True Creature of Legend: The Amazon Pink River Dolphin

True Creature of Legend The Amazon Pink River Dolphin

Among the wonders you will find if you visit the Peruvian Amazon during your Peru vacation is a creature that seems like it belongs inside a magical legend alongside fire-breathing dragons and winged fairies. It’s a creature known locally as Bufeo Colorado, and it’s the largest freshwater cetacean on Earth: the Pink River Dolphin!

In this travel blog post, we’ll prep you for your potential run-in with these pink dolphins during your Amazon River cruise adventure. Remember the following 13 facts and you’ll wow even your expert Kuoda Travel Guide.

Peruvian Amazon

13 Interesting Facts About Pink River Dolphins

  1. These large freshwater mammals can grow up to 8 feet in length and can weigh up to 215 lbs.
  2. The females of the species are larger than the males.
  3. Their neck vertebrae is unfused, allowing them to turn their heads 90 degrees on any axis.
  4. Pink dolphins have long beaks with 24-34 teeth on each side of their jaw. In fact, the neck and jaw of this dolphin is highly specialized to hunt in underwater forests, where they are able to reach through tangled vegetation to extract their prey.
  5. Pink River Dolphins have stiff hairs along their beaks, unlike other dolphin species, which is helpful in searching for prey along the muddy river bottoms.
  6. Pink dolphins echolocate to find food, and are also known for their acute hearing and vision.
  7. Your best chance for spotting a Pink River Dolphin is during the Amazon’s annual rainy season, which in the Peruvian Amazon runs from November to March, when the river rises inland and floods large marshy areas of plant life, trees and bushes.
  8. The diet of this Amazon River dolphin consists of turtles, crabs, catfish, crustaceans, piranhas, and other fish hiding among the roots and branches of huge areas of submerged forest.
  9. The pink coloring of the pink dolphin occurs in mature adults, and it can indeed be so bright as to appear almost magenta! Juveniles and elder adults are not as brightly colored.
  10. These creatures are considered to be the most friendly and intelligent of all species of river dolphin, and can become accustomed to humans, sometimes approaching boats and interacting with people – talk about an unforgettable Amazon River vacation moment!
  11. There’s an ancient Amazon legend that says these river dolphins can shape-shift into human males who come into villages at night and impregnate women, then return to the water by day.
  12. Pink River Dolphins are sometimes killed by fisherman who see them as competition for game fish. They are also often illegally used as bait in parts of Peru and Brazil.
  13. In many tribes it is considered bad luck to harm the Pink River Dolphins, as they are believed to be possessed with enchanting and mystical qualities that might come back to haunt those who kill them.

Will you spot a Pink River Dolphin on your Amazon River Vacation?


It’s definitely possible, especially if you travel to the Peruvian Amazon during the rainy season. Your Kuoda Travel guide will likely take you out on a traditional small boat, known as a pekepeke in the Iquitos region, to search for these amazing exotic creatures. If you’re lucky, a dolphin may even come right up to the boat.

Don’t miss the chance to see a Pink River Dolphin during your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Peru.  Reach out to a Kuoda Travel Designer today and begin crafting your custom Peru trip to the Peruvian Amazon and greater Peru.

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