Best time to travel to Puerto Rico

Whale Watching in Puerto Rico

Meet the beautiful sea mammals off the west coast of Puerto Rico

Best time: January–March

Every winter, humpback whales stay in the waters between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to mate, grow their calves, and get some rest before returning to their feeding grounds up north. Thus the whale watching season in Puerto Rico lasts from January through March, with February being the best month for spotting whales. The success rate of whale-watching tours in Puerto Rico is about 90%. Whale sightings are most frequent in the waters along the northwest and west coast. Their largest numbers can be spotted in the Mona Passage that separates Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Best places for whale watching

The most popular whale watching spot in Puerto Rico is Rincon, located on the western coast. Such popular surf beaches as Tres Palmas, Sandy Beach, and Domes are also good for whale watching. The prime whale-watching spot is the historic El Faro Lighthouse, thanks to its vantage position. Punta Higüero lighthouse is another good location in Rincon to observe whales from the shore. More lookouts suitable for whale watching are located along Route 115, connecting Añasco and Aguadilla. To the north of Rincon, Aguadilla and Isabela are boasting frequent whale sightings as well. In the southwestern part of the island, Joyuda Beach at Cabo Rojo is a good whale-watching option with boat tours available.

Whale-watching tours

Only a few operators offer whale-watching tours in Puerto Rico, and they are only available from January through March. West Coast Charters, Katarina Sail Charter, and Oceans Unlimited offer whale-watching trips out of Rincon. Taino Divers operate out of the Black Eagle Marina and offer sunset cruises to spot sea mammals along the western coast.

Whale-watching tips

It's easiest to spot whales when the ocean waters are calm so morning is a good time for whale-watching. Sunset tours are a good option due to good light conditions that will help you make better pictures. Make sure to take a camera with a powerful zoom or a telephoto lens. Binoculars will also come in handy during a whale-watching excursion.

What to wear

Even when it's hot on the beach, it might be colder and windier at the sea so take a windbreaker or a sweater. Closed-toed shoes with rubber soles and a sunhat are a must during boat tours. Don't forget to apply sunscreen and pack some water as well as motion-sickness medicine if you need any.

Where to stay

Rincon has become a surfers' Mecca in 1968 after it hosted World Amateur Surfing Competition. So it offers plenty of accommodation, starting from campsites and hostels with bunk beds and ending with luxurious resorts. Horned Dorset Primavera by Relais & Chateaux Property is undoubtedly the most upscale lodging in Rincon.

Practical info

When is the peak month to observe humpback whales in Puerto Rico?

Humpback whales are in Puerto Rico's vicinity from January through March with February regarded as the peak month. During this time, these aquatic creatures visit the coasts of the Dominican Republic and western Puerto Rico for activities such as nurturing calves, resting, and mating before finally returning to their feeding grounds up north. Show more

What are some specific locations that offer opportunities for observing whales in Puerto Rico?

Whale sightings are common in Rincon, situated on Puerto Rico's western coast, and other areas such as Aguadilla, Isabela, and Cabo Rojo. Rincon's scenic El Faro Lighthouse and several surf beaches like Sandy Beach, Domes, and Tres Palmas offer convenient whale-watching locations. Checkpoints along Route 115 between Añasco and Aguadilla can also be good lookout points for whale watching. Show more

Which tour operators come highly recommended for whale watching excursions in Puerto Rico?

Whale-watching tours are only available from January to March, and only a few operators organize tours in Puerto Rico. If you're set on doing one of these tours, industry leaders such as West Coast Charters, Oceans Unlimited, Katarina Sail Charter, and Taino Divers come recommended. Show more

What type of clothing is suitable for a whale watching excursion in Puerto Rico?

A windbreaker or sweater is a perfect attire for whale watching excursions in Puerto Rico due to the chilly and windy ocean weather. Rubber-soled closed-toe shoes, sun hats, sunscreen, and binoculars are some other important items to bring along. Additionally, being prone to motion sickness also requires medication or first-aid kits. Show more

What are some available accommodation options for travellers interested in whale watching in Rincon, Puerto Rico?

Rincon offers multiple accommodation options for whale watching enthusiasts, including campsites, hostels, and the highly rated Horned Dorest Primavera by Relais & Châteaux Property, a luxurious resort. Whether it's a tight budget or an upscale visit, Rincon caters to the needs of all travellers. Show more

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen