Whale Watching

  • Photo credit
    John Forde

Whale watching in Tofino is almost a year-round activity.

The season officially begins in March with the Pacific Rim Whale Festival and winds up mid- to late October as whales migrate south to the Baja Peninsula for mating season.  

Whale watching from shore can be a challenge, unless you have very good binoculars and tremendous patience and/or a hefty dose of good fortune. Fortunately for whale lovers, a number of different outfitters will take you out whale watching. Most companies offer the option of going out in an open Zodiac-type of boat or in a covered aluminum craft.  Part of the fun of the Zodiac experience is getting suited up in the bright red safety suit and capturing the moment with a photo!  Dress warmly, because it’s always cooler on the water.  Ask the tour company about which type of vessel is best suited to your party.

Most whale watching trips last between 2-3 hours. You can expect to see Pacific Gray whales during your trip and possibly Humpback whales. You will likely encounter bald eagles, harbour seals, Steller and California sea lions, sea otters and, if you are very lucky, orca whales or porpoises. The price and policies for adults and children wishing to go whale watching in Tofino vary according to vessel type, trip length and services offered. You can find departure times throughout the day, including sunset whale cruises.

Zodiac tours will get the wind blowing through your hair for an all-around adventure, but are not recommended for visitors with back issues - or small bladders!  If you are prone to sea sickness, you can purchase anti-nausea pills at one of our Tofino pharmacies or even at some charter offices. Don’t hesitate to ask the whale watching charter company about different methods to avoid sea sickness.


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