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).
59 lovingly refreshed, individual plantation-era cottage homes spread across 43 acres on Kauai's sunny west shore. Each cottage features a full kitchen and private lanai. The resort is set on a quiet, black-sand walking beach nearby the road to Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park.
Situated in a tranquil tropical setting in Kailua-Kona, the Wyndham Mauna Loa Village awaits your arrival with spacious accommodations. Moreover, it offers amazing amenities that include 6 outdoor swimming pools, 6 whirlpool tubs, 11 tennis courts, laundry facilities, and children's activities.
Immerse yourself in the welcoming spirit of Aloha during your stay at Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach. With a location just steps from glittering beaches, island-inspired eateries, and natural wonders, you’ll quickly discover what makes Hawaii such a beloved destination on the island of Oahu.
Located in Sunny South Maui just across the street from a six mile stretch of Maui's beautiful and award-winning beaches, the Maui Coast Hotel is the only Premier Full Service Hotel in Kihei, one of Maui's favorite vacation destinations.
Maui's newest luxury resort - located on Kaanapali North Beach - features full gourmet kitchens and very spacious one-, two- and 3-bedroom suites each with a generous lanai and world-class views.
What better way to explore Kauai than in a 4-wheel drive rental on wheels? Our off-road machines will have you not only riding in comfort but also in style as you discover all the adventures of Kauai.
The Holiday Inn Express Waikiki is located at the gateway of Waikiki in Honolulu. This 44-story hotel with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Koolau mountains and Waikiki skyline is just 3 blocks from Waikiki beach and 4 blocks from the Hawaii Convention Center.
Just steps away from beautiful Kalapaki Beach, Banyan Harbor offers one and two bedroom condominium vacation rentals; full kitchen and and washer/dryer in every unit.
A tropically landscaped private estate located just above Wailea, offering a one-bedroom ocean view vacation cottage and 2 different bed and breakfast suite accommodations. Close to Maui's nicest Beaches. Rates from $119 to $199/night At Dreams Come True on Maui we live Aloha everyday.
Conveniently located oceanfront on Kauai's sunny South Shore. One-, two-, or three-bedroom condominium suites.