Living Nature: whale and dolphin watching in Tenerife

avistamiento cetaceos tenerife
May 10, 2021, 4:59 p.m.

Did you know that whale and dolphin watching in Tenerife is yet another holiday option offered by this marvellous island? Nowadays, holidays are not conceived in the same way as they used to be... In fact, it's not just about traditional sun and beach tourism.

Indeed, both nature tourism and ecotourism trips are one of the great assets of recent years and one of the most important assets for Tenerife, which is lucky enough to be home to ecosystems where fauna and flora abound on all sides.

Activities such as cetacean watching are a great attraction for many travellers who choose to live a unique experience in the heart of nature. That is why it is time to talk about the so-called "safari of the sea", i.e. whale and dolphin spotting.

Where do whales and dolphins breed and where do they live? These are questions that every adventurer may ask himself. Do you dare to experience a holiday worthy of a National Geographic issue?

If the answers to these questions are yes, we strongly recommend that you continue reading to enjoy the watching of dolphins and whales in their wild habitat in Tenerife.

observacion cetaceos tenerife

Whale and dolphin watching in Tenerife

Tenerife's enviable geographical location in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean makes it one of the privileged destinations for whale and dolphin watching due to the richness and depth of its waters.

Excursions are organised from many of its ports to go out to sea in search of large marine mammals such as sperm whales, beaked whales, fin whales and humpback whales.

Being wild animals, their behaviour is unpredictable, so each excursion is a different experience. The behaviour of cetaceans depends on various aspects such as the species, the time of day, the state of the sea, the available food...

Be that as it may, they are quite active animals that can be observed blowing bubbles, playing, surfing, flapping their tails and even spying curiously on visitors. It is, without a doubt, a unique experience.

What species of whales and dolphins you can spot in Tenerife

Up to 21 different species can be found in the waters off Tenerife, from the enormous blue whale to the striking killer whale. Differentiating one species from another in the open sea, and with the naked eye, can be difficult, especially if they are not close to the boat.

However, just by looking at certain aspects we can identify the species observed: size, shape of the head, dorsal fin, body and tail, body colouring and behaviour. Whale and dolphin watching in Tenerife has never been so easy!

excursion cetaceos tenerife

Resident cetaceans in Tenerife

  • Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
  • Pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus)

Sporadic cetaceans in Tenerife

  • Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis)
  • Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni)
  • Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus)
  • Rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis)
  • Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)
  • Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba)

Seasonal cetaceans in Tenerife

  • False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens)
  • Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)
  • Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis)
  • Short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis)

Rare cetaceans in Tenerife

  • Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
  • Common minke whale or Northern minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
  • Cuvier's beaked whale or Goose-beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris)
  • Blainville's beaked whale or Dense-beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris)
  • Fraser's dolphin or Sarawak dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei)
  • Gervais's beaked whale, Antillean beaked whale, Gulf Stream beaked whale, or European beaked whale (Mesoplodon europaeus)
  • Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
  • Killer whale or Orca (Orcinus orca)
  • Pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps)

ver cetaceos tenerife

Where to spot cetaceans in Tenerife: Los Gigantes

There is no doubt that this island is one of the best places to enjoy whale and dolphin spotting. Tenerife has many companies dedicated to organising excursions to see these animals in the wild.

The boats set sail from the ports of Los Cristianos, Puerto Colón and, above all, Los Gigantes, and there are almost always options to suit what you are looking for, both in terms of time and price. The options for whale and dolphin watching in Tenerife are:

  • Two-hour trip: you can choose a short session, in small, fast boats, whose sole purpose is to spot whales and dolphins, which is enough for many people.
  • Two-to-three-hour sea excursion: a more leisurely option, which usually includes lunch on board and a stop at a cove for a swim. It is done in medium-sized boats that give greater freedom of movement.
  • Sightseeing trip of up to 5 hours: this complete experience is offered by the larger vessels, as it includes a tour of the most representative places in the southwest and west of the island, with stops for a swim and lunch on board.

IMPORTANT: vessels approaching cetaceans have the "Blue Ship" label, which guarantees compliance with the rules that guarantee a full and happy life for cetaceans.

Where to stay for cetacean spotting in Tenerife

Now you can go to nearby paradisiacal destinations, such as Tenerife. Here you can hire a car and get lost in its stunning nature or enjoy unique experiences such as cetacean watching.

And the best thing is to enjoy everything without giving up the comfort of a good hotel with all the services, such as HD Parque Cristóbal Tenerife, the best family hotel in Spain in 2020.

Sources on whale and dolphin watching in Tenerife

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