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Is Whale Watching Better in Vancouver or Victoria?

A good trip to Canada’s West coast usually includes both Vancouver and Victoria.

A great trip should include a whale watching tour, but is whale watching better in Vancouver or Victoria?

As somebody who’s lived in both cities, let me take a stab at this!

a Victoria whale watching tour prepares to depart the Inner Harbour
Instagram: @princeofwhaleswhalewatching

Is Whale Watching Better in Vancouver or Victoria?

The Salish Sea between Vancouver and Victoria is one of the top locations to spot once in a lifetime wildlife in the flesh.

Don’t get me wrong – you can’t go wrong with either choice.

But assuming a gun was placed to my head and I had to choose just one, here’s how I’d decide between the two:

1) Location Location Location

Whale watching tours offered from Vancouver and Victoria take place in the same waters.

In fact, in some instances they’re even offered by the same companies.

However, Victoria’s Inner Harbour is much closer to the whale-watching grounds than Vancouver.

This eliminates the need to cross the Salish Sea and lessens the chance of rough weather.

In short: Victoria is a shorter, more pleasant experience out on the water.

Winner: Victoria ?

2) Cost

When comparing costs between the best Vancouver whale watching tours and the best Victoria whale watching tours we get the following:



As you can see, Victoria offers the cheapest whale watching experiences as a whole – this is due to less fuel spend as well as less amenities like hotel pick up.

Winner: Victoria ?

Related: How Much is Whale Watching in Vancouver?

Related: Steveston Whale Watching Tours

3) Convenience

Victoria’s tours are offered from the heart of the city’s Inner Harbour. This means the Victoria departure point is just a short 5-10 minute stroll from the city centre and most Victoria hotels.

On the other hand, Vancouver whale-watching tours are usually offered from Granville Island or Steveston Village.

Although they’re not difficult to reach, they’re not as convenient for visitors staying at downtown Vancouver hotels.

That said, Vancouver’s Killer Whale Safari does offer hotel pickup, but it’ll cost you a bit more.

Winner: Victoria ?

4) Flexibility

April to October is considered the peak whale-watching season in the Salish Sea, regardless of your port of departure.

This is due to the migratory patterns of whales and weather changes

Simply put, crossing the Salish Sea during the winter months isn’t always the most pleasant of experiences. As a result, Vancouver whale-watching tours are not offered between the months of October and April.

However, Victoria’s close proximity to the whale-watching grounds negates the need to cross these sometimes treacherous seas.

Because of this, Victoria whale-watching operators are able to offer tours year-round – unlike their Vancouver-based cousins.

Winner: Victoria ?


Related: Best Time for Whale Watching in Vancouver

Still Wondering if Whale Watching is Better in Vancouver or Victoria?

Again, you see the same whales from both cities and it’ll be a home run no matter where you go from – but if you’re visiting both cities I am suggesting Victoria.

That said, an epic killer whale splash is the same on either side – and each city has whale spotting guarantees.

If you’re still on the fence about Victoria you can’t go wrong booking any of the following Vancouver tours:


With each of these tours you have the advantage of book now and pay later tickets.

Still not sure whether whale watching is better in Vancouver or Victoria?

Don’t be afraid to fire your questions at me in the comments below ?

Related: Is Whale Watching in Vancouver Worth It?


I've used online guides on five continents to find the world's greatest travel spots and this is my chance to give back - with insider info on my home, the mighty Vancouver BC!

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