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Swimming With Wild Dolphins During An Amazon Cruise

  |   Wildlife & Flora

river dolphins

During an Amazon River cruise, some travelers have the unique opportunity to swim with wild Amazon River dolphins. Should one decide to brave the murky waters of this mighty river system, however, there exists a code of conduct which should be strictly followed. Below are a few rules to follow in order to protect oneself, and of course, guarantee the safety of these graceful aquatic mammals.

How to Swim with River Dolphins

1. Safety Flotation Device

After leaving the relative safety of your Amazon cruise ship, be sure to have a life-preserver or flotation device of some kind with you. Even if you consider yourself a strong swimmer, unpredictable currents, debris, or river creatures can still be an unforeseen risk. Always swim with a flotation device.

2. Remain Calm

If a dolphin or pod approaches, try not to get too 'excited'. Try to focus on your breathing to remain calm. Let the dolphins initiate any interaction: don't chase or follow dolphins that are not interested in interaction, as you may inadvertently interrupt important activities such as feeding, courtship, or nursing. Make your best effort to keep still in the water by not splashing or swimming quickly. Allow the dolphins suitable distance and respect.

3. Don't Touch

Under no circumstances should you attempt to grab, touch, pull, poke, or otherwise bother Amazon River dolphins. If they want to touch you, they will. Wild dolphins have a very acute sense of touch, and rarely tolerate physical contact from humans. They loathe being grabbed, and this will most likely bring your swim to an abrupt end as the dolphins leave. A dolphin’s blowhole is especially sensitive and - as with any part of its body - should never be touched.

4. Observe

Be aware of the dolphin's behaviors. Use common sense to work out how the dolphin responds to you through their body language, distance and depth. Amazon River dolphins have emotional moods just like humans. At times they will want to play and interact, and other times they will avoid interaction. Feeding time, for example, is when dolphins don’t want to socialize. Part of the magic you will feel in this experience is in deciphering the wordless communication you share with the dolphins. This is a perfect opportunity to utilize our six senses and connect with the natural world.


5. Make yourself visible 

Be sure to remain visible and at the surface of the water so the dolphins know where you are. If a dolphin becomes boisterous, try not to panic. The calmer you remain in the water, the more they are likely to calm down.

6. Retreat 

If a dolphin bumps or nips you, keep your arms by your side and gently swim away. A dolphin gives clear warning signs such as shaking the head or snapping the jaws before resorting to aggression. Understanding these signals ensures that both dolphin and swimmer remain safe. Be aware and respectful.


As always, keep an open mind and allow the beauty and power of the Amazon Rainforest to awaken your senses. You will get muddy, insect-bitten, and hot, but these memories will bring you joy for a lifetime!

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About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises, Galapagos Islands tours, and Southeast Asia cruises. We provide you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama and Southeast Asia. As travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure.