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).
Private Paradise Villas is the direct rental source in Hawaii for a select boutique collection of curated 5-star equivalent vacation estates, resort villas, secluded retreats, and romantic hideaways. Reserve with Private Paradise Villas and "Delight In Every Moment" & "Your Own Personal Concierge".
Our Maui oceanfront vacation rentals are perfect for family vacations & anyone seeking adventure. Each air-conditioned condos offer a panoramic view and immediate access to Maui beaches. We are close to the action in Lahaina, yet tucked away in a peaceful beachfront location offering fun & romance.
Historic site, group tours. Art classes, exhibits, workshops, studios, lectures, gift shop, mansion, botanical gardens.
Immerse yourself in a true Hawaiian experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, a AAA Five-Diamond beachfront resort. Cultural and environmental appreciation combined with world-class service and facilities deliver a true escape.
Embrace Hawaiian heritage and local culture during your stay at the new all-suites Wailea hotel. Whatever brings you to Maui, enjoy a resident-like stay with modern amenities that redefines your Hawaii experiences. Hawaii paradise living awaits.
Maui's only ALL-dual zipline is located on the lush volcanic slopes of the West Maui Mountains. A trek on a suspension bridge, ATV ride, spectacular ocean views and 2 miles of ziplines are all included in your adventure!
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.
Oceanfront, fully-furnished one and two bedrooms. 45 steps to the beach. Sunsets right in front of you. Conch blowing nightly. Oceanfront pool. Private Oceanfront lanai's.Free high-speed internet.
Wailea Resort is a 1,500 acre master planned, world class resort situated on Maui's southern shore, spanning from the emerald slopes of Haleakala to the glistening shores of the Pacific. Our hotels, neighborhoods and retail/commercial areas all work in harmony.
Are you ready to embark on a journey off the beaten path and discover the elegance of sustainable living? We are a hidden jewel on the North Shore of Huelo and once you find us~you have found Shangri-la~ the lost paradise.