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By Ursula Kiener Ford
Panama and Costa Rica are the only places in the world where humpback whales migrate to give birth from the northern and southern hemisphere. During peak whale season, from July 1 to October 15, over 2,000 humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic to Panama on the Pacific side. The Pearl Islands is home to about 900 whales, which gives visitors a 99% success rate for finding whales.
The trip they make to Panama is the longest migration of any mammal. The trip is over 6,000 miles and its one of the few mammal migrations that crosses the Equator.
From December to March is the northern migration of approximately 300 whales, with a 50% chance of seeing them. Humpback whales like the Bay of Panama because it is shallow (less than 50 meters deep) and has warm waters, conditions that are favorable for the health and wellbeing of their offspring.
Whale Watching Panama is the only dedicated whale watching company in Panama with biologist guides on-board to explain what tourists are observing. A hydrophone on board gives the opportunity to listen to the calls of the humpback whales as well. Day tours are done from Panama City to the Pearl Islands and also from Contadora Island. It is also possible to take a multiple-day trip.
Anne Gordon, founder of Whale Watching Panama had the opportunity to attend a commission on responsible whale watching in Australia. She says that her company, “educates and inspires respect for whales, dolphins and the oceans.”
Panama is home to over 30 species of dolphins and whales. Coiba, the Gulf of Chiriqui, San Miguel Island, Iguana Island and Pedasí are other destinations to enjoy a whale watching spectacle in Panama.
To book a tour visit www.whalewatchingpanama.com.