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Blue Whales in Chiloé

Diego Salas

Blue whales are one of the most amazing oceanic species and spotting these marine giants off the shores of the Chiloé archipelago requires a great stroke of luck.

This whale is named for its dark blue color, which is more pronounced in adult males. Their size is impressive: they can reach 30 meters in length and weigh up to 200 tons. Although they usually live in the open sea, blue whales also come ashore to feed.

The Chiloé archipelago is the privileged recipient of visits from this and several other cetaceans, such as Peale’s dolphins and Chilean dolphins. In order to see these interesting species, you must have a guide to sail or fly you over the area, observe the sea very carefully and have a lot of luck.

The truth is that whale watching is not something that most would consider easy. These species migrate and travel great distances, so they spend only short periods of time in specific areas. Normally they swim to great depths, they do not always rise to the surface and, when they do, their sighting is made difficult by the movement of the waves, the climate and the visual effect produced by their large size amid the immensity of the ocean. Sighting them requires sharp senses and patience.

In general, cetaceans generate a lot of scientific interest. Experts consider them indicators of the health of the marine ecosystem due, among other things, to their position in the food chain, their wide geographical distribution and their sensitivity to pollutants.

Créditos foto: The Australian Institute of Marine Science

Conservation status of the blue whale

Unfortunately, despite being so admired, these whales are still one of the most endangered species. Although they are protected by law in many countries, they face a number of threats that endanger their long-term survival.

One of the main threats to blue whales is by-catch. This occurs when whales become trapped in fishing nets and cannot escape. This situation can be especially dangerous for them, as they can die from suffocation or from serious injuries.

Another threat to blue whales is increased maritime traffic. As boat traffic increases, whales run the risk of colliding with them, which can result in serious injury or even death. In addition, the noise produced by ships can disrupt the whales’ communication and hinder their ability to find food and reproduce.

Créditos ilustración: Antonia Reyes @paraiso__perdido

What other cetaceans can be seen in Chiloé?

Cetaceans are a diverse group of marine mammals that include several species. They are divided into two subgroups: odontocetes (dolphins, porpoises, orcas, Chilean dolphins, etc.) and mysticetes (blue whales, humpback whales, southern right whales, etc.).

The coasts of southern Chile, in particular the Chiloé archipelago, are areas where several species of cetaceans are usually found, in addition to the enormous blue whale.

  • Chilean Dolphin (Tonina): a small and thin dolphin species. Permanent residents along the shores of Chiloé, you can see them year round.
  • Peale’s dolphin: A type of dolphin that is found in the cold and temperate waters of Chilean and Argentine Patagonia. They are also permanent residents of the area, so they can be seen during different seasons.
  • Narwhal porpoise: A cetacean that lives alone or in small groups in the cold and temperate waters of Chilean and Argentine Patagonia. Porpoises are similar to dolphins, but they are smaller, thinner and elongated with a small, distinctive protrusion on the head.

It is important to mention that these are just some of the cetacean species that can be found on the coasts of the Chiloé archipelago, and the presence of each species can vary depending on the season and the conditions of the marine ecosystem.

If you want the experience of watching these and other animals, write to us at, plan your dream vacation in Chile and tell us what your specific interests are in order that we may program adventures specifically tailored to you.

Toninas. Créditos ilustración: Antonia Reyes @paraiso__perdido
Tierra Chiloé