Whale and dolphin watching in Peru

Whale and dolphin watching in Peru has the potential to become a very powerful conservation tool.

Benefits of whale and dolphin watching in Peru:

  • Whale and dolphin watching in Peru could provide alternative income for local fishermen.
  • Whale and dolphin watching in Peru promotes species conservation by showing that the economic value of live dolphins is much higher than the one of dolphin meat sold on the local markets.
  • Whale and dolphin watching in Peru could provide additional information about the distribution of cetacean species along the Peruvian coast.

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Page author: Stefan Austermühle


Peru’s amazing diversity of whale and dolphin species

Thousands of Peruvians are used to observing dolphins and whales passing by the beaches on a daily basis. More than 30 species of whales and dolphins have been registered in Peruvian waters. Peru has optimal marine weather conditions all year long, which in turn gives Peru the potential to become a first class whale watching destination.

Whale and dolphin watching in Peru can offer considerable income. In his report “The Potential of Whale Watching in Latin America and The Caribbean”, Erich Hoyt writes:
The economic value of watching dolphins in the Amazon could provide an example of what might be done along the coast where dolphins are commonly killed. Regular tours departing from Iquitos, sponsored by a number of organizations, have been conducted year-round. (…) From March to August, educational field trips, led by the Oceanic Society and Biological Journeys mainly spend time with botos and tucuxis in and around the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. The 27 people who went dolphin watching with the Oceanic Society in 1991 spent $US 40,000. This expanded to 87 people in 1993 spending about $US 250,000.”

To make whale and dolphin watching in Peru possible along the coast, several hurdles have to be taken. It is necessary:

  • To implement field studies about the distribution of dolphins and whales. Therefore Mundo Azul has set up a long-term research project on costal bottlenose dolphins along the central Peruvian coast.
  • To design whale watching regulations in order to avoid negative impacts of the tourism.
  • To improve tourism infrastructure along the coast, especially in terms of boats, safety and hotels.

Go whale and dolphin watching in Peru

Nevertheless, we are optimistic about the whale watching future in Peru. As Hoyd writes: “If the political situation continues to improve and the Peruvian tourism industry gets behind the idea of cetacean tourism, it could increase dramatically.”

Members of Mundo Azul have established the marine ecotourism operator Nature Expeditions. When participating in whale watching or dolphin watching tours with Nature Expeditions you are automatically supporting cetacean conservation. Your guides will be the researchers of Mundo Azul. This way you are not only going to have a great encounter with whales and dolphins. You are also going to benefit from your guides in-depth understanding of the species natural history and behavior, making your trip not only great fun but also being an unforgettable learning experience. While guiding you, our researchers will collect their field data. This way your trip directly serves scientific advancement. You are benefitting marine conservation with any of Nature Expeditions ecotourism products, be it whale watching, dolphin watching, swimming or diving with sea lions, birding, or scuba diving.

Mundo Azul is also in process of implementing a pilot project to help fishing communities to become involved in marine tourism as an economic alternative. We are in process of training a group of fishermen in the port of Pucusana to become marine wildlife guides.

What we do to stop the dolphin slaughter in Peru:

According to our estimate up to 3000 dolphins are killed each year illegally in Peru for human consumption. In 2002 Mundo Azul started investigating the Peruvian black market on illegally caught dolphin meat. The dolphin meat is regularly landed at night on beaches near the ports in order to avoid the controls of harbor officials. At this point, the meat is already cut into small pieces and hidden in boxes, while heads, flukes, bones and intestines have been thrown over board before or while entering the harbor. The meat is then openly sold on local markets.

Mundo Azuls volunteers are engaged in undercover investigation of illegal sales of dolphin meat. We are then providing the collected intelligence to the Peruvian police and are actively supporting the implementation of police raids. We are also supporting the Peruvian police thru capacity building. Raising public awareness and environmental education are further activities of our dolphin conservation campaign. We are engaged in dolphin research providing us with important baseline information for conservation planning. Finally we are promoting whale and dolphin watching as a sustainable economic alternative to illegal dolphin killing.

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Page author: Stefan Austermühle

What you can do to stop the dolphin slaughter in Peru

  1. Stay informed and connect to our various social network profiles, RSS-feeds and/or the newsletter
  2. Spread the word: share this web-page with your social network friends (see our add-it function on the right menu bar) or send out the link by email.
  3. Go whale watching and dolphin watching in Peru with Nature Expeditions: This way you are directly supporting Mundo Azuls research and conservation work and you are showing the Peruvian public that tourism can be an economic alternative to dolphin killing.

If you have any questions, comments or want to support us, please contact us.


Page author: Stefan Austermühle

Reviewed by: Sha Hernandez Mestre

Last updated: 2010.11.19


Related links: 

Whale and dolphin species of Peru

Go whale watching in Peru

Go dolphin watching in Peru

Whale watching as an alternative to dolphin killing

Be a dolphin conservation volunteer

Stop dolphin slaughter in Peru

Mundo Azuls whale and dolphin research

First aid for stranded dolphins

Stop whaling


Stay in touch with Mundo Azul!

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Mundo Azul – Calle Francisco del Castillo 506 – Miraflores, Lima – email us at: mundoazulorg@gmail.com


Be a conservation volunteer with Mundo Azul

Take part in dolphin and wildlife conservation projects, advocacy campaigns, environmental education and much more


Apply for an internship

If you want to dedicate a few months or more to meaningful conservation work in Peru, than this is the option for you.


Book the following trips with Mundo Azuls commercial partner Nature Expeditions in Peru in order to support our conservation work

coastal marine birding               coastal wetland birding                                                     Urban birding in Lima


Protected bird site                                           Coastal desert oasis

Pantanos de Villa                                               Lomas de Lachay                                              Birding in the Andes





Please also support the following conservation campaigns

Save the dolphins          Save the sharks