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Best Moment for Whale Watching in Tenerife

During a trip to the Canary Islands, you can't miss the chance to see whales in Tenerife. I'll tell you the best time to see them in the water, read on!

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

7 min read

Best Moment for Whale Watching in Tenerife

Dolphin near the coast | ©Danny UK

During a getaway to the Canary Islands, you can't miss the chance to see whales in Tenerife. I'll tell you the best time to see them, read on!

Given its privileged location, Tenerife and especially the southwest coast of the island is one of the best places in Europe to see whales in freedom at any time of the year.

If you are planning a trip to Tenerife and you are especially interested in this activity, before booking your whale watching boat trip I recommend you to read this post where we review the best time to see whales in Tenerife.

1. What is the best time to see whales and dolphins in Tenerife?

Dolphin watching in Tenerife| ©Andrei Rosca
Dolphin watching in Tenerife| ©Andrei Rosca

Both spring and winter are the best times to see whales and dolphins on the island because the cetaceans are more active in the area. Especially in the area that separates La Gomera from Tenerife.

Taking this into account, when it comes to contemplate wild animals, there is always the doubt of whether there will be great chances of sightings during the excursion. In this sense, do not worry because the great location of Tenerife in the Atlantic Ocean makes the island an ideal place to see cetaceans and the chances are very high during the 365 days of the year.

Regarding the other seasons of the year, if you want to see the babies of these animals I recommend you to go in summer as the breeding season takes place while autumn is the best time to sail.

Join a whale watching cruise in Tenerife

2. Keep up with the whales in spring: mild temperatures and sunny weather in Tenerife

Whales at the surface in spring| ©-JvL-
Whales at the surface in spring| ©-JvL-

Spring is a good time to go to Tenerife as it is low season and you will be able to enjoy the island without crowds, also on boat trips to see cetaceans!

In addition, during this season is when there is more movement of whales and their activity increases, so take advantage of the fact that there are not many people to join one of these excursions, you will have a great time!

For whale watching in the Atlantic, a good idea is to bring a light waterproof jacket in case you feel cold at sea and as you are going to spend some time outdoors the sun can get annoying, so don't forget your hat and sunglasses.

What spring is like on the island

Spring is an ideal season to travel to Tenerife. The days are longer and sunny while the temperatures are mild with highs of 24ºC. If you travel with the intention of doing outdoor activities such as a whale watching cruise it is a good time because it is neither too cold nor too hot.

So that you can organize your suitcase for your trip to the island in spring, I advise you to consult both the average temperatures of Tenerife during this season or the weather forecast that will be on the date of your trip.

Join a whale watching cruise in Tenerife

3. Go sailing in autumn to see cetaceans at ease

Dolphin leaping out of the water in autumn| ©Danny UK
Dolphin leaping out of the water in autumn| ©Danny UK

Autumn is also a good time to visit Tenerife for a whale watching cruise because the water conditions and swells are great. This is the best time to sail although the sightings are less regular. However, the Tenerife sky acquires a very special light and you will be able to take some beautiful pictures during the excursion.

If you are looking for tranquility on the island this is a good time. After the avalanches of national tourists that occur in the Canary Islands during the summer, in autumn you can enjoy the island calmly as it is low season, as happens in spring, and the day still has enough daylight hours to enjoy the outdoors but without the crowds of the previous season.

What Tenerife looks like in autumn

If you have in mind to go out to do some activity in nature, as is the case of whale watching cruises, a good time to travel to Tenerife is autumn because as in spring it is not too hot or too cold.

Temperatures are still mild with highs of 26ºC in October and 23ºC in November, the ideal temperature to spend a day outdoors!

During the autumn there are few rainy days per month on the island and they tend to occur more in the north than in the south. In case it rains during your stay, don't worry because wearing a raincoat will solve the problem in no time and you will be able to continue with your plans as if nothing happened.

However, it is always a good idea to check the weather forecast for the date of your trip to help you pack your suitcase.

Join a whale watching cruise in Tenerife

4. Take advantage of the heat to see whales and snorkel during the summer in Tenerife

Snorkel in summer| ©Benjamin L. Jones
Snorkel in summer| ©Benjamin L. Jones

If you do not want to miss the opportunity to take a cruise in the waters of the island and see the baby cetaceans play in this season or to snorkel, I recommend that you reserve your place on the excursion well in advance of your travel date, as this is the time of year with the greatest influx of travelers, especially domestic tourists, so that it is noticeable in the availability of excursions. It will be an unforgettable experience!

What summer is like on the island

Summer is the time when there are more hours of daylight in Tenerife with temperatures around 30ºC. People take the opportunity to go to the beach, eat on the terraces, do sports and various outdoor activities such as boat trips in search of whales and dolphins.

If you choose to visit Tenerife in summer to enjoy the nature of the island, keep in mind that the sun shines strong and the heat can be suffocating so I advise you to go well prepared to any activity: wear sunglasses, a hat and light clothing and remember to carry in your backpack fresh water and sunscreen.

Join a whale watching cruise in Tenerife

5. Enjoy the good weather in Tenerife in winter to see whales in the wild

Whales in winter| ©Guillaume Baviere
Whales in winter| ©Guillaume Baviere

If your trip to Tenerife coincides with the winter season and you would like to participate in a whale watching cruise, during this season you will have the opportunity to contemplate shorter but intense sightings because you can observe the sea creatures preparing to hunt.

However, the days are shorter and it gets dark earlier so if you want to do outdoor activities I advise you to schedule them early in the morning to make the most of the daylight hours.

What Tenerife is like in winter

Unlike the European continental winter, Tenerife does not suffer from cold or freezing temperatures, but temperatures remain mild as in spring or autumn at around 19ºC or 22ºC. With these climatic conditions it is not surprising that the Canary Islands are known as the islands of eternal spring.

Winter is also a time of great tourist influx, especially European travelers who escape the freezing temperatures of the continent to enjoy the mild temperatures of the Canary Islands.

The advantage of visiting Tenerife in winter is that good weather is assured but remember that it is high season and prices increase so you will have to plan in advance many aspects of your trip such as hotel reservations, the plane or activities to do on the island.

Join a whale watching cruise in Tenerife

6. The best time to embark if you want to take good pictures

Dolphins in the early hours of the day| ©Danny UK
Dolphins in the early hours of the day| ©Danny UK

The whale watching boat trips have several departures throughout the day. You will have the same chances to observe marine animals regardless of the time but if you want to make a good report, the morning light will help you to give clarity to the photographs and get a very nice result.

Another trick that will be very useful to get great pictures of your excursion is to use the fast shooting mode of your camera ("sport" setting) to take pictures of these very fast animals in the water more easily.

Join a whale watching cruise in Tenerife

7. Take note of other whale watching moments in Tenerife

Whale on the surface| ©Doc TB
Whale on the surface| ©Doc TB

Best time of the week to cruise Tenerife

Normally, cruises depart daily throughout the week, but it is usually on weekends and holidays when these excursions are the busiest.

So if you are looking for a quieter tour, it might be best to go during the week, the experience will be great too!

Whale watching on special dates

If you are traveling on special dates such as Christmas or New Year's, it is best to first check if the service is running normally.

If so, try to book your place as far in advance on the whale watching cruise as the influx of tourists in Tenerife can be very high during the vacations and some activities like this can be sold out.

Join a whale watching cruise in Tenerife