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Pink Dolphin

Meet the amazing Pink Dolphins of the Peruvian Amazon



Peru has a diverse ecosystem and biodiversity and features a wonderful array of plants and wildlife species. From the lofty Peruvian Andes to the rainforests and rivers of the Amazon, the country really does have it all and for anyone who loves wildlife spotting, Peru presents many opportunities to make some rare sightings. One of the most renowned and iconic of Peru’s wildlife species is the Botos Dolphin, more commonly known as the Pink River Dolphin.

This amazing mammal can be found within the Peruvian Amazon and a trip into the deepest rainforests and rivers to search for the Pink Dolphin Peru is a once in a lifetime opportunity! This article looks at where to see pink dolphins in Peru, and explains a little about their physical traits and relevance in Peruvian folklore – enjoy!

Biological and ecological info about the Pink Dolphins of the Amazon

The Amazon River Dolphin is a species of toothed whale and is the largest species of river dolphin in South America. The Pink dolphin in Peru can be found in the Amazon River basin particularly in locations such as Iquitos, the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, and the Upper Amazon. The following is some basic information about this marvelous species of whale:


Physical traits

As you would imagine, the Peru Pink dolphin has a pink coloration of the skin – this is more prominent in males than females. The maximum length of a Pink Dolphin was recorded as 2.55m and their maximum weight has been recorded as 185kg. This type of Dolphin actually has greater mobility than ocean dolphins due to a difference in vertebra alignment. Generally, newborns have a grey coloration, and it is not until adulthood that their skin turns pink.


Amazon river dolphin

Pink Dolphin underwater, Amazon River, Peru.


Behavior and courtship

The Peru River Dolphins generally travel in pairs and rarely as full pods. During particular seasons, the males and females of the species will split off and live in different areas of the river. As with most species of dolphin, the Pink dolphin is curious but less sociable – they will interact with boats and have even been known to rub against boats and play with sticks and oars. During mating and courtship, the male Pink dolphins in Peru carry objects in their mouths as a form of social display.


Amazon river dolphin with mouth open

Pink dolphin with mouth open, Amazon River, Peru.


In Peruvian folklore

The pink dolphin in Peru is regarded with high esteem in folklore – the Boto as it is commonly known with the Peruvian population is said to have supernatural powers. Stories say that drowned spirits actually enter the bodies of pink dolphins and cause them to change into handsome young men. This supernatural element to this beautiful dolphin has helped contribute to their preservation.


Pink Dolphins in Peru

Pink dolphins swimming in the Amazon River, Peru.

Where can you experience an encounter with the Pink Dolphins in Peru?

The Pink River Dolphins are actually widespread and can be found in a total of six different South American countries including Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and of course Peru. Generally, populations of Amazon River dolphins are separated by different water boundaries such as waterfalls and shallows. If you are traveling to Peru, there are numerous ways that you can experience the majesty of the Pink Dolphins. The best place of course if the mightiest of Peru Rivers – the Amazon.


Peru Amazon River

Sunset in the Amazon River, Peru.


The Peruvian Amazon is situated in the northeastern part of the country and popular locations to see the pink dolphins of the Amazon include Iquitos and the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. Iquitos is the most popular location and flight from Lima take approximately 2 hours. There are many internal flights that service Iquitos and this could be a perfect add-on to your Peruvian adventure. The following are three locations where you can see Pink Dolphins in the Amazon:


Amazon Cruise in Iquitos

As mentioned, Iquitos is one of the best locations in the Amazon from which you can see the elusive pink dolphins Peru. Dawn on the Amazon is a tour provider who offers an Amazon Cruise from Iquitos with the chance to see these beautiful dolphins. This company has 6 riverboats in total and you can actually book them for a custom cruise package tailored to your liking. The boats are well furnished and the owner Bill is extremely knowledgeable about Peru and the Amazon.


Pacaya-Samiria Reserve

This fantastic national reserve is the largest protected area in the whole of Peru and spans for some 20,000km squared. Iquitos is often the main city from which to visit the reserve, and you can then travel to Nauta and other towns that lie on the banks of the Maranon and Ucayali Rivers. Within this stunning and biodiverse landscape, you can see a staggering 500+ different bird species, 100+ mammals and a jaw-dropping 1000+ species of wild plants. The pink river dolphin is, of course, one of the main attractions here and Pacaya is undoubtedly one of the best pink dolphin locations.


Delfin Amazon Cruise in the upper Amazon

Another superb cruise company who specialize in Peru Amazon cruises is Delfin.  Delfin offers luxury cruise travel in the Upper Amazon and gives you the chance to see pink dolphins in style. Cruises range from 4 day/3 night up to 5 day/4 night. The boats themselves are absolutely stunning and the deluxe master suite rooms even include a jacuzzi!  For the ultimate Peruvian Amazon experience, this is the cruise company for you and a superb way to see the Botos.

As you can see there are numerous different ways that you can spot the pink river dolphin in Peru. We admit that traveling to the Peruvian Amazon is a little out of the way, but flights can be booked from Lima, and there is an abundance of tours and river cruises available that will allow you to hopefully see these wonderful mammals. Can you imagine sailing on the murky waters of the Peruvian Amazon and seeing a dash of pink flash by in the water next to you? Then in the distance, you see the tell-tale melon of the pink dolphin as it emerges from the water – your first sighting!


Delfin III Navigating

Delfin III Amazon River Cruise navigating, Peru.


If you get the chance to see the Peru Pink Dolphins, you can count yourself as truly lucky – there are not many people in the world who can have such an encounter with these beautiful and playful creatures!