Whale Watching on South Vancouver Island

There is no denying that Vancouver Island is beautiful. If you’re a nature-lover or an outdoor enthusiast, Vancouver Island has probably been on your ‘must go’ list of destinations. Here you can surf, ski and everything in between almost year-round. No need for reservations or tightly packed itinerary, here you can grab your board or bike and head outside! But if you’re wanting to make some truly memorable moments, booking a whale watching tour with one of our many highly-rated tour operators is a must! Come and explore the natural beauty of the island from a different vantage point and meet some of our neighbours, up close and personal!

If you happen to be staying at the gorgeous Pacific Coast Beach House and Suite or the breathtaking Arbutus Hill, you’re in luck because there are two incredible locally run whale watching tour guides a short drive away! First up, there’s Sooke Whale Watching a family owned and operated venture that sets its sights on providing every guest with the highest quality, environmentally conscious marine and eco adventures. Their highly trained, professional team ensures that your three hour adventure will be safe, exhilarating and unforgettable. Their impressive rating over multiple platforms speaks for itself! Next on our list is Adventures by HIP the labour of love by two of Vancouver Island’s nature photographers, Sarah and Mike and their furry companion, Bentley. HIP offers four distinct packages; the Ocean Wildlife package for those wanting to see as much of our local marine life as possible, the Golden Hour Package, a perfect tour for those aspiring and professional photographers to get some incredible shots in the perfect light, plus two private charter services.

In Victoria, visitors are spoiled for choice with three impressive whale watching tour operators. The first on our list, is the locally owned and operated, Springtide Whale Watching and Eco Tours. For three decades, Dan and Joanne Kukat have worked tirelessly to provide their guests with exceptional experiences, whether that be sport fishing charters that end with jaw dropping catches or the serenity and awe inspiring beauty of seeing marine mammals up close.  If you are looking for some impressive horsepower and eager to get out as far as you can during your tour, you can’t go wrong with BC Whale Tours. With their state-of-the-art, custom designed and locally built vessels that are not only leading the industry in sustainability and safety but boast an impressively long range. That means that for each and every tour you’re sure to capitalize on seeing as much of Vancouver Island’s marine wildlife as possible. Last on our Victoria list, but certainly not least, is the juggernaut of local eco-tourism, Eagle Wing Tours. For the last fourteen years in a row, Eagle Wing Tours has been rated number one for whale watching on Vancouver Island with more than two thousand reviews on Tripadvisor! What makes them so amazing? Their incredibly skilled and professional team take pride in providing every single guest with the best experience possible and will extend the tour time to ensure that every tour is a successful one. Plus, they are a leader in understanding the role that eco-tourism has in conservation efforts. No matter if you are staying nearby at Ironworks Living Executive Condo or a little farther afield at Fernwood House, these great businesses are worth booking with.

Just north of Victoria is the beautiful, walkable little town of Sidney which is also the location of the feeding grounds of the resident orcas, making it an ideal place to see these magnificent animals. Sidney is also home to the locally owned and operated Sidney Whale Watching. Their incredibly professional and experienced team has been taking visitors on exceptional tours for two decades and are sure to impress! If you’re lucky enough to be staying at either the beautiful Oceanside Lodge on Saanich Inlet, the stunning Patricia Bay Beach House or the impressive Pendray Home this local gem is a must for adventure seekers and nature lovers. 

If you’re staying at Cowichan Bay Oceanfront Estate or Lake Cowichan Escape, you are probably already familiar with the incredibly unique, houseboat community of Cowichan Bay. This quirky, friendly, community is where you’ll also find Ocean Ecoventures, the passion project of owner and captain Simon Pidcock. Simon grew up on the ocean and has turned his passion into a rewarding profession, taking guests to explore the ocean, meet some wildlife and learn about this incredible area.

For those who are looking for whale watching adventure a little farther north, or for those guests staying at either Columbia Beach House or Ravenwood Cottage you’re in luck because Nanaimo is home to two distinctly different but equally exceptional options for your next eco-adventure! First up there’s the locally owned Vancouver Island Whale Watch whose founders, Mike, an environmentalist and Jilann, a marine biologist have been working with whales for over a decade through scientific study, tours and navigating vessels in the area. With their passion for the local marine life, these two are creating world-class, sustainable whale watching experiences by taking their guests to see the transient whales rather than the endangered resident pods. For those looking for a hands-on, kayaking adventure, you won’t find better guides than at Larry Roy’s Discovery Expeditions. With over 25 years of guiding experience, an intimate understanding of the local water weather, and wildlife, Larry Roy and his team offer stunning, once-in-a-lifetime sea kayaking expeditions. From their one day Orca Day Trip to the astonishing six day North Broughton, Larry Roy’s Discovery Expeditions is a must for adventure seekers. 

Seeing whales in their natural habitat is one of the most breathtaking experiences and with so many excellent options on Vancouver Island, no matter where you are you can find the perfect tour for you!