Extent of whale and dolphin watching
Panama’s is one of the few countries in the world that hosts humpback whales from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. In July-October several hundred whales visit Panama’s Pacific coast after feeding in Antarctica and Chile during the Southern Hemisphere summer months. And between December and April, Northern Hemisphere whales descend to Panama to breed after feeding in California, Oregon and Washington. Over 30 species of whales and dolphins have been documented in Panama's waters, offering whale watchers the opportunity to observe many different species.
Target species, peak times of year and locations:
While humpback whales are the focus of most whale watching tours, it is also possible to see bottlenose dolphins and pantropical spotted dolphins in a number of sites (see map below). Humpback whale watching takes place at a number of locations on the Pacific coast, and has two seasons, focusing on Northern Hemisphere populations (December-April) and Southern Hemisphere populations (July-October). A few sites on the Caribbean coast focus specifically on dolphin watching, with a focus on bottlenose dolphins.
Additional information about whale watching opportunities in Panama can be found on the following websites:
- Panacetacea – a Panamanian NGO focused on whale and dolphin research and conservation;
- Visit Panama website;
- Pearl Islands website;
- The Visitor/El Vistante website