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“Great Experience: Amazing Views, Amazing Guides, Amazing Trip”

San Juan Outfitters
Ranked #9 of 28 Tours in Friday Harbor
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The San Juan Islands are considered one the best places in the world to observe Orca (Killer) Whales and other wildlife. We specialize in providing high quality whale watching, kayaking, and adventure tours for groups, families, and independent travelers. San Juan Outfitters believes that getting people out in the natural environment is the first step in developing an appreciation for the natural world. We believe people have an innate drive to be outdoors, and we enjoy the opportunity make it happen. We hope that what comes out of that appreciation are steps taken to curb individual impact and decrease one's footprint on the environment. Decreasing our individual foot-print, and preserving our natural world is our long term goal. We're starting by setting an example here on San Juan Island. Learn more about our goals to decrease our footprint by checking out our carbon neutral goals, and our view on responsible capitalism.
Reviewed 28 June 2018

We did an overnight sea kyaking trip with my entire family and it was a very fun and unique experience. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure.

Thank Ryan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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19 - 23 of 268 reviews

Reviewed 28 June 2018

I spent eight days kayaking with San Juan Outfitters from June 18 to June 26, 2018, with a day off in the middle to rest up. Twice I went out in a group tour, and six times with a private guide. Since I was there alone, I always shared a kayak with a guide. I was always in front of the kayak, which is the best view, and the guide was in the back doing the steering.

The water there is cold, so I was in a sit-inside kayak with a spray skirt and life jacket. (They also rent sit-on-top kayaks, and I saw people using those, but I would not use a sit-on-top in that water.)

The area is truly beautiful. We paddled around the area, covering 15 miles on one day when the conditions were ideal and the tides were in our favor. A couple of days we paddled around Henry Island and once we paddled around Spiden Island. Other days we paddled up and down the coast of San Juan Island.

All the guides were five star. They are competent, strong, and fun to kayak with. The location and the guides are what make a trip like this, and both were about as good as it gets. (Except for the water temperature: I much prefer warm water.)

One caveat, which does not affect my rating, but is worth mentioning: I had hoped to see orcas. (A.k.a. "killer whales," though that's an unfortunate name, since most fishes and marine mammals kill other animals for food, as do most people.) The tours I took they call their "Orca Search By Kayak." Strictly speaking this is an accurate description, as we did search for orcas. But on the phone they told me that if I spent 8 days going on this tour, my chances of seeing orcas were "good." I did not see any orcas, and one of my guides told me that taking out tours nearly every day of the season last year, often multiple tours per day, he saw orcas five times. This is far from "good" chances of seeing them in eight days of kayaking.

So just be aware: You do have a chance of seeing orcas on these tours, but the chances are small. Don't count on it. Take the tour for the enjoyment of kayaking, not with the expectation of seeing orcas.

On my last day they offered me a free trip in their "whale watch" boat, since they knew I was disappointed not to have seen the orcas, so other than the misleading description, their customer service is excellent. I declined the free trip because I'd have gotten back much later than I like, and because I really don't care for those kinds of tours.

We did see a lot of sea life though. There were river otters (in the ocean), there were harbor seals, there were bald eagles, herons, geese, cormorants, and other birds. There were lots of sea jellies and occasional small fishes.

All in all, in spite of my disappointment at not seeing orcas, it was an excellent trip.

Thank daniel1948x
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 June 2018 via mobile

Couldn’t recommend more! Big shout out to our guide Claire who put the icing on our holiday cake! Cheers team

Thank HAVILL404
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 June 2018 via mobile

What an evening ! I can hands down say this is the most beautiful kayak trip I have ever been on , and part of that was down to our amazing guide Claire ! She was so knowledgeable of the surrounding area and it’s wildlife, she also helped me improve my paddle stroke ! She truly went above and beyond ! I would highly recommend going out with San Juan outfitters !

Thank FionaW1770
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 June 2018 via mobile

Whoa. All I can say is whoa. We had the most beautiful, relaxing sunset paddle with the wonderful, charismatic Claire. She was a delight of a guide, knew the area well, and took us on a beautiful paddle out of Roche to catch the last rays of June 20th in the company of bald eagles, jellyfish, seals, and seabirds galore. This was one of the best paddles I’ve been on. SJO is the only operator out of Roche, the ideal place to start a paddle - choose them! Shout out to Claire - you’re amazing!

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

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