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).
The Turtle Huts at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, located in the Sea Mountain Resort, are two, 1 bedroom condos delightfully furnished to pamper and spoil! Amenities include a large swimming pool, spa, tennis courts, 18-hole golf course.
A swell little spot in Waikiki, this untraditional yet unforgettable hotel offers a slice of authentic Waikiki through expertly designed rooms and suites paired with handcrafted experiences. On-site amenities include a pool, Chef Ed Kenny's restaurant Mahina & Sun's, and Olive & Oliver boutique.
Situated on Oahu's breathtaking North Shore, Turtle Bay Resort has lured generations of adventure seekers to its spectacular setting. With 850 breathtaking acres to explore and five miles of coastline it’s an explorer’s dream.
Built as a classic Bed and Breakfast, we serve a full gourmet breakfast. Located on the sunny south side of Kauai near Lawai Valley. All air-conditioned rooms have a private cliffside lanai, overlooking panoramic views of the Lawai Valley and our 50' salt water pool. We have a hot tub and bbq.
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.
BLT Steak brings its signature bistro ambiance and French-technique-inspired steakhouse fare to the Trump International Hotel on Honolulu’s famed Waikiki Beach. The menu offers elevated American steakhouse classics of prime cuts of beef, fresh seafood, and memorable desserts.
Introducing Aulani, DISNEY VACATION CLUB Villas, Ko Olina, Hawai`i. Overlooking the crystal-blue Pacific, the magic of Disney comes to life at this premier vacation destination. Accommodations include Deluxe Studios, 1-, 2-, and 3-Bedroom Villas.
Come to Po'ipu Beach on the sunny south shore of Kauai. Quiet, private, affordable Kauai paradise, Poipu Plantation is situated on an acre of Gardens, offers Kauai Cottage Style Vacation Rental suites with full kitchen or four Bed and Breakfast Suites in a 1930s Inn. All in Air Conditioned comfort.