Whale Watching in Colombia’s Pacific | The Bucket List Series

The Bucket List Series: A series of short, inspirational travel articles focusing on single bucket list experiences from all over the globe. The goal; to bring you the very best things that our fabulous planet has to offer.

Whale Watching in Colombia’s Pacific

One thing that without a doubt you need to include on your travel bucket list is humpback whale watching on Colombia’s Pacific coast. While the Colombian Pacific isn’t as well known as other destinations in Colombia like Medellín or the beaches of Cartagena, the area is absolutely stunning and largely unspoiled.

Not only is the Colombian Pacific and its gorgeous beaches worth a visit on their own, but the truly amazing thing about them is that every year humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic to the warmer waters here to mate. The following year they return to give birth. It’s truly amazing to see them in such a natural paradise.

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Humpack Whale | Canva

Experiencing humpback whales in Colombia

I had the opportunity to see them back in 2016. After I read about it online, I knew it was something I absolutely had to do. I went ahead and booked it for that summer, and it remains one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever done.

The truth is I was a little nervous since the best way to reach the Pacific coast is via small prop plane flights, which I had never done before. It actually wasn’t too bad. There was practically no turbulence. I was going solo as well. I was also just a bit giddy to be around these massive, majestic animals.

The day I arrived, we set out in the afternoon on a small speed boat in search of the whales. I could feel the taste and smell of the saltwater as we headed just off the coast. Fortunately, it didn’t take long to find a pod of whales. We found them just off the coast.

I was lucky enough to see several whales surface, sending up big splashes of water from their blowholes before flashing their tails high in the air as they dove back to the depths below. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any jump all the way out of the water, but it was still so mindblowing seeing them up close. As a bonus, we also got to see a whole school of dolphins enjoying chasing after the waves from the boat. It was great watching them leap over the waves.

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Humpack Whale | Canva

Everything about it was such a great bucket list experience. Enjoying the near-deserted beaches the next few days made me feel even more connected with nature. I spent a day just hanging out on the beach and reading. I saw maybe 5 other people the entire day.

The scenery of the palm tree covered beach with the jungle behind them and the ocean stretching out to the other side is just gorgeous. It’s an experience I will never forget and something I think everyone should experience at least once in their life. That’s as much for the whales and beaches as it is for the adventure.

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Colombia's Beautiful Beaches | Cartagena Explorer

Useful things to know for whale watching in Colombia

As you read above, the Colombian Pacific is a bit remote, and trying to travel there overland or by boat via the city of Buenaventura is not recommended. There are several good places to see the whales, and as Colombia becomes a better-known vacation destination, there are more lodges and hotels that have sprung up in these more remote areas.

I did it in Nuquí, where there are a few nice eco-lodges on the nearby Playa Guachalito. Bahía Solano is another good place a bit further north and is a bit easier to reach. Finally, Gorgona Island, a protected area that used to be a prison, is also supposed to be an amazing place to see the whales, but it is extremely remote and visitors must have special permission from the Colombian park service.

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Our Small Prop Plane | Cartegena Explorer

Flights can usually be booked out of Medellín several times a week and depending on when you visit, it may be possible to find charter flights from other cities in Colombia. It is not necessary to book whale watching as part of a tour, just about any hotel or lodge in the area should be able to arrange going out on the boat to see the whales. Many offer all-inclusive plans that include flights and excursions to see the whales that can make the trip a whole lot easier to arrange. One such place is El Canti Eco-Lodge.

The Humpback Whale migrations season runs from July to November, however, August and September are considered the best months to spot the whales. I was there in mid-July at the start of the whale watching season, although I saw the humpback whales, they weren’t in large numbers. If I ever go back (I hope so!), I will have to make sure I go a bit later in the season, and fingers crossed I’ll get to see a whale jump out of the water, or even see a newborn!

About the Author

Adam is a travel blogger based in Cartagena, Colombia. His blog site, Cartagena Explorer, is dedicated to sharing all the wonderful things to do in Cartagena as well as sharing his own experiences traveling to other destinations in Colombia.

Catch up with him on InstagramPinterest and Facebook.

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Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Adventure travel blogger with a big addiction to the World. An ex-rat-racer who was fed up with sleep-work-eat-repeat materialistic mentality that plagues modern living. I love anything to do with off-beat travel, abandoned places, temples & ruins, street art, wildlife in its natural habitat, adventure sport.....basically anything but the 9-5!

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