There are dolphins all along the Brazilian coastline, as well as a river dolphin, pink in colour, that lives in the Amazon, the boto (Inia geoffrensis).
A few places where dolphins can be seen real close:
Fernando de Noronha
From the viewpoint at the top of the Baia dos Golfinhos you can contemplate on a daily basis the evolutions of a large group of cetaceans that spend the day at the bay. The number of dolphins ranges from 50 up to 300. They spend the day jumping out of the water and running from one place to another. Most guides recommend getting up really early to see the dolphins entering the bay – we don’t feel it’s necessary, they stay at the bay the entire day.
There is a boat trip outside the boundaries of the National Park where the chances of seeing the dolphins are quite high. They usually follow the boat for a while (see photo above). The best time to see the dolphins on the boat trip is when they are either getting into the bay or leaving the bay. The NGO that looks after the dolphins maintains a bulleting board at the harbour where they record the number of dolphins present at the bay every day, the time they got in, and the time they left.
As well as the two places mentioned above, in Noronha there is also the chance of encountering dolphins while diving on the open sea.
At the Baia dos Golfinhos, near Pipa, a few dolphins pop up every day, usually in the morning. If you seat on the sand, you’ll see them chasing fish. When I was swimming at the bay one day, I had a dolphin at less than 10 meters – I didn’t see it, I was looking the other way.
As well as the places mentioned above, where I have seen dolphins, there are other places where they are spotted on a regular basis:
- on the Amazon river
- on the southermost tip of the state of São Paulo
- on the coastline of the state of Rio de Janeiro (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Arraial do Cabo). If you are very lucky, once or twice a year a group of killer whales get very close to the urban beaches in Rio, a real event that usually makes it to the news.
As ever, the best thing is to ask the locals.