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).
Kauai Hiking Tours offers day hikes, backpacking trips and driving tours on Kauai Island. Our local guides are passionate about sharing their knowledge with aloha. We welcome adventurers of all ages & ability levels - several options of beginner, intermediate, and advanced tours are available.
Top rated, privately managed Lae Nani beachfront condos on Kauai's Coconut Coast. Well maintained 1, 2, and 3 bedroom oceanfront condos in a peaceful beachside resort, walking distance to shopping, dining, attractions and the coastal path.
Alekona Kauai's oceanfront homes, condos, and five-star luxury concierge services offer the discerning traveler a Kauai unlike anything they have previously experienced. From creating custom itineraries to private chef dinners, our staff is dedicated to ensure you experience the best of Kauai.
An oceanfront hideaway nestled on a curve of golden beach in Haena on Kauai’s lush north shore, offering 48 deluxe two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens. The secluded location and peaceful, laid-back ambiance set amidst stunning natural beauty provide a one-of-a-kind getaway for travelers.
Private Kauai Vacation Home Rental in Princeville, near all North Shore beaches, the Town of Hanalei and Princeville Golf! WiFi, mountain bikes, golf clubs, private tropical garden setting, full kitchen, outdoor shower, outdoor living space and many extras! Great Value for couples or families!
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.
A new luxury resort located in the 450-acre Hokuala community along the Pacific, Timbers Kauai combines authentic Hawaiian living with Timbers’ signature luxury amenities. All two- to four-bedroom oceanfront residences offer relaxed living with at least three private lanais and ocean views.
Wyndham Ka Eo Kai suites offer the elegant ambiance of a fine resort with warm, home-like comforts that make travel more convenient, economical and enjoyable. Guests are invited to go for a swim in one of the pools or enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot tub, have a picnic or get in a round of golf.