What is it like to go on a whale watching tour on Peru’s northern coast? Find out, as whale watching season is upon us!
With a bit of good of luck, you could see whales of 15 to 17 meters in length jump out of the water. Catch them hanging in the air before they come down with the biggest splash you’ve ever seen!
The marine biologist guides of Pacifico Adventures know all about the humpback whales, so you can almost count on seeing their blows and waving tails—sometimes even from surprisingly close by!
From mid-July through mid-October, the humpback whales spend their time in the tropical waters of Northern Peru to breed and calve. So yes, now is the time to get out and go whale watching!
Be an eco-tourist that contributes to the whales’ welfare, or for a win-win for all, support research and be an eco-tourist!
How To Pick a Whale Watching Tour
At first, I was a bit doubtful about what tour to book. What if I would not see any whales?
I opted for Pacífico Adventures, as they achieved an 85% success rate in sighting humpback whales. The secret? Well, their guides are marine biologists who know all about the behavior, distribution, and population of the whales. On board, the guides love to share their knowledge about these whales. For example, we learned that the baby calf we saw was a heavy baby, weighing 1.5 tons! When teamed up with a skilled captain, they know exactly where to go.
And the good thing is that by taking this excursion I was actually contributing to the welfare of those impressive whales’ lives. In booking an ecotourism tour with Pacífico Adventures, your money goes directly towards supporting their valuable research on whale life. Yay! A Splendid win-win for all: you, the research center, and the whales.
What else will you see?
Of course, we set out to see the whales, and that’s exactly what we saw, from blows to waving tails and whales breaching out of the water.
Apart from observing the whales, you can also expect to see sea lions, blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, and of course, pelicans. Also, don’t be too surprised if you see some dolphins jumping out of the water as well. I also found it fun to wave to the fishermen as their boats were leaving and returning to the pier.
The Research Center
After the boat tour, you will get to visit the research center of Pacifico Adventures. It is a nice complex with a mini-museum. My guide, Daniel, took us around and explained the maritime life living in the zone, focusing especially on the humpback whales, of course.
It is also quite interactive; little kids can pretend they are a shark for a moment, find out that whales don’t have teeth to brush, and line up for a special music class—Sea Shell Horn Blowing! I surely did not get any sound out of that thing, but Daniel did! He was gasping for breath afterward, so it is safe to say that this is not the easiest “instrument” to play.
The complex features a gift-shop with stuffed animals and lovely whale-inspired bracelets. The revenue from this shop goes towards whale research, which is a great reason to treat yourself and your kids! Being out on the open sea all morning will make you hungry, so have your pick from the homemade muffins and sandwiches at the cafeteria; Or, since the sun will be out, enjoy some artisanal ice cream!
So, what’s it like to go on a whale watching tour in Peru?
In one word: AMAZING!
It was so amazing, that I ended up taking two extra tours. I am definitely planning to go back again this year. Also, as the photo of the whales jumping out of the water is still missing, that moment is engraved in my mind as a perfectly vivid image. This will go down as one of my top three favorite moments in Peru.
Interested in why humpback whales picked Peruvian waters to breed and calve? Wondering where the best place to stay is and what to bring on your whale watching trip? Read my sister article, “Essential Whale Watching Tour Tips” for more information.
Tour Information and Tips
The boat tour leaves from the Los Organos Fisherman Pier, where you can see a group of sea turtles swimming around. The tour boats do fill up quickly. Make reservations ahead of time to ensure your whale watching experience. After the tour and the museum visit at the research center, consider going back to the pier, finding yourself a guide on the spot, and diving in to swim with the sea turtles!
- Departure Time: 7:30 a.m. at the Old Fisherman’s Pier in Los Órganos (Note: Hotel pick-up arrangements can be made. Ask when making the reservation.)
- Duration: approximately 3.5 hours
- The Boats: Pacífico Adventures has three boats specially equipped for whale watching tours. All boats do have a toilet onboard.
- # of Passengers: Approximately 80 passengers total per day across the three boats.
- Price: 130 Soles for adults, 110 Soles for children (5 to 10 years old) (Note: All proceeds directly support the work of the whale research center.)
- Website: pacificoadventures.com (in Spanish and English)