Baleen Whales on Tour in Chile


Starting in the north, visitors on Chile tours travel to the Damas Islands Marine Reserve and the Chanaral Island Marine Reserve primarily to see the Humboldt penguins, though migrating baleens, including humpbacks, blues and fins, also pass through these protected waters.

West of the Chile Patagonia city of Puerto Montt, in the Chiloe Archipelago, a population of blue whales was recently discovered, inhabiting the waters surrounding the Isla Grande de Chiloe in two locations. From shore, they may be seen at the northwest tip of the island, a location where humpbacks and fins also swim. A closer view of blues will be had in the Gulf of Coronado that separates the island from the mainland on the south. To see blues with their new calves, February to April is the best time for whale watching in Chile at this location. Two of Southern Explorations’ Argentina/Chile combo trips, the eight-day Patagonia Lake Crossing and the ten-day Patagonia Lakes and Iguazu Falls trips offer an optional day-trip to Chiloe Island. Only the north side of the island is visited.

In the far south of Chile Patagonia, humpbacks arrive in December and stay until April to feed in the Strait of Magellan. On the west side of the channel where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet is Francisco Coloane National Marine Park that encompasses Isla Carlos III and bays and inlets. Named for the Chilean writer whose novels evoked the region and its people, the park is located 112 miles southwest of Punta Arenas. It is also a place where occasionally seis and minkes may be found. Humpbacks may also be seen in the southern fjords east of Punta Arenas between December and April. Seis may also be seen here.

Southern Explorations offers many Chile Patagonia trips including two Chile/Argentina combo trips that travel through the Strait of Magellan eastward from Punta Arenas. These are the fourteen-day Australis Glacier Cruise and Patagonia Hiking trip and the sixteen-day Australis Glacier Cruise and Patagonia Hiking Plus tour.