Galapagos Whales

Galapagos Whales are an spectacular attraction because you can dive and come into close contact with them.


The Galapagos Islands and the surrounding waters of this Archipelago, represent one of the worlds most unique ecosystems and are rich areas of bio-diversity.

The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) granted the Islands a World Heritage Site status, and the Galapagos Marine Reserve is the second largest marine reserve in the world.

Not much is known about the resident Galapagos whales, however, five different areas of the Galapagos Archipelago have been determined as gathering fields for Sperm whales.

The most common whales to be seen in the Marine Reserve of the Galapagos Islands are the Rorquals belonging to the family "Balaenopteridae".

Rorquals are the largest group of baleen whales, with nine species in two genera. They include the largest animal that has ever lived, the Blue Whale, which can reach 150 tons and two others that easily pass 50 tons.

Even the smallest of the group, the Minke Whale, reaches 9 tons. There are more than six different species of Rorquals reported in the Galapagos Islands.

All Galapagos whales members of the Rorqual family have a series of longitudinal folds of skin running from below the mouth back to the navel. Rorqual are Baleen whales and are referred to as true whales.

Even though Killer whales or Orcas are rather dolphins than whales, both are cetaceans.

Orcas are found around the Galapagos Islands any time of the year but for short periods that last from two weeks to five or six weeks.

Galapagos whales are divided into two major groups according to whether they have baleen or teeth.

The baleen whales comprise most of the larger whales including the blue, findback, sei, humpback, Bryde's, and minke whales, which are seen in the Galapagos Islands.

These waters are all plankton feeders, sieving out shrimps, sardines and other small marine creatures from the water using their baleen plates.

These plates are large, heavily fringed, triangular pieces of "whalebone" through which water is pushed and in which plankton creatures are caught.

These feeding methods are somewhat similar to that of the flamingo.

Though very large, most whales in Galapagos are difficult to identify at sea without experience and a comprehensive handbook.

The world's largest sea animal, the blue whale, is occasionally reported to be seen in the Galapagos Islands.

There are so many marine species in the Galapagos Islands because of the cold ocean currents that bring rich nutrients for food and the great variety of habitats, coral reefs, mangrove lagoons, rocky areas and sandy beaches.

Many other species depend on the Galapagos marine life for their food, such as sea birds that eat fish and the marine iguanas that feed on algae growing on the bottom of the sea.

The Galapagos Islands are listed as one of the seven underwater wonders of the world!

If you wish to dive in the Galapagos Islands with numerous schools of hammerhead, Galapagos sharks, oceanic white-tip, dolphins, whale sharks and Galapagos whales, you must be sure you visit the northern Islands of Wolf and Darwin.

On most Galapagos dive sites you will be escorted by playful sea lions. Other opportunities will be with sea turtles, penguins, eagle rays, groupers, schools of shiny bait fish, and very unusual species such as the red-lipped batfish.

The Galapagos Islands harbor the rarest species known in the world. This is a haven for those interested in natural history, wildlife or ecology and will find a visit to the Galapagos Islands truly extraordinary.

More About Galapagos

Galapagos Marine Life

Best Time to Visit Galapagos

Galapagos Recipes

What Country Owns Galapagos Islands?

Economic Galapagos Tours

If you have questions about the Galapagos Whales, You can post them on our Galapagos FAQ Page and if you'd like to request more information about our recommended Galapagos Island Cruises to explore this Archipelago, You can Contact us here

Back from Galapagos Whales to Galapagos Islands Homepage