Back in the 18th and 19th century, whales were almost hunted to extinction. Now, however, with the rise in ocean conservation, things have taken a better turn. If making acquaintance with these magnificent 200-ton creatures is something you wish to do, this map of whale watching hotspots will lead you right to them. By Quoyina Ghosh

1. Iceland

The perks of a trip to Iceland are endless – you get a break from your locale, you get to experience life from a very different perspective, you catch the mystical northern lights, and you make some great marine pals. Yes, when it comes to whale watching, Iceland is undeniably one of the best places to catch them. What with humpback whales, orcas and even blue whales frequenting these cold waters, it is hard to contest this fact. Places like Reykjavik or Husavik are some select locations where you can catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures.

2. Baja California, Mexico

One of the most incredible places off the coast of Mexico, every year witnesses the fascinating phenomenon of thousands of whales making their way to these waters. Rich in nutrients, this haven is the select hotspot for whale socialisation, mating and subsequent birthing. From grey whales to sperm whales, from humpback whales to fin whales, you just have to name it to spot them playfully thronging these lovely waters.

3. Antarctica

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If adventures are what you seek, this is the place for you. With the roughest of waters, dangerous icebergs and chiselled mountains, the scenery around you in Antarctica might be rugged, but it certainly is beautiful. What’s more? In those waters are known to throng whales of all kinds (Humpback, Orca, Fin, Eei, Minke etc). If a truly unique whale-watching experience amidst the wild nature is what you seek, this is where you’ll hit gold.

4. South Island, New Zealand

House to some very special permanent residents, if you want to desperately make your way to a sperm whale or two, this is where you should catch a flight to. With warm waters and a delightful all-you-can-eat buffet to avail from, these whales have no reason to go elsewhere. Moreover, the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is also present nearby, which offers you a glimpse into a variety of marine species including Bryde’s whale.

5. The Azores

One of the largest sanctuaries for whales in the world, the Azores are known to house about 20 different kinds of whales. While the permanent residents include Pilot whales and Sperm whales, visitors include Humpbacks, Sei, Fin as well as the big Blue whales. Who knows? If your visiting timings match, you might get to spot one.

Related: Bucket List Material: Put Whale Watching In Sydney On Your Itinerary RN!