This wildlife travel guide is meant to be like a trailer for the new Attenborough series. Because we also have individual travel guides for more specific wildlife holidays, such as our safaris, bear watching and whale watching.
Choose your whale
Rae Gill is the tour director of our supplier WhaleSwim Adventures. They take people swimming with humpback whales in Tonga: "Humpback whales are the most active whales. They jump out of the water - that's known as breaching - they flap their fins, flap their tails. They have to surface to breathe, as all whales do. But they're also baleen whales, which means they don't have any teeth. All baleen whales migrate because they have to go to colder waters to get their food - tiny crustaceans known as krill. So it's usually in the breeding season that the whale watching takes place for humpbacks, because that's when they migrate away from the extreme regions, like Alaska. During the breeding season they stay put for three or four months in warmer waters before making the big swim back to the Arctic or Antarctic for feeding.
Even though they're huge, humpbacks don't eat when they're in Tonga. They eat big mouthfuls of krill, and put on all this blubber in the feeding season, then go off to have babies."
Our Whale watching Holidays
Possibly the world's friendliest whale, grey whales are found along the coast of North America where they make the 12,400 round trip between Alaska and Mexico each year.
They calve off the coast of Baja, Mexico, and lucky travellers may get their boat nudged by these 26-ton giants, or even lifted out of the water. They are especially curious towards humans after their calves have been born, and you may see them suckling and playing in the clear water.
In the wild, however, orcas have never been known to attack humans, and in many places you can even kayak alongside these spectacular cetaceans. Despite being known as "killer whales", orcas are actually dolphins.
Orcas are an apex predator - surprisingly large, with sharp teeth and aggressive hunting techniques that see them launch themselves onto beaches in search of baby seals.
Our top Whale watching Holiday
6 night live-aboard tour in the stunning fjords 0f Norway
From US $6600 6 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2021: 6 Nov, 13 Nov
2021: 6 Nov, 13 Nov
If you'd like to chat about Whale watching or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Blue whales are the giants of the planet, yet for something as large as three double-decker buses, they're astonishingly hard to see. Sadly, this is due to them being hunted.
A blue whale can weigh up to 200 tons - with newborn calves weighing up to four. The adults' hearts are the size of a small car. The calf drinks an astonishing 50 gallons of milk each day - an especially impressive feat when you consider that the mothers only feed on tiny crustaceans and fish for up to four months of the year, in the colder polar regions favoured by krill and plankton, before migrating thousands of kilometres towards the tropics to give birth in warmer waters. The calves grow rapidly on the rich milk, to ensure they put on enough blubber to survive back in the colder, iceberg-filled waters.
More about Whale watching
Click on the months on our interactive map below to see the best time to go whale watching around the world - including when to see blue whale.
With whales in virtually every corner of the ocean, and so many species, how do you begin to plan a trip? Our whale watching travel guide reveals all...
Some places are far more reliable for whale encounters than others. Our interactive map reveals where to go whale watching - and also when.
Whale watching with kids is a sure way to bring out your child's inner marine biologist, and plant a love of the ocean that could last a lifetime.
At least 15 species of whale visit this Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic at various times of year.
Grey whale watching in Baja can be a very intimate wildlife encounter. But is it harmful? We spoke to a renowned marine biologist to find out.
‘Skipper Extraordinaire’, Charles Wara believes the Norwegian fjords north of Tromsø are the best place in the world to admire killer whales in the wild.
The southern coast around Galle and Mirissa is the place to go in search of responsible blue whale watching in Sri Lanka. Be prepared for magic.
We've spoken to whale watching experts around the world to learn their whale watching tips, and how to make the most of a whale watching holiday.
We've outlined the reasons why we think that keeping whales in captivity is wrong, in partnership with the World Cetacean Alliance.
How to pick an ethical operator? for a whale watching holiday? We discuss responsible tourism issues around whale watching in the wild.