We don’t know about you, but we reckon that whales are some of the most spectacular creatures on the planet. Their sheer size, majesty and mystery has lodged them firmly in our collective imaginations, and there’s nothing quite like the excitement of seeing one of them in the flesh. If you can’t imagine anything better than getting out on the open water and going whale watching, the Canary Islands are one of the best places to do so in a sustainable, respectful manner. Ready to dive right in and find out everything you need to know? We’ll start with a little background on World Whale Day before sharing everything you need to know about whale watching in the Canary Islands, including how to pick the most sustainable whale watching trips.
World Whale Day
World Whale Day falls on February 16th every year. The day was founded in Hawaii back in 1980 as a chance for us all to get suitably excited about these amazing creatures.
Many species of whale are endangered, some critically, and as whaling has been reintroduced in certain countries, now more than ever we need to be raising awareness of just how incredible these creatures are.
So, here are a few incredible facts about whales that you can impress your friends with until you have photos of whales in the Canary Islands to show off when you come back from your trip.
- Whales live an incredible long time, but the Greenland shark is the winner, as certain individuals are thought to be over 400 years old.
- The Cuvier’s beaked whale has been known to dive as deep as 10,000 feet.
- Beluga whales make an incredible range of noises and have been referred to as the ‘Canaries of the sea’.
- Blue whales can weigh up to 200 tonnes. That’s the equivalent of 24 elephants!
Pretty cool, right? Well then, you’ll be wanting to know how you can see whales in the wild without them being hurt or distressed. Here’s what you need to know.
Picking a sustainable company to go whale watching: Canary Islands
Luckily, many of the companies offering trips to see the whales in Tenerife, Lanzarote or any of the islands in the archipelago are responsible organisations who have the whales’ best interests at heart.
Look for a company that states that it meets Blue Boat standards, which means they have been authorised by the Ministry of Tourism of the Canary Islands, guaranteeing that whales are left to live their lives, with those on boat trips admiring them from a respectful distance.
If you’re in Tenerife, then the Whale Watching Tenerife site is a great place to find boats that meet these criteria.
If any tour operator offers opportunities to swim with or feed whales or dolphins then a red flag should go up, as interacting with these incredible animals isn’t permitted.
Best time to see whales: Canary Islands
When it comes to whale watching, the Canary Islands are the perfect place.
There are an incredible 26 species of whales and dolphins in the waters surrounding the archipelago, some of them permanent residents, and some of them only passing through at certain times of year on their migration routes.
As an indication of what you might expect to spot on your boat trips in Tenerife or any of the other islands, short finned pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins live in the waters around the Canary Islands all year round.
Four other species of dolphin, the Edens whale and the sperm whale are also around all year, but are only spotted sporadically.
Migratory species spotted around the islands include the common dolphin, the false killer whale, the fin whale and the sei whale. Last but not least, very occasionally you’ll spot an orca (killer whale), or a Blainville’s beaked whale.
So, as you can see, there are whales around here at all times of year. Due to that, the best time for whale watching in Lanzarote, Tenerife or the rest of the Canaries is probably just the low tourist season in general.
During the cooler (but still balmy) months of the year, there are far fewer tourists, and therefore you are more likely to be on a boat that’s not so busy, and there shouldn’t be as many other boats around. Any time between October and February is generally quieter for tourism.
And let’s face it, the less people that are there to witness the moment you spot a whale, the better it’ll feel.
Where to find the best sustainable whale watching trips
Luckily for you, there are plenty of options for whale watching trips, depending on where you’re staying. If you’re looking for Tenerife boat trips, then you’ve got lots of choice of departure point.
There’s sustainable whale watching in Los Cristianos, Los Gigantes and Puerto Colon, to name just a few. There are no shortage of whales around Tenerife, so you’re almost guaranteed a siting.
There’s also whale watching in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, and at all the other main ports and fishing villages on Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and even the smaller islands.
Essentially, it doesn’t really matter where your boat leaves from, as long as you get out on the water. Keep your eyes firmly fixed on the horizon and get ready for an experience you’ll never forget.