Tenerife’s first Whale Heritage Site

The Tenerife La Gomera Whale Heritage Site has become a thriving whale watching destination. With its unique resident population of pilot whales that can be found alongside a high diversity of other whales and dolphin species. All within a designated Special Area of Conservation (ZEC Zone).

Tenerife’s whale and dolphin watching industry are already one of the largest and most famous in the world, estimated to directly generate €42 million in revenue annually from 1.4 million tourists.

Because of this rapid rise in recent years, there is now a recognized need to cap that growth to ensure that the local marine mammal populations are not overexploited or negatively impacted by excessive tourism. As well as continuing to improve standards and encourage further collaboration between operators. The Tenerife-La Gomera Whale Heritage Site certification is a recognition of the incredible work being done by a diverse range of engaged collaborators. The collective efforts of not-for-profit organizations, government departments, whale watching operators, the scientific community, and many others, are a true example. Their collaboration and cooperation are making great strides toward the unified goal of protecting whales and dolphins and their habitats.

Tenerife – La Gomera Marine Area became a Certified Whale Heritage Site in January, 2021.



  • Region – Europe.
  • Country – Spain.
  • Area/State – Tenerife.
  • Area size – 2000 km2.

Cetacean species

  • Short-finned pilot whales.
  • Bottlenose dolphins.
  • 21 other species.

WHS status

  • Conditional.
Tenerife Whale Heritage Site

Location of Tenerife Whale Heritage Site

The site itself is approximately 2,000 km2, of which 90% is marine area. The geographical area begins at 2 kms inshore along the west coast of the island of Tenerife. From Las Galletas at the southern corner to Buenavista at the northern corner. The area then extends west, 7 nautical miles past the west coast of the island of La Gomera. The site excludes most of the land of La Gomera itself. It only includes a 2 km wide strip along the coast where whale watching tours depart from.