Whale-watching on Peru’s northern coast

Humpback whales swim up from the Antarctic to give birth and rear their calves from August to October every year.

The area is one of the best places on Earth to view this huge species, with day-long excursions in speedboats typically having an 80% to 90% chance of seeing humpbacks.

There are few things as awe-inspiring as seeing a humpback whale up close in the wild. And not many places can match Peru’s northern Pacific beaches for viewing these gentle giants, which weigh as much as 40 tons and reach up to 50ft in length. Every year, they make the arduous journey up from the Antarctic waters, where they feast on the plentiful krill and tiny fish, to northern Peru and southern Ecuador, to give birth to their calves and then rear them in the warm waters for the first few months of their lives.

An estimated 1,000 animals congregate off Peru’s northern coast from August to October every year. That means that even from land, at one of the region’s various beach resorts, it is often possible to spot the outsized marine mammals’ towering water spouts and, if you are lucky, witness adult whales breach entirely from the ocean as they frolic during their humpback equivalent of spring-break. But you don’t need to make do with witnessing them from half-a-mile away.

Various operators offer responsible, eco-friendly humpback whale-watching excursions that allow visitors to get close enough to feel the mist in their faces as the animals blast water from their blowholes. Some will also ensure that your guide is a highly qualified local marine biologist, who may combine his ecotourism work with important scientific research. You’ll get some of the most amazing photos, as even from several dozen yards away, the humpbacks seem to fill up your entire camera viewfinder. You can also witness newly-born calves taking their first playful strokes as they familiarize themselves with the joyful freedom of the seas.

Of course, these are wild animals, and highly mobile too, meaning that no serious operator can guarantee that you will see humpbacks during your boat excursion. Nevertheless, most offer odds of 80% to 90%, making northern Peru one of the best places in the world to marvel at first hand at these magnificent, endangered creatures.

To go on a whale viewing excursion as part of your unique, individually tailored itinerary, contact the Peru Empire Company at or on +51-1-700-5100 or, if you are in the US, 347-713-7030/34.


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