Updated on June 7, 2013
Between July and November, humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) seek the warm waters of the Southern Coast of Bahia, Brazil, for their mating season. Though humpback whales can be spotted in Brazil from Rio Grande do Sul to Pará, 80% of them can be found between Southern Bahia and Northern Espírito Santo, and the region where these formidable animals, some of which weigh up to 40 tons, can be best seen is known as Costa das Baleias, or Whale Coast. It comprises the towns of Prado, Alcobaça, Caravelas, Nova Viçosa and Mucuri and the Abrolhos National Marine Park.
Those destinations are promoted by ABETA - the Brazilian Association of Ecoutourism and Adventure Travel Companies, which strives to foster safe and responsible eco- and adventure tourism in Brazil.
The Abrolhos Archipelago, a Marine National Park and one of Brazil's top diving destinations, offers the area's best humpback whale sightings. Among the archipelago's underwater treasures are coral reefs, caves and sea turtles.
Diving and whale watching tours in the Abrolhos National Marine Park depart from the coastal towns, where several other attractive ecotourism options await travelers.
In Prado, one of the top attractions is canoeing in the mangroves surrounding the Rio Jucuruçu River. Caravelas has beautiful pristine beaches, great for trekking; in Nova Viçosa, Barra Velha Island has trails winding through preserved vegetation.
Alcobaça has ocean pools off Praia da Barra and diving in the Areias and Timbebas reefs. Mucuri is one of the ends of the Discovery Route, a 155-mile cycling route with its other end in Arraial d'Ajuda. The route includes Itaquena, Trancoso, Caraiva, Corumbau, Cumuruxatiba, Prado, Alcobaça, Caravelas and Nova Viçosa.
Whale Watching Tours:
The latest list of agencies which offer humpback whale watching tours is available on the Instituto Baleia Jubarte website.
ABETA (Brazilian Association of Ecoutourism and Adventure Travel Companies):