The waters around Victoria offer different opportunities than those in Tofino (on the west coast of Vancouver Island) where you’re more likely to spot grey whales. Throughout the season (May to Oct) transient and resident pods of orcas (killer whales) live in the seas around southern Vancouver Island, around a hundred animals in all, so you may see these, along with minke, occasional greys and humpbacks, with Dall’s porpoises, harbour or elephant seals and California and Steller sea lions also present. Most outfits offer “guaranteed” whale sightings so if you don’t see them on your first trip, you can return again for free.

While there are many outfits to choose from, they offer almost identical trips at the same prices, typically around $100 for a three-hour outing. The only real variables are the boats used, so you need to decide whether you want a rigid-hull cruiser (covered or uncovered), which is comfortable and sedate, a catamaran, or a high-speed aluminium-hull inflatable known as a “Zodiac”, which is infinitely more exhilarating, but can offer a sometimes bumpy, chilly ride and lacks toilets.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Canada features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
19 phenomenal pictures of Canada

19 phenomenal pictures of Canada

Canada is famous for its stunning vistas, from the Arctic shores to the Rocky Mountains. But that's not all the country has to boast about. It also has engro…

30 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Video: the most beautiful places in Canada

Video: the most beautiful places in Canada

Simply put, Canada is stunning. The second largest country in the world, Canada is a land of crashing waterfalls, turquoise lakes and magnificent soaring mounta…

29 Jun 2017 • Olivia Rawes videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month