Guide to Whale Watching in Ecuador

by on 14th October, 2020

A whale breaching, in Machalilla National Park Ecuador

Whale watching is on most people’s bucket list – unsurprisingly!

Read on to find out all about the whale watching season in Ecuador, the best places to see whales in Ecuador and get our travel information an expert tips to help plan your trip.


Ecuador Whale Watching Guide: Season and Best Places to go

Humpback Whales migrate from Antarctica to the shores of Ecuador every year, from June to September.

They come in search of warmer currents, and an abundance of food. For 2 months they will feast, creating thick layers of fat before returning to icier waters. Pregnant females will find optimal conditions to give birth to their young who wouldn’t survive the cold waters of Antarctica in the first weeks of their lives. Those looking for love will find it, and amazing underwater dances and songs of courtship will take place here.

One of the areas best set up for whale watching is the Machalilla National Park, and the coastal city of Puerto Lopez.


Puerto Lopez fishing boats, Ecuador

Fishing boats at Puerto Lopez


Base yourself here for a couple of days and you can set off on a whale watching half day trip – as well as enjoying a town with a laid back feel, a beach lined with little restaurants, fishermen bringing in their daily haul, snorkelling and diving opportunities and some stunning beaches nearby.

You can also choose to combine your whale watching excursion with a trip to Isla de la Plata (often nicknamed Poor Man’s Galapagos) to see Frigate Birds and Blue Footed Boobies.



Watching a whale breach close up!


Boat excursions from Puerto Lopez

The giants of the seas usually don’t disappoint and if you go at the right time of year, you should be able to see groups of up to 10 whales appearing at the surface for an amazing show. The local captains at the helm are excellent at spotting whales and will do their best to take you to there – and to any other wildlife they spot enroute. Most companies will offer to rebook you to the next day and some will refund you, should luck not be on your side – so make sure you check what their policies are.

Boats are small and open top, so it will inevitably get breezy and wet, even on warm days – make sure you dress warm and waterproof enough to enjoy a couple of hours at sea.

It’s worth getting a plastic cover for your mobile phone to protect it from the elements – and if you have a camera with a good lens, this is the moment to really zoom in and catch some great pictures of whales breaching.

If you are prone to sea sickness, do take some tablets with you.

To get an idea of what to expect, we’ve picked an Ecuador tourism board video for you.


Puerto Lopez Whale watchers Ecuador

Cameras at the ready!


Kat says…

“I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time and saw Humpback Whales on a trip from Puerto Lopez a few years ago – an experience that has stayed with me! As well as whale watching, Puerto Lopez holds a great appeal for me and I really have a soft spot for this fishing town (with or without whales!).

Plan to spend 3 – 4 days here and I think it makes the perfect end to your Ecuador holiday!”

Get in touch with Kat to find out more.


Puerto Lopez view of beach and fishermen with birds

Puerto Lopez view of beach and fishermen


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