Hidden on a remote archipelago off the south coast of Panama, a vacation at the pristine Islas Secas is always one to remember, but this year the eco-resort is making guests’ stays even more memorable with the launch of a once-in-a-lifetime whale watching excursion.
The humpback whale’s world-famous summer migration takes them on a journey of around 4,000 miles from the icy waters of the Antarctic to the warmer oceans of the equatorial regions where they breed. As one of the final points on the journey, the Gulf of Chiriquí, which surrounds Islas Secas, is one of the best places to witness these ocean giants.
The resort boasts an undisturbed 20-mile strip of water between the private islands and the mainland, making front-row whale viewing even possible from the shoreline. Of all the world’s whale species, the humpback is regarded as one of the most rewarding to watch, with pods known to put on an impressive show, from fully jumping out of the water to noisily tail slapping. As the summer is breeding and birthing season, there is also a chance that guests might witness a feeding mother and calf during their stay.
Isla Secas’ latest three-day humpback whale watching excursion package includes return transfers from nearby Panama airport and an exclusive whale watching boat trip, as well as accommodation in one of the resorts’ romantic tented casitas rooms, featuring an outdoor tub with views across the ocean. With space for just 24 guests across its 14 islands, Islas Secas is impressively intimate, giving visitors a chance to see this amazing species without the flash-camera-happy crowds.
“The Humpback Whale migration that occurs in the Gulf of Chiriquí waters surrounding Islas Secas is some of the best in the world, and a true highlight of our guests’ stay,” says Andrey Gomez, managing director of Islas Secas. “It’s a breathtaking experience whether you are watching from the island’s shoreline or boating alongside them – we feel fortunate to be able to observe this beautiful species of marine life in their natural habitat.”
While the humpback whale population is reportedly on the incline after numbers dropped over 90% by the end of the 20th century, the species still faces threats in the form of vessel strikes, fishing gear entanglement and underwater noise.
To protect the future of the majestic humpback whale, Islas Secas’ sustainable whale-watching program strictly follows the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) best practices, which include maintaining a distance, limiting viewing time and reducing boat speed to reduce noise. These efforts ensure this natural migration phenomenon can be observed safely (for both humans and whales) and responsibly.
Encouraging guests to interact with nature in a considerate way is standard procedure at Islas Secas, which, as a founding member of sustainable tourism group Beyond Green, is committed to acting as a steward for the unique marine ecosystem which surrounds it. As well as supporting local land, sea and community projects via the Islas Secas Foundation, the resort has also been designed to tread lightly on the planet: of its 14 islands, 13 remain wild and untouched, with certified sustainable materials used in the resort’s few buildings.
Day-to-day operations are equally as responsible with the island using 100% solar power, recycling and reusing 100% of food waste and 100% of water is captured and reused in a smart irrigation system. This really is sustainable luxury.
The Islas Secas whale watching excursion package is available until September, 5, starting at $9,320 based on two people sharing.