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Best time to travel to Monterey, CA

Whale Watching

The nutrient-rich waters of Monterey Bay are always full of inhabitants


Last updated: by Mariana Maglych
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Monterey Bay is a feeding and migrating destination for various whale species all year long. But in the spring and summer months, the lagoons of Monterey Bay become especially busy.

Humpback Whales

From April to November, humpback whales come here from the Mexican coast. Hundreds of them choose Monterey Bay waters because of the variety of food available. These whales are also the ones to entertain an audience and are considered the most playful among cetaceans. Depending on the year, humpback whales are in Monterey Bay from March through November. But in the summer months, the chances of meeting them increase.

Blue Whales

Blue whales got their name from the color they have when underwater. But in reality, their shade is bluish-grey. Weighing more than 200 tons and 98,4 ft (30 m) in length, blue whales are the largest animals known to have ever existed! In Monterey Bay, they appear from May through October to hunt for tiny shrimp-like snacks called krill. Visit Monterey Bay in July or August, and you won't miss these grand creatures.

Gray Whales

Gray whales have a specific color and a rough embossed surface. So it's impossible to confuse them with any other mammals. Each year they travel for over 10,000 mi (160 km) from Alaska to the Mexican shore. But from December through mid-February, they are usually spotted in waters near Monterey Bay.

Killer Whales

Also known as orca whales, killer whales are the most unpredictable predators in the bay. Even though you can observe them here year-round—April, May, and June are considered to be the best months to witness these amazing creatures. Due to their characteristic black and white color, it is almost impossible not to notice them.

Companies like Monterey Bay Whale Watch Centre, Stagnaro Charters, Princess Monterey, or Blue Ocean Whale Watch offer short-glimpse trips and detailed four-hour journeys. Usually, each company conducts two or three tours per day: early in the morning and at lunchtime. Some of them include a professional marine biologist onboard. In addition to whales, Monterey Bay's wildlife is full of dolphins, seals, sea otters, and sea lions.

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