Where to see blue whales in the wild: 5 places around the world

Here are the best places in the world to see blue whales.

Press Association
Last updated: 18 May 2018 - 8.43am

If you want to see the world’s biggest mammal alive and fluking, book one of these marine-inspired trips…

1. Where: Sri Lanka


Our director, Alan Godwin, travelled to Sri Lanka last April and succeeded in his goal of snorkelling with great whales…

Posted by Reef and Rainforest Tours on Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blue whales can migrate big distances, but Sri Lanka’s population tend to stick around for long periods in Mirissa on the south coast – with most sightings from November to April. Years of civil war restricted boat access, although now tourism is increasing at a rapid rate and the water is often busy with double-decker vessels. Far fewer people head north to Trincomalee, where, for a short period, it’s actually possible to get in the water and snorkel with the bus-size whales.

How: Reef & Rainforest offers a 15-day tailor-made tour of the area for £2,716pp, including flights. A limited number of permits for six-hour swims with the blue whales cost from £233-£310.

When: Mid-March to mid-April (if you want to swim with the whales).

2. Where: Baja California, Mexico

A blue whale flukes in the Pacific Ocean.
A blue whale flukes in the Pacific Ocean. (Shutterstock/PA)

The Sea of Cortez is packed with cetaceans and was famously described as “the world’s aquarium” by French explorer Jacques Cousteau. Many people come here to see gray whales and humpbacks, but an increasing number of blue whales are now being spotted – particularly along the Pacific coastline of the Baja Peninsula which extends from California to Mexico.

How: The Travelling Naturalist offers a 10-day trip onboard 14-cabin vessel
The Searcher, from £4,995pp (excluding flights).

When: January to March.

3. Where: Husavik, Iceland



A DAY AMONG BLUES!Video by Sarah Arndt (Sarah)

Posted by Gentle Giants Whale Watching on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

An impressive 24 species of whales visit Icelandic waters year-round, although seasonal sightings of blues get everyone excited. For the past couple of years, they’ve been arriving in March, but summer is the ideal time to come. Northern town Husavik is regarded as the whale capital of Iceland, and boat tours depart twice daily.

How: Gentle Giants offers a three-hour trip from £76.50 (10,300 ISK).

When: May to June for blues (although the season for whale watching runs April to November).

4. Where: Quebec, Canada


Whales of the St. Lawrence from above!

Our friends up at the Mingan Island Cetacean Study(MICS) in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada are preparing for their 2016 field season. The GWC's Michael Fishbach conducted fieldwork with MICS back in the 1990's. Please read their brief description below and check out their cool attached drone video. If you are interested, feel free to contact or visit them this summer. Want to experience more than simple whale watching? Join the biologists of the Mingan Island Cetacean Study research station for a week-long immersion among the whales of the St Lawrence. Find out more on – http://goo.gl/180Tvs

Posted by Great Whale Conservancy on Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Cote Nord region bordering the Saint Lawrence River is renowned for whale sightings and even has it’s own ‘whale route’ with recommended locations for Zodiac trips, boat rides and viewings from the shore. Running 1,730km, it takes 13 days to do. Visit www.quebecmaritime.ca for more information.

How: Wildlife Worldwide offers a 10-day self-drive trip from £2,595pp (including flights).

When: July to September.

5. Where: Monterey Bay, California

It looks set to be a bumper season in this bay, just south of San Francisco, which attracts one of the world’s largest gatherings of blue whales. Wildlife photographer Jodi Frediani, who travels with Monterey Bay Whale Watch, recently told local website SFGate: “We’ve had some pretty extraordinary sightings over the past few months.” This is largely due to an unusually high concentration of krill, a bedrock food source for marine wildlife.

How: Monterey Bay Whale Watch operate full-day (12 hour) tours from £120pp (155 US dollars).

When: April to mid-December.

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