best time to see orcas in vancouver canada

Whale Watching from Victoria, BC – Best Tours

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Whale-watching in Victoria, British Columbia is one of the most exciting things to do in western Canada, and something I can’t wait to do again. The capital of Vancouver Island is a prime destination for migrating cetaceans, and there are plenty of whale-watching tours in Victoria to suit your budget and schedule. In fact, Victoria is not only considered one of the best places for whale watching in Canada but in the world.

Whale-watching in Victoria, British Columbia, orca sightings Victoria

Whale-watching in Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria is a beautiful Canadian city, and its coastal waters are the perfect environment for transient orcas, humpbacks, grey whales, and other marine species. Seeing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat with the temperate forests in the distance is a one-of-a-kind experience that everyone should see at least once.

We already wrote an article on whale watching tours in Vancouver City & Island but to help you choose the best whale watching trip in Victoria, BC, I’m sharing a few different recommendations. I’ll also tell you the best time of year to see whales in Victoria, BC so you can make the most of your visit.

Best Victoria, British Columbia whale watching tours

Below are the top four whale-watching tours from Victoria, British Columbia. Check out these Victoria, BC whale tours and see which one fits your preferences. Whether you want to whale-watch for a couple of hours or want a full-day tour, I’ve got you covered!

1. Prince of Whales Victoria, the most popular orca-watching tour in Vancouver

Victoria’s Prince of Whales tour provides some of the best killer whale-watching in Victoria, and it’s also the day trip we took. The tour lasts a few hours and goes to some of the top destinations for humpback and orca sightings in Victoria, including the Salish Sea and the Juan de Fuca Strait. Along with an enclosed cabin, there are a couple of open-air decks so you can get panoramic views of the whales.

Prince of Whales Victoria, whale-watching tours Victoria

1. Prince of Whales Victoria, the most popular orca-watching tour in Vancouver

  • Highlights: Killer and humpback whales, seals, bald eagles, and other seabirds
  • Starting point: Victoria, BC
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Price: $102
  • Description: Board a covered boat and see humpbacks, orcas, seals, and seabirds while learning from an on-board naturalist. Enjoy awesome photo opportunities from the open-air boat deck.

2. Zodiac whale-watching tour from Victoria, British Columbia

This Victoria zodiac whale-watching tour is one of the most thrilling ways to observe wild whales in Canada. The 3-hour cruise includes hotel pick-up and departs from the wharf in an open zodiac boat, which can travel faster and get closer to the whales while maintaining a safe distance. Along with seeing transient and resident orcas in Victoria, you may also spot humpbacks, minkes, and grey whales, as well as dolphins and seals.

Zodiac whale-watching tour from Victoria, orca tour Victoria BC

2. Zodiac whale-watching tour from Victoria, British Columbia

  • Highlights: Orcas, minkes, humpback and grey whales, dolphins, seals, and seabirds
  • Starting point: Victoria, BC
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Price: $109
  • Description: Take an exhilarating zodiac boat tour to see wild killer whales and several other species on the Salish Sea. The 3-hour tour includes complimentary pick-up and drop-off at your Victoria hotel.

3. Sunset orca whale-watching tour in Victoria, Vancouver Island

This Victoria whale-watching tour is a lovely sunset cruise on the Salish Sea. Along with the beautiful scenery and panoramic views, you’ll get some of the best orca sightings in Victoria, BC. If you take this day trip, you’re likely to see humpbacks, grey whales, and other creatures, too.

Sunset orca whale-watching tour in Victoria, best time to whale watch Victoria BC

3. Sunset orca whale-watching tour in Victoria, Vancouver Island

  • Highlights: Orcas, humpbacks, minkes, grey whales, seals, porpoises, and other marine species
  • Starting point: Victoria, BC
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Price: $95
  • Description: Depart from the inner harbor and sail out to the Salish Sea to spot different whale species, bald eagles, and other ocean creatures. End the day with a gorgeous sunset view as you make your way back to land.

4. Full-day whale-watching tour from Victoria, Canada

This full-day whale-watching tour from Victoria, BC will give you the best chances of seeing several cetacean species, as well as porpoises and seabirds. Your 8-hour adventure will set off on a specific path depending on the Victoria whale sightings and forecasts for the day. You’ll go to the more exclusive areas with fewer boats and learn about the local wildlife along the way.

Full-day whale-watching tour from Victoria, best time to see killer whales in Victoria Canada

4. Full-day whale-watching tour from Victoria, Canada

  • Highlights: Killer whales, humpbacks, minke and grey whales, seals, Dall’s porpoises, and seabirds.
  • Starting point: Victoria, BC
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Price: $218
  • Description: Travel to the Gulf Islands National Marine Park, a haven for wildlife photographers, stopping at a few smaller islands along the way.

Victoria, BC whale-watching season – Best time to see orcas in Victoria

Knowing when whale-watching season is in Victoria will help you plan your trip with the highest likelihood of seeing cetaceans. Remember that these are wild animals, so you can never be 100% sure that you’ll spot orcas or other whale species during your tour.

However, all the tour companies we have recommended in this guide will let you repeat the tour for free if you don’t see whales the first time.

That said, the best time to see killer whales in Victoria is from late spring to early fall, so between May and October. During these months, the waters are full of river salmon that attract resident orcas. Transient orcas, or those that feed on small mammals, are also prevalent during this time, so keep your eyes peeled!

Best time to see killer whales in Victoria, whale-watching Victoria, Canada

Best time to see killer whales in Victoria

If you want to see humpback whales, the best time to whale watch in Victoria, BC is from April to November. However, I recommend booking a Victoria whale tour between mid-July and October, as this is when you’re most likely to see minkes and grey whales, too.

Hopefully, now you feel better prepared to make the most of whale season in Victoria, BC! This region is such a magical place for whale-watching, so I know you’ll have an amazing experience. Keep these tips in mind and consider the tours I mentioned to create incredible Victoria whale-watching memories you’ll never forget!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you out! Happy travels!

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COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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