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).
Premier Kaua'i Vacation Rentals manages spacious 1 and 2 bedroom Condos on Kauai’s Coconut Coast. Choose from a wide variety of Condo units located at Lae Nani, Lanikai, Wailua Bay View, and Hale Awapuhi Villas. We provide direct bookings from our office centrally located in the Kapa'a/Wailua area.
At the Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy you’ll find recently remodeled, spacious one- and two- bedroom accommodations some of the most dramatic scenery in the South Pacific. Resort suites include full kitchens, private lanais, and all of the comforts of home.
Luxurious Aloha Grand at Wailea Beach Villas ON Wailea Beach, footsteps from The Shops of Wailea & Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa. Combining the best of hotel & condo for Family or Golf Vacations, Weddings, or Honeymoons.
Hawaii car rental service for the Island of Oahu. Special discounted rates through large national Rent-A-Car agencies. FREE mileage and no penalty to change or cancel your reservations. Vehicle rental locations at the airport in Honolulu (HNL) and in Waikiki (hotel pick-up). Book now and pay later.
Say aloha to paradise at this 13-acre oceanfront oasis on Kauai’s Coconut Coast. This low-key, family oriented resort promises a relaxing vacation like no other.
Spacious one and two bedroom suites set on 35 tropical landscaped acres. Located oceanfront on white sandy beach in Poipu. Plantation-style condominiums feature fully equipped kitchens, color TV, VCR and in-room safes.