Hawaii Whale Watching & Hawaii's Humpback Whale Season | Go Hawaii

Whale Watching

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Whale Watching in Hawaii

Just as our idyllic weather welcomes tourists from around the world, the warm and shallow waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands are a favorite destination for kohola, or humpback whales. Scientists estimate that two-thirds of the entire North Pacific humpback whale population return to Hawaii to breed, calve and nurse their young. They race more than 3,000 miles from the Gulf of Alaska to Hawaii, then stay for a lengthy vacation, frolicking just off our shores and delighting spectators from December through May. 

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.   


Cultural Significance of Whales in Hawaii

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. 


What's the Best Way to See Whales?

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. 

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).

Whale Watching in Hawaii

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The Beach you land at on Moku Nui Island
Oahu
Twogood Kayaks Hawaii
134B Hamakua Drive
Kailua, HI 96734
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Twogood Kayaks has been providing guided and self guided kayak tours, + kayak & snorkel rentals for 28 years. Let us show you Hawaii's most beautiful beaches, secluded offshore islands, and marine wildlife. http://www.twogoodkayaks.com/Packages.html

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Gift Shop
Hawaii
Akatsuka Orchid Gardens
11-3051 Volcano Road
Volcano, HI 96785
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Explore the Big Islands largest collection of Orchids. Over 1,000 on display in our Orchid Maze & for purchase. Join a behind the scenes Orchid Farm Tour and Tasting. Plant and take home your own baby orchid and leave room for dessert as you sample our Poha Ice Cream and shop our unique giftshop!

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Plantation View
Hawaii
Kona Lisa Coffee
83-5475 Painted Church Rd
Captain Cook, HI 96704
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Kona Lisa is 100% Kona, Estate coffee. We hand pick, sun-dry, custom roast for a remarkably smooth cup. Stop by the farm, or visit us at the Kona Lisa Coffee & Tea Bar at neighboring Paleaku Gardens! Enjoy a cup of Kona Lisa while strolling through the scenic Peace Gardens in the heart of Kona!

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Brand new show
Oahu
Rock-A-Hula
2201 Kalakaua Avenue
Bldg. B, 4th Floor
Honolulu, HI 96815
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Rock-A-Hula® is Waikiki’s biggest show featuring a “Hawaiian Journey®” from the 1920s to today with powerful performances of music and dance by the largest cast of artists, hula, fire knife dancers and amazing musicians in the premier 750-seat Royal Hawaiian Theater.

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Multi-Island
Maui Wellness Coach
Fairmont Kea Lani
4100 Wailea Alanui Dr
Wailea, HI 96753
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Aloha! I'm Joanne Rose, an International Certified Health & Wellness Coach. I help women in the 40 + age group to create a life of freedom, fulfilment and happiness as they navigate through their midlife journey. I provide remote coaching worldwide so no matter where you live, I can help you.

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Rainbows
Hawaii
Paniolo Adventures
Mile 13.2, Kohala Mountain Road (Highway 250)
Kohala, HI 96743
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Daily "open range" rides over 11,000-acre working cattle ranch on historic Kohala Mountain. Lush pasture, native woods and spectacular views of the coastline and peaks. Marvel at the ancient Hawaiian ruins where King Kamehameha once trained his warriors.

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lava glow
Hawaii
Hawaii Outdoor Guides
74-5577 Palani Rd
#811
Kailua Kona, HI 96740
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Discover Hawaii with Hawaii Outdoor Guides - Hike on an active volcano inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, through tropical and unique rain forests, along enchanting beaches and shores, and enjoy the spectacular sights of an island that has been shaped by lava and waterfalls.

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