Guided 45-Minute Tour of Beluga Whale Sanctuary and Puffin Rescue in Westman Islands
Visit a protected beluga reserve, meet rescued puffins, and learn about Icelandic conservation with this magical guided tour of the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Sanctuary. Anyone interested in wildlife and the environment will find their visit to this incredible location unforgettable.
Your once-in-a-lifetime experience begins at the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Sanctuary in Heimaey, the only inhabited part of the Westman Islands. This destination is easy to reach, as ferries run regularly from South Iceland ports throughout the year, and Heimaey is small and easy to navigate.
After arriving and presenting your ticket, you will meet your local guide. With a passion for and knowledge of the animals protected here, there is no one better to escort you around the only beluga whale sanctuary in the world.
For approximately 45 minutes, they will show you around the visitors center, explaining the work of the animal care team and the importance of conservation. They’ll also bring you as close as safely possible to the adorable puffins (and perhaps other seabirds) under their protection.
Atlantic puffins are beautiful creatures with colorful beaks, charming personalities, and fascinating lives. The largest colony in the world nests in the Westman Islands in summer, and Iceland is the best country to see them up close.
Those at the sanctuary are captive because they are either under rehabilitation or unable to survive in the wild. The intention is to ensure every wild animal that can live free will be released.
However, those who would not survive without care will have safe and fulfilling lives here.
If you visit in the middle of summer, you may even see pufflings that left the nest too soon and need to fledge before starting their lives as adults.
While at the sanctuary, you may be able to look out for the two resident beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White. These animals have an open-water protected cove to explore and live in, simulating their wild environment while ensuring their safety.
However, environmental circumstances sometimes mean that the animals must be kept in an indoor shelter, so they cannot be seen on every visit.
Little Grey is the most confident and vocal, while Little White is reserved and relies more on her sister. Both are happy in their new home, particularly considering that their last residence was a small, unsanitary tank in a Shanghai amusement park.
As such, those passionate about animal welfare can visit knowing that their money is going to the protection - not exploitation - of these fascinating creatures.
Beluga whales are large animals, with both residents weighing over 2,425 pounds (1,100 kilograms) and reaching around 13 feet (four meters) in length. Their skin is a milky white, their eyes intelligent and gentle, and their movements graceful and mesmerizing.
Furthermore, beluga whales are nicknamed ‘the canaries of the sea’ due to the frequency and range of their noises.
If the belugas are not in the bay on the day of your visit, you can still entertain yourself by admiring other unique sea creatures in the beautiful aquarium.
Ask your guide any questions about the fantastic animals at the sanctuary, and they’ll be happy to answer. You can also purchase books, toys, and other memorabilia at the end of your tour.
Discover the amazing animals at the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Sanctuary and Puffin Rescue and learn about their biology and rehabilitation. Check availability now by choosing a date.