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Seeing whales in the wild is one of the most amazing animal encounters any adventure traveler can wish for. These mass creatures are quite impressive, especially when they come out of the water, and it shows how big they really are.
If you've always wanted to get a chance to meet whales in their natural habitat, here are six suggestions on the best ways to do so.
1. Inside Passage, Alaska
Alaska is undoubtedly one of the best places to find whales. Hummingbirds, orcs, beluga, gray whales, and even the incredibly inaccessible and endangered blue whale are the largest living creatures on the planet. Head for the Inner Passage, where you can take short excursions to the water or walks that last several weeks, and spend a lot of time seeing these amazing creatures.
Best time to visit: May - August. During this time several species come and go, but hummingbirds and orcs are especially numerous.
2. Baja, Mexico / California
The Baja Coast of Mexico and California is a fantastic place to find different whales. Humpbacks and orcas are common in the area where many species migrate to escape the cold winter heat. That's - and only here - gray whales will give birth, which means they can often be seen in large numbers during the calving season. The 800-mile-long Baja Peninsula has added a miracle to the habitat of thousands of dolphins.
Best time to visit: February - April. After that, the whales begin to migrate to other parts of the Pacific Ocean.
3. Husavik, Iceland
Although whales can be seen almost anywhere on the coast of Iceland, the absolute best view can be found on the northern shores beyond the town of Hussavik. Not only hummingbirds, orcs and blue whales can be found there, but also less common minke whales. Because of all this, more than 20 different species are found in the North Atlantic during the summer months, when the midnight sun makes it easier to see living things all day.
Best time to visit: April - September. If you want to see blue whales, plan your visit to July and August, the most common months in the region.
4. Monterey Bay, California
The Gulf of Monterey in California is a fantastic place to spot whales as creatures appear in the area year-round. Humpbacks are common in the warmer months, while gray whales migrate to Baja annually. Orkas follow migratory shells in search of food, and blue whales have become more visible in recent years.
Best time to visit: All year round! Cambodians and blue whales can be seen in April-December, while gray and orcs can be seen from December to April.
5. Hermanus, South Africa
The capital of the whaling world is Hermanus, South Africa. Located along the Western Cape, the settlement is located along the coast, where many whales come to eat to prepare for the mating and spawning season. In fact, whales are sometimes so thick that they can be easily seen from the shore without the need for a boat. The more adventurous we are, the more we can enjoy seeing them up close and personal on a kayak at sea.
Best time to visit: July - November. The peak season for whaling in Hermanus comes in October, but a visit in any of these months will almost certainly guarantee a whale encounter.
6. Dominica, Caribbean
When it comes to whaling, there are few places on earth that can match the small Caribbean island of Dominica. Of the 33 known species of whales living in the region, 22 regularly visit the island, the most common being hummingbirds, pilot whales and pygmy sperm whales. But the real stars of the show are full-size sperm whales that live all year round in the waters around the island. This does not happen anywhere else on the planet, because this species mates, is born and raises its young in the same waters without ever moving to another place. As a result, they are easy to find, even on land.
Best time to visit: Although the season lasts from November to April all year round.