Whale Watching Panama
Thousands of Humpback whales migrate northwards from their summer feeding grounds around Antarctica, arriving in the Panamanian region from mid-July through early October. They breed and give birth to their calves in the warm, shallow, and safe waters found just a few miles offshore from Panama City. The Las Perlas archipelago is located about 35 miles from the Panama Canal’s southern entrance in Panama City and comprises more than 100 islands (many of which are tiny and uninhabited). Rich in history and natural beauty, native Indians inhabited these islands until 16th-century Spanish Conquistadors came in search of fortune, glory, and the archipelago's coveted pearls. During this period, legend says Isla Contadora, or "Counting Island," became the central point where pearls from around the region were sent to be counted, registered, and prepared for transit over the isthmus and finally shipped to Spain. The archipelago has also served as a haven for pirates from which they would stage daring assaults on the treasure-laden Spanish Fleet, returning to the island's sanctuary to divide and stash their plunder.
Early in the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Panama City and transferred by your driver to Amador Causeway, where you will meet your Naturalist guide and embark on an expedition speed boat (departure 07:30 hrs by boat). You will sail next to the numerous ships that are waiting for their passage through the Panama Canal, entering through the Southern entrance located in the Pacific. If you are lucky, you may spot some dolphins and whales during the boat ride! Upon reaching the Pearl Islands archipelago you will navigate through islands such as Contadora, Chapera, Mogo Mogo, and Pacheca, among others. It is our utmost priority to respect the Humpback whales’ space; we will follow the international guidelines and regulations for sustainable whale watching at all times in order to prevent the animals from becoming stressed or intimidated.
There may be biologists and scientific photographers onboard collecting information for their studies. In order to contribute to the scientific community for whale watching, your Naturalist guide will use a hydrophone that will be introduced into the water. By listening to the songs of the whales, information can be compiled, shared, and studied together with the American Cetacean Society and PhD Frank Garitas.
There will be snorkeling equipment available for you to use, and, if you feel adventurous, there will be inflatable paddleboards and kayaks as well. Healthy snacks, lunch, water, and sodas will be provided during the tour.
The expedition speed boat:
The 46-feet-long speed boat accommodates up to 16 passengers. The crew onboard includes a captain, a sailor, and a Naturalist guide. The boat is equipped with a bathroom in the front and a dry lock for passengers’ clothes and belongings.
The boat comes with three of the latest generation of Mercury outboard motors, a life raft at the top, sound equipment, life jackets for all passengers, as well as a wave stabilization system to make the journey smoother and the trip more pleasant.
There are two dry areas in the back where four inflatable paddle boards are located.