Whales in Tenerife: best time, spots and local species

One of the most interesting activities you can do in Tenerife is to navigate alongside local whales and dolphins. This is one of the top destinations for whale-watching in Europe and is an activity you can’t miss on your next visit.  

For its special location, Tenerife offers a great climate, incredible landscapes, and a large variety of marine life. It is one of the few places where you can see great marine mammals like dolphins and whales in Tenerife all year round.

Whale-watching is one of the essential things to do in Tenerife if you are a nature lover. In this article, we will explore the best time of the year and the best places to catch a glimpse of dolphins and whales in the Tenerife sea. We will also tell you about the different types of whales in Tenerife and the best way to see them.

Let’s go whale-watching!

Where can you see the whales around Tenerife?

If you want to see the whales in Tenerife from up close, the west and south parts of the island are the best to do so.

Like the other Canary islands, Tenerife is volcanic land. For its unique nature, between Tenerife and its neighbor La Gomera, there is a steep underwater topography with depths up to 3,000 meters (or 9,800 feet) that houses a rich ecosystem.

Between these two islands is where we can find a large amount of marine life and up to 22 different types of whales and dolphins in Tenerife. This pass is where a protected area called the ZEC Teno Rasca Zone is located. An area of almost 70,000 hectares where mostly all the resident cetaceans in Tenerife live.

To reach this protected area and spot these incredible marine mammals, you will need to take a whale-watching tour that usually sails from Puerto Colón, Costa Adeje, Los Gigantes, or Los Cristianos. Most companies offer tours year-round so you can enjoy this activity whenever you visit the island.


Whale watching Tenerife: best time of the year to do it

You are probably wondering, what are the best months for whale-watching in Tenerife? Due to its location and climate, it is possible to see different types of cetaceans in Tenerife south all year round.

But if we have to pick the best time to see whales in Tenerife, it would be in the winter and spring months, as this is when most dolphins and whales migrate through the waters.

November to February is usually the best whale-watching Tenerife season when you can certainly spot many species of whales and dolphins. The reason for this is that in the summer, there is less food available to these cetaceans due to the increasing sea temperature and most of the species migrate to the poles.


Live an unforgettable experience

The most common types of whales in Tenerife

Up to 32 types of species of marine mammals live around these volcanic islands, according to the Canary Islands Biodiversity Data Bank (BIOTA). Due to its location and topography, the Canary Islands are home to a rich biodiversity that leaves in awe each one of its visitors.

And this is why Tenerife is one of the best places to see dolphins and whales all year long, especially in the pass between this island and La Gomera.

Though the type of whales that you can see in Tenerife varies depending on the season, because of the migratory cetaceans or time of the day, it is almost certain that you can take a glimpse of these marvelous creatures if you take a whale-watching tour.

The western and southern areas of the island are populated with these incredible mammals and you can see them in their natural habitat while you enjoy the landscape and soak in the sun.

What whales can you see in Tenerife? Let’s answer this question…

9 Types of whales in Tenerife


One of the most incredible sea animals, whales are the star of the Tenerife sea, charming visitors with their elegant swim and large sizes.

If you wonder: are there whales in Tenerife? The answer is yes, there are a lot of them. And although many species live or migrate in the Canary sea, these are the 9 most common types of whales that you can see.

What whales can you see in Tenerife?


Pilot Whales are the most common and easy to see near Tenerife. You can see Pilot Whales in Tenerife on most whale-watching tours. Even though they belong to the dolphin family, they are considered whales for their large size since they can reach up to 5 meters (16 feet) long.

Other easy-to-see whales around Tenerife are Sperm Whales, Sei Whales, and False Killer Whales. Sperm Whales and Sei Whales can measure up to 18 meters (60 feet), so they certainly will be easy to see. You can’t see Killer Whales in Tenerife, but you could take a glimpse of the False Killer Whale, which can be up to 6 meters (19 feet) long and live up to 60 years!

See dolphins in Tenerife

Apart from marvelous whales, you can also see dolphins on the coast of Tenerife. These joyful mammals come in all shapes and forms, and these are the most common species that you can find in the Tenerife sea:

Bottlenose Dolphins are the most well-known species and you can easily see them near the coastline of Tenerife, so you’ll probably notice them at the start or end of your tour. You can also encounter some Striped Dolphins racing alongside the boat and jumping out of the water.

Other common species are the Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, which you can see between autumn and late spring, and the Rough-Toothed Dolphin, easily recognizable because they swim in pods of 6 to 10 members.

Are there Orcas in Tenerife?

Whales and Dolphins are the main attraction on a sailing tour, but it is also possible to see orcas in Tenerife, though it is tricky to catch them. It is more common to spot a False Orca, a cetacean whose appearance resembles a combination of a dolphin and a killer whale with darker skin.

Which are the best tours to watch whales in Tenerife?

With more than 25 years of experience, Freebird Catamaran offers the most incredible whale-watching tours to enjoy the beauty of the cetaceans on our island.

We work with specialized tour operators that will guide you to discover how amazing these animals are and the different species that live in our waters. Costa Adeje, Masca, or Los Gigantes: we know which are the best spots to glance at whales and dolphins and we offer year-round tours.

Freebird Catamaran is a member of the Whalewatching Quality Charter of Tourism of Tenerife as we are committed to responsible whale-watching, respecting the animals and their natural habitat. An activity that is perfect for all ages and great for families with kids.


Discover our tours and experience first-hand the whales in Tenerife!

Whale-watching tour Costa Adeje

Do you want to take a fast glimpse of these fabulous cetaceans in Tenerife? Our 3-hour tour is the perfect opportunity to enjoy responsible whale-watching and admire the island’s beauty from the water.

With the help of our specialized guide, you will see some of the dolphins and whales in the Tenerife sea in their natural habitat, while you soak in the sun and enjoy the relaxing navigation.

Our 3-hour tour is perfect for all the family and includes food and beverages so you can enjoy the marvelous cetaceans of Tenerife with a sangria glass in hand. Book this whale-watching tour here!


Enjoy this unique experience in Tenerife

Whale-watching tour Masca & Los Gigantes

We start at Puerto Colón and sail to Masca and Los Gigantes cliff, one of the most spectacular landscapes on the island. In this 4,5 hour tour, you will discover the dolphins and whales in Tenerife that live along the rugged cliffs of Los Gigantes, with the help of our specialized guide.

In our catamaran, you can also enjoy lunch, beverages, and sunbeds (rented separately) to enjoy the sun and beautiful scenery. This longer tour lets us enter further into the sea and increase our chances to see more types of whales in Tenerife. Book this whale-watching tour here!

If you are staying in the northern area of the island, this tour is for you. We offer bus pick-up points in Playa de las Américas that take you to Puerto Colón to start this 4,5 hour-long whale-watching experience. Book this whale-watching tour here!

We hope that this article encourages you to discover the marvelous marine life on a whale-watching tour. Enjoy one of the most incredible experiences on the island and sail alongside the whales around Tenerife!

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