Humpback Whale Watching in Patagonia
Jumping as an acrobat emerging from the deep cold waters of the southern seas, the Humpback Whale attracts the attention of the lucky ones around that witness their performance. These cetaceans can be seen in all the oceans of the world, and have a predictable route that they follow to breed and reproduce.
One of the places where they like to remain for a while –from December till March- are the Chilean Fjords and a part of Argentine Patagonia (Beagle Channel). Their presence is the cherry on the cake of a magic atmosphere surrounded by pristine forests, hanging glaciers, and steep fjords. An authentic postcard of the end of the world.
Social and curious
Humpback Whales are very social and curious animals, which like to swim close to the boats in order to explore what’s going on. Their weight –up to 30 tons- and their height –up to 19 meters- is not an impediment for jumping out from the water…hurling most of their bodies up to 5 meters!
When they swim, they usually lift their flukes, which have particular and colorful patterns. This, together with the bumps on their heads and other features, makes them easy to identify. Another interesting fact is that this kind of whale is a great singer, counting with one of the most complex fauna vocalizations in the world.
When they hunt, they take out their humongous heads to catch the fishes, using a very clever technique known as “bubble-net fishing”. This technique consists of surrounding shoals by creating bubbles to confuse the fishes, while one of the whales comes from below with the mouth wide open swallowing as much as it can. The interesting thing is that as it happens near the surface, the whale emerges from the water with its mouth still open, creating an impressive sensation.
In this post, we will share some of the best Humpback Whale Watching experiences in Patagonia.
Kayaking among Whales
Right in the heart of the Chilean Fjord exists a marine park called Francisco Coloane. This is home to uncountable species such as penguins, sea lions, birds, and whales. This reserve is surrounded by scarped mountains, forests, and hanging glaciers, and to reach it’s required to navigate from Punta Arenas for a while.
The whales can be seen either at the marine park or on the way, depending on different factors. One of the excursions that lead to the park is a full-day navigation combined with kayaking (click to see). This is a very long excursion, but worthy after all!
Those who prefer something more relaxed, and perhaps not so much kayaking, can opt for the “Humpback Whale Watching” cruise onboard the small “Expedición Fitz Roy” Cruise.
Humpback Whale Watching & Comfort
If we talk about the Chilean Fjords it’s important to mention the Australis Cruises. These are expedition cruises, onboard ships that host a maximum of 200 passengers. It joins Punta Arenas and Ushuaia (Argentina) through Cape Horn, with many disembarks in between. The shore excursions include inspiring experiences for people with different physical conditions. Even though this journey is not focused on Humpback Whale Watching, they may appear on the way, together with many other animals.
Melinka: ocean & tradition
Melinka is one of the more than 40 islands which conform the Guaitecas Archipelago. Together with Raúl Marín Balmaceda, Melinka is as well one of the oldest towns in the Aysen region. This region is popular for being transversed by the legendary Carretera Austral, one of the most beautiful roads in the world.
Even though Melinka is far from the Carretera Austral, it works not only as a suitable “sailing” partner for a road trip but also as a place to see the footprints of its ancestral inhabitants (the Chono people).
During the whales season, it’s possible to hire excursions in private boats, navigating the agitated waters of the Pacific Ocean until finding (or trying to find) families of humpback whales, blue whales, and even Orcas. Likewise, you might find them in the Moraleda Channel.
Other places and other species
Even though we have focused mainly on Humpback whale watching in Patagonia, these animals can be seen in other parts of Chile as well. The most iconic areas besides Patagonia are Arica, Chañaral de Aceituno, and Punta de Choros.
Furthermore, Chile is not only popular for Humpback Whales, but also for other types of whales such as the Blue one, very common in Chiloe and Corcovado. Continuing with the line of whales and wildlife, it’s important to highlight that Argentina has a destination that is perfect for Orcas (Killer Whales watching) and Southern Right Whales watching: Peninsula Valdés.
As one can see, both countries offer lots of chances to see animals in their natural habitat, at different times of the year, surrounded by different kinds of landscapes and attractions. In Beyond BA LATAM, we offer tailor-made tours in Argentina and Chile, and we would love to help you to find the right trip for you. Don’t hesitate in contacting us, and let’s plan your next wildlife tour together!0