5 Best Places in the World to Go For Whale Watching Holidays
Whales are majestic creatures and seeing one in person is a one-of-a-kind, joyful experience. However, whales are not just spotted anywhere — you will need to plan to travel to a place on their migratory route and have a lot of patience.
If seeing these amazing creatures in action is one of your bucket lists, then you need to know the top 5 best destinations in the world for watching magnificent whales in the wild.
- Alaska, United States
With over 6,000 miles of coastlines, including vast bays and jagged fjords, it is no wonder that the 49th state in the US is probably the best-known place to watch the greatest spectacles on Earth— humpback whale lunge-feeding. Best in the month of August but can be seen throughout summer, groups of humpback whales construct an enormous circular fishing net with bubbles in order to catch vast shoals of herrings then launch themselves high into the air with their mouths wide open.
During spring, gray whales are also spotted on their way to their feeding grounds in the Bering Sea. Further into summer, there is a high chance of spotting orca and minke whales. And with the stunning mountainous scenery of Alaska, you get to see these mysterious whales in a wonderful, majestic backdrop that will surely mesmerize you.
- Western Cape, South Africa
The 12km stretch of low cliffs at Hermanus, South Africa is the of the world’s best vantage point to spot whales from land. Yep, that’s right! You do not need to get on a boat just to see these wonderful creatures. So, if you ever get seasick, then this may be the perfect place for you to visit.
You can watch whales from cafés, restaurants, and coastal footpaths and even from the comfort of your hotel bed— making it the best place in the world to encounter whales from land. The best time to spot whales off the shores is from July to November when krills are preparing for birthing and mating, making these waters a perfect feeding ground for humpbacks. Also, more than a hundred Southern Right Whales come here from Antarctica to mate and calve.
- Canadian Arctic
If you wish to see three different whale species in one go, then the frozen north of Canada is the best place to go. Churchill is the best place to encounter beluga whales, whereas the Baffin Island has bowheads and narwhals.
While you can enjoy an expedition cruise where you can see whales further out the sea, it is possible to camp on the ice near the whales’ feeding ground. The best time to spot these 3 species of whales is from June to August.
- Baja California, Mexico
The Pacific coast of Mexico is probably the best place to see a variety of types of whales with singing humpback whales of the southern tip of the peninsula, friendly grey whales in their breeding grounds, and from Bryde’s whales to blue whales in the Sea of Cortez.
Image: Wikipedia.org, Archivo
The best time to visit Mexico for an unforgettable vacation is from February to April; however, you can already see these creatures as early as November when their migrating season begins. You can try a boat excursion into the waters in the Sea of Cortez and Baja’s Pacific coast, but many of the whales can also be seen from the beaches.
Hawaii is a popular and renowned destination in the world that offers tourists their amazing culture, lots of beautiful outdoor living and a safe haven for fans of water sports. Located in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii can offer you not only beautiful scenery and great waves for surfing, but it is also one of the most unspoiled spot worldwide to see large pods of humpback whale from January to February.
Flickr: NOAA photo by sanco612
There are also other species of whale that grace Hawaii, particularly the island of Maui— species like false killer whale or melon headed whales and if you are lucky enough you might even spot the rarely-seen short-finned pilot whale, sperm whale or pygmy killer whale.
Knowing the best places in the world to see whales and what time of the year do they have a higher chance to appear are keys to a successful whale watching holiday. Remember that whales don’t resurface on command and it might take some time before you can even see one. However, the unforgettable experience of seeing these wonderful creatures makes the planning and waiting all worth it.