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The Best Reason to Visit Tofino Canada (Hint: It’s Bigger Than a Bus!)

Wanna know what is special about Tofino Canada?

You get three hints…

  1. They’re bigger than a bus.
  2. They’re endangered.
  3. They weight over 40 tons.

If you guessed Humpback Whales, you’re right!

And the best part is…

The waters off Tofino, Canada in Maquinna Marine Park are the  world’s best destination for whale watching.

Its strategic location along the migration route, nutrient rich waters, and protective bays is the perfect sanctuary for a variety of whales who migrate the 16,000 mile (25,000 km) journey every year.

People from around the world to visit Vancouver Island in the spring and fall to gaze at the pacific ocean’s gentle giants.

Tofino, CanadaImage by daniel.berlin

Whale Migration

Every year, whales journey roughly 16,000 miles (25,000km) – the longest mammal migration – to feed in the frigid waters of Siberia in August and breed and birth in the warm waters of Baja, Mexico in December.

The whales pass the Canadian coastline two times a year from February to May (March to April receives the majority of whales) and in September and October.

Tofino, CanadaCredit: paulhami

Breeding & Mating

The warm and calm waters of Baja, México are a perfect place for whales to breed and give birth.

In August, the males head out for the long journey north to fend for food alone while the females stay in Baja to nurse their calf’s losing almost a third of their body weight.

Timing is everything; the mother and calf mustn’t departure to soon when the calf isn’t fully developed nor to late as the mother needs to maintain her strength to reach food in the north.

The journey is long, intense and a direct display of the vicious cycle of life.

Tofino, CanadaCredit: tigerlily004

Whale Watching in Tofino, Canada

Maquinna Marine Park is one of the best feeding grounds near Tofino Canada and is located a 20 minutes boat trip from the coast.  Grey and humpback whales, orcas, sea otters, seals, porpoise, and sea lions are frequently spotted during the migration period.

You can schedule a 2 to 3 hour whale watching tour directly from Tofino, Canada for roughly $60-80. Whales are also seen from the coastline from time to time. There are view points all along the coast.

When To Go

Whales migrate north through Tofino, Canada in the spring (March to April) and south in autumn (September to October).

Climate

From March to April, average highs are 49.8 to 54.9°F (9.9 to 12.7°C), average lows are 36.7 to 40.8°F (2.6 to 4.9°C) and precipitation ranges from 3.1 to 4.5 inches (75.4 to 108.8mm).

From September to October, average highs are 56.3 to 65.1°F (13.5 to 18.4°C), average lows are 43.5 to 50.2°F (6.4 to 10.1°C), and precipitation ranges from 2.6 to 4.7 inches (64.4 to 115.3 mm.

Getting There & Around

Vancouver Island is located on the southwestern coast of Canada.  Whales are commonly spotted from the towns of Tofino and Ucluetet which are located on the southwestern portion of the island.

From Vancouver International Airport, you can either catch a connecting hour flight to either town or drive approximately 7 hours.

Average Costs

  • Mid-range accommodations: $100-150
  • Meals: $25-35
  • Bottle of beer: $5.50

Do’s

  • Bundle up for the the boat ride.  The frigid waters and high winds can decrease temperatures dramatically.
  • Take motion sickness pills roughly 30 minutes prior to your departure.  If you don’t like pills, try the pressure point wrist straps that can also prevent motion sickness.
  • Your whale research ahead of time so you can differentiate the whales you spot in the water.

Don’ts

  • Don’t mistake an Orca for a whale… it’s actually a dolphin and has a large dorsal fin.
  • Forget to keep your eyes peeled for bird life as well.  The puffin is frequently spotted in the area.
  • Let the weather discourage you from taking a tour.  The whales will still be there.

Fun Facts

  • Whales have the longest known migration route covering roughly 5,000 miles (8,000 km).
  • The humpback whales are known to feed in groups and blow “bubble nets” to surround their feed.
  • Whales can live up to 100 years old.

Feature Image By natalielucier

Comments

  1. Darcie Connell says:

    California also has some great opportunities to view humpback and grey whales. Monterey and San Francisco are a good choice.

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