Whale Watch humpback whale mother and calf

A humpback whale mother and calf just below the surface

Maui Whale Watch mother teaching her calf how to breach

A mother whale teaching her calf how to breach

Maui Whale Watch calf breaching

Someday I will make a big splash like my mom!

Maui Whale Watch humpback tail

The tail is the last thing you see as the whale takes a deep dive

Maui Whale Watch humpback tail

Unique tail markings identify each humpback whale

Maui Whale Watch humpback blowhole

Close up of an adult humpback whale's blowhole

Maui Whale Watch humpback big breach

A mother humpback about to land following a breach

Maui Whale Watch humpback breach splash

A moment later there is a thunderous splash

Maui Whale Watch humpback jumping

A baby humpback whale jumping for joy and happy to be alive

Maui Whale Watch humpback jumping

The whales have excellent vision and enjoy watching you too!

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Ask a QuestionReserve Now!!!
No, you don’t have to go on a boat to see whales if you are here during the right time of the year. It is common to see people standing on a hillside overlooking the ocean and watching the signs of distant whale activity through binoculars.

You can often SEE whales from shore … but you can’t EXPERIENCE them from that distance. There is a tremendous difference between watching a whale splashing in the water two miles away and experiencing the thrill of looking over the edge of the boat and having one of these gentle giants swim directly underneath you. If you are here during peak season from December 15th to April 15th, do yourself a favor and go on a Maui whale watching tour.

Whale Explorerwhale-explorer

Our favorite whale watch … it’s F-A-S-T which means you spend more time watching whales and less time looking for them. The Explorer is a hard-shelled boat with an inflatable edge (like a large zodiac) which gives a fast, smooth ride and a front row seat for every passenger. The speed of these boats adds another 15-30 minutes of actual whale watching during a two hour whale watch compared to larger boats. Please note that the size of this vessel means that the ride is more adventurous than larger boats.

Whale Explorer is offering a WHALE of a combo deal … go on one of their morning snorkel trips to Lanai and save $15 per adult off the list price of a whale watch. For more information on this special combo, see our Lanai dolphin page.

Schedule: Daily during whale season (mid-December through mid-April) at 8am, 10am,12:30pm and 2pm

Check in: Slip #11 in Lahaina Harbor

GPS: 675 Wharf Street, Lahaina, Hawaii 96761 Click to view map

Duration: 2 hours

Vessel: Twin engine Explorer Super Raft with an on-board Marine Head

Capacity: 36

Restrictions: Minimum age is 3. No one with neck or back injuries or pregnant women allowed.

Note: 8am and 2:30pm tours are operated during the peak whale watch season. They will conclude whale watches approximately April 15th.

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

Makai Adventuresmakai-adventures-13

Witness the beauty of the majestic humpback whales on board a fast, fun and comfortable powerboat! Makai Adventures creates a personal and intimate experience by limiting their tours to 24 passengers. Their crew love getting to know their guests and sharing their knowledge of the islands and whales. They bring you to the most active whales quickly, allowing for the most viewing time. Makai Adventures boasts perimeter seating which ensures 360 degree views and no one gets stuck with a center seat. The seating is half shade and half sun, so you can choose your desired seating. Other amenities on the boat include onboard bathroom, dry storage space for your things, and swim step with easy ocean access stairs. Makai Adventures guarantees whale sightings or your next trip is free!

Schedule: Daily at 7:30am, 9:45am, 12:30pm

Duration: 2 hours

Check in: Lahaina Harbor Slip #16

GPS: 675 Wharf Street, Lahaina, Hawaii 96761 Click to view map

What to Bring and What to Wear:  Hat, sunglasses, camera, and a light jacket or sweater.

Tour Includes: To help reduce plastic from our landfills and oceans, they provide a jug of ice water, and you can refill your reusable water bottles or provided paper cups. Soft drinks and juices are also included.

Vessel: 37 foot Premium Custom powerboat

Capacity: 24

Restrictions: No one with neck or back injuries or pregnant women allowed. Minimum age 3.

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

Teralani – 7:30am Early Bird Whale Watchteralani-snorkel-boat-at-anchor

The Teralani offers a two-hour whale watch in a beautiful sailing catamaran that pulls right up to Kaanapali Beach. You take off your shoes and walk across the sand to get on board.

Schedule: Daily between January through March (subject to change)

Check in: Kaanapali Beach, directly in front of Leilani’s Restaurant in the Whalers Village Shopping Center

GPS: 2435 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, HI 96761 Click to view map

Tour includes: Breakfast snacks, kona coffee, tropical juices, Teralani “Pogmosas”

Duration: 2 hours

Vessel: 65 foot Sailing Catamaran

Capacity: 49

Note: Teralani charges a $5pp fuel surcharge on all tours.

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

Teralani – 10am Whale Watch with Breakfast

The Teralani offers a two-hour whale watch. 10am is considered to be “prime time” for whale watching and is the time slot most likely to sell out the furthest in advance.

Schedule: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday (subject to change)

Check in: 9Kaanapali Beach, directly in front of Leilani’s Restaurant in the Whalers Village Shopping Center

GPS: 2435 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, HI 96761 Click to view map

Tour includes: Continental breakfast, kona coffee, tropical juices, and Teralani “Pogmosas”.

Duration: 2 hours

Vessel: 65 foot Sailing Catamaran

Capacity: 49

Note: Teralani charges a $5pp fuel surcharge on all tours.

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

Teralani – 12:30pm Whale Watch

The Teralani also offers a two-hour early afternoon whale watch.

Schedule: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday

Check in: Kaanapali Beach, directly in front of Leilani’s Restaurant in the Whalers Village Shopping Center

GPS: 2435 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, HI 96761 Click to view map

Tour includes: Dry snacks, beer, wine, tropical juices and  soda

Duration: 2 hours

Vessel: 65 foot Sailing Catamaran

Capacity: 49

Note: Teralani charges a $5pp fuel surcharge on all tours.

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

Pride of Maui – PM Snorkel / Whale Watchpride-of-maui-molokini-snorkel-3

Experience the Pride of Maui’s spacious and stable vessel with many amenities and comforts including their large deck space. The sprawling upper deck provides 360 degree sweeping views so you can photograph all of the beautiful whales. This 3.5 hr tour guarantees whale sightings, and includes 1 hour for snorkeling.  The tour also includes lunch and a full stocked open bar with microbrew Beers, wine & Mai Tais.

Schedule: January thru March only on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 1:30pm

Check In: 1pm at the north dock at Maalaea Harbor, Hwy 30 – Honoapi’ilani Hwy

GPS: 101 Maalaea Rd, Wailuku, HI 96793 Click to view map

Tour includes: Lunch and open bar

Gear Provided: Snorkel gear

What to Bring & Wear: Bring a camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, and picture ID required to consume alcoholic beverages.

Duration: 3.5 hours

Vessel:  65 foot Maxi Power Catamaran

Capacity: 149

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

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blue-water-rafting-coastlineBlue Water Rafting Whale Watch

Blue Water Rafting offers 90 minute tours on their high-speed RHIBs. (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat). The speed of these rafts gets you to the whales quickly, and the waters off Kihei are shallow and many whale calves are born in this area. This is a great option for those who don’t want to drive to the west side of the island.

Schedule: Daily at 8am, 10am, and 12pm from mid-December through mid-March. (They also offer a whale watch / Molokini Express combo)

Check in: Kihei Boat Ramp

GPS: 2970 South Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 Click to view map

Duration: 1.5 hours

Vessel: 27′ and 30′  Rigid hulled, inflatable rafts

Capacity: 24

Restrictions: No one with neck or back injuries, no one pregnant, and minimum age is 5.

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

Note: Whale sighting guarantee doesn’t start until 1/15.

Aqua AdventuresAqua Adventures – Private Whale Watch

Aqua Adventures operates a morning snorkel tour to Molokini, but is available for exclusive private charters for whale watching and sightseeing in the afternoons. Aqua Adventures can accommodate groups of up to 40 guests on an afternoon whale watch, or offers an affordable way for a larger family to have an exclusive whale watching experience. Please note that Aqua Adventures does not sell individual seats … they only operate whale watches as exclusive private charters.

Schedule: Departing at 1pm

Reservations: Please include the approximate number of guests when making your reservation.

Check in: Maalaea Harbor slip #51

GPS: 101 Maalaea Rd, Wailuku, HI 96793 Click to view map

Tour length: 2.5 hours

Tour includes: Cold beverages

Vessel: High speed boat with Twin engine  350 horse Cummins

Capacity: 40

Note: The rate includes a crew gratuity of 15%.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be made before the charge is made. We charge your credit card 5 days before your arrival to Hawaii.

humpback whale mother and calf
Humpback whale mother & calf
whale breach
Watch them jump and play!

CMaui Whale Watchingruise Ship Passengers

NCL cruise ship passengers in Kahului are able to do a whale watch on either day they are in port in Kahului. Lahaina whale watches (which we prefer) are an hour drive by rental car. We can arrange a rental car with shuttle pick-up at the harbor.

 

Lahaina cruise ship passengers can do whale watching while in port since the Whale Express and Spirit of Lahaina both leave from the same harbor where your cruise ship tender arrives. You can book either the midmorning, noon, or early afternoon time slots.

Activity Tips

Kevin Ditamore – Owner / Manager

No, you don’t have to go on a boat to see whales. During the peak season (mid-January to mid-April) it is very common to be able to see whales from the shore. But these sightings are usually pretty far away … it is not a particularly impressive sight to watch a whale jump out of the water three miles away. And these creatures are SO impressive when you experience them close-up. There is a big difference between SEEING a whale and EXPERIENCING a whale. There is a popular whale watching site along the Pali Highway a few miles west of Maalaea Harbor. The scenic overlook there is often packed during peak whale season with people who are too cheap to spend $30 to really experience these gentle giants. Do yourself a favor … go on a whale watching cruise.

The Humpback Whales begin to arrive in November, and most of them have arrived by the beginning of January. Whale Searches usually begin sometime around Thanksgiving … sightings that early in the season may not be guaranteed. That changes in December. During the peak season all the boats guarantee that you will see whales. If you are here in February you won’t have to worry about getting skunked … it will be whale soup out there! They love the warm, shallow waters between Maui, Kahoolawe, Molokai, and Lanai.

There are so many boats that do whale watching, I couldn’t even begin to list them here. My favorite boat is the Whale Explorer because it is a smaller, FAST boat which guarantees you spend less time getting to the whales and more time actually watching them. This kind of raft isn’t for everyone though; they don’t allow anyone with neck or back injuries or anyone pregnant as the ride can be bumpy at times.

How close will you get to the whales? That depends on the whales. By law, the boats must stop 100 yards away from a whale. They are incredibly curious animals though, and they OFTEN approach much closer than that. Sometimes they mug the boat, and you may get the rare treat of smelling whale breath! The sound of a spouting whale is something you will not forget … it is much like the puff of a steam engine locomotive.

Best time of day? The whales will put on a good show anytime you like. The morning tends to be less windy though. The mid-morning trips usually fill up a few days in advance, so reserve in advance to get the best time of day!