I can’t really think of any way to describe their smell. They are kind of odorless, or at least the sea lions I swam with were.

They didn’t smell of anything. You can swim with them without having to worry about coming out stinking of fish.

Is swimming with sea lions better than swimming with dolphins?

As someone who has swam with both sea lios and dolphins, I don’t think there’s a good way to judge the two, nor do I think it is fair to compare the two.

They are 2 experiences that are similar to each other in that you are swimming with 2 animals, but they are 2 entirely unique experiences.

Both of them are amazing and create lifelong memores, why do we have to compare the two and decide which is better?

I don’t know of anywhere that offers the opportunity to swim with both sea lions and dolphins, most places typically only offer one or the other, so it’s not like you have to choose between the two.

I’m so grateful to have been able to swim with two magnificent animals.

A picture of me kissing a dolphin whilst I was swimming with them in Florida.
I swam with dolphins in Discovery Cove, Orlando, Florida, 2017.

The actual ‘things’ you do with sea lions and dolphins are similar. Stroking them, kissing them, splashing each other, etc.

However, I would still recommend experiencing both. You wouldn’t walk past the tigers at the zoo just because you’ve already seen the lions, right?

If you get the chance to go swimming with sea lions, I would strongly encourage it! And likewise, if you get the chance to go swimming with dolphins, I would strongly encourage it too.

Is it ethical to swim with sea lions?

This is a topic which everyone will have their own opinion on and it’s impossible for me to speak universally. Conditions will vary across the world and I can’t say yes, every single place that offers the chacne to swim with sea lions is ethical.

But from my experience, I personally would say yes. The concept of swimming with sea lions is ethical.

Providing you find a good place, the sea lions are well looked after and loved by their trainers, everything is fine in my opinion. Whilst I was swimming with sea lions, it was clear to see the close bond between the sea lion and trainer.

Sea Lion swimming with its head out of the water.

Most places also educate you on sea lions too. Such as the difference between sea lions and seals, which people commonly confuse. Hint: one difference is sea lions have actual ears whereas seals have ear holes!

So all in all, I would say yes, it is fine to swim with these beautiful animals. As long as they are being treated well and seem to enjoy playing with their human friends.

Where can you swim with sea lions?

There are lots of places to swim with sea lions across the world. Some of the most popular destinations include the Galapagos Islands, Mexico, South Australia, New Zealand and the Canary Islands.

I personally swam with sea lions in Fuerteventura. I visited a local place called Puerto Castillo. I found this to be a better and more personal experience than those offered at zoos and animal parks, there were fewer people and we got to spend more one on one time swimming with sea lions.

Photo of me outside the water whilst I was swimming with sea lions

Another positive I found from Puerto Castillo was they offered the option of buying all of your photographs for only €30.

Which compared to other places abroad, is very cheap. I was once charged €100 for photos at a scuba diving site.

Wherever you choose to swim with sea lions, I imagine you’ll have an amazing time!

How much is it to swim with sea lions?

When I went swimming with sea lions it cost me €40. Which is a lot cheaper compared to dolphins, usually around $100+.

It is great value for money, and I would definitely be putting aside some money to make it a part of your trip! You will create memories to last a lifetime and get some amazing photographs as I have displayed throughout this blog post.

Here’s another example 🙂

Sea Lion jumping over me and 2 others whilst we lie on our backs

Swimming with Sea Lions: The Wrap Up

Swimming with sea lions is one of the most enjoyable animal experiences I have had in my life.

It has made me fall in love with these animals and I hope one day I can swim with them again.

They are so gentle, and playful and they don’t smell! What else could you ask for?!

If you get the opportunity, take it. I promise you that you will enjoy swimming with sea lions.

A final picture of me from when I went swimming with sea lions in Fuerteventura