Extent of whale and dolphin watching
Whale watching in Brazil began in the Abrolhos Marine National Park, Southern Bahia State, in 1988, with the first tours being offered to watch humpback whales. In 2001 whale watching tours were established in Praia do Forte where they subsequently spread to several other small coastal cities along the coast of Bahia. Here whale watching activity rapidly increased from 70 participants in 2001 to 2,494 in 2009.
Whale watching focusing on southern right whales was initiated in the 1990s in the state of Santa Catarina. A Marine Protected Area was created there in 2000 and strict regulations for whale watching were established. In 2012, some areas of the MPA were closed to whale watching vessels, allowing only land-based viewing.
Today humpback whales and right whales still form the focus of most commercial whale watching activities, while dolphin viewing tends to take place more opportunistically alongside other wildlife tourism activities.
Target species, peak times of year and locations:
Below is a brief summary of where whales can be observed at different times of year along the Brazilian coast. Note that the months indicated are peak times for migrating whales, but that dolphins can generally be observed year-round.