The South and Southwest of Tenerife meets special environmental conditions that allow for the presence of cetacean populations, which can easily be seen throughout the year. This has originated an important low-impact and sustainable source of income for the island. Whale Watching has become a major tourist attraction, generating significant annual revenue as well as creating many jobs, both on the boats and on the ground. In several ports of this area of the island -namely Los Cristianos, Puerto Colón, Playa San Juan y Puerto Santiago- there are boats dedicated to this activity.
Due to its nature and its geographical location in a sheltered spot protected from the winds and the dominant tides, this area shows a wide strip of calm, deep waters that are also warmer than in the rest of the island. These conditions make it possible for the cetaceans to occur in these waters for visitors to see almost all year round.
At least two of the species have resident populations in the area, the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus). That is to say, that there is specimens of these two species completing their life cycle and are always in the area. Thanks to this, visitors are always certain to see at least one of them, which adds to the value of the service offered by whale watching companies. The first species has a great deal of mobility and can normally be found nearby coastal waters, whereas the second one is always located in open waters, from 900 to 1000 meters deep. The short-finned pilot whale is very particular in its behaviour, having to dive to very deep waters in order to feed -an average of 900 meters- in the quest for large cephalopods, and they can swim amazing speeds -up to 9 meters per second- during captures. They are also able to lower, capture the prey and rise to the surface in as little time as 15-20 minutes. It is known that even the offspring often swim along the adults in these dives. Whenever they are seen in the surface, they are typically in the recovery phase, taking oxygen in, moving slowly, instilling a sense of tranquillity.
Although the species listed are those that can virtually almost certainly be found, other species can frequently be seen as well, depending on the time of the year, these being species that remain more or less time in the area. Spotted Dolphin (Stenella frontalis) is very frequent almost all year round. This species of dolphin is smaller than the bottlenose dolphin and can be usually found in open waters and large groups. The common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) appears frequently many years in the months of winter-spring. Other toothed cetaceans such as the striped dolphin, rough-toothed dolphin, beaked whales, sperm whales, killer whales, false killer whales, etc. appear with less frequency. Also remarkable is the occasional presence of mysticetes (baleen and un-toothed whales), primarily minke whales and exceptionally of any right whale, particularly the tropical minke whale (Balaenoptera brydei) during the springtime, often feeding near the coast and in groups.
In addition, it should be noted that this tour is an excellent opportunity to observe sea-birds (shearwaters, seagulls, some ospreys, etc.), turtles and even some sharks (hammer sharks, blue sharks and very exceptionally whale sharks).
Neither tourists nor residents should miss the opportunity to take on board this activity that can be enjoyed in very few areas of the world. An experience to remember not only through the vivid memories of moments lived during the search for the animals, but also thanks to the impressive pictures that can be taken. All complete with an excellent on-board customer service, including specialized explanations and complemented with a traditional meal.