Bigger than the largest dinosaurs to ever have existed (it’s true!), blue whales are one of nature’s most magnificent creatures — and spotting one is an experience of a lifetime. And while sadly these gentle giants are endangered (along with many wondrous species that make up marine life), there are still some destinations where seeing blue whales is not only possible, but actually likely.
So to catch a glimpse of blue whales in the wild, you’re going to need to go someplace known for sightings. And you’re going to want to rent a boat, because it’s a great way to get close to marine life while respecting the animals, their habitat, and any conservation efforts in place to protect them.
6 places to see blue whales in the wild
1. Pico Island, Azores
Best time to see blue whales: April to May
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2. Saguenay, Québec, Canada
Best time to see blue whales: June to October
3. San Diego, California
Best time to see blue whales: mid-June to September
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4. Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico
Best time to see blue whales: February to March
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5. Monterey Bay, California
Best time to see blue whales: July to August
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6. Reykjavík and Húsavík, Iceland
Best time to see blue whales: June to August
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Ocean etiquette: How to respect marine life while at sea
Traveling by boat gets you extra close to nature. It’s exciting (imagine what you’ll find snorkeling and scuba diving!), but it also comes with the responsibility to behave respectfully toward the ocean and the marine life you encounter. Here are some tips:
- Keep your distance: When you see blue whales or other wildlife, don’t try to get too close or chase them; instead, slow down and use your binoculars.
- Make sure waste doesn’t end up overboard: Trash is a huge threat to all marine life.
- Practice eco-friendly boating: Find our guide to sustainable boat holiday practices here.
- Teach kids ocean etiquette: There’s no better way to instill in children respect for nature and passion for conservation than by showing them first-hand how to interact with marine life.
7 facts about blue whales
- How long do blue whales live? Blue whales live up to 90 years on average.
- What do blue whales eat? Blue whales feed almost exclusively on krill, a small crustacean that looks like tiny shrimp.
- How much do blue whales weigh? Blue whales can weigh up to almost 200 tons!
- Are blue whales an endangered species? Yes, sadly, blue whales are currently endangered, meaning they are at a very high risk of extinction.
- How fast can blue whales swim? When feeding and traveling blue whales usually swim at a rate of about 5 miles per hour, but they can swim up to 20 miles per hour for short distances.
- What are the threats to blue whales? The biggest threats blue whales are facing today include being hit by large marine vessels and getting caught in commercial fishing gear, as well as pollution, habitat damage, and climate change.
Why booking a boat is the best way to see blue whales
- Firstly, there’s the obvious reason: Blue whales are marine animals. You’ve got a way better chance to see them out in the open sea than on land!
- Renting a private boat is also a better option than going on a typical whale-watching tour. Your window for spotting blue whales isn’t limited to a few short hours. Plus, no vying for deck space with dozens of photo-snapping tourists when blue whales are in sight.
- Boat holidays in general make for safe, incredible, relaxing vacations, even when traveling with young children (check out our recommendations and safety tips for when kids are on board and our top 10 safety tips for all boaters).
- Booking a boat enables you to endlessly and peacefully cruise the same waters as the rare, enormous, spectacular creatures that are blue whales, both increasing your chances of seeing them and making the experience all the more memorable and magical when you do!
Explore Zizoo’s deals on boats available in the best places where you can go to see blue whales.