Dolphins in Gran Canaria, dolphin-watching Gran Canaria

6 Best Whale Watching Tours in Tenerife, Canary Islands

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Whale watching in Tenerife is one of the best activities you can do in the Canary Islands since its waters have the optimal conditions to support all kinds of marine life. For this reason, a whale and dolphin-watching tour is one of the best things to do in Tenerife.

Depending on when you go, it’s possible to spot up to 21 different whale species around the Canary Islands. So, if you want to whale watch in Tenerife, this guide will tell you the best tours to do, and the best time and places.

Tenerife boat trip, tenerife dolphin boat trip

Best Whale Watching Tours in Tenerife, Canary Islands

We took this 5-hour tour and loved the experience! The excursion started from Costa Adeje, and we spent a few hours traveling around the island until we found the perfect spot to see these magnificent creatures in the wild.

This tour, like the others in this guide, was very respectful of the environment and, most importantly, the whales. They use the appropriate boats, and the captain maintains a safe distance so as not to disturb or harm the whales.

Top Tenerife whale-watching tours

There are many excursions in Tenerife that I recommend, although only a few are as impressive as these whale and dolphin-watching tours. Most whale and dolphin trips in Tenerife depart from Costa Adeje or the port of Los Gigantes. Best of all, you can see these beautiful creatures practically any time of year, thanks to the prime water conditions in the Canary Islands.

Since there are many whale watching tours in Tenerife, below you’ll find the best options. Most of them let you retake the tour for free if you don’t see whales the first time. Remember, these are wild animals living freely in the sea, so their movements are unpredictable. That said, these tour operators have years of experience organizing these trips, so they know the best spots with the highest chances of seeing cetaceans.

  1. Whale watching in Tenerife with underwater views
  2. Eco-cruise with dolphin and whale-watching in Tenerife
  3. Dolphin and whale watching in Tenerife on a luxury yacht
  4. Cheap Tenerife whale watching tour with snorkeling
  5. Tenerife whale watch and dolphin sightings by catamaran
  6. Whale-watching in Tenerife from Los Gigantes

1. Whale watching in Tenerife with underwater views (3 hours)

If you’re looking for a great whale-watching tour in Tenerife, one of the best options is this excursion, which takes place on a catamaran with underwater viewing areas.

The tour begins in Puerto Colón, Costa Adeje, and lasts 2-3 hours depending on which option you choose. If you book the 3-hour tour, you’ll get lunch and a cold beer or glass of sangria. This option also includes a brief break where you can swim in the sea.

Underwater view of whales, whale watching in tenerife

1. Whale watching in Tenerife with underwater views (3 hours)

In addition to seeing dolphins and whales in Tenerife, you’ll also enjoy beautiful views of Costa Adeje, Guía de Isora, and Santiago del Teide. The crew will also tell you interesting facts about the different types of whales in Tenerife that you’ll see.

Also, I recommend going under the boat’s deck so you can get an underwater view of the dolphins and whales swimming in the sea.

  • Highlights: Catamaran ride with underwater views to see dolphins and pilot whales
  • Departure point: Puerto Colón, Costa Adeje
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Price: $26
  • Description: Ride in a catamaran and go below deck to get underwater views of the cetaceans during a 2 or 3-hour tour. Both tours include lunch, beer, or sangria, while the 3-hour tour includes a brief swim in the sea.

2. Eco-cruise with dolphin and whale-watching in Tenerife (5 hours)

Another great whale and dolphin boat trip in Tenerife is this excursion that we did, which is one of the best ways to see cetaceans in their natural habitat. It’s an experience that I wholeheartedly recommend since the cruise is super respectful of the environment and marine life. During our tour, we were lucky enough to see lots of dolphins and a pod of pilot whales, and it’s one of my most precious memories from our trip to the Canary Islands.

Dolphin boat trip, best time for whale watching in tenerife

2. Eco-cruise with dolphin and whale-watching in Tenerife (5 hours)

The tour starts in Puerto Colón, Costa Adeje, and has two options: a 3-hour tour or a 5-hour tour, which is the one we chose. Both options include food and drinks, but the 5-hour excursion adds a visit to Los Gigantes and Masca Bay. Regardless of which tour option you choose, you’ll be able to retake it free of charge if you don’t see any cetaceans the first time around.

During the tour, you’ll sail to the Teno-Rasca sanctuary, which protects vulnerable marine species and habitats in Tenerife. From here, you’ll have beautiful views of Las Américas Beach and Los Cristianos Beach, and even Mount Teide if it’s a clear day. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best whale-watching tours in Tenerife.

  • Highlights: Teno-Rasca sanctuary, Las Américas Beach, Los Cristianos Beach, Los Gigantes, and Masca Bay
  • Departure point: Puerto Colón, Costa Adeje
  • Duration: 3-5 hours
  • Price: $49
  • Description: Ride in an environmentally-sustainable catamaran to the Teno-Rasca sanctuary and enjoy onboard food and drinks. There is a 3-hour option and a 5-hour option; the latter includes a visit to Los Gigantes and Masca Bay. You can retake the tour for free if you don’t see any dolphins or whales the first time.

3. Dolphin and whale watching in Tenerife on a luxury yacht (3 hours)

For those looking for a more exclusive tour to see whales in Tenerife, then consider this excursion aboard a luxury yacht.

This 3-hour tour is reserved for small groups, which allows you to get the best views possible. Moreover, the yacht has a cutting-edge sonar system that allows you to listen to the melodic songs of the whales and the clicks emitted by the dolphins.

Whale yacht cruise, dolphin and whale watching in tenerife

3. Dolphin and whale watching in Tenerife on a luxury yacht (3 hours)

Not only does this excursion offer some of the best whale-watching in Tenerife, but it also includes a snorkeling session where you can swim among the sea turtles and other marine life. You’ll also be able to enjoy onboard snacks and drinks free of charge.

  • Highlights: Luxury yacht tour with state-of-the-art sonar technology and a snorkeling session with turtles
  • Departure point: Puerto Colón, Costa Adeje
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Price: $71
  • Description: Board a luxury yacht and enjoy a few hours of whale-watching. This is a small-group tour, although a private option is available. The excursion includes snacks and drinks, as well as a snorkeling session with turtles.

4. Cheap Tenerife whale watching tour with snorkeling (2 hours)

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, do this 2-hour tour. This Tenerife whale watch excursion departs from the port of Los Cristianos and travels along the coast in search of cetaceans. The captain will maintain a safe distance from the whales, dolphins, and other animals to be respectful of their environment and safety.

Sailboat tour, best whale watching tenerife

4. Cheap Tenerife whale watching tour with snorkeling (2 hours)

In addition to seeing dolphins and whales in Tenerife, this tour includes a visit to the famous “Cave of Love,” where you can enjoy lovely views of the island. The boat will also stop at the Cave of Love so you can snorkel and witness the magnificent seabed. It’s certainly one of the best options for those who are short on time or money but still want to enjoy a whale and dolphin tour in Tenerife.

  • Highlights: Whale and dolphin watching, and snorkeling in the “Cave of Love”
  • Departure point: Los Cristianos
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Price: $22
  • Description: Take a Tenerife whale watching tour with beautiful views of the coastline and a snorkeling session in the “Cave of Love.”

5. Tenerife whale watch and dolphin sightings by catamaran (3 hours)

Another very good option for travelers who want to enjoy a whale watching tour in Tenerife is this excursion, which starts from Puerto Colón, in Costa Adeje. After departing, you’ll travel along the southwest coast of Tenerife, an area where dolphins and pilot whales are typically found throughout the year.

Of course, if you don’t see any cetaceans the first time, you can retake this tour free of charge. Another cool thing about this boat trip is that you’ll stop at Espagueti Beach to enjoy a refreshing swim or snorkeling adventure. This Tenerife whale safari also includes free onboard drinks.

Whale cruise, tenerife whale watching

5. Tenerife whale watch and dolphin sightings by catamaran (3 hours)

If you haven’t sailed on a catamaran before, I highly recommend this tour because it’s a super fun experience, especially when playful dolphins swim alongside your boat!

  • Highlights: Whale and dolphin watching with a stop at Espagueti Beach to snorkel
  • Departure point: Puerto Colón, Costa Adeje
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Price: $34
  • Description: Enjoy a tour to see whales in Tenerife and snorkel at Espagueti Beach. During the catamaran excursion, you can also enjoy beautiful views of the southwest coast of Tenerife while sipping onboard drinks.

6. Whale-watching in Tenerife from Los Gigantes (3 hours)

Finally, this excursion is the perfect way to enjoy some whale watching from Los Gigantes, Tenerife.

The tour departs from Los Gigantes and La Caleta, and you’ll travel as a small group by sailboat. With fewer people on the boat, you’ll be able to get the best views and fully experience the beautiful scenery. Weather permitting, you can even help hoist the sails of the boat.

Whales in Tenerife, tenerife whale watching season

6. Whale-watching in Tenerife from Los Gigantes (3 hours)

Your captain will guide you to the places where you’ll have the highest chances of seeing whales and dolphins in Tenerife, and you’ll also make a brief stop to enjoy a refreshing swim or snorkel in the sea. In addition to all this, you’ll get free onboard drinks and stunning views of the surrounding cliffs, so it’s the best whale-watching tour in Tenerife from Los Gigantes.

  • Highlights: Whale and dolphin watching from a sailboat with a stop for snorkeling
  • Departure point: Los Gigantes
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Price: $71
  • Description: Take a small-group sailing tour to see cetaceans in Tenerife and enjoy a snorkeling adventure. During the excursion, you can also enjoy beautiful views of the cliffs and enjoy free onboard drinks.

Best time to see whales in Tenerife

One of the most common questions people ask is, when is the best time to whale watch in Tenerife? Thanks to its privileged location, it’s possible to see cetaceans in Tenerife any time of year, especially common dolphins and pilot whales, since they primarily live in the Canarian waters.

However, for a greater variety of species, the best time to see whales in Tenerife is during the winter and spring months. This is when most dolphins and whales migrate through the waters, particularly baleen whales, blue whales, and minke whales.

So, while you’ll have the most success if you go whale watching in Tenerife in the winter or spring, you should have no problem seeing cetaceans throughout the year.

Where to see whales in Tenerife

Another frequent question is where to go whale watching in Tenerife. While Tenerife is the best Canary Island to take a whale-watching trip, most tours depart from the southern part of the island, specifically from Puerto Colón, in Costa Adeje. That said, there are a few tours that depart from the ports of Los Gigantes or Los Cristianos.

Whale watching in south Tenerife

If you go whale-watching in south Tenerife, you’ll probably depart from Puerto Colón, in Costa Adeje. This is one of the most touristy parts of the island since Siam Park and Las Américas Beach, two of the best places to see in south Tenerife, are located here. You can also find lots of charming villages, delicious restaurants, and cozy hotels here, so it’s one of the most popular areas to stay in Tenerife.

Yacht cruise, tenerife dolphin boat trip

Whale watching in south Tenerife

In Costa Adeje, you’ll find these whale-watching tours:

  1. Whale watching in Tenerife with underwater views
  2. Eco-cruise with dolphin and whale watching in Tenerife
  3. Dolphin and whale watching in Tenerife on a luxury yacht
  4. Tenerife whale watch and dolphin sightings by catamaran

Los Cristianos isn’t far from Costa Adeje, and while it offers a few tour options, they aren’t as popular:

  1. Cheap Tenerife whale watching tour with snorkeling

Whale watching in Los Gigantes, Tenerife

Another option is to go whale watching in Los Gigantes, Tenerife. This area is considered one of the best places to see dolphins and whales since the odds are much higher. In fact, some dolphin tours in Tenerife depart from Costa Adeje and head towards Los Gigantes. Besides the whale and dolphin sightings, the cliffs in the background are gorgeous.

This is the best whale watching tour from Los Gigantes:

  1. Whale-watching in Tenerife from Los Gigantes

Types of whales in Tenerife

The Canary Islands are one of the prime locations to see whales and dolphins throughout the year. Moreover, these are the most common types of whales in Tenerife, as well as their characteristics so you can easily identify them.

Dolphins in Tenerife

If you want to see dolphins in Tenerife, you should know that the most common species, which you can see year-round, is the bottlenose dolphin.

Common dolphins, dolphin and whale watching in tenerife

Dolphins in Tenerife

This species is usually found a short distance from the coastline, making it one of the easiest to see. Bottlenose dolphins are typically 8 to 10 feet long and live in groups of 10-30 individuals. They’re dark gray in color, although their undersides tend to be lighter.

There are other types of dolphins in Tenerife, including the Atlantic spotted dolphin, whose body is covered in small specks. You may also see the rough-toothed dolphin, which has serrated teeth and an elongated skull, or the striped dolphin, which has a bluish color with gray stripes. Finally, the common dolphin has a yellowish coloration on its sides and is also found in Tenerife.

All these species are less common or seasonal, so depending on when you visit, you may see one or more of them.

Pilot whales in Tenerife

It’s very easy to see pilot whales in Tenerife, so keep your eyes peeled. They can reach up to 16 feet long and typically weigh between 1 and 2 tons. Pilot whales actually belong to the dolphin family, although they’re considered whales because of their large size.

One of the most striking features of the pilot whale is its rounded head, which has a small beak and a curved mouth. These cetaceans are black in color but have a gray spot behind the dorsal fin.

Pilot whales, whale watching in tenerife

Pilot whales in Tenerife

You can also see a type of gray pilot whale, known as Risso’s dolphin. This species differs from the pilot whale in that it has a darker color and it’s smaller, weighing between 660 lbs. and 1,320 lbs.

Sperm whales in Tenerife

If you’re lucky, you may see a sperm whale in Tenerife. While they’re seen sporadically, they’re very beautiful, with a large head and striated skin. Sperm whales are large, impressive creatures, measuring 36 to 60 feet and weighing between 15 and 45 tons.

Orcas in Tenerife

Seeing orcas in Tenerife is a bit trickier, but not impossible. These cetaceans can measure up to 30 feet long and weigh up to 12,000 lbs. Orcas are easily identifiable thanks to their black backs and white underbellies, as well as the white parts around their eyes.

While it’s rare to see killer whales in Tenerife, it’s easier to see false killer whales. This type of cetacean can reach a length of up to 20 feet and weigh up to 3,300 lbs. They usually live in pods of 10-50 individuals.

Other whales in Tenerife

In addition to all the above species, you can see several other creatures on a whale watching tour in Tenerife, specifically the tropical fin whale, the bowhead whale, and the northern Atlantic right whale. There are some rarer species out there too, such as Fraser’s dolphin, the humpback whale, the beaked whale, or the pygmy sperm whale.

Pilot whale, whales watching tenerife

Other whales in Tenerife

Last but not least, you can also see sea turtles and a wide variety of fish in the Canarian waters. For this reason, I recommend booking a whale tour in Tenerife that includes a chance to snorkel, like this excursion.

I hope this guide helped you find your perfect whale watching tour in Tenerife! I know whichever tour you choose, you’ll fully enjoy it, as it’s one of the most incredible experiences.

Happy whale-watching in Tenerife!

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COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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