One of the most memorable experiences is watching whales in their natural habitats. Seeing their fins break through the ocean’s surface and even getting to see one flip over or jump out of the water is truly an awe-inspiring experience.
Most people choose to take their annual vacations in the summer months. By doing this, though, they could miss out on one of the world’s greatest spectacles — seeing whales.
Experienced captain Jako Hall explains that the cooler months are prime whale-watching season. Whales can be found everywhere on earth, but they tend to favour particular locations. Here are six of the world’s best destinations for whale watching.
#1. Maui, Hawaii
As if you need another reason to visit beautiful Hawaii. Humpback whales are known to swim in the waters of Hawaii, particularly in Maui. They travel through these waters as part of their winter migration in the Pacific Ocean.
The peak season to see them travel through Hawaiian waters is between the middle of December through late April. These whales, which can be as long as 52 feet, can sometimes even be seen from the shorelines. The best way to see them, though, is to travel offshore on a whale watching trip.
#2. The Azores
The Azores are a group of islands technically a part of Portugal, located roughly halfway between North America and Europe. While it’s a popular attraction for tourists looking for a beach vacation, it’s also an excellent destination for whale watching.
The Azores is near the top of this list because you can see the world’s biggest creature — the blue whale. These animals can get as long as 100 feet and weigh as much as 200 tons. Blue whales are most abundant in February and March every year.
You can also see Sei whales, baleen whales, fin whales, sperm whales, and humpback whales travelling their annual routes by The Azores.
#3. Strait of Gibraltar
This narrow strait that splits Spain from Morocco is a great place to see a lot of wildlife, including whales. Here, you can see pilot whales, known as one of the most social whales in the world.
There is a lot of food here for these whales, which means they can be seen almost any time of the year. In early spring through early summer, you could even get lucky and see orcas, who arrive here at that time of year.
If you want to see beluga whales, Manitoba, Canada, is a great place to go. The northern part of this Canadian province, near the coastline of the Hudson Bay, is home to the largest population of beluga whales in the world.
While there’s a massive population of them there in the summer months, they can be seen in winter, too, when the crowds are not as packed.
The Caribbean island nation of Dominica is a great place to see a variety of whales. The island’s west coast is a particular hotspot for whale sightings because of the steep drop-offs underwater near the beach.
You can see sperm whales here year-round, but the peak time is between November and March. You can also catch humpback whales, with the best time being between January and April.
#6. South Africa
The Western Cape of South Africa is a great spot to see humpback, Southern right, and Bryde’s whales. Here, the South Atlantic and Indian oceans converge, making for a great living ground for the whales.
Jako Hall says the best time to visit is between July and November for the Byrde’s and Southern right whales and May through December for humpbacks.
Captain Jako Hall is an experienced mariner and a former naval officer known for his strong work ethic and ability to lead and motivate crews. He pursued Maritime Studies at the University of Technology in Cape Town and has received the highest level of training in Navigation and Seamanship during his years in the Navy. After 13 distinguished years in the Navy, Jako joined the superyacht industry, following his passion for creating unique and exclusive experiences for high-net-worth clients. He’s managed multi-million euro projects that required attention to detail and efficiency and has a proven track record of operating at sea in remote and unsupported areas.