Whale watching is a popular recreational pastime in many countries. The activity involves observing dolphins and whales in their natural environment. According to a 2009 study conducted by the International Fund For Animal Welfare, whale watching is a $2.1 billion per year industry, employing over 13,000 individuals all over the world. In 2008 alone, nearly 13 million participated in whale-watching.
If you are interested in observing these magnificent in their natural habitat, consider the following whale watching sites in the East Pacific:
Nuqui and Bahia Solano are two towns where visitors can go to observe Humpback whales, which are present there from July till early October.
In southern Costa Rica’s Marino Ballena National Park, there are two seasons conducive to whale watching.
The Pearl Islands Archipelago in Panama are visited by over 300 Humpbacks whales from June to November. Main whale watching tours start in Panama City. The Gulf of Chiriqui is a World Heritage Sites of the Coiba Island National Park where numerous whale watching opportunities can be had.
June to September is an ideal time to observe Humpback whales, especially near Salinas, Isla de la Plata, and near edge of Santa Elena Penninsula.
Kaikoura, an island located on the southern side of New Zealand is a hot spot for observing Sperm Whales. The region’s nutrient-rich waters, cold and warm currents, and deep seas is also a favourite spot for observing the a rare species of dolphin: Hector Dolphin.
Vancouver Island, Canada
On Vancouver Island, visitors can observe many species of whales. The Minke and Grew Whale species are quite dominant. The area is also rich with dolphins, sea birds, sea lions, and seals. There are many staging posts set up by whale researchers who can offer a guided tour to visitors. As part of the tour, you can hear whales communicating using hydrophones.
Sea of Cortez, California
There are several sheltered bays and feeding grounds off of the Sea of Cortez, making this is an ideal location to observe whales. Grey Whales and dolphins are quite popular here. The largest whale species, the Blue Whale is also present here. They can be spotted between Santa Barbara and Point Reyes.
East Caribbean Islands
The blue waters of the east Caribbean Islands are rich with over 25 species of whales. These include the Sperm whales, Humpback whales, and dolphins to name a few. The Caribwhale is a whale watching association in the Caribbean which promotes sustainable whale-watching activities.
From April to December, is the best time to observe the Humpback whale migration. Other whale species such as False Killer Whales, Pilot Whales, Killer Whales, Sperm Whales, and Minke Whales are present just 37km out to sea. Even dolphins such as the Bottlenose and Common Dolphin have a home here. There are many guided tours on boats and cruises that are offered.
For some of the best whale watching sites in the South East Pacific, consider visiting some of the locations mentioned above.