Whale watching is an enchanting experience. Although whales can be found in pretty much any ocean, some places offer an unparalleled opportunity to get close to these impressive creatures. Check out five of the world’s best whale watching destinations.
All of the Hawaiian Islands provide chances for whale watching but the best sightings are off the coast of Maui. Every year, thousands of humpback whales migrate from the cold waters of Alaska to the warm depths of Maui. The whales mate in this area, so you might even get to see a baby humpback. Boat tours are the best way to experience Maui’s whales, and many vessels are equipped with hydrophones so you can listen to the haunting songs of male humpbacks.
Located off the west coast of Portugal, the Azores archipelago is one of the most popular whale watching destinations in the world. These waters are where you’ll find blue whales, which are larger than any other species. You’ll also see many sperm, pilot, and bottlenose whales. These magnificent creatures can be spotted from land via watchtowers, or you can get a closer look with a boat tour.
Cape Cod, USA
Each year, from April to October, hundreds of whales migrate to the North Atlantic waters of Cape Cod. This region is full of fish, which attracts a wide variety of whales including orcas, finbacks, humpbacks, and minkes. Sea lions and dolphins are also drawn to these waters, and you may even catch a glimpse of the endangered northern right whale. Boat tours are plentiful, and whales are so common in Cape Cod that most tour companies will refund your tickets if you don’t see any.
Hermanus, South Africa
Situated on Africa’s southern coast, Hermanus is a popular tourist destination for whale watching from ashore. There is a six-mile stretch of cliff that has been outfitted with telescopes and benches to make it easy to see the marine life. Boat tours are also available for those who want a closer view. Every year, southern right whales migrate to the warm, shallow waters of Hermanus to mate, making this region one of the best whale watching destinations. The best time to visit is between June and November as this is when you’re likely to see a baby right whale. You may also see a few orcas, humpbacks, and dolphins in these beautiful waters.
Kaikoura, New Zealand
Kaikoura is a small town that’s been making big waves with travelers. Located in the northern region of New Zealand’s South Island, Kaikoura has garnered world renown for being the best place to see sperm whales. Pilot, humpback, and blue whales are also common sights, in addition to dolphins and fur seals. All of these marine creatures are attracted to a deep underwater canyon that runs along the coast of Kaikoura and provides them with ample food. Whale watching has become an important part of Kaikoura’s economy, so there are several options for boat and helicopter tours that will get you an incomparable view of the majestic behemoths.