Whale and dolphin watching in La Gomera

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Whale and dolphin watching in La Gomera

Environment

WHALE AND DOLPHIN WATCHING IN LA GOMERA
ENVIRONMENT
Adhering strictly to the Canary regulations, we only do respectful Whale Watching with small groups and have set our own standards for ecological whale watching even higher than legally obliged to. The skippers are specialized and educated in whale watching and to avoid stress for the mammals, we behave like guests on the ocean. The animals decide if they want close contact to the boat. Our wooden boat, carrying a maximum of 10 passengers, is an original Gomera fishing boat that was still handmade – a rare sight these days.

All tours (boat and island) are guided personally by our team providing our guests with interesting and useful information. The information we gather during the sightings is shared with a non-profit conservation and research organization (M.E.E.R. e.V.) to support research and conservation efforts.

We provide plenty of information about the local environment and culture, for example in the info folders we put in every apartment giving your insight into responsible behavior towards dolphins and whales, problems related to whale-watching (e.g. Tenerife) and environmental care (e.g. waste and water), nature protection, drinking water, news and innovative projects on the Canary Islands. Spread the news! During the included hike through the National Park you will learn lots of new facts about this UNESCO World Heritage site and enjoy a wholesome typical Gomera meal made of local produce.

Our guests receive free filtered drinking water. That saves the planet about 2000 plastic container each year.
We offer weekly information meetings and varying lectures as well as a permanent exhibition in our information center to share our knowledge on cetaceans off La Gomera and their habitat, answer questions and show that encounters of humans and cetaceans can happen with consideration and respect. We support as well the nonprofit association M.E.E.R. e.V. With these measures we enhance the knowledge and awareness of our guests towards this beautiful island and its people, towards the enchanting cetaceans and their endangered habitat and give useful tips on how to contribute to preserve these treasures!

Adopt a dolphin. Since 1995 the German NGO M.E.E.R.e.V. in co-operation with us is researching the marine mammals off La Gomera. With your taken adoption you can make sure that this research will continue. This NGO - of which everyone at our tour company is a member – is also investigating the complex problems revolving around fast ferries on the Canary Islands and worldwide. With the adoption you will receive a welcome letter with a photo of your favorite dolphin or whale species.

Donation. The NGO Pro Wildlife based in Munich provides valuable project work for the marine mammals and the sea and is consequently lobbying their conservation. The department for whales and dolphins works on topics such as whaling, the toxic loads of heavy metals in marine mammals and bycatch. Their studies contribute inter alia at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to keep the ban against international whaling.

Climate protection contribution. For people who are concerned regarding the environmental impacts of their air travel, a new service has been established: atmosfair. Utilizing an emissions calculator, atmosfair customers can figure out how much greenhouse gas emissions are caused by their individual flights. With your donation you enable atmosfair to run projects in developing countries where these emissions will be saved.

Community

We were awarded the official renowned CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) sustainability certification by TourCert as the first whale watching tour operator. This means that we as a company have:

- Audited our company according to sustainability standards
- Quantified and qualified our ecological and social criteria
- Issued a sustainability report and respective enhancement programmes according to TourCert standards
- Committed ourselves to continuously enhance our sustainability efforts#+
- We regard the CSR report as a continuous process to enhance the integration of even more environmental and sustainability aspects, way beyond any legal obligations, into the everyday life of the company. We work together with local companies, like small locally owned apartment complexes or car rental companies and encourage our guests to buy and eat out in the local shops and restaurants. The apartments employ locals. The produces they use are local as well. Our tour guide will show you the local restaurants and introduce you to the typically local food – delicious Canary cuisine – so you will contribute to the survival of local restaurants and get to know the Canary way of life at the same time.

Reviews of Whale and dolphin watching in La Gomera

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 01 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


the whale and dolphin watching.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


check the weather and make sure that the accommodations have a fan an/or air
conditioning. Simple is fine but we needed a fan.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We tried our hardest to reduce out impact and support conservation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


4.5 star --a fan would have put it over the top!

Reviewed on 12 Apr 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We had three boat trips to see the whales and dolphins. All 3 were great we saw animals every time and different ones each day. The crew were friendly and gave lots of information verbal and written. I was particularly moved by their obvious sensitivity towards the mammals, responding to their behavior and showing respect. We also did a 4hr walk in Garajonay forest which was a brilliant contrast and great surprise.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


My friend felt sick in the boat; so, sea sickness pills if you're in doubt! No mozzies (April) Good to visit near Valle Gran Rey: Finca Argyall twice daily meditation or yoga open to all at affordable price. Just up the valley from Finca 'A' is a tropical fruit garden, also very inspiring with yummy fruit samples. Easy to eat out for vegetarians - a nice change! Catch the drummers and fire jugglers of an evening; just walk down along the coast.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Local shop keepers and restaurant owners made a little income from us. Buying a holiday from this operator supports the conservation work they are involved in. Also they collected monies from us to donate to a conservation project (can't remember the name and I have deleted receipt)

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Brilliant break, only 'niggle' was that I felt a little more information could have been sent. The tour company helped us by booking transfers from the airport but not until I asked. It would have been reassuring to know the name of the accommodation too. Minor details as it all came together quite smoothly. I was really very happy and might even do it again sometime......

Reviewed on 25 Apr 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Lots of jumping dolphins! I've taken 8 dolphin watching tours in 6 days and managed to see 6 species (Rough-toothed dolphin, Atlantic spotted dolphin, Short-finned pilot whales, Bottlenose dolphin, Common dolphin and Cuvier's beaked whale!!!)

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The ferry to Valle Gran Rey is not running anymore. Those who take the bus, it would be good to be at the carpark 30 mins early, as it left early in my case! If the time is okay, it would be better to take the Naviera Armas ferry as it goes slower, with less impact on dolphins and whales. And what's more, you can have a better chance to spot some dolphins or whales on the way. After the other faster ferry came into operation, the collision rate of dolphins and whales had increased.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The whale and dolphin watching company, collected data on cetaceans on all their trip for researchers. The captain (local people) also knows the animals well and know how to approach them without causing disturbance to them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


GREAT and really enjoyable. I would prefer some shades and railings on the boat though.

Reviewed on 12 Apr 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Being out on the boat and experiencing the wonders of dolphins and whales in their own habitat. We were so close you could almost touch them!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Stopping off in San Sabastian to sample local food when travelling from Tenerife to Valle Gran Rey.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The apartment was owned by a local person and we opted to purchase and eat local food. The operator offers regular talks to all visitors on the island which was both educating and informing about our human impact on the ocean environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The holiday was one of the best we have ever experienced, we would highly recommend it. La Gomera is a beautiful island and the operator offers the chance of experiencing and learning so much about dophins and whales!

Reviewed on 10 Apr 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The walks were brilliant, well sign posted and challenging. Whale watching boat trip from Valle Gran Rey when we saw two ospreys and some whale fins. Good food, particularly fresh fish.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take plenty of warm clothes, the accommodation is high up and the evenings and nights are cold. Ensure that you know where to buy wood locally for the fire, otherwise there is only a heater/air conditioning unit in the bedroom.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, we paid the owner directly without using a third party, the water was heated by solar panels and there were good recycling facilities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Probably 7/10. It would have been helpful to have been advised on where to obtain wood locally and the kitchen was poorly equipped.

Reviewed on 27 Oct 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Seeing dolphins & whales of course.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go in spring or Aug-Sep to see more animals. Alternatively book extra trips.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


No - I don't see how the holiday benefited local people, except for the lady who holds the rest stop where we had lunch on the outskirts of the nature reserve.
Yes - I do think there was limited impact on the environment as boat trips were with a small boat and day trip to nature reserve was just for me.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Good.

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


All the time we spent at the boat doing dolphin and whale watching was just great, but there was one day when there were many whales swimming close to the boat and we really felt in contact with them as they moved. That was definitely the most exciting moment of my holiday.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


I think this holiday is a great opportunity to see dolphins and whales in their natural habitat, its wonderful just being in the open ocean with them, hearing them breathing and moving with the waves. For nature lovers this holiday will suit their dreams perfectly! Don't forget to carry sun lotion and a hat to protect from the sun.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, as the organization in charge (MEER) is environmentally friendly and really cares for the animals and the people. The team has wonderful people very happy and motivated and it's very nice to learn from them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I will give a 10 of a 10. Could not have been better.

Reviewed on 05 Nov 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Seeing whales so close to our boat. We had very good sightings of about 20 pilot whales on one trip and on another saw two Blainville’s dense beaked whales for about 20 minutes by the boat.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


La Gomera is a very relaxing location. If you can, come for more than 7 days, especially if you enjoy walking, cycling swimming etc. There is a surprising amount to do. The restaurants around Vueltas are good and there is a lot of choice.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The company were very keen to educate us regarding the whales and dolphins, and the work they are doing to monitor them and to encourage environmentally sensitive tourism.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Great - very relaxing. The whole family enjoyed themselves. La Gomera is a very tranquil place and the climate just about perfect. The apartment was good and the swimming pool lovely. The team looked after us very well. Seeing the whales was very special indeed.

Reviewed on 17 Apr 2005 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Seeing dolphins and/or Pilot whales and 2 Sei whales (which I hadn't heard of) on all 3 of the trips we went on.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Perfect is you're interested in dolphins/whales, walking and peace and quiet, otherwise not much else to do. Struggled to find beaches suitable for sunbathing and swimming.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Whale watching trips were staffed entirely by Germans so I would be interested to know if it was difficult to recruit local people. Cottage blended perfectly with the surroundings, had a solar panel for hot water (I think!), was owned by a local woman and appeared to have been refurbished using local materials (though I'm no expert!).

Read the operator's response here:

Whale Watching is not a "big business" here (like at Tenerife), only very few people are involved. With the Whale Watching we generate guests who come here because of the dolphins and whales and so the local people benefit from it because we book the guests in apartements of local people as well as they us the supermarkets, restaurants etc here. At the moment there is no sense from the local people to protect the dolphins and whales, so people from other countries took the initiative for research and protection and the public work for the cetaceans. We have very good contacts to the enviromental authorities of the Canarian government. M.e.e.r. e.V. also has now the first Canarian members.

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