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).
At HD Premier, our ethos is simple: to be Hawaii’s finest DMC, connecting you to the deepest essence of the Hawaiian Islands and delivering an unparalleled, visceral experience to every guest, on every program, every time.
Hana Hou! the magazine of Hawaiian Airlines is a glossy, four-color publication featuring spectacular photography and in-depth stories designed to engage and educate readers traveling to, from and within the Hawaiian Islands. Hana Hou! is carried in the seat pockets of all HAL flights.
NMG Network is a cloud-based broadcasting company producing and aggregating original content including shows, films, music, and events. We utilize online, in-room hotel, resort, and luxury residential distribution channels to reach our audiences. With the mission to empower the modern mindset through dynamic storytelling, NMG's vision is to be a global leader in content development that fosters understanding of cultures, improves the lifestyle of our audiences, and offers captive, curated, and controlled solutions for our partners.
The first Omni Channel SaaS-based platform offering middleware functionality to connect backend systems and content with interactive tools to easily extend any environment to Kiosk, Touch, Digital Display, and Mobile.
Offering daily snorkel tours to Molokini Crater and Coral Gardens. The Four Winds II has been deemed Maui's favorite family fun boat and offers the BEST snorkeling tours on Maui! Great for kids of all ages. Enjoy our glass-bottom viewing room & water slide!
Maui Printing Company is a local, Maui based printing company with years of experience behind it's name. Our team members each oversee specific parts of the printing process to ensure each step meets the highest standards of commercial printing.
Hawaii Meetings + Events exceeds expectations with innovative experiential programs using premium event technology. Our CMP certified leadership ensures superior DMC services for discerning corporate meeting & incentive planners. Explore. Inspire. Empower. Contact us today!
Owns & manages Maui's acclaimed Wailea Golf & Tennis Clubs, including operations and property leasing.
Marine Biologist-Guided Zodiac Tours - South Shore & NaPali Coast Snorkel Tours and seasonal Whale Watching Tours. “We had the most amazing time with Captain Tara, she is the best! It was an adventure of a lifetime.”
The nonprofit organization Kohala Institute manages about 2,400 acres in North Kohala including one of the island’s few remaining intact ahupuaa, called Iole.