In the Caribbean, Canada and French Polynesia, and on the American coasts and Norwegian fjords, there are specific places on our planet where to best admire whales in their natural habitat. The second you'll witness their incredible show, you will feel the powerful emotions of a truly magical moment.
A few hours by sea in Samaná
A two-and-a-half hour drive from Santo Domingo, Samaná Bay is filled with sailors ready to take you on a sea trip. Among those various professionals, you may put your trust in the hands of Canadian scientist Kim Beddall, whose reputation since 1983 has broken all barriers. Between early January and late March, 10,000 humpback whales leave the arctic zone to breed in the bay's warm waters. Thanks to Kim, you'll be able to get only a few feet away from the cetaceans.
On the program, you'll be treated to a feast of water sprays, jumps and other spins that reveal the mammals in their entirety. Kim Beddall lists and identifies each and every one of them, thanks to the distinctive spots on the animals' flippers. She also records their oh so particular singing. This highly sophisticated means of communication, which they can perceive hundreds of miles away, consists of a melody and a chorus that change according to the season. Their mysterious language is still an enigma to us. Will you be able to crack it?
Whale Samana by Kim Beddall
Dock of Cayo Levantado Island
Santa Barbara de Samaná 32000
+1 809 538 2494
Vancouver Island, on the whales' migration route
Let's sail towards Canada, and more precisely to Vancouver Island, near the Georgia strait, and just a stone's throw away from the largest and most populated city of British Columbia. In the port of Vancouver, various tour operators actually offer see trips that will take you as close as possible to the cetaceans that, from mid-April to late October, have chosen to set up camp along the island shores.
Board one of the boats that leave every day in the hope of meeting humpback and grey whales, orcas and sea lions, and get a ringside seat to observe the most beautiful specimens in their natural habitat. These guided tours of three to five hours – with upgraded safety measures for kids – offer the best guarantee to meet one of these marine giants.
Port of Vancouver
In Colombian waters, cradle of whales!
In the Chocó region, the village of El Valle – about 500 kilometres from Bogota – is one of the best spots by the Pacific to observe humpback whales. After an 8,000-kilometre migration along the American coasts, they come to the warm Colombian waters to breed and feed in an environment that is rich in plankton and trace elements. A few weeks after, when females have given birth, whale calves will be strong enough to family travel back south.
If you happen to visit Colombia from July to November, we really recommend a detour by this Pacific region that is still preserved from heavy urbanisation. From the harbour of Bahía Solano – where you can use a small aerodrome – you'll get on board for a trip to El Valle. The region is surrounded with natural reserves, and most of the population actually lives off whale tourism. Once there, the cetacean tour lasts for about an hour. By sea, it's incredibly easy to catch a glimpse of the beasts, for they come in large numbers! You wouldn't want to miss that show!
Rurutu and the whale procession
Coming from the open sea, it's not hard to reach Rurutu Island in French Polynesia. This is the reason why dozens of humpback whales make it their favourite destination each year, where they actually elect to give birth.
Whale observation can take place all around the island, on board motorboats and with professional instructors and drivers. Snorkelling is the only authorized diving activity (with fins, mask and snorkel), reaching a depth of 15 metres! Make your dream happen and swim in clear waters as you observe the marine choreography while listening to the animals' love songs. If you dare not dive, you have the option to enjoy the show from specially built platforms. Expect a very sweet moment!
Tromsø, near the Arctic Circle
In Norway, there's one destination to favour if you want to observe whales: near Tromsø, about 300 kilometres from the Arctic Circle and less than a two-hour flight from Oslo. Magic will unravel as you discover this totally wild environment filled with pure water and schools of fish. The surrounding fjords are playgrounds for the hundreds of orcas and humpback whales that live on the premises almost yearly. It won't take long for you to spot icy water spouts towards the sky or a majestic tail flip over the Barents Sea. The only requirement is to wear gloves, a thick beanie and a specific suit to best enjoy the boat trip, as the cold can indeed reach -15°C (5°F). After this sumptuous show, you may just be lucky enough to witness… the northern lights! The best time of year to enjoy this light phenomenon is from September 21st to March 21st. Get your gear ready and wait no longer to enjoy this incredible moment!