Top Ten Places for Humpback Whale Watching

Brought back from the brink of extinction by the international ban on commercial whaling in 1985, humpback whales can now be found in every ocean across the world. Whether listening to the serenades of a male humpback whale carry across the water, watching as they fly out of the water like seasoned acrobats or swimming alongside these gentle giants, seeing a humpback whale is simply unforgettable. But don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself in these top ten destinations for seeing humpback whales.
1. Swim with Humpback Whales in Australia

Ningaloo Reef in Australia is one of the handful of places you can swim with humpback whales. And luckily there's ample opportunity to swim with these bus-sized beauties as up to 30,000 migrate through between August and October.

Best Time to Swim with Humpback Whales in Australia: August to October

2. Humpback Whale Watching in Mozambique

Between July and October humpback whales can be spotted in Northern Mozambique's Bazaruto and Quirimbas Archipelagos. And the white sandy islands that speckle the ocean are the perfect viewing platform. Head out on a boat to see these giants flip out of the water while playful dolphins play in your wake.

Best Time to go Humpback Whale Watching in Mozambique: July to October

3. Swim with Humpback Whales in French Polynesia

French Polynesia is an important breeding ground for humpback whales, who migrate to the warm turquoise waters surrounding Moorea every year to breed and calf. Ergo you can be a fly on the wall, or, more accurately, a speck on the ocean surface, as mother humpback whales tenderly care for their calves.

Best Time to Swim with Humpback Whales in French Polynesia: July - November

4. Swim with Humpback Whales in the Caribbean

Each year, between January and April, the world's largest gathering of Northern Atlantic humpback whales happens in Silver Bank, with as many as 3,000 of these gentle giants gathering to mate and calve. Witness this magical spectacle aboard the Turks and Caicos Aggressor II, where you'll dive across some of the Caribbean's best reefs before cruising to Silver Bank to swim with humpback whales.

Best Time to Swim with HumpbackWhales in Silver Bank: January - April

5. Dive with Humpback Whales in Socorro, Mexico

Located some 280 miles south of the tip of Mexico's Baja California, the islands of the Revillagigedo Archipelago are an oasis in the Pacific Ocean. Humpback whales migrating from Alaska are regularly spotted passing through the marine park between January and March. If you aren't lucky enough to see one when diving there's plenty of other marine life, including mantas, tiger sharks, bottlenose dolphins and so much more.

Best Time to Dive with Humpback Whales in Mexico: January - March

6. Whale Watching in the Azores

Why see one species of whale when you can tick off several? The remote Azores archipelago provides the perfect pitstop for migrating whales, with spring and early summer ushering in blue whales, while between May and June blue, sei, fin and humpback whales can be spotted. If you visit during July and August spot sperm and pilot whales alongside resident dolphins and sharks.

Best Time to go Whale Watching in the Azores: April - September

7. Humpback Whale Watching in Iceland

Iceland's unique convergence of warm and cold currents allow rich soups of krill and fish to flourish. And where there's krill, there's whales. Departing from Reykjavik, spot 23 different cetacean species that feed in the surrounding waters, including minke whales, blue whales, white-beaked dolphins, orcas, harbour porpoise and, of course, humpback whales.

Best Time to go Whale Watching in Iceland: April - October

8. Humpback Whale Watching in Costa Rica

Unbeknown to most land lubbers, a busy subaquatic motorway exists off the pacific coast of Costa Rica, with the migration of humpbacks from Antarctica to Costa Rica between July and November and their northern hemisphere equivalents migrating from Alaska between December and March. While you can see them all along the coast, the best place to spot these gentle giants is in the protected waters of Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita, where they come to mate and calf.

Best Time to go Whale Watching in the Costa Rica: December - March and July - December

9. Swim with Orcas and Humpback Whales in Norway

While swimming in the fjords of Norway in winter might appear barmy, stay with us as it is one of the most epic diving adventures out there. Hop aboard the rustic M/S Sula fishing boat to the northern Troms region where, during the winter months, huge bait balls of herring are plundered by hungry orcas and humpback whales. Snorkel with up to 50 orcas and whales during their feeding frenzy against a backdrop of snow-frosted mountains, while in the evening marvel at the Northern Lights. For a flavour of what to expect, see Original Diver Neill's epic video snorkelling with orcas here.

Best Time to Snorkel with Whales and Orcas in Norway: late-October - February

10. Swim with Humpback Whales in Tonga

The humpbacks of Tonga are famous on Instagram. People flock from across the world to freedive alongside these playful whales in the deep blue (and very photogenic) ocean waters of Vava'u, Tonga where they gather to mate and breed after a long swim from Antarctica. But while they may be #instafamous, there are strict rules to adhere to protect them and their habitat, such as a maximum of four tourists are allowed in the water at any time and only 21 boats are given permits each year.

Best Time to Snorkel with Humpback Whales in Tonga: July - October

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Jacqui is our 'Top Ten Places for Humpback Whale Watching' expert and as a seasoned traveller has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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