Dazzling Swimmers: Navigating to Discover the Panda Dolphin

  • The Panda Dolphin can be seen in just two spots on Earth!

Prepare to embark on a navigation adventure in the Patagonian Sea to discover the beautiful black-and-white Panda Dolphins. Known for their playful behavior and their electrifying speed, this super cute dolphin is very rare to see, as it can only be found in just two spots on Earth: Patagonia or near a very remote island in the Indian Ocean.

The Panda Dolphin is very active, and it’s frequently seen swimming rapidly on the surface and leaping from the water while they surf the waves created by the fast-moving boats. As they love swimming close to the surface, it’s easy to see them very clearly. They love to surf on breaking waves when very close to the shore, and can do a variety of acrobatics including spins and twists. What is awe-inspiring and unusual about these dolphins is that they sometimes swim upside down! It is thought that they do so in order to improve the visibility of their prey.

Also known as “Tonina Overa”, the Panda Dolphins are distinguished by the contrast of black and white they have on their bodies: head, tail and flippers are black and the rest of the body is white. They are also known as the Panda Dolphins because their colors are just like a Panda bear’s. At present, they are red listed as a threatened species.

This navigation starts at the Rawson port, where we’ll hop aboard our rigid inflatable boat (a lightweight but high performance inflatable boat), and begin our navigation to the protected area of Engaño Bay, home to the Panda Dolphin colony.

The navigation lasts about 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on how far we have to navigate to see the Panda Dolphins. As a bonus, in the harbor near the port from where we depart, there are usually some colonies of seals, and if you’re lucky, you will see some huge male sea lions with manes as well.

Important: this tour is done on the same day you do your Punta Tombo’s Magellanic Penguins tour. This navigation is subject to weather conditions, and in bad weather conditions the dolphin-watching is not possible. If the tour is cancelled, you’ll receive a full refund for the cost of the tour after you finish your trip.

Difficulty: easy.

Duration: approximately 1 hour to 1 hour and a half (can last more depending on how far we have to navigate to find the Panda Dolphins). This tour is done on the same day you do your Punta Tombo’s Magellanic Penguins tour.

Guide: no guide is needed for this sightseeing navigation. Usually the boat captain only speaks Spanish.

Vehicle: group vehicle. The boat used for this tour has a maximum capacity limit for 50 travelers.

Photo credits: some of the photos above were provided by Sneibrun Fotografia and Toninas Adventure. Thanks for helping us with some of these awesome photos!