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Whales are truly majestic creatures, and seeing them in their natural habitat out at sea is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Many travelers set off on vacations with the express goal of going on a whale watching tour, so it is important to know which destinations around the world are best for exactly that.
These five spots around the globe are fantastic places to see whales and embark on a world-class tour.
Coasts of the Pacific Northwest
One of the most popular places to see whales is off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. From places like Vancouver, Seattle and the San Juan Islands, it is possible to see pods of orca whales during the summer months.
Three types of orcas, including resident, offshore and transient whales, call the area home for at least part of the year.
Plus, there are a large number of whale-watching tours that depart daily from the cities along the coast, and they can range from hour-long jaunts to sea all the way to overnight expeditions where you track and stay with pods of orcas for the chance to see them multiple times.
Every year just before winter, up to 10,000 humpback whales make the staggering migration to warmer waters in the Pacific. They depart from Anchorage, Alaska, and head all the way to the Hawaiian Islands.
Due to the precise timing of this annual migration, Anchorage is an exceptional place for a whale-watching vacation. The key is to be in Anchorage during the summers, when the whales live off the coast, rather than during the cold winters.
Just as Anchorage is an exceptional place to see whales during the summer, Hawaii is the perfect place to see the enormous humpback whales at the other end of their seasonal journey.
Arriving in November and staying until roughly March of each year, the whales frolic off the coast and are easy to spot even without a tour at sea.
For the chance to see as many whales as possible, head to the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary, which is located off the coast of Maui.
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Hermanus, South Africa
One of the southernmost spots for whale-watching is the destination of Hermanus, South Africa. Between May and December each year, which is the autumn and winter in the southern hemisphere, Southern Right Whales spend time right off the coast.
In fact, many hotels in Hermanus provide balconies so that guests can have private viewing areas to see whales as they relax. There are also plenty of guided whale-watching tours in the area, and from the nearby town of Port Elizabeth in particular.
More than 2,000 Southern Right Whales have been documented off the Patagonian Coast of Argentina, making the country a top spot for whale watching.
Whales are most often found close to the coast of Puerto Pirámides, which boasts a number of deep-sea tours as a result. Winter is generally the best time to spot Southern Right Whales in Argentina.
If you want to set off on a whale-watching vacation, one of these amazing destinations could be the unforgettable location you’re looking for.