Fall – Islands Cruise – Dolphin, Humpbacks, Blue Whales, Southbound Gray Whale Watching

October 2 to December 31 (No Cruises Monday & Tuesday)
One 4.5 hour trip per day departing at 10 am – returning 2:30 pm

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Winter – Islands Cruise – Gray Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching

Jan 2 to Feb 16 (No Cruises Monday & Tuesday)
One 4.5 hour trip per day departing at 10 am – returning 2:30 pm

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It’s Party Time! Join Us For One Of Our Party Cruises

The best time on the ocean in Santa Barbara is a musical party cruise or holiday event aboard the Condor Express. Relax and enjoy the grandeur of Santa Barbara while cruising along the scenic coastline. The view from the ocean is spectacular. All aboard!

December 8, 2019

Sunset Reggae Cruise Sold Out

Create a Personal Whale Watching Excursion, Channel Island Kayaking Trip, Private Dinner Party or Corporate Event

Condor Express Corporate EventThe Condor Express is available for private charter. Download our handy guide to creating a special and very memorable experience for your group or business.

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Offering Breakfast, Lunch, Beverages & Full Bar

Condor Galley CafeCafe’ Condor, our on board galley (kitchen) offers hot or cold breakfasts, a variety of lunch selections and a full bar. Our galley staff aims to please, so don’t bother packing a lunch, we have it covered!

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Welcome to Condor Express Whale Watching

Voted best whale watching in Santa Barbara every year since 1979!

There is no better way to see marine wildlife in Southern California than to see it in the ocean from our spectacular boat! The eco-friendly Condor Express gives you a unique opportunity to see Southern California marine wildlife from a completely different angle. Since 1973 the Condor and more recently the Condor Express has been a part of the Santa Barbara waterfront cruising the Santa Barbara Channel. We offer a rare opportunity to have an experience you will never forget. We offer:

  • Whale Watching
  • Sunset Cruises
  • Dinner Cruise Charters
  • Specialty Cruises
  • Wedding Parties
  • Private Corporate Charters

All aboard the Condor Express! Our experienced captains know just where to go to view all the sea life in their natural habitat. Whales, seals, a variety of birds and other marine animals are always around for viewing. Our crew and captain are ready and able to provide you with an exceptional whale watching experience.

The Boat

The Condor Express is a nicely appointed vessel that offers plenty of elbow room for all our guests. The beautiful teak cabin has room for 68 seated guests for dinner. The ample sun deck and raised bow provide great viewing stations for getting up close and personal with marine life.

We are US Coast Guard certified to carry up to 127 passengers. Our low emissions, 740 horsepower engines (4 in all) gives us the power to cruise at 28 knots. Our specially crafted hull allows a nice stable ride and cuts through the waves with ease.

Take a Ride

Get to the Channel Islands up to 3 times faster than you can on other charter boats and see the wonderful marine wildlife in their natural habitat on the Condor Express. Let our experienced crew help you have the experience of a lifetime. We offer a unique combination of safety, speed and an exceptional experienced crew. Contact us to learn more about excursions!


This was by far the best

We went on a 4.5 hour whale watching trip today. I have done whale watching in the Big Island of Hawaii, Seattle, Anacortes and other locations. This was by far the best. Not only did we see humpbacks, blue whales, dolphins, and sea lions, the captain, crew, and naturalists were knowledgeable, helpful and interesting. We’d recommend this trip for everyone coming to S.B.

-- Dorothy Bailey

Unbelievable trip of a lifetime!

Couldn’t have been better. Great boat ride, tons of knowledge shared, friendly staff and volunteers. What a wonderful day! Thank you!

-- Kerr, Scottsdale, AZ

WOW!! What a great experience.

The whales were awesome!! Best excursion ever!! Narration was very informative. The island drive-by was a nice plus. Good value for the $$.

-- Rocky & Roni, Isla Vista, CA

It couldn’t have been better.

The preparation was good and the excursion was excellent. And…we just happened to see about 5 blue whales!! Yea! (including a baby) Seeing a blue whale for the first time was amazing! Happy to cross that one off my bucket list. Great spotting! Awesome trip! Thank you to all the crew! The tour guide was so concerned that we understand the whale and dolphins. I greatly appreciated her tenacity to teach us. Crew was friendly and we saw tons of dolphins, many whales. Very good experience. I have lived in Santa Barbara for 22 years. This was magical! A great reminder of the blessings at hand. Thank you for a very informative day-very professional-very comfortable and just plain amazing.

-- Tara & Guy, Santa Barbara, CA

Best crew ever.

Jill makes the best burger. Dave is like the whale whisperer finding us the friendliest whales ever. They are so darn cute (the whales).

Wow. What an experience!

One of the most fantastic things me and my husband have ever done in our lives. The crew and volunteer whale experts were extraordinary and exceptional. The amount of wildlife we saw was phenomenal and beyond my expectations-lots of humpback whales, hundreds of dolphins, sea lions. We can’t thank you enough and would recommend this trip to anyone. Thank you!

-- Kate & Aidan

This voyage has far exceeded our expectations

We are native Santa Barbarans and have taken this before, but this voyage has far exceeded our expectations. The galley cook was beyond outstanding in knowledge, personality and food service. The Captain truly represented the spirit and professionalism of Fred Benko (founder of Condor Express who passed away) who we knew.

We had a “FAR” exceeded expectation of Crew, Boat and Overall Experience

We had a amazing time. This is my third trip and each one has had an amazing crew and different experiences I will never forget. Excellent people and boat and ocean life!

Whale Watching

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Humpback Whale Watching

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Boat PhotoTour®

Whale Watching California, Santa Barbara
Photo Tour

The Santa Barbara Channel

Our nutrient-rich cruising grounds.

The Santa Barbara Channel is home to over 27 different species of whales and dolphins that visit throughout the year. It is the prime northern feeding grounds for blue whales and humpback whales from May through November. The California gray whale herd passes by on both their southern and northern migration. Come out to enjoy and see these wonderful whales any time of the year. Our guests come from all over the world to enjoy whale watching California style year round and the wonder and beauty of the Santa Barbara Channel — come join the excitement!

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Our Experienced Condor Express Crew

Whale Watching California, Santa Barbara Captain Dave



Whale Watching California, Santa Barbara Tasha Cafe Manager



Whale Watching California, Santa Barbara Steve Deckhand



Whale Watching California, Santa Barbara Bob Perry Photographer



Whale Watching California, Santa Barbara Steve Deckhand



Whale Watching California, Santa Barbara Bob Perry Photographer



In addition to the expert crew on the Condor Express, Channel Islands Naturalist Corps volunteers and representatives from the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and National Park are usually on board and available to answer your questions.

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Whale Watching California, Santa Barbara Condor Express

Condor Express Whale Watching Boat – Specially designed for safety around wildlife.

The Condor Express is an eco-friendly, 75’, quad-jet catamaran that has an extremely stable and comfortable ride. This state-of-the-art vessel uses water jet propulsion and was specially designed for allowing ocean mammals to visit the boat up close without endangering them with a spinning propeller. Because of it’s design and speed, we get to the wildlife quickly, sit quietly, allowing whales and other sea life to get as close as they like.

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Condor Express Whale Watching Seasons

Welcome to whale watching California style in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. Condor Express Whale Watching is the premier Whale Watching and Charter Cruise venue along the coast of Southern California. We are one of the few whale watching companies to offer year round whale watching and a whale watch guarantee. Condor Express Whale Watching offers a variety of spectacular excursions in the Santa Barbara Channel including whale watching, pelagic birding, wedding cruises, dinner cruises, private parties and corporate events.

Whale Watching California, Santa Barbara Winter Island Cruise

Islands Cruise

Gray Whale Watching
Dolphin Watching

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Whale Watching California, Santa Barbara Early Spring Coastal Cruise

Early Spring
Coastal Cruise

Gray Whales, possible Humpback Whales and Dolphin Watching

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Whale Watching California, Santa Barbara Spring/Summer Island Cruise

Islands Cruise

Dolphin, Humpback Whale Watching and Early Blue Whale Watching

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Whale Watching California, Santa Barbara Fall Islands Cruise

Islands Cruise

Dolphin, Humpbacks, Blue Whales, Southbound Gray Whale Watching

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Proud Supporters of the Whale Sanctuary Project

Whale Sanctuary Project ImageThe mission of The Whale Sanctuary Project is to establish a model seaside sanctuary where cetaceans (whales and dolphins) can live in an environment that maximizes well-being and autonomy and is as close as possible to their natural habitat.