Dolphin and Whale Watching in Ecuador

Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are world-renowned for their incredible biodiversity and exciting eco-tourism options, attracting tourists from around the world. Whale-watching in Ecuador is a popular activity between the months of June and October when humpback whales head to the warm waters along the Pacific coastline for breeding season. There are a host of good dolphin and whale-watching spots all along Ecuador’s coastline, with some of the more popular being Puerto Lopez, Salinas, Mompiche, Ballenita, and Bahia de Caraquez – also known as the “Eco-City”.

Although humpback whales live in the icy waters of the Antarctica, their babies are born with insufficient fat stores for them to survive the cold conditions. To ensure the best conditions for survival, adult whales travel a distance of more than 7,000 kilometers to the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean to mate and give birth to their young. Traveling in large groups, called pods, the humpbacks hug the coastline on their journey, with young males leading the way and pregnant females being the last to arrive. Male whales make a spectacular display as they leap out of the water, making unusual sounds, in an attempt to attract a mate. Mating takes place in these waters, and with a gestation period of around eleven months, females will return to the coast of Ecuador the following year to give birth.

Puerto Lopez is unquestionably the most popular whale-watching destination, as tour operators offer to include a trip to the spectacular Isla de la Plata and the Machalilla National Park. A whale-watching trip from Mompiche can include a visit to Isla Jupiter with its impressive mangroves. Some tour operators are also able to arrange for visitors to swim with dolphins in the waters around the island. An absolute treasure trove of natural wonders, the Galapagos Islands also offer excellent dolphin and whale-watching opportunities. The island of San Cristobal, with its resident sea lions and abundant birdlife, is a popular choice for this activity.

In addition to being found in abundance off the coast of Ecuador, dolphins are also found in some of the country’s rivers. Known as the Amazon River dolphin or pink dolphin – referring to its distinctive color – this fresh-water dolphin is found throughout the Amazon and is the subject of traditional Amazon folklore and legends. There is no doubt that Ecuador is a nature-lover’s dream destination, with dolphin and whale-watching being among the many memorable activities to enjoy.