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).
CXI specializes in providing foreign currency exchange at a great rate and with superior customer [...]
Remedy Intelligent Staffing is a full-service staffing organization focused on delivering Human Capital [...]
Still & Moving Center is a local and global hub for mindful movement. Activities at Still & Moving [...]
Waikiki’s hidden gem, the best scuba diving on Oahu. Hawaiian Diving Adventures is the place for [...]
With decades of omnichannel marketing, digital marketing, multi-channel analytics, P&L management, and [...]
Join And You Creations on our Nature and You tour! Experienced guides will lead you through the Manoa [...]
We have tours and private cruises at the Kaneohe sandbar. We provide superb service with aloha for your [...]
Located in the hangars that bear the scars of the Pearl Harbor attack. Aircraft such as a 1942 Japanese [...]
Full service DMC - Destination and Events Management company specializing in creative and customized [...]
NMG Network is a cloud-based broadcasting company producing and aggregating original content including [...]
TravelClick offers innovative, cloud-based and data-driven solutions for hotels around the globe to [...]
View wild humpback whales and other diverse sea life in their natural habitat off of Oahu's stunning [...]