10 Best Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific

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Whales are easily the most exquisite and the most spectacular works of nature. Reaching unbelievable sizes, they draw rightful awe and amusement. However, no matter how hard we try to grapple our minds around their glory, our brains cannot possibly comprehend something of this magnitude. This calls for the need to witness these beings with one’s own eyes. 

We were lucky enough to see these majestic beings many times during our long stay in the Pacific, while living in the Cook Islands for a few years, and on our travels through most of the island states in this big ocean.

There are great whale-watching spots in the Pacific, where you can see several kinds of whales from land or boat, or even swim or dive with them in the ocean. The best places to meet these large mammals are Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji, Hawaii, San Juan Island, Niue, and Vanuatu.

While it may not have been possible earlier, whale-watching has become a popular sport in recent years. Today, you not only can watch them from a distance but also swim with them in their proximity. Is it not exciting! 

If you are interested in whale-watching in the Pacific, here are the top ten best whale-watching spots in the region:

1. Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific: Tahiti

Tahiti is easily one of the most romantic destinations on the planet. In the famous words of Phil Coulson, it is a magical place! Boasting a vibrant, warm, and colorful culture, it welcomes visitors from all across the globe.

And with an incredibly diverse landscape that features everything from volcanic mountains to stunning coast, it makes itself the perfect getaway for people who love nature! 

Speaking of nature, you cannot ignore the amazing whale-watching opportunities available here. Every year, from August to October, the island’s waters welcome humpback whales, providing them optimal ground for mating and birthing. And the best part is – you can not only witness them from boats but can also dive and snorkel by them! 

Several whale-watching tours help you with this, like the TOPDIVE Tahiti dive center and Tahiti Iti Diving.

2. Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific: Moorea

IslandAwe Moorea Coastline with Whale
Stunning Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific Ocean – Moorea’s Wild Coastline with Whale

If you want to witness whales in their full glory and scenic heaven that makes your jaw drop, you should head to Moorea. If one calls Moorea a piece of paradise on earth, one would not be wrong. Its lush tropical landscapes, dramatic volcanic rises, bright azure lagoons all strive to present a heavenly appearance after all!

Plus, the food here provides you the perfect opportunity to delve into gastronomical adventures you could not have imagined.

So much for the inland activities – if you get your feet into the Moorean waters, you will find that some excellent attractions are awaiting you there, like incredible whale-watching opportunities! Thanks to whale-watching tour agencies like Moorea Deep Blue, you can dive close to humpback whales and swim with them! The whale season here begins in mid-July and ends in mid-November, so make sure you plan accordingly. 

3. Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific: Bora Bora

Bora Bora is another fantastic holiday destination if you want to enjoy an idyllic getaway and watch some magnificent, majestic whales. Since Bora Bora falls in French Polynesia, it is situated ideally in the path of humpback whales, who migrate here to breed to birth. Lucky for you, this means that you have some excellent whale-watching opportunities at hand. The best time for whales is also here from mid-July to mid-November.

You can choose anything, from a boat tour for a distance-watching to up-close and personal diving and swimming experience. With tour companies like Bora Bora Moana Adventure Tours, you can rest assured that you are in safe hands.

And when you feel like you are ready to hit the island, you will be glad to know that a tonne of exciting activities and adventures await you there as well. It is a land of outstanding natural beauty, so you will have plenty of sightseeing opportunities. Biking across the island is a popular sport many indulge in, and you should not remain behind!

4. Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific: Tonga

IslandAwe Mom and Calf Humpback Whale
Brilliant Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific Ocean – Swimming with Whales in Tonga

Another excellent Pacific retreat is the island of Tonga, a breathtaking destination regarding natural aesthetics and an exciting place to witness humpback whales in their full glory. The whale-watching season in Tonga runs from June till October, with August and September being the best months for the show

And if you are wondering if you could get any chance of swimming beside these majestic mammals, the answer is yes! Tour operators like the Whale Swim, Fish, and Dive Tours make it possible for your dreams to come true. They ensure that your experience is whale-friendly, safe for you, and extremely rewarding! 

And it is not just the whales that make your vacation to Tonga memorable – the inland experiences are equally worthwhile. From adventure sports like kayaking to lazy days at glorious, white sand beaches, the island offers you all!

5. Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific: Cook Islands

IslandAwe Humpback Whale Rarotonga
Fantastic Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific Ocean – Whale Having Fun in Rarotonga

There are over a dozen reasons why the Cook Islands should be at the top of your travel bucket list. It is a fantastic island state and the ideal retreat if you want to spend your vacation in a place where you can unwind completely! And although the serenity and gorgeousness of its islands will keep you engrossed, you should know that there is a lot more that can be done here. 

The culture here is unique and diverse, with its people super warm and welcoming. You will have an exquisite time interacting with them and learning about their customs. And not to forget the local cuisine – the food is surprisingly delightful and will invade our taste buds, making you fall in love, and wanting to stay back here forever! 

If you are someone invested in whale-watching, there is some great news for you! You have an excellent chance of witnessing majestic humpback whales on the main island Rarotonga and further islands of the southern group like Aitutaki or Mangaia. The whale season is between July and October, and there are a number of tour operators to take you out, such as Blue Water Tours.

We also have tons of information about all inhabited Cook Islands, including all tour operators for whale watching & fishing in our Cook Islands Travel Guide.

6. Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific: Fiji

The Fijian waters provide the perfect home to humpback whales in the winter months, which is why they prefer to migrate here in the months from June till October. While the whales are busy relaxing in warmer waters, mating, and giving birth, you can grab an exclusive and exciting opportunity to witness them in real life!

You may have seen these glorious beings on your television screens, but now is your time to live your wildest imaginations. Simply watch these giant beings from the comfort of your boat or if you are feeling adventurous, embark on snorkeling/swimming excursions and become a part of the whales’ world. If they are in a playful mood, they might hang around and make your experience more fulfilling. 

Several tour operators functioning in the region, like the Whales Tales Cruises Fiji, will ensure you get the best possible experience. And whales are not the only reason you should visit the destination, for Fiji is famous for thrilling adventures pertaining to food, natural beauty, and surfing!

7. Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific: Hawaii

Hawaii is a haven when it comes to whale sighting possibilities. The region is known for its diversity of whale species, meaning that you can spot a dozen of different types of these magical creatures here. From the classic humpback whales to dwarf sperm whales to false killer whales – you can find them all! This means that your whale spotting experience here can be ridiculously fulfilling.

The best season to witness whales in Hawaii falls between November and May, which provides you an ample slot to plan and book your vacation. And for adrenaline-driven individuals hoping to live their vacation in the most memorable of ways, there is excellent news – not only can you watch whales from the safety and comfort of your boat, but you can also join them in their natural habitat: waters! Enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim close to glorious whales! You will be amazed by how rewarding the experience is!

And once you are done playing with the whales, you can head inland to Hawaii, the popular tourist destination. The island is practically synonymous with vacation, meaning that you are bound to have a fantastic time here. 

8. Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific: San Juan Island

One of the best whale-watching spots in the pacific is also San Juan Island. Here you have the unbeatable opportunity to witness the magnificent killer whales, also known as orcas, from March through October! 

And these are not the only whales found here, for humpback whales also make their way to these waters between August and October. These beasts occupy these waters and can be easily sighted, both from water and land. If you want an intimate and personal experience with them, you should check companies like the San Juan Island Whale-watching. 

While swimming with the whales might not be feasible, you can definitely enjoy close-up views of the fish. And if this was not the best thing about San Juan Island, you also have here sites like the Lime Kiln Point State Park and the San Juan Island Historical Park, destinations that will keep you hooked!

9. Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific: Niue

While Niue is another excellent destination for your upcoming holiday. Wonder why? To begin with, it is one of the handfuls of destinations in the world where swimming with whales is allowed! Come here in the whale season, which runs from July to October, and spot humpback whales nursing their little (not so little!) ones.

You should sign yourself up for a scuba diving or a swimming trip with whale-watching tour organizers of the sort of Magical Niue Sea Adventures. They will ensure that you enjoy a thorough experience and build memories that will last forever.

Other than this, Niue marks itself as an important tourist destination with additional gems under its belt. With attractions like Limu Pools and Talava Arches, it offers enough to keep you entertained throughout your stay here!

10. Whale-Watching Spots in the Pacific: Vanuatu

Last on our list is Vanuatu, which may be a lot more laidback than its other Pacific brethren. But it does not mean that it has nothing to offer to its visitors. In fact, if you are looking for a calming vacation with little hustle and lots of peace, it might be the best destination for you!

The question of why you should visit this island does not have one answer, for the sheer number of opportunities here is endless! From canyoning to kayaking to trekking to shipwreck dives – you can find everything here! Enjoy peaceful moments at the beach, where you sit back and laze around, soaking in the sun.

Or, if you want to witness nature at its finest, climb atop an ocean-facing hill and try to spot whales. While the region does not directly fall in the migrating whales’ path, some humpback whales make their way here. You can spot them along the rough coastlines and even boat up to their location if you are lucky! It truly adds to your vacationing experience!

Ultimately, what else can we say that whales are admirable creatures and to get close to them is an incredible experience! So if you have the chance to do so, take it :-) And the Pacific Ocean offers you some of the world’s best locations for this adventure.

You Might Be Also Interested In…

For another great experience you can have in the stunning Pacific Ocean, have a look at the 10 Best Sailing Spots in the Pacific. 

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