Baja California, Mexico
The warm waters of the peninsula‘s lagoons attract grey whales, who travel over 5,000 miles to mate and nurse their young. Calves do approach boats.
Sea lions, dolphins and pelicans can also be sighted. Adventure-seekers can go on a sea kayaking expedition up the Sea of Cortez to see blue whales. Best months for viewing are January to March.
A trip to the Antarctic Peninsula is an experience of a lifetime. It has one of the highest concentrations of whales and dolphins in January and February, including the rare blue whale, black dolphin, and Burmeister’s porpoise.
Fly to the tip of Argentina and travel on a vessel built for polar research. See whales, penguins and seals.
This region has some of the best whale-watching in North America. It boasts one of the largest populations of humpbacks as well as minke whales.
Base your stay on the northern tip of St Anthony if you also want to see giant icebergs and explore sea caves. The best time of year to go is from May to September.
Sapphire Coast, New South Wales, Australia
The whale-watching season runs from October to November. The big showstopper is the humpback whale, but you can also see the sperm, orca, Bryde’s, pygmy right, southern right, and the endangered blue.
Take a trip to Twofold Bay on a boat equipped with a hydrophone and hear the whales singing.
The waters around Iceland provide the most reliable sightings in Europe of humpback, minke, orca, sei, fin, and the majestic blue whales.
Take a traditional wooden fishing boat from Husavik in the north, or step aboard a catamaran from the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in the west. Keiko, star of ‘Free Willy’, was captured here.
Kaikoura, New Zealand
North of Christchurch is a fantastic area to see the sperm whale year-round. The guides know the whales so well they have given them nicknames like “Freckles” and “Knuckles”.
Whales form a part of Maori culture, acting as spiritual guides. The native tribe in Kaikoura, the Ngai Tahu, run whale-watching boat trips up to five times daily.
Hawaii, United States
See the endangered Pacific humpback whale in its natural breeding habitat. They swim 3,500 miles from Alaska to mate in the warm, shallow waters.
The best place to see them is off the Kona coast, take an inflatable Zodiac boat tour. For best sightings, visit Hawaii from January to March.
Unlike many whale-watching destinations, these Portuguese islands are within easy reach of the UK. Thanks to the Gulf Stream attract a large variety of whales including the great sperm, blue and humpback whales.
It is very rare not to have a whale sighting between late May and early September.
Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Hudson Bay, in the Canadian Subarctic, is the place to see beluga whales. Belugas often lift their head out of the water, providing great photo opportunities. They are also one of the most vocal whales and can be listened to on an underwater hydrophone.
During the brief summer in July and August see other Arctic wildlife including polar bears, the Arctic fox and caribou.
Enjoy winter sun in the Dominican Republic’s Silver Bank, a humpback whale sanctuary and from Samana Bay you can take a half-day boat trip with a guide.
Whale-watching tours also operate in Dominica, Bermuda and the Bahamas. The best time of year to go is from January to March.