Pink dolphins in Brazil

My wife, Dona, and I traveled to Brazil, Jan. 10-22, ’06, to search for the pink dolphins that inhabit the Rio Negro where it joins the Amazon near Manaus, Brazil. Yes, there really are pink dolphins! We saw two that were solid pink (about the color of bubble gum) and several that had pink underbellies and light-gray backs.

A few can be seen at the Ariaú Amazon Towers, a resort built in the rainforest on stilts to accommodate the changing river level. There are four miles of elevated walkways between the buildings.

For those really serious about seeing pink dolphins, I recommend a 30-minute ferry ride across the Amazon, then a 3-hour drive by car to the small town of Novo Airao (5,000 people). A lady there has a floating restaurant where she feeds about 15 of “the pinks.” When we arrived with a cooler of fish, in no time we had them eating out of our hands — really exciting! Lodging was very basic but acceptable; this is adventure travel.

The trip was arranged by Annie at Ladatco Tours (2200 S. Dixie Hwy., Ste. 704, Coconut Grove, FL 33133; 800/327-6162 or, South America specialists that we have used on several trips. They do an excellent job. The land-only cost for our trip was $2,975 per person. Land plus air from Miami totaled $4,631 per person.

The price covered breakfasts only at lodgings except for full meals for the four days at Ariau Amazon Towers, where transfers and most lodge activities were included; two nights in Tropical Manaus Hotel (superior) in Manaus; a private guide and car for a Manaus city tour, with a boat trip to view the famous Meeting of the Waters plus a Brazilian barbecue lunch; a private guide and car for the 3-night trip to Novo Airao to see pink dolphins; two nights in Rio at a 5-star hotel on Copacabana Beach; 1½ days of city tours (Corcovado, Sugar Loaf, etc.), and all airport transfers.

Altamont, IL