humpback whale and calf

Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii to mate and birth their calves

humpback whale breach

Witness these amazing and majestic creatures jump and play!

humpback whale breach

An impressive whale tail ... signals a whale is about to dive.

humpback whale breach

Close encounter with baby whale ... you can clearly see the eye!

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In the winter months, a trip to the island is not complete without a Kauai whale watching tour.  These majestic creatures migrate here, and they enjoy playing in the open waters.  Enjoy two hours of humpback whale encounters aboard Explorer II, a 48′ rigid hull inflatable boat.  Join their Coast Guard certified and safety conscious captain and crew for an experience of a life time getting up close and personal with majestic Humpback Whales. Take in the coastal sites of Polihale & Waimea, as well as the spectacular Humpback whales and their calves.  Here during the winter months, the Pacific (Hawaiian) Humpback Whales come to the islands to mate and give birth to their young. It’s not uncommon for whales and dolphins to come right up next to the boat making for unforgettable memories. These whale watches often offer spectacular photographic opportunities.  This is a BYOB cruise … passengers are encouraged to bring their own snacks and beverages of their choice if they wish (no glass please), or the boat offers light snacks with sodas and water.

General Information
Schedule:  Tours on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 8am and 10am.

Duration:  2 hours

Check In: 30 minutes prior to departure time at Kikiaola small boat harbor – 2 miles west of Waimea.

GPS: The harbor has no street address. The GPS coordinates are 21.959421, -159.692058. Click to view map

Included in Tour:  Snacks & beverages.

Vessel:  48 foot Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat

Capacity: 40

Restrictions:   Minimum age is 5. No pregnant women, and no one with neck or back injuries permitted on the tour.

What to Bring & Wear:  Wear swimsuits and bring a towel and sunscreen.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be made at least 48 hours before the start of the event

humpback whale breaching
A giant leaps out of the water
kauai whale watch
A humpback whale teaching her calf how to jump

CCruise Ship Iconruise Ship Passengers

The Kauai Whale Watching morning tours do not work for cruise ship passengers. If you are on the Pride of America and overnighting in Kauai, you can do an afternoon tour or you might also consider a Sunset tour of the Na Pali on the afternoon / evening of day one in port.


Activity Tips

Kevin Ditamore – Owner / Manager

As a long-time Hawaii resident, the annual migration and Hawaiian arrival of the humpback whales is something that I look forward to every “winter”. I am so grateful to live in a place where these giants grace us with their presence … and they are here in LARGE numbers during the peak months. I do find it a little sad when I see visitors standing at the top of a cliff watching whales that are a mile+ offshore and trying to take a photo of them with their cute little cell phone. You CAN and you WILL see whales from shore if you stand at an overlook and just watch for 30 minutes or so, but you CAN’T EXPERIENCE a whale from that distance. Do yourself a favor and GET OUT ON A WHALE WATCH if you are here during the winter months.

These rafts offer an intimate viewing platform for the whales. By law all vessels must stop 100 yards away from whales, but 100 yards is WAYYYYYY better than a mile, and while the boats obey the law, the whales are notorious for ignoring our rules. They often “mug” the boat and close up whale encounters are common.

Please note that the Na Pali Explorer boats do have longer Na Pali trips that you will find here, these whale watching tours are done on the south shore of Kauai whereever the whale action is at its best.

Very light snacks and sodas are served on these trips. On the 2 hour sunset tour you are welcome to bring whatever food or beverages (yes even alcohol … which will help you see twice as many whales … haha) but do keep in mind that glass is not permitted on board the vessel.