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Humpback Whales Put on a Great Show!

Maui Whale Watching

Available December through Mid-April



Highlights

  • Guaranteed Sightings on most boats (or go again free)
  • Choose from a wide variety of vessels
  • Morning times are least windy / best conditions
  • Marine naturalists provides narration
  • Tours operated with strict "rules of engagement"

Description

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!

Here is a fantastic selection of Whale Watching tours for you to select the perfect one for you! Do this EARLY in your vacation because you may enjoy it so much you decide to go again a second time!

Reservations: Advanced reservations required and we recommend booking this prior to arrival on Maui. This event is "RESERVE NOW PAY LATER"; we need a credit card on file to finalize your reservation but we do not charge you for this reservation until a few days before the beginning of your vacation!

Cancellation Policy: Minimum notice for cancellation or changes is 48 hours prior to the start of any whale watch listed on this page, except for the Private Whale Watch on Aqua Adventures (see their listing below for details).


Whale Watching Tours


Whale Explorer - Lahaina Harbor

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. These tours are done on a 50 foot Explorer-class super raft with onboard marine head and passenger capacity of 36. Duration: 2 hours

Schedule: Daily during whale season (mid-December through mid-April) at 7:45am, 10am, 12:30pm and 2pm

Check in: Slip #11 in Lahaina Harbor

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

Restrictions: Minimum age is 5. No one with neck or back injuries or pregnant women allowed.

Whale Explorer Whale Watch Rate (SEA1)

$61.00 per Adult, $46.00 per Child (5-12)   (plus 7.167% Hawaii sales/harbor tax)



Teralani Sailing - Kaanapali Beach

The Teralani offers a two-hour whale watch at two different times daily. 10:00am is considered to be "prime time" for whale watching and is the time slot most likely to sell out the furthest in advance. 12:30pm is also offered daily. Both tour times include snacks and beverages (including alcohol). These whale watches are operated "barefoot" and you load from the beach. Guests typically get their feet wet when boarding the vessel. These tours are done on a 65 foot sailing catamaran with a passenger capacity of 49. Duration: 2 hours

Schedule: Daily during whale season (mid-December through mid-April) at 10:00am and 12:30pm

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

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

Teralani 10am Whale Watch Rate (TSE5)

$80.00 per Adult, $70.00 per Teen (13-20), $60.00 per Child (3-12), $50.00 per Infants (under 3)   (plus 7.167% Hawaii sales/harbor tax)



Blue Water Rafting - Kihei Boat Ramp

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. These tours are done on 27' and 30' zodiac-type rafts with 24 passenger capacity. Duration: 2.5 hours

Schedule: Daily at 8am, 10am, and 12pm from mid-December through mid-March

Check in: Kihei Boat Ramp

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

Blue Water Rafting Whale Watch Rate (BWR5)

$63.44 per Adult, $52.69 per Child (4-12)   (Hawaii sales tax included)

Rates for dates after 12/31/2022 are $80.65 per Adult, $69.89 per Child (4-12)



Aqua Adventures Private Whale Watch - Maalaea Harbor

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. The capacity of the vessel is 40 guests and the charter cost is the same no matter how many are in your party. This becomes an affordable alternative for groups of 15 or more ... and a real deal for parties of 20 or more. Duration: 2.5 hours

Schedule: Available daily at 1:00pm

Check in: Maalaea Harbor Slip #55

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

Minimum Notice for Cancellation / Changes: 7 full days prior to the start of your private charter.

Aqua Adventures PM 2 Hour Private Whale Watch Rate (AQUA2)

$1,150.00 per Charter   (Hawaii sales tax included)



Ultimate Rafting - Lahaina Harbor

Ultimate Rafting Whale Watch tours have fast and safe rafting vessels that are low to the water and perfect for close encounters. The small groups make every seat a front fow seat! They guarantee whale encounters and tickets support marine life research. You will learn more about whales from the marine naturalist guides, and even get to hear whales through a hydrophone. Their vessels Wiki Wahine & Wahine Hana are 27ft long and Coast Guard approved for 24 guests, but they limit trips to 18 guests on these boats. These vessels do not have a bathroom. The Wahine Kai vessel is 42ft long, Coast Guard approved for 32 guests, and they limit the trip to 26 guests on boat. It has most regular seating and some pontoon seating. Wahine Kai also has a bathroom onboard. All of their vessels are low to water with 70% shade. Duration: 2 hours

Check in: Slip #17 in Lahaina Harbor

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

Restrictions: Minimum age is 3 years and no one with back or neck injuries or pregnant women..

  • Regular Whale Watch: Daily at 9:30am, 12pm, and 2:15pm … The 2 hour Whale Watch holds between 18-26 passengers on either the Wahine Kai, Wiki Wahine, or Wahine Hana Vessel.

    Ultimate 2hr Whale Watch Rate (ULT2)

    $65.00 per Adult, $45.00 per Child (3-12)   (plus 7.1667% Hawaii sales/harbor tax)


  • VIP Whale Watch: Daily at 8:45am, 11am, and 1:455pm … The VIP Whale Watch is also 2 hours in length, but capacity on the vessel is limited to just 12 GUESTS … half that of the regular whale watch!

    Ultimate VIP 2hr Whale Watch Rate (ULT1)

    $85.00 per Adult, $85.00 per Child (3-12)   (plus 7.1667% Hawaii sales/harbor tax)


Details

Reservations: Advanced reservations required and we recommend booking this prior to arrival on Maui. This event is "RESERVE NOW PAY LATER"; we need a credit card on file to finalize your reservation but we do not charge you for this reservation until a few days before the beginning of your vacation!

Minimum Notice for Cancellations / Changes: At least 48 hours before the start of the event, except for the Private Whale Watch on Aqua Adventures (see their listing for details).


Kevin at Falls

Kevin's Activity Tips:

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 $60 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 early to get the best time of day!