Whale watching in Vancouver is an experience like no other. If you want to experience something different than Vancouver’s usual attractions, whale watching might just be what you’ve been looking for.
This article will explain why whale watching is one of the best things to do in Vancouver.
Whale Watching in Vancouver
The best time of year to watch whales in Vancouver is from March to October. This is the time of year when whales migrate through the waters near the city, making it an excellent location for whale watching.
There’s no best time of day to see whales in Vancouver because they are out exploring all hours of the day and night. Some of the whales that pass through the northern waters include humpbacks, grey whales, minke whales, and orcas.
Orcas are usually the main attraction on whale watching tours, and Telegraph Cove on Vancouver Island’s northeast coast is the best place to see them. The best time to see orcas in Vancouver is from May to October.
Tofino on Vancouver Island is another excellent spot for whale watching. There are over 20,000 gray whales swimming past their shores, and being at the edge of the Pacific Rim in this part of Vancouver Island is an incredible experience.
How Much is Whale Watching in Vancouver
The type of vessel you board and the length of your tour will most likely determine the cost of your whale-watching tour.
In general, a half-day whale watching costs CAD 180. However, private tours can cost up to CAD 499.
The table below lists some common types of whale watching services and their average estimated cost.
|TYPE OF SERVICE||AVERAGE ESTIMATED COST|
|Enclosed Boats||CAD 135 - 155|
|Open-Air Boats||CAD 175 - 199|
|Half-Day Whale Watching||CAD 95 - 180|
|Sunset Whale Watching||CAD 99 - 160|
|Private Whale-Watching Tours||CAD 300 - 499|
Where to Whale Watch in Vancouver
Wild Whales is one of Granville Island’s best-known whale watching companies that has been providing memorable experiences for marine life enthusiasts.
Wild Whales operates three boats: partly-sheltered, open air, and zodiac. Now, we think it’s best to go with their partly-sheltered boat as the Strait of Georgia can become particularly windy.
On the other hand, the open-air and zodiac boats provide an unobstructed view of the ocean, providing the most immersive experience possible for the fearless traveler.
Each boat is accompanied by a captain and a wildlife guide who identifies and explains the marine life, their history, and their family tree.
The cost of whale watching at Wild Whales is CAD 155 for adults, CAD 130 for seniors and students, and CAD 95 for children aged 3 to 12.
However, you must contact them to inquire about rates and availability if you want to go on a private whale-watching tour.
There are also many nearby seafood restaurants; however, before you buy, look for the “ocean wise” symbol, which ensures that you’re getting ocean-friendly seafood.
Prince of Whales
Prince of Whales has over 15 boats made and engineered for whale watching in the coastal waters of British Columbia.
This tour company offers visitors the opportunity to see Vancouver from the sea, and the sunset views of the waters are breathtaking.
When you spot these magnificent creatures, your captain will come to a complete stop so that you can only hear the whales slapping their tails as they leap from the water.
Their boats are also accompanied by tour guides who provide trivia and information about famous attractions such as Stanley Park, the Lion Gate Bridge, and many others.
Prince of Whales offers half-day and sunset tours on their high-speed, custom-built catamaran that takes approximately three to five hours.
Whale-watching tours at Prince of Whales start at CAD 179. However, if you want to check out Telegraph Cove, they also offer a fully-guided whale watching and marine wildlife viewing tour for CAD 139.
Catamarans and cruisers provide complimentary tea, coffee, and hot chocolate, and light snacks such as chips, cookies, and chocolate bars can be purchased.
You are also welcome to bring your own snacks as there are numerous nearby restaurants, coffee shops, and markets.
Vancouver Whale Watch
Vancouver Whale Watch is one of Vancouver’s most significant whale watching companies, established in 1998.
Their professional wildlife guides last 3 to 5 hours, beginning in the fishing village of Steveston and traveling through the stunning Gulf and San Juan Islands.
Visitors will see numerous whales with a 95% success rate of sighting whales. Aside from that, you can also see bald eagles, sea lions, seals, turkey vultures, and other marine mammals.
The Four vessels operated by Vancouver Whale Watch are the Explorathor II, Express, Strider, and Lightship. The Explorathor II and Express are semi-covered and open-air convertibles, while the Strider and Lightship are open-air vessels with a large open view of the ocean.
Vancouver Whale Watch offers small and large whale watching tours that cost around CAD 95 to CAD 165.
Orca Rangers keep a field journal in which they track a 12-mammal checklist they must complete to become a certified Orca Ranger.
An Orca Ranger’s main responsibility is to advocate for orcas and to protect their habitat by protecting all marine life.
White Rock, located in Crescent Beach, has some of the best whale-watching tours in British Columbia.
This establishment has two boats, namely Spartan 01 and the Guardian 1. The Spartan 01 provides a comfortable journey and has a heated cabin and an onboard washroom.
For the fearless adventurer, White Rock also has a 24ft Zodiac Boat that can accommodate up to 10 people plus one crew member.
The tour includes numerous stops at remote bays, isolated coves, fantastic scenery, and viewing opportunities of whales.
The Orca family feeding and swimming alongside the boat was the icing on the cake, providing visitors with a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with an orca.
They also offer sunset and firework cruises along the White Rock Shores, water taxis, charters, memorials, and ashes at sea.
Whale watching in Vancouver is worthwhile if you are looking for an adventure, are interested in marine life, or enjoy being out on the open ocean.
It’s a memorable experience that you’ll remember, and it’s something that every visitor to Vancouver should do at least once.