Observable Cetacean Species in Tenerife

Blue Boat regulations          Carta por la sostenibilidad del avistamiento de cetáceos

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Tenerife is renowned for its stunning scenery, sandy beaches, and vibrant culture. However, it’s also home to some of the world’s most magnificent marine creatures, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in whale watching. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the different observable cetacean species that can be seen in the wild in Tenerife, highlighting why it’s one of the best whale-watching spots in the world.

Observable cetacean species in Tenerife

First up, we have the Short-finned pilot whale. This social and intelligent species is one of the most frequently observed cetaceans in the waters around Tenerife. Often found in large pods of up to 50 individuals, they are known for their playful and curious behavior, making them a joy to watch.

Next, we have the Bottlenose dolphin. This charismatic and acrobatic species is a common sight in the waters around Tenerife. They are known for their intelligence and social behavior, often seen swimming in large groups or interacting with boats.

Another species commonly observed during Tenerife whale-watching tours is the Common dolphin. These sleek and graceful creatures are known for their high-speed swimming and playful behavior. They are often seen leaping and riding the bow waves of boats, making for a thrilling and unforgettable experience.

Other species that can be observed in the waters around Tenerife include the Risso’s dolphin, the Atlantic spotted dolphin, and the elusive Sperm whale. Each of these species brings something unique to the Tenerife whale-watching experience, offering visitors a glimpse into the incredible diversity of marine life that inhabits these waters.

In conclusion,

Tenerife whale watching is an opportunity to witness some of the world’s most magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. With a range of observable cetacean species, including Short-finned pilot whales, Bottlenose dolphins, and Common dolphins, there’s no shortage of wildlife to see. Book your tour today and experience the wonder of whale watching in Tenerife for yourself.

Observable cetacean species in Tenerife

Types of observable cetacean species in Tenerife.

Best places for whale watching in Tenerife.

The spectacular good weather provides an ideal hábitat for these marine mammals. Some species have established their permanent residence here in these Canarian waters. Tenerife has been known for its all-year-round Spring Season weather. As a result, making this area an ideal location for daily whale watching.

The depth between La Gomera and Tenerife can reach up to 2400m in-depth.

This creates an ideal habitable área for marine life. Marine life includes giant squid, jellyfish, and fish of different forms and sizes. Equally important it is part of the main diet of these cetaceans. Below is a list of both dolphin and whale species that you can observe. Although other marine wildlife such as turtles and marine birds can also observe.


Calderón tropical

Short Finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorinchus)

Short Finned Pilot Whale belongs to the Delphinidae family. This toothed cetacean (Odontoceti) owes its classification as a whale to its size, it can grow to well over 5 meters long and weigh between 900 and 1,800 kg. This is the easiest species to come across on a whale-watching excursion in Tenerife.

Delfín mular

Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Most well-known species of dolphins can easily be spotted just off the coast of Tenerife. An average length is 2.7 meters for males and 2.5 meters for females, with the oldest individuals measuring over 3 meters. They live in groups of between 10 and 30 members known as pods. Their backs are a dark grey color which grows gradually lighter towards the belly.

Delfín moteado

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin (Stenella frontalis)

This species can be identified by the spots that cover most of their skin once they reach adulthood. They form large pods and are very active. Most often spotted between autumn and late spring. Weighing between 60-80kg and reaching lengths of up to 2.3 meters.

Delfín diente rugoso

Rough-Toothed Dolphin (Steno bredanensis)

Ridges and wrinkles on their teeth and their long heads are the most significant features of this species. Darker than bottlenose dolphins and have light spots on their skin. They group together in pods of 6 to 10 members. Weighing up to 150kg and reaching up to 2.7 meters in length.

Rorcual tropical

Bryde’s Whale (Balaenoptera edeni)

Similar in appearance to the sei whale, the Bryde’s whale is smaller and more robust, featuring a character that is unique to this family: three ridges on the top of its head as opposed to one central ridge. Male specimens can reach up to 13.7 meters, while females can measure 14.5 meters and can reach up to 15 meters. Their backs are a dark bluish-grey to metallic grey color, with slightly lighter sides and an even lighter throat and belly.

Delfín listado

Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba)

Bluish color and stripes that run from its eyes almost down to its tail, this dolphin is very easy to identify. They often steer clear of boats but they are fast swimmers and you might glimpse them jumping out of the water. Their usual weight can reach between 100-130 kg, and measure 2.7 meters in length.

Calderón gris

Risso’s Dolphin (Grampus griseus)

Morphologically, this mammal is very similar to the pilot whale but its skin is grey in color, or even closer to white in some adult specimens, which contrasts with the dark color of its dorsal fin. Risso’s Dolphin can weigh between 300 to 600kg.


Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

Largest of the Odontoceti family and is as big as most whales. Its most notable features are its huge head, grooved dark skin, and small dorsal fin. It can hold its breath for more than an hour underwater in order to find food at depths of over 2,000 meters. They are most often seen in springtime. Their weight can reach between 13,500 and 54,000 kg and reach lengths of between 11 and 18 meters.

Delfín común

Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis)

Common dolphins can be found in most of the world’s oceans. It is easy to identify due to the special yellow markings on its sides. They are most often seen in winter. Weighing between 80-130 kg and reaching lengths of up to 2.5 meters.

Falsa Orca

False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens)

Slender body and a dorsal fin that can measure up to 30 cm high. Two of its most distinctive features are the bend and elbow-like bulge halfway along each of its flippers. The false killer whale is dark grey to black all over. It can grow to up to 6 meters, weigh up to 1,500 kg and live as long as 60 years. They are sociable animals who live in pods of 10 to 50 members.

Rorcual común

Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus)

The top and sides of the body are black or a dark greyish-brown, which fades gradually into white on the belly. The color of the head, however, is asymmetrical. The right side of its face is light grey with a white jaw, matching the coloring of the throat and belly. The left side of its face is darker, with a dark grey jaw and throat. It also has a series of color markings across the width of its back, behind its head, the most distinctive being shaped like an upside-down V, which is more visible on the right side.

Rorcual norteño

Sei Whale (Balaenoptera borealis)

Similar to the Bryde’s whale but bigger, darker, and more slender, and with a single ridge on their head. The proportion of the head is similar to that of the Bryde’s whale, ranging from 1/4 to 1/5 of its total length, but looks narrower from above and has a well-defined ridge. The overall coloring is dark grey or brown, almost black, often resembling galvanized metal, except on the belly, which has a white coloring that varies in size. Male sei whales can measure up to 17.1 meters, while females reach up to 18.6 meters and can weigh as much as 25,000 kg.


Orca or Killer Whale


Blainville’s Beaked Whale