See Orcas in Vancouver

The Best Place in the World to See Killer Whales in the Wild

The orca's of Vancouver are world-famous. You can go on a special tour by boat to see the killer whales. In addition to the orca, you can also encounter various types of dolphins (including porpoises), but also gray whales and humpback whales. I did the tour myself and thought it was magical. In this article you'll find the best tips for seeing orcas near Vancouver.

Even though they are not the largest, many people see the orca as the most beautiful and special whale. Although they are actually dolphins, due to the English name (killer whale or orca) there is a lot of confusion. Which is why they are called both whale and dolphin.

Some large orca families live off the coast of Victoria. Various boats have been going out on the water for many years to see these animals. As a result, the animals have become accustomed to humans. As a result, they sometimes come very close on their own. Because they are very curious by nature.

Sometimes Spotted from Land

Around Vancouver, orcas are remarkably often seen from land. Especially around Galiano Island, but sometimes even from the boulevard in town. The animals move around a lot in search of food. Take a good look around you when you walk along the coast.

A killer whale watching tour at Vancouver Island.

Killer Whale Watching Tour

Ask on-site whether orcas have been seen in recent days. The animals cover a huge area. But you have a very good chance to see the animals. From Vancouver, you sail in a boat with dozens of other tourists to the place where the orcas were last seen. According to scientists, you have a 95 per cent chance of seeing the orcas during the excursions.

The orcas in this section are continuously monitored by scientists who conduct research into their behaviour. The boat with tourists must keep a distance of at least one hundred meters, but usually, this is more to give the animals free rein.

To be honest, I think it's a good excursion, but a bit touristic. Later during a walk I also spotted orcas myself. This experience was much more intense because I was the only one who was there to see it.

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Alternative: Tours from Vancouver Island

Neighbouring Vancouver Island is also a good place for an orca tour. You can depart from various places on the island. Whale Watching Safaris depart from Cowichan Bay, but also from Tofino, Telegraph Cove, Campbell River and Port McNeill in the north of Vancouver Island. Pay attention to the size of the boats. It will tell you how many tourists you have on board. The smaller the boat, the better the experience, I noticed when I did a whale-watching tour on Vancouver Island.

A killer whale breaching.

Spot Orcas during a Kayak Tour

Those who like to get out on the water to see the orcas off the coast should consider an excursion with a kayak. In a group, with a guide, row to Johnstone Strait, famous for its killer whales. Most animals are used to tourists and are fairly easy to view. Ask on the spot in Vancouver for the trip possibilities.

Accommodations in and around Vancouver

The city and its surroundings are perfect for several days. You can easily take a short road trip to Vancouver Island with several places to sleep. There are various hotels, hostels, campsites and apartments to stay at. Be sure to book on time, because this area is very popular, especially on weekends and holidays.

Find the best accommodations in Vancouver or on Vancouver Island

Best Time for Killer Whale Watching

The best time is from early May to October. The orcas are hunting herrings during that period. But you actually have a chance all year round, because the animals stay in the area. As a result, they are also often spotted out of season. As a result, they are called the "house killer whales of Vancouver".

Unique Behaviour

It sounds bizarre, but orcas like to throw themselves on the beach. The sand removes troublesome parasites. This unusual behaviour has only been observed in orcas in this part of the world.

In South America, killer whales also use this technique to attack seals on the beach. Researchers now know that The Bight, a nature reserve in the Johnstone Strait, is also such a place. Tourists are only allowed to walk to the research centre, which is located on a hill. And hence hope that they get a view of the animals. Which happens quite often.

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