Adventure in the Amazon: Pink Dolphins and Piranhas

Jill Swanson is a student at Arizona State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Jill is currently studying abroad in Lima, Peru on a Fall 1 program.

Amazon at twilight

Our last overnight ISA excursion was to Iquitos in the Loreto region of, Peru: home to the Amazon Rainforest. Iquitos is famous for being the largest city in the world that is not accessible by road.  The whole weekend was out of a storybook, but the highlight of the trip had to be swimming in the Amazon with the pink dolphins and fishing for piranhas.

The jungle lodge where we stayed

Early in the morning we went for a hike through the jungle to see sloths in their natural habitat and we were fortunate enough to see nine adorable sloths! We were plenty warm by the time the hike was over because although it was only about 86 degrees, the humidity was at 95%. We boarded our boats and headed out to the middle of the river to jump in for a refreshing swim.

A sloth!

When the boat stopped I dove in immediately. I knew I couldn’t think twice about it or else I would be too scared worrying about all of the fish, snakes and alligators. It was a huge adrenaline rush, a balance between fear and excitement. And things just kept getting better: a pod of pink and small grey dolphins was swimming near us! We could see them coming out of the water every few minutes, and one small grey dolphin even gave us a Sea World worthy jump. My mind was scattered and my thoughts sporadic. Between my fears of Amazon creatures, my amazement of pink dolphins and then being hit by a flying fish, I could not stop laughing. As we exited the water and got back on the boats the dolphins really gave us a show. The pod was gliding gracefully on the surface of the water, popping up and diving back down. I stood on the boat with my hands to my mouth in complete awe of what I was seeing.

My friends Holly, Jen and I swimming in the Amazon

Afterwards it was time for piranha fishing. Alarmingly, we fished for these piranhas only about 500 yards away from where we had just been swimming…I ended up catching 2 of the little guys after they effectively stripped my hook of bait about 20 times.

As if the day could not be more perfect the Amazon blessed us with a beautiful rainstorm that rolled in while we were fishing.  What an incredible experience!

Piranha… check out those teeth!


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