Tenerife: Dolphins & Whales
Did You Know?...Tenerife is One of the Best Places to See Dolphins and Whales
Whale and dolphin watching is one of the world's fastest growing branches of tourism with estimates putting the average annual number of whale watchers at around 15 million globally. And here in the Canary Islands, cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises) are watched by more people than anywhere else in the world.
The warm, deep waters between Tenerife and its neighbour, La Gomera, are teeming with microscopic marine life which makes them the equivalent of a fast food outlet for the 28 species, including sperm, minke, and killer whales who annually pass through on their migratory routes, and for the pods of bottle nosed dolphins who have made these waters their home. As a result, Tenerife's dolphin and whale watching excursions can almost guarantee sightings every time they weigh anchor.
Do trips disturb the whales and dolphins?
Not if the boats and their passengers adhere to the guidelines laid down by the Atlantic Whale Foundation which are there to ensure the ongoing welfare of the cetaceans. Boats should never 'chase' whales or dolphins and should switch off their engines when they are close to a pod. Noise should be kept to a minimum too and no litter of any sort should be thrown into the sea. A plastic bag or bottle in the water can potentially mean death to a dolphin.
Boats which fly the yellow Barco Azul flag denote that the vessel complies with the Canarian Government’s regulations for the observation and protection of whales and dolphins. You'll see the flag on most of Tenerife's whale watching excursions.
Where can I go dolphin and whale watching on Tenerife?
Dolphin and whale watching trips operate from the pretty marina of Los Gigantes where boats such as Nashira Uno, Katrin and Son Caliu operate most days, twice a day. Excursions also operate from Los Cristianos and Puerto Colon. Trips cost in the region of €20-€25 for 2 hours and €40 for three hours with reductions for children.
If you take a ferry trip from Tenerife to La Gomera, El Hierro or La Palma, you may be lucky enough to see pods of dolphins accompanying the boat and swimming in its wake or even the occasional whale on the horizon. Travel on deck or sit by the window and keep your eyes peeled.
Can I get involved in protecting the dolphins and whales?
Yes. The Atlantic Whale Foundation needs help to continue and expand its vital work in researching, monitoring and recording data and in helping to spread the word about the vital conservation of the cetaceans.
They are looking for volunteers to work with them and there are lots of opportunities to get involved. As well as being invaluable experience for anyone who wishes to develop a career in conservation, it's also great fun and a wonderful opportunity to spend time on the island of Tenerife while also helping to conserve its exotic marine life. You'll find all the details you need on the Atlantic Whale Foundation website.