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“Humpbacks, dolphins, and caring people -you can't beat it!”

Whale Watching Panama
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Humpback whale watching tours from Panama city and Contadora Island in the Pearl islands and trips to Isla Coiba, Panama. We offer 1 day trips from Panama city, 3 hour, 1 day and multiple day trips in the Pearl islands and multiple day trips to Isla Coiba. Peak Humpback whale watching season is July to mid-October. In the Pearl islands we have a 99% success rate in seeing the whales.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Activities for older children
Pensacola Beach, Florida
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Humpbacks, dolphins, and caring people -you can't beat it!”
Reviewed 14 October 2013

We had the most amazing 3 days with Anne and her friends! She is so knowledgeable of the area and the animals and birds in it. She makes the experience so very interesting as she explains about whale facts, current research, and stories of other encounters. Who knew whales left footprints! Her enthusiasm is so infectious and her joy in sharing is wonderful. One of the best moments, for me, was hearing a whale's song from the deck of a catamaran, with my own ears! Anne dropped a hydrophone and hooked it up to a recorder, taping about 20 minutes of singing. Later she shared the recording with other boaters who had not been so lucky.

She is also very resourceful and flexible -- rearranging details when the weather threatened, one day. We are looking forward to more trips with her in future! The lunch we had aboard the catamaran was superb and the two boat captains we had were very professional. Lunch on one of the "Survivor Islands" was a nice picnic and we had time to "beachcomb."

Contadora island is beautiful as are the surrounding areas. You may see tiny flying fish, rays jumping out of the water, and many beautiful flowers and birds. You may also wish to ask her to show you the rookery with the Blue Footed Boobies, neat.

This is a trip not to be missed.

Visited September 2013
Thank Mary_Ellen_W200
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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53 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Altos del Maria, Panama
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Everyone should experience this!”
Reviewed 3 October 2013

When my friends suggested going, I was hesitant, however I signed on for Kayak Whale Watching off Isla Contadora.
We saw whales immediately and sightings too numerous to mention once in our own kayaks. The tranquility of being on the water and waiting to hear a mother and calf surface was beyond description.
It was worth every penny and something to cross off my "bucket list", but I will go again.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Connie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Wonderful and Terrible at the same time.”
Reviewed 9 September 2013

If you go during the rainy season take the ferry! We booked a trip from Panama City thinking that we would save time and money not having to stay on the island. It turned out that the boat she booked for us had just a tiny bit of canvas for a cover and it's the rainy season here. We saw many whales that day but it could have been more comfortable on the boat. They said they would include drinks and snacks but it's the first such tour any of us have ever been on that didn't have beer. In the afternoon it started raining so hard we had to stay on Isla Contadora until it let up but it never stopped! We had to leave in the cold rain so we could make it back to the city before dark. We were shaking with cold for 2 hours back to the city. It was aweful. If you go whale watching during the rainy season take the ferry!

Visited September 2013
Thank SGBinda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EmberaTour, Owner at Whale Watching Panama, responded to this review, 12 September 2013
I am very sorry to see your comments about our tour. Unfortunately, on that day, the boat we normally use, which is a bit bigger and has a complete roof on it, was out of service for repairs. We do not own boats ourselves and charter boats as needed. The boat we chartered that day often has a roof extension and I was disappointed too to see that the roof extension had been removed for some reason. Finding the right boats for our tours is not always easy to find a boat with a reasonable price with enough room, open viewing and safe for our guests. Obviously, we have no control over the rain and weather. The captain was hoping the heavy rains would pass in time to make the return trip easier on the guests.

Our tours are wildlife observation tours, not beach party cruises, so we do not offer beer or alcohol on our tours, as we like to create a respectful, educational and fun observation of the whales and dolphins. If someone asks if they can bring their own beer or alcohol on the tour, they are welcome to do so. It is also possible to have alcoholic drinks at lunch on Contadora or buy a 6 pack of beer at one of the stores on the island to have on the boat.

I am very happy to hear you enjoyed the whales and were able to see many on your tour. The peak whale watching season is always during Panama's rainy season, but we usually can avoid the sporadic and localized rain showers. The Pearl islands generally receive less rain than the mainland. It is possible to take a whale watching tour directly from Contadora island as well, with much less boat travel time to find the whales. We offer full day whale watching tours on a catamaran sailboat, 3 hour whale watching tours and Kayak with the whales tours from Contadora island.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santiago, Chile
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“awesome humpback whales, ok equipment, pricey”
Reviewed 3 August 2013

Full day tour (7.45am hotel pick-up, ca 5.30pm return) of 200USD per person.
we had to wait ca. 1h before getting started (presumably due to unusually low tide) and drove ca. 90 min straight. We were 14 in a relatively small boat, so not everybody could sit at the same time.

We saw the first whales shortly before the Contadora island, and toured around for ca. 2hours. Saw in total ca 20 whales, close (15-30 meter) to take great pictures of the flukes/ tail fins. We were lucky enough to see in total 3 whales jumping (stunning experience!) but from quite far (impossible to take picture).

Then you do a 1-1.5h trip to the beach of Contadora island, were you can snorkel but won't see much, but it's a nice beach and clear water.

Lunch break of 2hours (we went to Gerald's and had very tasty seafood, 100USD for 3 people incl. some beers) and then straight back to Panama.

Lovely tour and if you haven't seen whales, it's really cool. The guide was friendly and Spanish/English bilingual.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank agi l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Panama City, Panama
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A Whale spent day!”
Reviewed 10 July 2013

This was great tour with an excellent crew! We boarded our Speed boat from Diablo port by the Panama Canal, we were 9 people on the boat including Benny (our tour guide) and Gigo (Captain). The tour starts with nice ride through the exit of the Miraflores locks and passing by the Diablo Port cranes, so you get to see the uploading and unloading of multiple vessels, you continue along the Causeway with a very nice view of Panama City at the far back of the Causeway Islands. After that is about an hour and a half ride until you get closer to Contadora Island, as we were approaching the Island Benny alerted us to start looking around looking for whales while him gave us a very good explanation of what we were about to see. It only took 5 minutes until we saw the first one, the Captain shutdown the boat, we waited there and then 2 males came swimming by the boat and one of them did what is known as “spy-hopping” on us (picture attached). We stayed there for 5 minutes watching these two males “showing off” around our about. Then, we kept moving and we saw other whales, we were able to take some tails-photos of them. Around noon, Benny and Gigo took us to Contadora Island for lunch, they gave us two hours to have lunch and enjoy the beach. We eat at Geralds, great place with an even better service. In our way back, Benny brought with him a hydrophone, we sailed for about 15 minutes to start looking for whales but this time with the help of this underwater microphone…. Looking for whales while listening to them sing their songs, WOW!! that was an amazing experience. And just when we thought we had seen it and listened all…. We spotted a whale about 100mts away from us that jump completely out of the water, that was a “Whale of a moment” that we will never forget.
The only watch is would be.., be aware that the boat moves a lot, especially when it stops to observe the whales, so be prepared to manage yourself for sea-sickness.

Go and do this trip, Anne, Ellen and their team will make sure you have a great experience!

Visited July 2013
4 Thank MiguelCuic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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