Whale Watching in Puerto Lopez

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Although I grew up next to the Atlantic Ocean, and a few hours from a whale watching town I have never seen a whale.

I guess that is not completely true as I once snorkeled with beluga whales. But I have never seen one of the big ones.

The past couple months people have recommended that I go to Puerto Lopez.

On the coast because it is whale breeding season and I could simply just arrive in town and find someone to take me out on a boat.

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With only a week left in Ecuador I decided I had to take the trip there and fortunately friends in Canoa decided they wanted to go too.

While it’s 3.5 hours away, Patricia our yoga instructor said she had a driver that could take us down and back in a day for a not so small fee of $150.

But with 4 of us sharing the cost the convenience of not having to switch buses and figuring things out was worth the cost.

Geovanni picked us up at 5am and drove us down to Whale Expeditions, the 3 hour whale tour was only $25. This is pricey for Ecuadorian standards but certainly reasonable for whale watching.

But as soon as we made it down to the beach I started to have reservations, especially as I realized we were going to cram 30 people onto a boat.

Our tour agent assured us that the boat had the legal capacity of 30 people but I wondered how we were all supposed to see the whales.

But I tried to remain optimistic and just go with the flow.

Ayngelina Brogan, Cat LaPuma, Kim Mance
puerto lopez whale watching

My concerns grew as we took off. 

Many others packed into the end of the boat looking outside for whales. We sat underneath waiting for the moment where people could disperse outside around the boat.
 

STUFFED PLANTAIN RECIPE: Bolon de Verde

I was growing impatient for this moment when numerous people started throwing up. This included the group that thought they should drink aguardiente before getting on a small boat.

whale watching ecuador

But eventually that time came and Cat and I found a corner spot to sit and watch.

We saw maybe 4-5 whales. It certainly was not as close as people had made it seem they would be but I have finally seen a whale.
 

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I have also learned that when buying a ticket for anything on a boat to ask how many people will be on it.

Camarones Apanado

We had lunch in Puerto Lopez, a town not nearly as charming as Canoa or Cuenca. But I don’t want to reserve final judgement as I do have a penchant for ugly places and the tour did cast a shadow on the city as a hole.

Geovanni found us and drove us back, stopping numerous times so we could take photos and to explain things to us.

While he was expensive, he couldn’t have been nicer and so I was happy to give him money.

In the end I’m happy I went. I’m grateful for this one that at least I was with friends.

If I hadn’t gone I would have felt as if I missed out on something. But now that I have done it I am reminded that some day trips are just meh and this was one of them.

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Join the Conversation

  1. Sorry to hear you didn’t love seeing the whales. Locally here (southern WA) the beaches are empty so you have the whales virtually to yourself when they cruise by. It is magical!

  2. boat questions before boarding are smart, once spent quite an uncomfortable time on an older (1980’s) cement boat of suspect maintenance as had assumed it would be fiberglass. You may want to ask about your captain and the location of your lifejacket — on the outside chance you need it. Boat referred to above sailed into the seawall (sank) outside of Colon two days after I exited in San Blas islands…

  3. Amanda @ Adventure Year says:

    So bummed you didn’t have a stellar experience with the whale tour! I’ve been on one before, but I’ve never seen any. And I can’t imagine how crowded your boat must have been!

  4. We took a boat trip out to Isla de la Plata in June and hoped to see some whales on the way back. The way over was fine, but the boat went so fast on the way back about 70% of us felt sick. I saw a whale fin but nothing else. Shame as I usually love boats!

  5. TammyOnTheMove says:

    I have never seen whales either, but would love too. I went on two river trips to spot river dolphins (in Brazil and Cambodia), but they were quite shy, so never got very close either. Plus they didn’t jump out of the water like ocean dolphins do, so I only ever saw their fin and nose.

  6. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    I’ve been whale watching twice and never saw a wild whale. SO sad!

  7. I would love to go whale watching… but from the sound of your experience, maybe not!

    Thanks for the tips of asking how many people are on the boat. I hope you have a better experience next time!

  8. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy says:

    Whale watching seems to be such a mixed bag. I finally saw my first whales last summer (orcas & humpback) and that was a great experience. It’s crazy how many people they crammed on your boat… and how many got sick!

  9. That looks like a great dish, after being on a boat, seafood sounds like a great choice!

  10. Whale Watching Costa Rica says:

    It looks like an amazing place to watch whales. I really feel happy when people really love whales. One of the most beautiful animals in the world. Thanks God we can watch whales in Costa Rica, this season is gonna be wonderful. A group of friend from Canada watched a little whale shark in the Osa Peninsula last week.
    Great article 🙂

  11. dolphin boat tours mandurah quay says:

    Thanks for finally talking about >Whale Watching in Puerto Lopez <Loved it!

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