Hawaii Whale Watching & Hawaii's Humpback Whale Season | Go Hawaii

Whale Watching

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Whale Watching in Hawaii

Just as our idyllic weather welcomes tourists from around the world, the warm and shallow waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands are a favorite destination for kohola, or humpback whales. Scientists estimate that two-thirds of the entire North Pacific humpback whale population return to Hawaii to breed, calve and nurse their young. They race more than 3,000 miles from the Gulf of Alaska to Hawaii, then stay for a lengthy vacation, frolicking just off our shores and delighting spectators from December through May. 

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.   


Cultural Significance of Whales in Hawaii

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. 


What's the Best Way to See Whales?

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. 

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).

Whale Watching in Hawaii

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Beautiful Ocean and Garden View Studios
Hawaii
Bears' Place Guest House
72-1071 Puukala Rd.
Kailua Kona, HI 96740
Summary

Great Kailua Kona location! Ocean View studios $85-125/nt. or 4BE/4BA home $395/nt. 10 min to beach, golf & airport. DISC: 20% 2 wk, 10% 1wk. Wir sprechen Deutsch. Free WiFi, parking, beach gear. Kitchenettes or full kitchen, TV, lanai, full baths, laundry, quiet neighborhood.

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Volcano Village Lodge
Hawaii
Volcano Village Lodge
19-4183 Kawailehua Street
Volcano, HI 96785
Summary

Volcano Village Lodge offers private lodges in the Volcano, Hawaii rainforest - located 2 miles from the main entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Each lodge offers luxurious linens, top quality amenities, fireplace, and covered lanai. Rates from $280/night.

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Kalaekilohana Inn and Retreat Frontal View
Hawaii
Kalaekilohana
94-2152 South Point Rd
Naalehu, HI 96722
Summary

Hawaii's Only Culturally Appropriate Locally Sourced Luxury Inn. TripAdvisor's Traveler's Choice Award Winner-Top 25 small Hotel in the U.S. for 3 consecutive years. Complimentary gourmet breakfasts plus evening meal options nightly. A great central location for the southern half of Hawaii Island.

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Entrance
Hawaii
Volcano Rainforest Retreat
11-3832 12th Street
Volcano, HI 96785
Summary

The Volcano Rainforest Retreat is a boutique Bed & Breakfast on the Big Island of Hawaii offering a collection of 4 distinct guest cottages, created with elegant simplicity in harmony and balance with the Hawaiian rain forest, adjacent to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and charming Volcano Village.

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Royal Sea Cliff Living Area
Hawaii
Royal Sea Cliff Kona
75-6040 Alii Drive
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Summary

Royal Sea Cliff Kona by Outrigger rises high above the sea on a dramatic lava rock bluff, offering panoramic views of the Kona coast of Hawaii Island. Large studios, one- and two-bedroom condominiums feature full kitchens, washer/dryer and airy balconies.

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Cottage Interior
Hawaii
Lava Lava Beach Club
69-1081 Ku'uali'i Place
Waikoloa, HI 96738
Summary

On Anaeho'omalu Bay on 10 beachfront acres, Lava Lava Beach Club offers four contemporary Hawaiian cottages, open air restaurant serving lunch, dinner and a weekend Bloody Mary Beach Brunch. Stunning beachfront venue and event lawn ideal for groups and weddings.

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Laukapu Forest Cottage Walkway of 1,000 peaces
Hawaii
Volcano Places
Summary

Three cottages in Volcano Village. Two studio cottages and a 2-bedroom. Each is a fully furnished home in lush settings and private. All have internet service, cable TV, a full kitchen, private bathroom with shower. Eight minute drive from the entrance to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

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