Galapagos Whale Watching

August 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Up close interactions with whales is for many the highlight of their trip to the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos is home to several species of whale some are migrants and others are residents.  The nutrient rich upwelling of the Humboldt Current  makes the Galapagos an ideal environment for these marine giants.

Humpback Whale in Galapagos

Looking back to the early visitors of the islands, there were whaling ships like Acushnet, which carried Herman Melville that frequented the archipelago to hunt for whales.  Visitors today who stop at Tagus Cove can look up at the cliffs as they enter the cove to see the names and other graffiti left behind by these early whalers.

Within the Galapagos Marine Reserve there are many excellent locations to see whales and dolphins. Scientists have identified five different areas as the gathering area for sperm whales in the Galapagos.  While the number of sperm whales in the Galapagos has greatly diminished since the 1980’s, they are the most common whale in Galapagos and can be seen in pods up to 20.

Bryde's Whale Near Isabela

All six of types of rorqual whales have been seen in Galapagos from the giant Blue Whale measuring up to 107 feet in length, the humpback, fin, Bryde’s, sei, and minke.    Of these Baleen Whales the humpbacks are known to stop by during their winter migration while the Bryde’s are the most commonly seen.

There are also several species of false whales that are present in the islands like the killer whale or orca, the false killer whale, pilot whale, and melon head all of are actually members of the dolphin family.  Like other dolphins these marine animals are highly social, fast and acrobatic and can often be seen swimming around your panga or kayak delighting visitors with their animated approaches.

Fin Whale Near Fernandina

Whales can be encountered throughout the year anywhere within the Galapagos Islands the best time to see whales is during the cooler season from July to November and the best place to encounter these magnificent animals is near the western islands of Isabela and Fernandina.

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