As summer slowly slips away, it’s time to start looking ahead at a new season of adventure. Fall marks the very beginning of a truly mesmerizing natural phenomena — the arrival of whale watching season! We have rounded up a list of luxury hotels and resorts in a variety of regions with some of the best and most unique whale watching activities for all types of travelers — ranging from guided expeditions to scuba diving and swimming excursions.
Marquis Los Cabos | Cabo San Lucas, MX
Located directly on the tip of Baja California Sur, Marquis Los Cabos sits beachfront where the desert mountains meet the Sea of Cortes. The all-suite, adults only, all-inclusive resort offers stunning views at every corner of the property, ideal for travel in the winter months and boasts unhindered views of the thousands of whales migrating, spouting and nursing their newborn calves during peak whale watching season. As temperatures remain balmy from the mid-70s to mid-80s, guests can relax in the luxury of the infinity-edge Sunset and Sunrise pools while gazing upon whales and dolphins splashing about in the horizon. For a more intimate look, guests can take a specialized whale watching or sunset cruise, go scuba diving, snorkeling and deep sea fishing, all to get a close up of the magnificent creature as the sun begins to dip below the water. Complete a day spent outdoors among the sea and sand by booking indigenous signature treatments from the 13,000 sq. ft. on-property spa, or a comprehensive dining experience from any of the resort’s six distinctive dining offerings.
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal | Cabo San Lucas, MX
Situated on Cabo San Lucas’ most coveted parcel of land – an extraordinary, 24-acre site at the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal offer a series of Beyond the Beach curated itineraries to immerse travelers in the culture, destination and magic of Baja California with a variety of bucket list experiences, including two thrilling adventures to enjoy during peak whale watching season:
Custom Itinerary: here
Hilton Los Cabos | Los Cabos, MX
Situated on the golden beaches of one of Los Cabos’ only swimmer-friendly beaches, Hilton Los Cabos offers striking views of the Sea of Cortez right from your suite’s oceanfront balcony. Between December through April, guests can experience Cabo’s peak whale watching season and have the opportunity to view these magnificent creatures up close. The resort partners with local tour guides to educate and inspire visitors with day excursions to see a variety of whale species, such as Pacific Gray, Humpback and Blue Whales throughout the entire season. While on property, whales are also visible from any of the multiple pools, as well as the resort’s Enclave Beach Club.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai | Lanai City, Hawaii
Four Seasons Resort Lanai offers guests a sophisticated and relaxing escape on their own 90,000-acre secluded Hawaiian island with buzzing adventurous activities. During peak whale watching season from November through winter, the waters around Lanai offer a haven for North Pacific humpback whales. Guests can watch numbers of whales breaching above the water during the season on the Lanai Whale Watch Expedition. Spot these fascinating mammals during a sailing adventure from a 360-degree viewing platform, and listen through a hydrophone to hear them sing. Lucky beachgoers and guests can also spot whales from the resort and golf course which both overlook Hulopoe Bay.
Hotel Wailea, a Relais & Châteaux Property, | Wailea, HI
Hotel Wailea's private Hawaiian Outrigger Canoeing Adventure invites guests to watch majestic humpback whales while paddling along Maui’s southern coastline past black lava outcroppings, golden sand beaches and the Haleakala volcano rising up in the distance. Available December through April, the 1.5 hour experience takes guests to the Maui Nui Basin where they can respectfully greet and honor the visiting humpback whales and participate in traditional Hawaiian chants. Price: $150/person
Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa | Dana Point, CA
Perched high on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa is a picturesque Victorian-style resort overlooking the California Coastline and Dana Point Harbor. The iconic red-roofed coastal retreat is the perfect homebase for whale watching — as it’s located in the heart of the Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World®. Guests can head down to Dana Point Harbor for an arranged tour, available year-round, to spot different species of whales depending on the time of year. Local tip: Our favorite time to tour is November through April. Gray whales make for one of the longest of all mammalian migrations, averaging 10,000-14,000 miles from above Northern California, through the Pacific Ocean, towards Baja California. Of course, this means the gray whale migration passes right through Dana Point, making for incredible whale watching.
Sonora Resort, a Relais & Châteaux property | BC, Canada
On the Helicopter, Whale & Glacier Tour, guests can expect to fly in a private helicopter over the lush forests and churning waters of Vancouver Island and Johnstone Strait to Port McNeill, where they’ll board a 55ft passenger vessel for an incredible wilderness viewing of Orca and Humpback whales, Pacific White-Sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoises, Harbor seals, Steller sea lions, Bald eagles and a variety of other birds. The journey is narrated by experienced wilderness guides and safety equipment, binoculars and hydrophone headsets are provided. On their return journey to Sonora, they’ll soar over glacier fjords and snow-covered peaks, enjoying the breathtaking views. Guests have the option to extend the tour and touch down on a glacier or remote mountain top to take in the 360° view and enjoy a light snack.
Whales in Panamá
Starting late June to October is the breeding season for humpback whales and can be found in locales across the country. In 2005, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute conducted extensive research to develop protocols for responsible whale-watching tourism and Panamá became one of the first countries in the region to establish legal guidelines, prohibiting any activity that might disturb the whales and cause them to change their behavior – so you can assure you’re experiencing these majestic creatures responsibly. To best experience these sublime animals, head to the Pacific coast’s Taboga Island and the Pearl Island Archipelago just outside of Panamá City; Isla Iguana Wildlife Refuge in Pedasí in the Los Santos Province, the Gulf of Chiriqui near and around Boca Chica, and Coiba National Park, one of the 50 UNESCO Marine World Heritage Sites. Then opt for a trip with a responsible tour operator to gain in-depth knowledge while responsibly looking out for these majestic creatures.