Whale Watching in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

I wasn’t planning on going anywhere near the coast in Ecuador. That’s until I met a few travellers on the Quilotoa Loop that had just been there and told me it was whale season and it was an experience of a lifetime.

That’s all I needed to hear – I was clueless that I was in Ecuador during the golden period of June – September where whales travel north to the warmer waters of the South Pacific off the coast of Ecuador to breed and give birth.

Getting to Puerto Lopez was a pain in the arse to be honest. It was easy enough if I didn’t decide so late to head there. There’s a direct bus from Quito to Puerto Lopez, so this meant me heading back to Quito and then jumping on another bus that deposited me in the town at 3:30 am!

One of my rules is to not walk around in the pitch dark with all my possessions with me so I hung around the bus station until daybreak and then caught a tuk tuk to my hostel and proceeded to squat outside the front door for 2 hours until the receptionist arrived – in addition to unemployed and homeless, I can now add ‘squatter’ to the list.

Regardless of the mission to get here and settle down, the experience of whale watching and seeing some local birdlife was well worth every bit of it! I’m totally blown away by the whales I saw – such gentle giants!

Here are some photos from the trip:

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A Blue Footed Booby – native to the subtropical and tropical regions of the Pacific Ocean. The blue feet are a result of their diet and are used in mating habits by the males to attract the attention of the females.

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This one was a bit of a show off.

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There are hundreds of Pelicans around the harbour waiting for fishermen to pull in their catches.

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My first whale siting! Female Humpbacks can grow up to 16m long!

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I never saw any of the males jumping completely out of the water, but there was a lot of tail flipping and diving all around.

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This female Humpback had her calf swimming alongside her. The calves are generally around 4m long.

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More tail flipping.

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And some more. The coast line here is rough and rocky – the waves seem really violent against the cliff face.

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Another barnacle-clad tail.

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Birds everywhere as the fishermen return from a day of fishing.

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More birds. It looked a little spooky.

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These fishermen were being hounded by the birds. The Pelicans were pretty smart and knew where the fishing net was and hung around there.

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Yet more Pelicans and birds waiting for a treat.

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