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).
Experience Waikiki’s breathtaking coastline and stunning sunsets aboard Majestic by Atlantis Cruises. We offer daily sunset dinner cruises and seasonal whale watch cruises. Join us!
Lydgate Farms is run by our fifth generation Kaua’i family. We grow high-quality cacao to make the finest craft chocolate. We also raise award-winning vanilla and honey.
Hawaii's premier full service destination management company (DMC) experienced assistance with all aspects of program design, authentic cultural integration, logistics and operations, and innovative activities and excursions.
We promote, encourage and preserve the historical, cultural, social and commercial vitality of Lahaina, the town and destination. We operate Lahaina Visitor Center, specialty gift shops, and Lahaina Heritage Museum in Old Lahaina Courthouse.
We print what businesses needs. Full design and printing capabilities. Signs, banner, event displays, promo items, out of home advertising, large format, offset, screen print and embroidery services.
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.
Lana'i Ocean Sports is committed to excellence by creating lifelong memories through personalized service delivered with Aloha. As stewards and sailors, we perpetuate our Hawaiian culture and protect our environment. As an ‘Ohana, we value each other and inspire integrity, innovation, and community.
CXI specializes in providing foreign currency exchange at a great rate and with superior customer service. Our services include exchanging foreign currency banknotes, exchanging U.S. and foreign traveler’s cheques. CXI offers a variety of major currencies on demand for immediate availability.
Island Based DMC providing a comprehensive range of creative ideas and incomparable service by skilled professional travel staff. We offer customized proposals, imaginative theme functions, activities, on-line registration, logo amenities and much more!
Miller Media Management is Maui’s top-rated social media marketing company. We actively manage social media accounts and run advertising campaigns for national brands. Together, we’ll uncover the social media strategy that works best for your growing business.