Our History

We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came. John F.Kennedy

Our History


Our history began 18 years ago in Tarifa when a group of friends with maritime degrees (captain of the merchant navy, skippers, naval mechanics and Maritime Rescue) created Turmares with the aim of working in maritime tourism developing small coastal cruises that devoted special attention to the activity of whale watching that at that time was being implanted in the Strait of Gibraltar. To do so, we bought the boat CIUDAD DE SAN JUAN with a capacity of 40 seats, thus beginning our work in benefit of the definitive implantation of a culture of the sea in our region.


We worked the years 2000 and 2001 with good results. At this moment, the fifth partner was incorporated, and a commercial premises was acquired for the office of management and sale to the public, as well as the number of ticket sales points in several areas of the city. At the end of the season it was thought convenient to incorporate a boat of greater size and quality. In the search for boats we find the JACKELIN, with a capacity of 200 seats and features specially designed for maritime tourism that were perfectly adapted to the "sighting of cetaceans", such as the submarine vision saloon, which is still the largest in the Strait of Gibraltar.

The year 2002 was the definitive take-off of the company. The sighting had acquired much more importance and acceptance as a new tourist and educational activity with an environmental character.

In 2003, the Department of the Environment was created in charge of Environmental Education and Research. Since then, it has maintained a large database of data collected during excursions, which is invaluable for science, since it complements the research processes that are being developed in the area of Cetology. In 2004, a new 10-seater high-speed boat, the RAINBOW, was acquired to diversify the product into a more exclusive and select tourism.

In 2005, the commercial and marketing department was created to deal with all the management of advertising, promotion of the company's services.

In 2006 Turmares Tarifa bought its third boat DOLPHIN SAFARI with capacity for 100 passengers, thus complementing the fleet and increasing the capacity of customers. This same year, the company received ISO 9.001 and 14.001 certifications for the implementation of a Quality and Environmental Management System, audited by the prestigious brand Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

In 2007, the company obtained the Parque Natural de Andalucía Mark for the development of tourist products in protected natural areas, thus guaranteeing the environmental control standards in its operational protocols. It also obtains the registration as an Active Tourism Company in the Ministry of Tourism of the Junta de Andalucía in order to give guarantees to customers and the public administration regarding its activity.

From 2007 to 2013 we collaborated in the organization of the annual conference of the Natural Park of the Strait of Gibraltar, with an average of 160 participants per edition.

In 2012 the Turmares Tarifa office becomes the official Information Point of the Natural Park.

In 2013, we collaborate in the SEC (Spanish Society of Cetaceans) congress in Tarifa, with 113 participants.

In 2007, we participated in the elaboration of the "Strategic Plan for the Development of Cetacean Sighting" worldwide, considered a consulting company by the IWC (International Whaling Commission). This year we are collaborating with the Ministry of the Environment in the development of the Royal Decree 1727/2007 on cetacean protection in Spain, providing an act of ethics of good observation practices. The priority was the acquisition of a new and better boat, adapted to the sailing conditions in the Strait of Gibraltar and the demands of a booming tourism sector. The intended boat would be of recent construction and would follow the technical plans that would guarantee ideal characteristics and in this way we acquired the PIRATA DE SALVORA in 2014.

A modern, fast and very stable boat, recently built, a profile that helps navigation in conditions of strong sea and wind, and especially the sighting of Orcas that takes place at a longer distance from the port of Tarifa.

In our desire to continuously improve the quality of the service we provide, in 2014 we developed and implemented a new extranet web application within our company's operating scheme, offering the possibility of booking our excursions online through our website, allowing you to consult on site the scheduled timetables of the boats, weather forecast and at the same time verify the available places, being able to make the reservation directly and generate the booking confirmation document with complete information.

In the present days the company is recognized in local, national and international scopes as a reference in the whale watching sector, proof of this are the more than 30 scientific papers have already been presented at the main events on cetaceans (ECS-European Cetacean Society; SMM-Society for the Study of Marine Mammals; IWC-International Whaling Commission); and several participations in the most relevant events in the tourist sector of cetacean sighting (IFAW-IceWhale in Iceland in 2008; Planet Whale in England 2011 and 2012; International Whale

Turmares also contributes its work and opinion in the forums and associations for the tourist and environmental development of the region (CETS-Working Group for the European Charter of Sustainable Tourism of the Natural Park of the Strait of Gibraltar; ASACETA-Association of Whalers of Cetaceans of the Strait, Tarifa, and Andalusia; among others.

A very significant statement is the evolution that the company has accumulated in its history of training agreements and business practices with prestigious universities (University of Cadiz, University of Granada, University of Cordoba, University of Malaga, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, University of Castilla La Mancha, Eberswalde Berlin, among others). As a result of this work is the transformation of the large volume of information collected into knowledge organized for the implementation of environmental education campaigns for the general public and didactic units aimed especially at groups of students.

The consolidation of the sector in Tarifa and the expressive numbers of Turmares, currently more than 50% of the passengers embarked in Tarifa for Whale Watching, leads us to maintain a modern and safe fleet.

Turmares Tarifa is largely responsible for the growth, consolidation and use of good practices for Whale Watching in the Strait of Gibraltar