Whale Watching Tours

#8 in Best Things To Do in Victoria & Vancouver Island
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Whale Watching Tours
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Courtesy Tourism Victoria

Key Info

Inner Harbour

Price & Hours

Prices vary by tour
Hours vary by tour

Details

Sightseeing, Tours Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.3scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 2.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Though you may be able to spot whales from the ferry, you'll have the best chance of seeing them during an organized whale-watching tour. Plus, you'll benefit from knowledgeable guides who have access to the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, which sits on the southernmost part of Vancouver Island (and Canada) on the Pacific coast.

There are a variety of tours available – some more intimate than others – but most last three to four hours. Recent visitors raved about their experiences with Eagle Wing Tours and BC Whale Tours. Some reviewers said they lost count of the amount of whales they saw, while others were particularly impressed with the guides, who kept a respectful distance from the animals and provided a wealth of information to tour goers.

BC Whale Tours offers sunset cruises in the summer months and whale watching tours from March to the end of October. The company, which caps the number of guests to 12 for each tour, offers several departures a day from Wharf Street in the Inner Harbour. Prices vary, but generally cost between CA$49 (around $37) and CA$135 (about $104). Meanwhile, Eagle Wing Tours operates tours year-round (though the company does not guarantee whale sightings in the offseason). Tickets with Eagle Wing cost between CA$85 (around $65) and CA$135 (roughly $104). Similar to BC Whale Tours, Eagle Wing departs from the Inner Harbour.

Kelp Reef Adventures, a kayaking company that puts you up close to harbor seals, river otters, great blue herons, bald eagles and many species of migrating seabirds, is another popular water tour company in Victoria. For more information on prices and tour times, visit each company's website.

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Inner Harbour
The Butchart Gardens
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#1 Inner Harbour

The Inner Harbour is Victoria's primary tourist neighborhood. The harbor itself – home to various fishing boats and colorful floating homes – is framed by wide pedestrian streets, often frequented by street vendors and buskers. Numerous cafes and restaurants line the sidewalks and provide the perfect locale to savor an afternoon cup of tea while keeping your eyes peeled for whales playing in the open water. The Inner Harbour also hosts some of Victoria's most popular attractions, including the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Parliament Buildings. If you're embarking on a boat or ferry tour, this is where you'll likely start your journey.

Although the majority of recent visitors recommended spending a few hours at the Inner Harbour for the view, some suggested devoting at least half a day as there is always something interesting to see and do. For an even more charming scene, return in the evening, when the Parliament Buildings are lit up. 

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