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Best Places to Whale Watch in the World

Calling all adventurers and nature enthusiasts — all those folks with a bucket list of activities they want to start scratching off. All the daring Indiana Jones, the courageous Cousteau. Get ready to embark on a journey that promises awe-inspiring sights, mind-boggling delights, and unforgettable memories. In this comprehensive guide, we will give you the 13 best places for whale watching in the world. Whether you’re a seasoned whale enthusiast or a first-time spectator, these great global locations offer exceptional opportunities to get a gander at these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Whale Watching — A Global Phenomenon

From Alaska to the Souter edges of Patagonia, whale watching is a global phenomenon. Whale watching has evolved from a niche activity to a globally beloved pastime — one that in many cases is critical to a region’s economy. It brings in “mucho dinero” and bankrolls a huge part of local trade. The industry boasts remarkable statistics, with millions of tourists flocking to various destinations each year to catch a glimpse of these majestic giants of the deep. 

And now, more than ever, whale watching is hitting its zenith. Why? With environmental consciousness on the rise, responsible whale-watching practices have become a priority. Preservation efforts have not only made the whole practice much easier to explore but also much more eco-friendly. In many spots, part of the revenue procured from it is funneled into conservation efforts to preserve the different whale species of that area — ensuring that these creatures continue to grace our oceans for generations to come.

Best Places to Go Watch Whales in the World

Frankly, there are a multitude of places, right now, to spot these creatures. They are always on the move and have set in – due to generational breeding and inherent species-related knowledge – various migratory routes they continually like to take. In a way, they are set in their ways and work a rather predictable schedule. 

Let’s look at the top 13 places to spot whales in the world. 

Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu, Hawaii, is renowned for its stunning beaches and vibrant culture, but it’s also a paradise for whale enthusiasts. There’s more to this island getaway than mai-tai and flower bikinis. The warm waters surrounding Oahu host the humpback whales during their annual migration, offering a front-row seat to their captivating displays. And it’s not just whales — the island has a veritable who’s who of Pixar’s Finding Nemo right off its many shores. 

Best Place to Go Whale Watching Hawaii Oahu

Alaska, USA

Alaska’s frigid waters provide a dramatic backdrop for whale watching. From orcas to humpbacks and gray whales, this northern paradise offers a unique opportunity to witness these giants in the wild. The northern latitudes have a certain Melville magic to them — great places to waltz up to a ship’s deck and say: “Call me Ishmael.” This is why it’s one of the best places to watch whales in the world.

Baja California, Mexico

Baja California is a treasure trove for marine life lovers. The nutrient-rich waters attract a diverse range of whale species, making it a prime destination for encounters with gray whales, blue whales, and more. The area is also a great spot to get a gander at whale sharks, and other types of mammoth sea life. 

New Zealand

New Zealand’s coastal beauty is matched only by its vibrant marine life — plus, this is the place they filmed “Lord Of The Rings”, two bucket list items for the price of one. From the playful dusky dolphins to the colossal blue whales, New Zealand offers a symphony of marine wonders.

South Africa

The southern tip of Africa plays host to an incredible spectacle – the annual migration of southern right whales. Add in the possibility of spotting humpbacks, Bryde’s whales, and killer whales, and South Africa becomes a must-visit for any whale enthusiast.

Azores, Portugal

The Azores archipelago is a hidden gem in the world of whale watching. It’s one of those spots that still hasn’t been discovered by Influencers and the like — so it’s reasonably pristine. Its remote location in the North Atlantic ensures encounters with sperm whales, fin whales, and even the elusive blue whale.


Norway’s dramatic fjords provide a breathtaking backdrop for observing orcas, humpbacks, and minke whales. The Northern Lights might even make a guest appearance during your whale-watching adventure. The photo-opts are to die for — although, pro-tip, always bring a flask. What you put in it is up to you, but you’ll need it once the temperature dips. 

Best Places for Whale Watching

British Columbia, Canada

The rugged coastline of British Columbia is a hub of marine life activity. From orcas to humpbacks to gray whales, this region offers an abundance of opportunities to witness these creatures in their natural habitat.


Iceland’s unique geographical location places it in the path of numerous whale species. The nutrient-rich waters attract minke whales, humpbacks, and even the elusive blue whales. 


Scotland’s wild coastline is a playground for marine life enthusiasts. From Edinburgh to Inverness and beyond Scotland is one of those places that is simply magical. It’s natural beauties and historic destinations give it a charming “Outlander” quality. Witnessing orcas hunting seals or spotting minkewhales against the backdrop of ancient castles is a memory that will last a lifetime.

Sri Lanka

Smack Spa in the Indian Ocean there’s a menagerie waiting for the plucky adventurer. Sri Lanka’s warm waters are a haven for blue whales and sperm whales. The azure waves easily become the proverbial canvas for these majestic creatures. The whole place offers a truly remarkable sight. Also, the area has one of the most densely packed ocean floors in the world — full of all types of marine animals. 

Shetland Islands, UK

The Shetland Islands may be small — but they pack a big, and we mean huge, punch. Their waters are teeming with life — not just whales From orcas to humpbacks to porpoises, these spots on the map provide a captivating experience for wildlife enthusiasts.

Ilulissat, Greenland

Greenland’s icy waters hold a surprise for those seeking an Arctic adventure. Witness humpbacks and fin whales amidst icebergs that create an otherworldly atmosphere. Catch a couple of bears and slip back in time to the epoch of northern explorers — the experience is like stepping into a time machine.

Where Is the Best Whale Watching in the World

Why Choose Oahu as the Best Place for Whale Watching?

Oahu’s allure as a whale-watching destination is undeniable. We simply can’t highlight it enough. Why? Well, because it’s Hawaii. Here you can stop off the ship, after getting a great selfie with Moby Dick and find that an umbrella drink has magically, almost by osmosis, teleported into your hand. With its jaw-dropping, heaven on Earth setting, warm waters, and diverse marine life, this Hawaiian gem offers an out-of-this-world whale-watching experience. One that’s nothing short of enchanting.

But, where Can I Watch Whales in Oahu?

Oahu is home to several local hot spots that provide prime whale-watching opportunities. Like the iconic Diamond Head Lookout. The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail. These vantage points offer breathtaking views of humpback whales breaching and tail slapping against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.