Whale Watching Season in South America

Southern right Whale. Valdez Peninsula. Argentina
Southern Right Whale - Secretariat of Tourism Buenos Aires

In South America, the whale watching season spans from May to December, when this annual migratory mass returns to perform their mating and breeding rituals.

To witness this majestic ceremony is truly a once-in-a-lifetime-experience, as whales are one of the most beautiful, noble and impressive animals on earth.
Besides, they are very non-aggressive and don't have natural fear of humankind.

The list of top countries for whale watching include Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil.

Natural born actors and performers, they execute an aquatic ballet to the delight of their admirers, cutting through the waves with the skillfulness and eloquence of a ballerina.

One cant' help but to admire and love them when they produce spectacular jumps, lifting their enormous bodies out of the water and displacing thousands of gallons of water at the same time.

Whale Watching Season in Argentina:

Valdez Peninsula, (Patagonia), Argentina, is without doubt one of the best places on Earth to enjoy a whale watching vacation. It is the primary mating ground for the Southern Right whale.

The city of Puerto Madryn, Rawson and the village of Puerto Piramides constitute the entrance to the extraordinary world of the southern whales. Valdez Peninsula host the largest breeding population of the species, particularly at Golfo Nuevo (Nuevo Gulf).

Only authorized tourist agencies crafts are allowed to navigate Golfo Nuevo during the mating and breeding period.

There are four Right whale species in the world...

  • North Atlantic Right Whale
  • North Pacific Right Whale
  • Southern Right Whale (Southern Hemisphere)
  • Bowhead Right Whale (Artic Ocean)

Southern Right whales have huge callosities (growths) on their head, which makes them easy to identify.
At Valdez Peninsula there are several recurrent visitors that even have names and are greeted as old friends when they show up every year.

They have broad backs with no fin, a large head with an arched mouthpiece and large broad flippers. Their skin is black-brown and they have white patches under their bellies. Have two blow holes and when they blow it is wide and V-shaped and up to five meters high.

Adults females measure between 13 and 16 meters of length and weight between 30 and 40 tons. This species have offspring every three years. At birth, they are between 4.6 and 5.5 meters long and weight about 3 tons.

Whale Watching Season in Colombia:

Colombia's Pacific coast - from June to September - is the place for whale watching, particularly killer and humpback whales, in Gorgona island.

Gorgona island used to have a prision, in the style of Alcatraz ( in front of San Francisco, CA) or Devil's island penal colony in French Guiana - made famous by Henry Charriere through his celebrated book "Papillon" (1969).

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Whale Watching Season in Ecuador:

Every year, from June to October, the Humpback Whale comes from the Antarctica - natural habitat for the most part of the year - to the shores of Ecuador, to find a mate and reproduce in warm waters.

The Humpback whale is an enormous creature that can reach up to 60 feet and weight up to 40 tons. Its name was given for the manner in which its curved back arches above the water as it surfaces. It is known for its love of communication and harmonious sounds. The male sings in an attempt to find a female.

In fact, the Humpback whale produces the longest and most complex song in the animal kingdom, lasting up to an hour at times. Would you like to listen to it?...

The best places for whale watching in Ecuador include...

  • Bahia de Caraquez (Prov. of Manabi)
  • Manta (Idem)
  • La Isla de la Plata (Idem)
  • Puerto Lopez (Idem)
  • Machalila National Park (Idem)
  • Salinas (Prov. of Guayas)
  • Mampiche (Prov. of Esmeraldas)

Whale Watching Season in Antarctica:

For its extreme weather conditions, Antarctica can only be accessed during summer month (December to March), being December and January the warmest months.

However, don't expect to find high temperatures - particularly if you come from a warm country. In fact, the highest recorded temperature that you can look forward to there in a year is 10C (29F)

The best time for whale watching in Antarctica is at the end of the season: February to March.

You will have the opportunity to observe...

  • minke whales
  • sei whales
  • fin whales
  • humpback whales
  • southern bottlenose whales
  • killer whales

Whale Watching Season in Brazil:

In Brazil instead, you can admire the Southern Right whale from the beautiful beaches of Santa Rosa, in Florianopolis.

Inbituba, in Santa Catarina, has been recognized as the National Right Whale Capital and holds a Right Whale Week celebration in September, when mothers and calves are more often seen. The whale watching season in Brazil spans from July to November, before they depart for their long migration.

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