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These five best whale-watching destinations around the world boast shockingly high whale sighting rates, with guaranteed sightings in the peak summer months. Adventure out to any of these whale sighting hot spots to behold the natural, majestic beauty and exciting activity of humpbacks, belugas, killer whales and much more.
1. Juneau, Alaska
Southeastern Alaska’s steep-sided fjords and vast expanses of water see humpback whale migration in the summer. On a whale watching excursion in Juneau you’ll likely encounter a variety of whales feeding on herring and other fish in peak seasons. You’re also likely to witness the intriguing bubble-net feeding technique common to humpback and minke whales. Gray whales and orcas can be spotted as well, alongside other Alaskan-native creatures such as seals, porpoises, otters, and sea lions. Whale watching in Juneau promises gorgeous scenery and wildlife spottings, making Juneau one of the best whale watching destinations in the world.
2. Western Cape, South Africa
Hermanus, not far from Cape Town, is the most popular whale watching destination in South Africa’s Western Cape. The Western Cape offers the world’s best land-based whale watching every year between July and November, with 40 percent of the world’s southern right whale population mating near the coastline. Hermanus insiders know to get off the beaten track and head to the De Hoop Nature Reserve, where even Hermanus locals go for whale watching. De Hoop’s whale spectacles can include a spatter of whales leaping, courting, and striking the surface waters with their magnificent tails.
3. Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Right along the route of the annual grey whale migration, Tofino is a prime spot for blue, beluga, minke and humpback whale sightings. These hungry whales pass through krill-infested waters in their majestic whale migration. Enjoy sightings from the comfort of an enclosed cruise ship, or hop aboard a Zodiac, a small, fast, open-air boat, for a real adventure. Zodiacs in British Columbia zip through the waters, out into the midst of breaching whales.
4. Reykjavík, Iceland
With 23 different whale species inhabiting Iceland ’s north Atlantic waters, Reykjavik is Europe’s number one whale watching destination. Minke and humpbacks are the most common whales seen here, though Blue whales, orcas, pilot whales, and sperm whales can also be spotted. Other aquatic species in the area include white-beaked dolphins and harbor porpoises. Most tours set off from Reykjavík’s Old Harbor.
5. Chocó, Colombia
Visit Colombia’s Pacific coast in July to witness the magnificent humpback whales passing through the waters of Chocó. A hot tourist attraction in Colombia, whales can be observed from the beaches of Bahia Solano to beaches by the town of Nuquí and the Utría National Park. In addition to whale migration, you’ll see sharks, sierras, rays, snapper, and other diverse marine life. A trip to Chocó is an unforgettable exploration of Colombia’s impressive biodiversity, and the spectacle of breeding humpback whales.