The Galapagos dolphins are among the most beautiful and fascinating attractions of the Galapagos Islands. These playful and graceful creatures love to jump, play and swim along with boats in the waters around the islands. Two species of Galapagos dolphins live right in and around the islands themselves: the bottlenose dolphin and the common dolphin. The common dolphin is among the most social of Galapagos mammals, often swimming in pods of more than one hundred animals.
You can distinguish the common dolphin by the yellow spots on its white underside. Bottlenose dolphins are also seen in the waters—these are the dolphins often seen doing tricks in aquariums. In the wild, their free and playful nature can be seen as they surf the waves created by human boats around the Galapagos Islands. If you're lucky, you may even be able to swim or snorkel with these friendly cetaceans.
Although the bottlenose and common dolphins are more commonly seen in the Galapagos, there are three more species of these Galapagos mammals that visit the islands during their annual migrations. The Risso dolphin is distinctive for its rounded head and no beak, while the small Spinner dolphin is aptly named for its acrobatic ability. The spotted dolphin is also a regular in the islands, although it has been threatened by the use of tuna nets in which it can easily become entangled.
There are many other Galapagos mammals that live and swim in the waters of the Galapagos islands, although the playful dolphin is perhaps the most popular and commonly seen. Whales were at one time extremely common around the Galapagos Islands, but excessive whaling in the past decreased their numbers. Still, you can often see humpback whales in the Galapagos waters, as well as killer whales and the rare and elusive sperm whale, which sometimes swims between Fernandina and Isabela Islands.