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an excited tourists points to a whale on a vancouver whale watching tour

Is Whale Watching in Vancouver Worth It? (2024 Price/Times)

The British Columbia coast is known for its excellent whale spotting opportunities, but is whale watching in Vancouver worth it?

Allow me to break down the tours to see if Vancouver whale watching is worth it for you.

Let’s go!

a pod of killer whales just outside the boat on a vancouver whale watching tour

Is Vancouver Whale Watching Worth It?

Vancouver is a great place to see a variety of whale species like humpback whales, killer whales, and gray whales.

But let me burst the bubble a bit here: you cannot see whales in Vancouver from the shore.

In short, you’ll have to book one of the best Vancouver whale watching tours to see them.

The majority of the tours are half-day tours, with Vancouver whale watching prices costing between $191.95 to $399.99 per person.

So, is whale watching in Vancouver worth it? Let’s break down some pros and cons.

✔️ Pros

  • The ability to see the most majestic whale species in the world
  • All tours are led by naturalists for maximum education
  • Incredible fjord scenery through the Gulf and San Juan island chains
  • Bonus wildlife like bald eagles, sea lions, and porpoises
  • Drinks and snacks available
  • A whale spotting guarantee, or you get another tour for free

❌ Cons

  • Even the cheapest tours cost over $150.00 per person
  • There is a considerable 3-5 hour time investment not optimal for people in a rush
  • A small percentage of people may not like the bumps of the sea
  • Not many tours in off-season: you’ll need to go whale watching in Victoria instead

⚠️ Warning! We are approaching high season (April-October 2024)

Tours tend to sell out in advance – I strongly suggest locking in your dates with buy now/pay later Vancouver whale watching tickets on Viator.

These tickets are fully refundable up to 24 hours before so there’s no risk in guaranteeing your spot.

Related: Best Time to Go Whale Watching in Vancouver

How to Decide Whether to Go on a Whale Watching Tour

If you came to Vancouver for the nature and you’re not cost-sensitive, then this is a no-brainer.

And for those who are on the fence?

vancouver whale tour banner

Let me put it to you this way: I’ve lived in London, Barcelona, Venice, St Petersburg, and New York City.

These are elite tourist destinations (I’ve even got my own Barcelona blog), and yet I’ve still never experienced anything close to feeling the clap of a killer whale jump in my own backyard.

This is nature’s equivalent of seeing the Eiffel Tower.

If you’ve got the time and money, then it’s a hell of a thing to do, though if it’s a bit expensive, there’s no shame in gearing down by opting for some of Vancouver’s best tours.

And if you’re worried about being seasick?

Book tickets on a state of the art catamaran with Vancouver Whale Watch – you’ve heard of too big to fail? This boat is too big to hurl?

Related: Is Whale Watching Better in Vancouver or Victoria?

How to Book Vancouver Whale Watching Tickets

In building my Vancouver whale watching guide I’ve had the chance to partner with multiple booking agents.

Though you’ll see Viator too, I’ve chosen GetYourGuide as my main source for the following reasons:

  • They sell over 60,000 experiences worldwide for one stop tourism shopping
  • They offer the greatest range of Vancouver whale watching tickets
  • They offer free cancellation tickets to keep things flexible
  • They’ve got a lowest price guarantee that helps you save money
  • I think they’ve got the best website and best review bank

Finally, if you book using the links in the article you’ll be helping me get one step closer to my dream: doing Vancouver Planner for a living.

Every booking helps, and we thank you enormously ?

Related: Nanaimo Whale Watching: From Humpbacks to Orcas

Still Wondering if it’s Worth it to Take a Whale Watching Tour?

I’m not going to pretend I know your situation, but I am going to invite you for a chat.

Let me know what you’re thinking, and I can give you some custom advice about seeing whales in Vancouver – or any other activity for that matter.

I hope your Vancouver whale tour is worth it! 🙂

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