Swim with Sea Lions in Peru: Palomino Island Boat Tour

Swim with Sea Lions in Peru: Palomino Island Boat Tour

Wondering, “Where can I swim with sea lions in Peru?” Look no further. A tour of the Palomino Islands is the perfect way to fulfill your dream of hopping in the water alongside the amiably whiskered marine mammals.

It’s certainly not every day that you get to enjoy the experience of jumping into the ocean and swimming with marine wildlife. But if you find yourself with a free day, all this popular alternative Lima tour requires is a short morning jaunt to the Port of Callao.

About the boat tour

Most tours for swimming with sea lions in Lima set out from Callao, the historic port adjacent to the Peruvian capital. Typically, you’ll get a boat tour of the islands with some fascinating information about the history and science , then, finally, a chance to hop in the water with the sea lions.

The tours tend to last about four hours and end with a drop-off back in Callao.

Most popular Palomino Island boat excursions depart daily!

Here’s a detailed description of this great marine wildlife tour:

Swim with Sea Lions - Palomino Islands, Lima, Peru

Daily excursions by boat to the Palomino Islands to swim with sea lions - Callao, Peru.Don’t worry if you are not a great swimmer. And have no fear of the cold Pacific ocean water. We will provide you with the appropriate wetsuit floatation vest. You just have to float and enjoy this incredible experience.

Tourist boats for daily excursions to the Palomino Islands off the coast of Lima, Callao, PeruThe boats are yar: sturday, fast and properly equipped. The crew is professional, very friendly and willing to assist you at all times.

The boats have a capacity of 30 passengers. They stop at a prudent distance from the islands for a close-up view of the wildlife.

Observing the Humboldt penguins

The observation of Humboldt penguins is one of the super kid-friendly activities during the excursion — especially in recent years, ever since the release of the movie “Madagascar.” These elegant birds “dressed in tuxedos” live grouped in colonies of more than 1,200.

Beautiful Humboldt Penguins huddle on the rocky shore of the Palomino Islands.

Don’t settle for watching them on the internet or in captivity. See them live in their natural habitat and learn about the important value they have for the ecosystem of the Palomino Islands.

Contact Fertur Peru Travel to book this Palomino Islands Tour. Bring your bathing suit, a towel, hat and strong sun block.


This unforgettable excursion can be very windy. Best to come dressed in sports attire, including windbreakers or waterproof jackets.

Regarding footwear, it is prudent to wear sneakers or rubber-soled shoes to avoid slipping on the boat.

Finally, people who are not used to sailing or who think they will be affected by the motion should take a pill for seasickness one hour before embarking..


09:45 AM: The meeting point for departure is the Marina Yacht Club of Callao (Jorge Chavez 120, Chucuito). Where is that? In front of the Naval Museum and practically next to the docked Abtao Submarine.

Once the passengers are assembled, we will take about 30 minutes to pass the port control to register and pay the entrance fee to the National Reserve of the Guaneras Islands, Islets and Puntas System.

10:30 AM: We set sail for the islands. During this part of the journey we will pass the yachts, merchant vessels and some warships that are anchored in the bay of Callao.

During the open sea trip, we will slow down when we are close to the area known as “El Camotal,” a barely submerged sand bank popular with surfers at high tide and fishermen when tide is low.

11:00 AM: We cross the straights passing San Lorenzo Island, the site of legends dating back to pre-Columbian times, and currently has a base for the Peruvian Navy.

There will be plenty of opportunities to take photographs of various species of guano birds flying low over the cresting waters, artisanal fisherman aboard their boats, casting nets and hauling in their catch, and of course, magestic penguins.

12:00 PM At approximately midday, we approach the farthest part of the boat ride, the Palomino Island. A beautiful place of majestic marine landscapes, which provides a refuge for one of the largest, if not the largest, colony of sea lions in Peru.

After the observation and photo opportunities, passengers are invited to share the amazing experience of swimming with sea lions. For this activity, neoprene wet-suits are provided, along with life jackets.

Swimming in the open sea in this area of calm waters is very safe. Due to the absence of natural predators, the sea lions behave very sociably and are extremely curious about the people who swim their waters. It is undoubtedly one of the most sublime and unforgettable moments to remember for a lifetime. This incredible sea adventure is waiting for you.

12:30 PM: At the appointed time, we will return and again pass by the beautifully ragged, rocky cliffs and islets, the product of millions of years of erosion from water and wind. Your imagination will be put to the test to imagine the whimsical shapes you can discern.

Before arriving back at the Callao pier, there will be time for the crew to serve passengers snacks and drinks (subject to availability).

01:00 PM: Arrival at the pier.

End of service

Recommended additional activities (NOT included): Lunch in Chucuito or La Punta. The seafood restaurants are excellent. You can also continue exploring Callao, but definitely do so with a guide. The port of Callao can be rough. Other tour attractions include the Naval Museum, the Abtao Submarine and the portentous, historic and ever-mysterious Real Felipe Fortress.

Geography and History of Palomino Island

The Palomino Islands are a small archipelago right off the coast of Lima, consisting of several small, rocky islands, as well as two larger islands: El Frontón and San Lorenzo Island (the latter of which is the largest island in all of Peru).

Sea lions on rocks - Image by peruenvideos.com

Separated by Callao by only a narrow strait, the islands and surrounding waters hold some of the country’s richest history. El Frontón, for example, is home to a prison that long held the country’s most high-profile and dangerous criminals (not unlike Alcatraz).

Is it safe to swim with sea lions?

Absolutely. Sea lions aren’t, by nature, particularly hostile animals, and if they are, it’s due to proximity to breeding grounds. This tour is far from the areas where sea lions breed, so any territorialism will not be a factor.

Passengers on board a ship bound for Palomino Islands - Image by peruenvideos.com

Around the Palomino Islands, hostility from sea lions is unheard of. The animals have proven to be playful and curious in the presence of humans. Furthermore, experienced tour guides will be assisting you throughout the process, so there will be nothing to worry about.

Additionally, if you have concerns about the safety of the tour, you may be comforted to know that SERNANP, Peru’s National Service for Protected Natural Areas, officially recognizes the boat tour operators for the Palomino Islands, so there is government regulation of the quality and safety of the tours.

If seasickness is your concern, there are many precautions that can be taken to minimize your susceptibility to dizziness or motion sickness:

  • Consider motion sickness medicine (Gravol is widely available in pharacies over the counter)
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before
  • Eat a light breakfast. Don’t go on an empty stomach (but also avoid heavy, greasy food beforehand)
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat to avoid sunburn and overheating
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid looking at newspapers, books, or your phone while on the water

What should I take on the Palomino Island tour?

We recommend taking light clothing, lots of water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat for shade. The tour will provide most of what you need for the boat trip; your main concern should be staying hydrated and cool.

Large group of Sea Lions swimming - Image by Mar Adentro

How do I book a tour to swim with sea lions in Peru?

Most travel to Peru takes you through at least the airport in Lima, and it’s common for travelers to spend a few days exploring one of the world’s historical, cultural, and gastronomical centers.

If you are traveling through Lima — either as a destination, or a quick stop on the way to Cusco or another domestic site — the Palomino Island boat tour is a wonderful way to spend a day. We invite you to get in touch with a Fertur agent for a tailor-made itinerary for your time in Lima.

Us our Contact Us form to let us know if you would you like more information about the Palomino Island Tour!

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Authored by: PeruTravelTrends

A Peru Tour Operator and Travel Agency: Since 1994 creating wonderful vacation experiences for adventure travelers and holidaymakers in Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, and all around the Andean region.

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Richard at 9:11 am

    Please kindly tell me the best Palomino trip price with return transport to miraflores.

  2. Rick Vecchio at 10:44 am

    Hello Richard.

    One of our travel advisers will be in touch shortly with an itinerary and price quote.

    Best regards!

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