Whale Watching In Mancora – What a Show!
Whale watching in Mancora, who would have thought it. Mancora is Peru’s beach getaway, know for a good party and only second to Machu Picchu in number of visiting tourists.
We rocked up at Marcilia Beach Bungalows, our home for 7 days and I was delighted when our host Marcial told me it is whale season. I was over the moon, the chance to see Humpback Whales up close and personal was something I could not turn my nose up too. Dawn was even excited to when I told her how big these guys are.
We need a Boat Trip!
So who does whale watching in Mancora? Well we found the perfect one, from a flyer on the table in our quiet beach bungalow. Pacifico Adventures sounded brilliant from their own write-up and Marcial later told us they are the guys to out on the ocean with. Done, it was time to book. We headed to a travel agency called ‘Que Hacer En Mancora‘, they are a tour booking agency covering many activities. Here we met the lovely Magali, she is a great person to help you out, sincere and caring about your time in Mancora. Magali explained all about the trip and said she herself was excited to be going on the same trip, on the same day as we were booking. Done, we are on!
Early Wake Up!
I seen whales all around the world now and I thought the best time for whale watching in Mancora would be the earliest possible. Our pickup time was 6.45am, at our hostel too, and we made the 30 minute driver including a few pickups to the little town of Los Organos. This place is a popular destination for Peruvian tourists and there are fancy properties on the coast. We arrived at Los Organos pier that doubles as the fishing industry distribution depot too. It stunk of fish and had its fair share of cats too, they must be in dream world! We met our crew for the day and took a leisurely stroll down the pier witnessing a good hundred plus Pelicans looking for fisherman scraps and Blue Footed Boobies piercing the ocean surface, torpedoing towards their unlucky target, a fishy break-ie! Lets get on the boat!
Whale watching in Mancora has some awesome extras too! Obviously we were treated to the cool Pelicans in the harbour, the boys hanging out on their Don Juan boat were pretty cool but much better was to come.
Our crew done all the introductions as usual and explained the trip, which was a tourism venture that funded the only Humpback Whale research in Northern Peru. So four of the crew, the main guys really, were all marine biologists and were balancing tourism with researching. They offered good interpretations of the Humpback Whales life and answered any questions you asked. They also had colleagues based on the coast at the best vantage points with some top binoculars looking out for any activity on the ocean. Well hats off to the spotters, it was time for the bonanza to begin properly!
It was a feeding frenzy, Dolphins in their hundreds rounding up a huge shoal of fish, and at the same time the Blue Footed Boobies were in all out attack mode from the sky, they were like kamikaze pilots, hitting the ocean at blistering speeds. I’ve never seen this before and it was well worth the long wait too. There was so much action going on, the word feeding frenzy is very much justified. The birds were disappearing into the blue and at the same time dolphins breaching for a breath of air. It was outstanding.
We watched for as long as it kept going and eventually the ocean became a calmer place, the Common Long-beaked common dolphins as they are known, gathered and head off in a kind of single file, jumping acrobatically, full and happy I’m assuming. Now time for Whales!
Whale watching in Mancora – Here We Go!
We set off in search of these huge mammals, guided by our on land surveillance team, we headed out into the ocean away from the coast. The waves were getting a little choppy and everyone on the boat had their eyes concentrated on the ocean’s surface, looking for that big white spray of the whales exhalation of breath. My eyes were so focused, my heart hoping to get that first breach. Well it was one of the marine biologists who had the best eyes, spotting a breach way off in the distance, captain rev up them engines. It was game on and we had our first whales. There was three in total, one-off in one direction and two in the other. It was great watching their huge backs break the crest of the water, blowing that hot and steamy breath out before taking in another huge lung full and down again. One of the whales gave us a beautiful show of his tale to.
Spotted – Mother and Calf!
Well hats off to the land based spotters, they got a mother Humpback and her young calf cruising around a lot closer to the last than we were. So again it was Captain full speed ahead. Everyone on the boat got excited at the prospect of witnessing a baby whale and when we found them it was brilliant. Because of the young calf their speed is a lot slower than that of Humpback adults on their own and this gave us the best viewing possible. It was really nice seeing them interact and being so close to one another. People sometimes forget these are mammals just like us, the bond between mother and child inseparable.
The young calf, assumed to be only a month or so old, to our delight started getting really excited and playful. First he, or she, was flapping its tail out of the water before surprising everyone with a full breach out of the water. It was fantastic and the whole boat let out a wow of some kind. This kid loved it, and kept entertaining our crowd over and over.
The final moments of our interaction with this family was by far the best. We seemed to drift across the whales path, they had disappeared for a bit long this time but the young calf announced his or her re-arrival at the surface in fantastic fashion. It was a leap out of the water with 6-7 meters of the boat and landing within 2-3 meters of the bow! It was unbelievable, and I think the little calf enjoyed the boat being there too.
It was our last interaction, we kept on course as the whales changed theirs and we left them in peace. What a wicked 3 hours plus on the Peruvian Pacific, not what I was expecting, awesome whale watching in Mancora.
The Facts & Figures – Whale watching in Mancora
- Where: Mancora, Northern Peru
- Company: Pacifico Adventures – www.pacificoadventures.com
- Price: S/.120 (US$41)
- Whale Season: August to October
Alternative Mancora Tours & Operators
There is quite a few places to visit within a few hours of Mancora and all offered with single days trips. The most popular places and activities are;
- Scuba Diving – Spondylus Dive School – www.buceaenperu.com
- Amotape Hills NP – Treks, Waterfalls and Thermal Springs – www.iguanastrips.com
- Mangales National Sanctuary – Mangrove Wilderness near Tumbes – www.iguanastrips.com or www.pacificoadventures.com
- Water Sports and Adventure – www.quehacerenmancora.com
- Surfing Mancora – Take your pick of the Surf Schools, there are heaps!
- Snorkelling with Turtles @ El Nuro Pier – hire a snorkel & mask / take a taxi not a tour / pay S/.5 to enter pier / pay another S/.5 if you want to get into the water.