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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).
Enjoy a range of quick tasty bites at this relaxed eatery, located by the Super Pool in Ali’i Tower, from sandwiches, hot panini, hotdogs and more. Take a seat and enjoy a delicious snack and a refreshing drink. It's the perfect spot to recharge before hitting the pool again.
First impressions are important, and Aston Maui Hill’s tropical setting will draw you in upon entry. We’ll greet you with aloha and welcome you to this beautiful 140-room condominium resort as ohana (family). Take advantage of wonderful coastline views, and fun activities nearby in Wailea and Kihei.
Charming upcountry cottage in idyllic stream-side setting. Kitchen, fireplace, jacuzzi, robes, hairdryer, TV/VCR, stereo, phone, breakfast, private patio, barbeque, beach towels/backrests. Close to island's best restaurants and beaches.
A small european style hotel, clean, quiet, comfortable with kichen and private bath in all rooms.
Ono Hawaiian food (Lau Lau and Kalua Pig), beef stew, tripe stew, and combination stew with rice.
Need a midnight snack, an afternoon gelato or bottle of wine for your beachside rendezvous? Head to Mokapu Market to supply all of your island adventures. Open 24/7, our Wailea store features an interesting selection of island-made items.
Start the day right with a delicious breakfast. The Orchid Court offers bountiful traditional and island favorites at our breakfast buffet and tempting a la carte items, fresh juices and exceptional service.
Boutique & Lifestyle hotel featuring 124 guest rooms and suites. Vive Hotel Waikiki has just completed a multimillion dollar complete renovation
One of the finest oceanside dining experiences in the islands. Savor the award-winning pacific rim cuisine in an open-air dining room, which offers stunning views from Waikiki Beach. Dinner nightly except Sunday, located in the Rainbow Tower.
Kolea offers beachfront vacation rentals and real estate at Waikoloa Beach Resort.