IMPORTANT BOOKING INFORMATION
Our Tofino Whale Watching, Bear Watching and Hot Springs Cove tours have a 48 hour cancellation policy. If any cancellations are received, including a reduction in the passenger numbers, within 48 hours of the tour departure then the full amount of the reservation will be charged to the credit card used to secure the booking. All cancellations made after 48 hours or “no-shows” will be subject to the full charge of the fare. We save your seats for you up until the last possible moment, which doesn’t allow us the opportunity to resell it.
A tour may be cancelled or schedules altered according to weather conditions and tides. In such an event you may reschedule your tour or collect a full refund.
The Whale Centre enjoys a sightings success rate of over 95% for both whale watching and bear watching tours throughout our season. Unfortunately, due to the inherent nature of viewing wild animals in their natural habitat, we cannot guarantee with 100% certainty that there will be sightings on every tour. To enhance the expected value that each of our guests deserve, we offer our lifetime, non-expiring guarantee: If you join us on a tour and you do not see a whale or bear, we will provide you with a rain check, allowing you to join us on another tour free of charge.
Guests using rain checks for whale watching and bear watching tours are obligated to make a reservation for any tours and are on a stand-by basis. Our rain checks never expire. They can be used on the same day, next year or in five years. If you have any questions regarding our rain check policy please speak to our staff.
Will we really see whales and bears?
Yes! The Whale Centre has a success rate of 95% averaged across all of our departures for seeing both whales and bears.
What species of whales do you see on your tours?
We see Grey Whales, Humpback Whales and Killer Whales in the waters off Tofino. Grey Whales migrating and feed in our waters March - October. Humpbacks are in our area May to September, depending on their food sources. Killer Whales are wild cards. We never know when the Transient Orca will show up. We also can encounter sea lions, bald eagles, seals, porpoises, mola mola and a myriad of birds on your tour.
Do we need a reservation?
Reservations are definitely recommended so that we can offer you the best departure time to fit your schedule. Trips often sell out and we don’t want you to be disappointed. Also, if you reserve in advance we can alert you to any possible changes in our schedule.
How early should we check in?
Thirty minutes prior to your scheduled departure time.
Can we bring a camera?
Yes, bring your camera and/or video camera. We also recommend that you bring a plastic bag to keep your camera safe and dry during transit. The boat will come to a complete stop for photo opportunities. Don’t forget your batteries and cards.
How close will we get to the whales?
There are strict guidelines when it comes to watching whales in Canadian waters. We take these regulations very seriously so as not to influence the behaviour of marine mammals in any way. We want to respect the fact that these are wild animals and remain impartial observers. We can get as close as 100m to marine wildlife.
What is the best time of day to see whales and bears?
Whales are in our coastal waters all the time! Anytime is a good time to go. We offering tours at 10:30, 2:00 and 5:00 pm.
The best time to view black bears in Tofino is on the low tide when they come down to the shoreline to feed. Our departure times change daily with the tide. Call us to find out departure times for the day you want to go out.
What should we wear?
Please dress very warmly and wear flat, closed-toed shoes (strappy high heels are not ideal for marine travel). We will be travelling at more than 30 miles per hour (55km/h) and temperatures are at least 10 degrees C cooler on the water, so a windbreaker or jacket will help you to comfortably enjoy the outdoors. Open vessel passengers are required to wear our stylish red cruiser suits, which serve the dual purpose of keeping you warm and acting as a life preserver. Cruiser suits are required by Transport Canada to ride aboard the open vessels. Don’t forget sunscreen, sun glasses (even if it’s cloudy, they help keep wind out of your eyes), binoculars, and an extra layer, just in case.
If you are prone to motion sickness while in a car, or have experienced sea sickness in the past, we recommend being prepared by visiting a pharmacy to discuss the best option for you. Fortunately, there are many options to reduce the risk of becoming sea sick.
Do tours depart if it is raining in Tofino?
Yes! "There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." - Ranulph Fiennes
We can provide you with rain gear!
Will our tour be cancelled if the weather is stormy and the sea conditions are unsafe?
Yes. Your safely is our priority. The Whale Centre does not take guests out on tours if the weather and sea conditions are unsafe. We are constantly watching the weather and sea conditions. If we decide it is unsafe to conduct a tour we will offer you a refund or book you on the next available tour.
What types of boats do you use?
We use open Boston Whalers with twin engines that fit up to 12 passengers on board for Whale Watching, Bear Watching, Bird Watching and occasionally the Hot Springs Tours. These vessels are safe, reliable and perfect for viewing and photographing wildlife.
We use the Hootla Kootla for out Hot Springs Tours. This is a 30 foot custom built covered cabin cruiser that seats up to 12 passengers. This vessel is heated and has a back deck for viewing wildlife from.
How hot are the Hot Springs?
The pools remain at an average temperature of approximately 50 degrees Celsius.
How do I get to Tofino?
Here is our suggestions on how to get to Tofino.
Why should we choose The Whale Centre?
We are a local. Our company has employed local, safe and knowledgeable skippers since 1984 who care about the whales, the environment and want to take you out on a bucket list tour.