Practical Information

Whale watching in Gran Canaria

whale watching gran canaria

Whale watching in Gran Canaria

Whale watching in Gran Canaria a unique and fantastic experience you can and should experience while visiting the Island.

The Canary Islands in general are one of the best places on the planet for whale watching. The geomorphological and oceanographic features of Gran Canaria, make it a hotspot for cetaceans. The warm and cold waters surrounding the island, and the huge amount of food available to these underwater mammals attracts them like a magnet to the area.

Of the 79 species of cetaceans known worldwide, over 30 have been sighted off the coast of Gran Canaria. That is over 30% of the world’s diversity. 

Whale watching in Gran Canaria

Why is whale watching in Gran Canaria so special?

whale watching gran canaria

Similar to whale watching in Tenerife, whale watching in Gran Canaria is unlike whale watching anywhere else in the world.

The Canary Islands are located in an interesting little slice of the Atlantic Ocean. In this spot, the waters can reach great depths, and it is where the cold waters of the Atlantic and the warm waters of the Mediterranean sea converge. This makes the waters off the coast of the islands an excellent environment for all types of fish and plankton, in other words, whale and dolphin food. All sorts of whales and dolphins, therefore swarm around the islands looking for an easy meal.


You also get whales that come through the islands on their way to somewhere else. Such is the case of Killer Whales or Orcas that pass through the Canary Islands on their way to the Mediterranean Sea as they chase one of their favorite prey: Tuna.

But many of the whale species you can see near the island of Gran Canaria are resident, which makes sighting whales a breeze. Canary waters are among the areas with the highest whale and dolphin concentrations in Europe. So it is almost guaranteed that you will spot dolphins or whales on a boat trip in Gran Canaria.

There are several that set out from Puerto Rico every morning. Whether you are traveling with kids, other couples or seniors, a whale watching tour is a great experience for everyone.

When is the best time to go whale watching in Gran Canaria? 

The short answer is that there is no best time of year in Gran Canaria to see dolphins or whales. It doesn’t matter when you go, you will always get to come in contact with these creatures. Now, if you are looking for specific types of whales, it can get trickier. 

We have already talked about this in a previous article on whale watching in Spain, but it bears repeating. 

Sperm whales are a rare sight anywhere in the world but they do pop up from time to time in the Canary Islands in Spring, as they chase giant squid. Spotted dolphins can be seen from autumn to early summer and common dolphins can be found only during the winter months.

Humpback whales also visit during the summer on their way to their breeding grounds in the Cape Verde Islands. One of the most elusive species, the blue whale, has also been seen near the Islands in winter but it is one of the rarest whales to find.

whale watching gran canaria

Dolphin Watching Gran Canaria

The most common dolphin species in Gran Canaria are the bottlenose dolphins and the Borneo dolphin. They all live permanently in the waters around the Canary archipelago and in large groups.

These lively and highly intelligent critters are generally open-minded and quite sociable. Therefore, it is not uncommon for them to approach boats and interact with visitors.

They absolutely love surfing the bow wave, showing off with jumps and other acrobatic maneuvers, you can even hear them calling to one another if you listen closely.

Barco azul boats for whale watching in Gran Canaria 

If you set out on a dolphin tour from Puerto Rico look for the boats that carry the seal “Barco Azul”, in English “Blue Boat”. This means that the operator has the appropriate license to perform the whales and dolphins search trips and that he adheres strictly to the legal provisions to ensure the protection of these marine mammals in Canary waters.

The set rules imply, among other things, that the boats can only approach the animals at a certain distance and can neither distress nor persecute them.

Approach and interaction can only happen if they are initiated by the animals themselves. It is also strictly forbidden to feed them, nor are you allowed to swim with them.

These rules are in place to ensure that these marine animals can move freely in their own habitat and live in absolute freedom.

During the excursion, the crew will inform you of the different species of cetaceans that are seen and of the features and particularities of each one of them.

Recommendations to enjoy the excursion:

  1. Don’t forget sun and lip protection (for the breeze and the sun).
  2. If you have a tendency to get dizzy, make sure to take medication to avoid seasickness.
  3. Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and to have something warm to put on with you because it can get chilly out on the water. 
  4. Make sure to have some sunglasses with you.
  5. Pack a camera but hang on tight to it, because you wouldn’t be the first guest to lose your camera or phone off the side of the boat. 

Whale watching in Spain

Bottleneck dolphins in Tenerife

Dolphin and Whale watching in Tenerife: the complete guide

One of the best things to do in Tenerife is to join a whale watching experience. A permanent colony of pilot whales and dolphins make it almost sure you will enjoy their presence in their natural habitat. Tours run daily from the South and west of the island and they can be enjoyed all year round!

Tarifa orcas

Tarifa orcas : the amazing tuna hunt

Tarifa orcas: Tarifa is continental Europe’s southernmost point and enjoys a unique climate and natural setting that makes it an excellent place for whale watching, the local population of orcas is particularly amazing to watch as they hunt tuna.

Whale watching in Spain

Whale watching in Spain: complete guide

Spain may not come at the top of your head when you think of whale watching. Off the coast of Tarifa from Algeciras until the Cabo de Gracia in Tarifa, you’ll find the “Estrecho y Reserva Intercontinental de la Biosfera” (natural park), a protected shoreline area that occupies the meeting point of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, an area with exceptional biodiversity made of migratory birds and marine mammals.

Other attractions in Gran canaria


Trekking in Gran Canaria

A guide of the best trekking locations on the island of gran canaria. Gran canaria enjoys amazing natural beauty and trekking is a great way to enjoy it