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Review of San Juan Safaris

San Juan Safaris
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Whale Watching from Friday Harbor
Ranked #7 of 51 Tours in San Juan Islands
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The waters surrounding San Juan Island are the #1 place in North America to see wild orca whales. San Juan Safaris, located in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, is in the perfect location to provide you with the thrill of seeing orcas in their natural habitat. For over 20 years, San Juan Safaris has been offering the highest quality whale watching tours with a focus on our guests’ experiences and respectful wildlife viewing. Experience orcas, seals, sea lions, eagles, and more from the comfort of our safe, fast, and US Coast Guard approved vessels. With four vessels and multiple daily departure times, there’s sure to be a tour that’s right for you. Our seasoned Captains will keep you safe while aboard our vessels and position the boat in prime locations for whale and wildlife viewing. All of our tours are staffed by seasoned Captains and passionate Marine Naturalists who will teach you about the wildlife, ecology, and geology of the Salish Sea. We encourage you to ask questions and love to share stories about orcas and the local area. Choose from two vessel tours: M/V Sea Lion: The Sea Lion is our flagship vessel, built specifically for whale watching & wildlife viewing. 55 feet, comfortable, stable, great for passengers of all ages and mobility levels. Restroom on board, 360* viewing deck, heated inside cabin. Great for families and groups. M/V Kestrel: The Kestrel is our new high-speed adventure vessel-- perfect for anyone looking for an exciting excursion! Fast, safe, and comfortable. 360* viewing deck, all-weather exposure suits keep you warm and dry, plus on board marine bathroom. Fun and fast! This tour is great for passengers 8 years and older. Our brand new Whale Watch Headquarters is located just feet from the ferry terminal in Friday Harbor, and steps from local restaurants and shops. Stop by and say “hello” to learn more about our tours and the best spots on San Juan Island to explore. Visit our retail and gift shop for the latest in northwest guide style. Don’t forget to stop by our new Ridetide Cafe for coffee, sandwiches, desserts, and more!
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed September 16, 2013

Truly an amazing experience! The staff was very knowledgeable and went out of their way to make the experience everything it was. Our trip was very interesting, educational, and exciting. When we first spotted the group of transients, they were actively killing a porpoise, which was an amazing thing to see. They even breached, which is apparently very rare for transients to do. We got to watch these beautiful, wild orcas for about an hour. I simply cannot say enough about this experience. I highly recommend San Juan Safaris!!!

Thank abryant22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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376 - 380 of 425 reviews

Reviewed September 15, 2013

We spent a couple of days in Seattle and wanted to get out of the city away from the crowds for at least one day of our vacation. I heard about the whale watching tours and the success the tour guides had finding them.
Once the whales were spotted, we spent nearly an hour just watching these beautiful creatures. It was an awesome experience. Great job by the staff of San Juan Safaris!

Thank jeannyg1967
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2013

When visiting San Juan, I almost gave up on seeing the whales (beginning of September), word had it that they already migrated away. I booked with Safari just to see the rest of local fauna - seals, bald eagles, etc. Surprise! Come the day, it turned out that a pod of transient orcas was just now swimming by the island. We found them and followed the group all the way for couple hours, they almost swam into Friday Harbour proper! The experience was beautiful and unforgettable.

As to the ship, it suits its purpose - there's plenty of places to sit or stand, inside you can take coffee and snacks ($1 for anything), and there's a few binoculars to loan (too bad I didn't have one when we were told that there's a bald eagle - I just noticed one tree with a white dot).

On "my" trip there was a big group from some kind of cruise; most weren't interested in orcas at all, just played cards and ate snacks inside. That was slightly weird, but nothing I'll complain about - it just meant more free place on a deck.

Thank gryn6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2013

We called San Juan Safaris to make a reservation and after speaking to them realized fling Kenmore air to Friday Harbor from Seattle was our best option. 40 minutes beat 4-5 hours by car even if it did cast $125 PP each way + the cost of the whale watching trip.

The day came and we had a great flight. Got to Friday Harbor for 9AM and spent a few hours walking around. Had breakfast went on a moped ride around the island then got on the 1:30 whale watching tour.

The tour was a lot of fun.
The seas were extremely calm and we saw a pod of transiate orcas maybe 6-8 of them. We watched them for about an hour and came back in.

The crew Capt. Jim and Heather were very informative and friendly.
We were on the smaller boat Kittywake with only 12 adults, no kids!!
and had a very nice trip.

I would highly recommend this tour and if you have a chance to go on the smaller boat with adults only I would jump on that boat in a blink of an eye!!

Thank Captmark20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2013

Wonderful staff. Very knowledgeable about sea life. Concerned about customers comfort. The boat was very safe and comfortable. Saw the resident pod of orcas. Would have liked o ho on with the tour.

Thank Fairminnie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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