Cusco, August 6th 2018: There is much more to see in Peru beyond Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. In the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru, it is possible to observe a range of remarkable marine fauna, including dolphins, seals, turtles, seabirds and even penguins.
But the greatest attraction inhabiting Peru’s seas is certainly the whale. Peru has been a signatory of the global moratorium on whale hunting since the 1980s, and today its Pacific coastal waters offer a safe refuge each year for migrating whales.
Humpback whales gather in the warm waters off the coast of Piura, in northern Peru, every year between the months of August and November, and thanks to pioneering initiatives run by some of Peru’s leading marine biologists, travelers from all over the world can now come to Piura and go out to sea in modern boats to observe these whales at close quarters.
Humpback whales are gigantic creatures: the females, known as cows, can measure between sixteen and seventeen meters in length, while the slightly smaller males, known as bulls, can be up to fourteen or fifteen meters long. Adult humpback whales can weigh as much as 35 tons.
These whale watching activities also benefit local communities, who as a result have learned to understand that whales and other marine fauna are worth more to us all when they are left to flourish, rather than being hunted to the verge of extinction, as occurred in the past.
These responsible tourism initiatives in northern Peru take advantage of the fact that humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) embark each year upon the longest migration of any of the world’s mammals, making their way from Antarctic seas all the way to the warm waters off Peru’s northern coast, close to the Equator.
It is in these warm Peruvian seas that humpback whales complete their long annual journey from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic in order to mate and raise their calves. It is this breeding activity which makes whale watching such a special activity on this part of Peru’s coast.
Humpback whales are among the most acrobatic of all whale species, and during the mating season in Peru’s warm coastal waters, males of the species will leap spectacularly from the water, as they compete with each other for the attention of receptive females.
Once the humpback whales have given birth to their calves and these young whales have managed to accumulate a layer of fat, or blubber, to protect them, they begin the long return journey to their feeding grounds in the Antarctic, where they remain until it is time for them to return once more to Peru.
To learn more about how you can experience the natural wonders of Peru, contact us directly at Andean Adventures Peru.