We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Whale Watching

Pensacola, Florida
Level Contributor
109 posts
332 reviews
Save Topic
Whale Watching

I have plans to go to Vancouver Island and go whale watching late July. Anyone have recommendations on which boating tour is best? Also, should I buy my ticket online in advance? Thanks!

Paradise Charters
Fishing Charters & Tours, Boat Hire, Water Sports, Boat Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching
Baloga Yoga
Multi-day Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching
Big Animal Encounters
Scuba & Snorkeling, Boat Tours, Eco Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Aboriginal Journeys Wildlife and Adventure Tours
Dolphin & Whale Watching, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
64,322 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Whale Watching

Hi Vanessa ~

Where will you be on Vancouver Island? It takes 7 hours to drive from tip to tip and 3 hours from east to west, so knowing where you're planning to go would help with advice.

You don't need to book ahead.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
29,868 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Whale Watching

We went out from Telegraph Cove last summer with Stubb's Island and they were good. We had a wonderful trip and watched whales and other sea life the entire time, with very little time "wasted" in travel time getting to where the whales were.

Mentioned in this post
Telegraph Cove
Telegraph Cove
Vancouver Island, Canada
Pensacola, Florida
Level Contributor
109 posts
332 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Whale Watching

I was thinking of going to Tofino but I don't have solid plans yet so I will look into Telegraph Cove - thanks!

Mentioned in this post
Telegraph Cove
Telegraph Cove
Vancouver Island, Canada
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
64,322 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Whale Watching

Hi Vanessa ~

Thanks for clarifying. As your plans are as yet fairly open, knowing about all the opportunities might help you.

In Victoria, whale watching is about resident Orcas. They stick around the waters off Victoria.

Campbell River has whale watching that goes out into Georgia Strait for Orcas and other sea life.

Tofino tours view grey whales and humpbacks plus plenty of other sealife depending on the time of year.

And TC already mentioned.

Mentioned in this post
Campbell River
Campbell River
Vancouver Island, Canada
Pensacola, Florida
Level Contributor
109 posts
332 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Whale Watching

Thanks you for your reply again! Would you happen to have any recommendations for which tours to take in Victoria and/or Campbell River? There are so many options, it's hard to pick one!

Mentioned in this post
Campbell River
Campbell River
Vancouver Island, Canada
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
64,322 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Whale Watching

I went out of Campbell River in September for a bear viewing tour with Discovery Marine Safaris. In the months prior to bear season, they do sealife/whale viewing tours. Their captain and commentator were great, going out of their way to give us a good experience.

In Victoria, I have gone out with Spring Tide and again, found the naturalist on board to give exceptionally informative "lessons" as we were heading out to the whales. They stayed out near the pod of 40 (they said) Orcas for a long time. I couldn't count moving dorsal fins that fast, but there were a great number.

In order to find a tour that fits you to a T, read the reviews for the whale watching companies. You can find them in the left sidebar under Things to Do, then choose the Tours tab. Hope you enjoy it.

Mentioned in this post
Campbell River
Campbell River
Vancouver Island, Canada
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
29,868 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Whale Watching

There's enough competition that bad companies don't last long. Anyone who's been in business for a few years has to be good enough to compete.

England, United...
Level Contributor
5,512 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Whale Watching

We were fortunate enough to see whales on two separate trips while on the island: Orcas while in Victoria (Eagle Wing on Fisherman's Wharf were fantastic); grey whales while in Tofino (Clayoquot Sound) and also bears - 2 different companies. We used Remote Passages on our bear trip and The Whale Centre for our whale watching experience. Both companies were brilliant and our guides were local people who had a lot of experience, knowledge and time.

Campbell River...
Level Contributor
38 posts
1 review
Save Reply
9. Re: Whale Watching

There are 5 companies that you can choose to go out Whale Watching with in Campbell River:

Discovery Marine Safaris

Campbell River Whale Watching

Eagle Eye

Aboriginal Journeys

Hurricane Jack

All of them are really good so it just depends on your preferences, such as if you'd like a covered boat or a zodiac. They all go out for 6 hours on their whale watching tours, or they can go out on a 4 hour wildlife tour (although you wouldn't have as great a chance of seeing the whales).

As for buying your ticket in advance, you can but it's not necessary. Usually if you get ahold of the companies a day or 2 before you would like to go out you will be fine!

Hope this helps!

Mentioned in this post
Campbell River
Campbell River
Vancouver Island, Canada
Pensacola, Florida
Level Contributor
109 posts
332 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Whale Watching

Thank you all for your advice and help!