Scroll to Continue
Adult males range from 40 to 52 feet and can weigh up to 45 tons. Despite their size, humpback whales are graceful acrobats. Keep your eye on the ocean and you might see one breach, propelling up to 40 percent of its body out of the water and landing on its side with a spectacular splash.
Whales have great cultural significance for Native Hawaiians. They play a large role in Hawaiian legend—including one creation story—and appear in ancient petroglyphs on several islands. The return of the kohola (humpback whale) is considered more of a homecoming than a visit. Humpback whales are born in Hawaiian waters, making them kamaaina (native born). Some Native Hawaiians also believe the whales are aumakua (family guardians), so these gentle giants are treated with great respect.
Cultural Significance of Whales in Hawaii
Although humpback whales can be seen from all of the Hawaiian Islands, the shallow Auau Channel between Maui, Molokai and Lanai is one of the best whale-watching destinations in the world.
What's the Best Way to See Whales?
You may also spot kohola from the southern shores of Oahu, especially at Makapuu Lighthouse and along the seaside overlooks near Leahi (Diamond Head).
Kauai offers a range of whale-viewing opportunities, including Poipu Beach on the South Shore, Kilauea Lighthouse on the North Shore and Kapaa Overlook on the island’s Coconut Coast.
On the island of Hawaii, whales are often seen along the shores of the Kohala Coast, as well as Hilo Bay on the east side of the island. The Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site is another great viewing spot, with its sweeping, elevated views near Kawaihae Harbor. In fact, Puukohola literally means “hill of the whale” in Hawaiian.
Boat tours may be your best option for viewing whales up close. Hawaii has dozens of tour operators, including a few that lead kayak excursions—a thrilling way to experience these majestic mammals.
In respect for the kohola and the safety of sightseers, all watercraft must stay a minimum of 100 yards from the whales, but you'll be surprised how close you feel when a 45-ton behemoth lunges out of the sea. If a boat tour is not for you, the whales’ impressive acrobatic displays are often visible from miles away. If you're on land, keep a pair of binoculars handy because you never know when you'll see a humpback’s spout (which can be 10–20 feet tall).
Fully furnished units with full kitchens in popular Ilikai Hotel, Ilikai Marina and Discovery Bay. Economical weekly & monthly rates with beautiful ocean & city views, located near the yacht harbor at the entrance to Waikiki. Close to beaches, Ala Moana shopping center, convention center.
Destination Residences Hawaii offers an exclusive collection of premium vacation residences in beachfront and golf-front resorts in Wailea and Makena on the island of Maui. Come share our aloha, genuine Hawaiian hospitality and authentic Maui experiences.
Maui’s first and only Forbes Five-Star resort is nestled on 15 acres of the breathtaking Wailea coast. The 380-room oceanfront property is world-renowned for its comfortable opulence, impeccable service, luxurious amenities, and for living in harmony with its environment and community.
Situated in Honolulu, Hawaii just one block from Waikiki Beach, this stylish resort features tastefully decorated, spacious one- and two- bedroom suites. Desirable amenities include full kitchens (in some units), plus a washer and dryer.
Located on the most scenic end of Waikiki and directly across from Waikiki Beach, this hotel features an outdoor pool, fitness center, meeting & banquet rooms, an activities desk and concierge, WiFi internet access, and on-site dining. Contemporary guest rooms offer a lanai & a Keurig coffee maker.
Comfortable multi-bedroom residential-style accommodations, with spacious living rooms, large private lanais, fully equipped kitchens, elegant master suites and luxurious bathrooms. Experience a blend of relaxation and rejuvenation, marked by the unique beauty, culture and spirit of Hawaii.
Marriott's Kauai Lagoons - Kalanipuu is a Marriott Vacation Club timeshare resort on the island of Kauai. We are an upscale vacation ownership resort that provides owners and their families with the flexibility to enjoy high quality vacation experiences and a uniquely serene Hawaiian Experience.
Overlooking the shimmering Pacific, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa on Ka’anapali Beach is the perfect island resort for an inspiring Hawaiian vacation. Its beachfront setting and aquatic playground appeals to honeymooners and families alike.
This Big Island resort is minutes from the white sand beaches of the Kohala Coast and Hapuna Park with tons of fun on-sit, including a swimming pool, spa, fitness center, and more. Enjoy the deep blue waters of the Pacific, lush rain-forests, otherworldly lava flows, world-class golf, and shopping.