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 Whales and dolphins Tenerife: A Journey Through the Canary Waters

Tenerife is one of the seven Canary Islands, known for its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and vibrant nightlife. However, this island also boasts a rich marine life, which is home to a variety of whale and dolphin species. Tenerife south is one of the best places to observe whales and dolphins in their natural environment. Island is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, providing an ideal environment for a resident species, including migratory animals that pass through the waters of the Canaries certain time of the year.

In this article, we will explore the different species of whales and dolphins that can be found in waters of Tenerife and other marine life, as well as the organizations protecting these animals and excursions available to observe these magnificent creatures.


Whales and Dolphins Tenerife

Whales and Dolphins Tenerife

What marine animals live in Tenerife?

The resident species found in the waters of Tenerife (between Tenerife south and La Gomera island) are Pilot whales, these whales are known for their intelligence and social behavior. Because they travel in large groups are very easy to spot. They are known to communicate with each other and even have names for their family members all by using sounds.

Pilot Whales

Pilot Whales Tenerife

The second most commonly found spaces are the Bottlenose Dolphins and Common dolphins. Bottlenose Dolphins are known for their playful behavior and are often seen jumping and playing in the waves and observed riding the waves in front of boats.

Dolphins Tenerife

Dolphins Tenerife

In addition to the resident species of whales and dolphins, Tenerife is also home to many migrant animals. These animals travel from other parts of the world, such as the Arctic and the Antarctic, to spend time in the warmer waters of the Canaries. Some of the most common migrant animals include the Fin whale, the Minke whale, Humpback Whales, the Sperm whale, Orca Whales and the Bryde’s whale. These animals can be observed in Tenerife between the months of November and April.

Aside from to observing whales and dolphins, Tenerife’s waters are home to a variety of other fascinating marine species. Tenerife is home to several species of turtles, including the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle. These fascinating creatures are often spotted while out on whale and dolphin watching excursions, and they are sure to capture the attention of visitors of all ages.

species of turtles

Turtle – Tenerife


What is the best time of year for whale watching in Tenerife?

November to February is usually the best whale-watching Tenerife season when you can certainly spot many species of whales and dolphins. The reason for this is that in the summer, there is less food available to these cetaceans due to the increasing sea temperature and most of the species migrate to the poles. Bottle nose dolphins an Pilot whale can be seen all year around.

Celebrating Cetaceans

The communities within the Tenerife – La Gomera Whale Heritage Site are host to a whole range of education centers, events and festivals that celebrate whales and dolphins and the wonderful local marine life. Arona Son Atlantico is one such event. This large annual festival is a chance for residents and visitors to learn about the importance of protecting the environment on land and in the oceans. It is a celebration of music, film and photography, supported by a program of educational workshops, marine experiences and conservation events, including as beach cleans, and turtle and bird releases.

Fun facts:

  • The short-finned pilot whale can dive down to depths of up to 800 metres for more than 15 minutes. Its scientific name, Globicephala, refers to the globe-like shape of its head.
  • The waters of south-west Tenerife are Europe’s largest mating ground for the Bottlenose dolphin.
  • Spotted dolphins form pods of hundreds of individuals. The young ones can be mistaken for Bottlenose dolphins.
  • The common dolphin is one of the fastest cetaceans, reaching speeds of up to 60 km/h.
  • The striped dolphin can jump up to 7 meters high – that’s three times the length of its body.
  • The members of a pod of rough-toothed dolphins surface in synchrony to breathe.
  • Sperm whales can have up to 50 teeth, which can individually weigh up to 1 kg.
  • Blue whales are the largest animal ever known to have existed on Earth, and can grow up to 33 meters long. They can eat six to eight tons of food a day and their calves require 100 liters of milk a day.
  • Are pilot whales related to dolphins? Pilot whales are in fact one of the largest members of the dolphin family, but they are treated as whales for the Marine Mammals Protection Regulations 1992 . They were named pilot whales because it was thought that each pod followed a ‘pilot’ in the group.

Observing Whales and Dolphins in Tenerife

The best way to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural environment is by going on boat trip for whales and dolphins watching observation. These excursions offer the chance to get up close to these animals, and provide the opportunity to learn about their behavior, habitat, and migration patterns all while enjoying the beautiful coastal area.

Blue Boat Excursions – The vessels authorized to perform whale and dolphin watching in Tenerife

The vessels authorized to perform whale and dolphin watching in Tenerife are distinguished by carrying a yellow flag with the “Blue Boat” logo that allows them to be identified. The code of conduct explains how a vessel should manouever when approaching the animals.

There are various national and international norms and laws that protect populations of whales and dolphins. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to all human activities that may affect these animals, including whale watching.

The blue flag boat excursions in Tenerife are operated by experienced skippers and crew, who are knowledgeable about the local environment and the animals that can be found there.


Whale and Dolphin Watching Tours:

In Tenerife, there are several types of excursions available for observing whales and dolphins, each offering a unique and memorable experience. Some of the most popular excursions include:

2-hour Observation Excursion:

This is a great option for those who want a short and simple introduction to observing whales and dolphins. During this 2-hour excursion, visitors will be taken on a journey through the waters of Tenerife, where they will have the opportunity to observe a variety of species of whales and dolphins in their natural habitats. You will set sail in search of cetaceans; the boat will sail in the special conservation area Teno-Rasca and up to a distance of 3 miles from the coast reaching a depth of one thousand meters. There you will go in search of the short-finned pilot whale, one of the main resident species of Tenerife. They will approach at a safe distance so as not to disturb them and be able to observe, photograph and record them, the crew will be happy to explain and show you the information about cetaceans that we have on board. Then we will return to the port contemplating the wonderful views that the island offers us from the sea: El Teide, Arona, Adeje, Guía de Isora, Vilaflor, Santiago del Teide, etc.


Whales and Dolphins Tenerife

Whales and Dolphins Tenerife

3-hour Observation and Swim Excursion:

This excursion is perfect for those who want to combine the thrill of observing whales and dolphins with the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of Tenerife. After the observation, the boat will anchor in a bay, where visitors will be able to enjoy a refreshing swim and explore the underwater world of the Canaries. It is important to note that swimming with whales and dolphins is not allowed and is strictly forbidden, but after the observation, visitors can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding waters.

4.5-hour Masca Bay and Los Gigantes Excursion:

This excursion is perfect for those who want to experience the beauty of Tenerife to the fullest. During this 4.5-hour excursion, visitors will be taken on a journey to Masca Bay and Los Gigantes, two of the most beautiful and unspoiled areas of Tenerife. Along the way, visitors will have the opportunity to observe whales and dolphins in their natural habitats, as well as explore the stunning coastline and cliffs of Masca and Los Gigantes.

Private Charter Excursion:

For those who prefer a more personal and intimate experience, a private charter excursion is the perfect option. During this private trip, visitors can choose to do any of the above options, or create their own itinerary, allowing them to fully customize their experience. Private charters offer the ultimate flexibility and allow visitors to create a truly unforgettable experience in Tenerife.

In conclusion, there is a wide range of excursions available in Tenerife for observing whales and dolphins. Whether you prefer a short and simple excursion or a more extended and personalized experience, there is something for everyone in Tenerife. So why not book your trip today and discover the amazing world of whales and dolphins in Tenerife.

Sunset boat excursions:

These excursions offer a unique opportunity to admire the sunset while exploring the scenic coastline of Tenerife.

The excursions typically depart in the late afternoon and provide guests with a comfortable and spacious boat to enjoy the views. As the sun sets, the sky transforms into a beautiful array of colors, providing a breathtaking backdrop to the stunning coastline of Tenerife.

One of the best things about sunset boat excursions in Tenerife is the opportunity to witness the marine life that is active during the twilight hours. Whales and dolphins are often seen swimming and playing in the waters, providing guests with an unforgettable experience. In addition to the wildlife sightings, sunset boat excursions in Tenerife also offer the chance to relax and unwind with friends and family. The boats are equipped with comfortable seating and a variety of amenities, including refreshments. This makes them the perfect choice for those who want to enjoy a night out with loved ones or simply escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Sun set boat trip

Sun set boat trip

Type of boats to choose from:

There are a variety of boats available for whale and dolphin watching excursions. Each type of boat offers a different experience and allows visitors to observe the amimals in a unique and memorable way.

Some of the most popular types of boats used for these excursions include:

Catamaran are the most popular type of boat for whale and dolphin watching. Catamarans are known for their stability and spacious decks. They are equipped with powerful engines, which allow them to quickly reach the best viewing locations, and they fitted with shade awnings and comfortable seating, making them ideal for longer excursions. They are great option for small children.

Sailing Yachts are perfect for those who enjoy the traditional sailing experience. Although they mostly do not sail but are using motors, they offer a unique and intimate experience that is not possible on larger boats. Maximum people taken on board are 12 plus captain. These boats are ideal for small groups or couples who are looking for a more personalized and intimate experience.

Motor Yachts are another type of boat that are available for whale and dolphin watching excursions in Tenerife. These boats are equipped with powerful engines, which allow them to reach the best viewing locations quickly and they are fitted with spacious decks. They are also equipped with comfortable seating and shade awnings, making them perfect for a relaxing day on the water.

In addition to the previously mentioned boats, Tenerife also offers a few more options for whale and dolphin observation. These include:

Pirate Boat – Shogun and Peter Pan these two boats offer a fun and adventurous experience for visitors who are looking for a different perspective on whale and dolphin watching. While there are no shows onboard, passengers can enjoy a pirate atmosphere on a wooden boat.

Viking Boat with Show Onboard: This boat is ideal for families with small children. The onboard show features Viking-themed activities and entertainment, making for a fun and entertaining whale and dolphin watching experience.


The final thoughts

Tenerife is not just any ordinary destination, but a place of natural wonders, where one can have a once-in-a-lifetime experience of observing some of the most magnificent creatures in the sea. With the availability of various excursions avalible, from a simple 2-hour observation to longer trips to explore the coastline of Masca and Los Gigantes.
The excitement of seeing whales and dolphins in their natural habitats, surrounded by the stunning coast line, is truly an experience like no other. Book your trip to Tenerife today and discover why this beautiful island is known for being one of the best places in the world for observing whales and dolphins.

Bottom nose dolphin and Pilot Whale

Bottom nose dolphin and Pilot Whale

So why not book your whale and dolphin watching excursion today and experience Tenerife’s incredible marine environment for yourself.

Boat excursion to see whales and dolphins and to enjoy the sea and amazing scenery.

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