Welcome to the stunning island of Maui, where the crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean hold breathtaking surprises for those who venture out to witness the majesty of these gentle giants. Whale watching in Maui is an experience like no other – imagine the thrill of seeing a humpback whale breach out of the water or having a pod of dolphins swim alongside your boat. Maui is known for having one of the best locations for whale watching in the world. In this blog post, we’ll share the best spots, tips, and insights to help you get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. So grab your sunscreen and binoculars, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.
The 30 Best Whale Watching in Maui
- Small Group Sunset Cocktail Sail from Maui
- Lanai Snorkel Dolphin Watch Half Day
- Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
- Deluxe West Maui Snorkel Tour
- Molokini Sail and Snorkel Adventure
- Maui Atlantis Submarine Adventure
- West Maui Snorkeling Adventure
- Dolphin and Snorkel Adventure from Lahaina to Lanai
- Lanai or Turtle Town Afternoon Snorkel Aboard Quicksilver Maui Lahaina Harbor
- Snorkeling and Whale Watching to Molokini Crater 5 Hour Morning Session
- Clear Kayak and Snorkel Adventure
- Champagne Sunset Sail
- Turtle Reef Kayak Tour
- Sunset Dinner Sail
- Half Day Snorkeling Trip to the Island of Lanai
- Maui Afternoon Snorkeling Tour to Coral Gardens
- Sunset Live
- Lanai Snorkel and Dolphin Watch
- Lahaina Kayak and Snorkel Excursion
- Kayak and Snorkel South Shore Turtle
- Adventure Sail
- Oluwalu Honu Nui Kayak Snorkel
- Molokini Crater and Turtle Town Intimate Snorkeling Tour
- Maui 2 Hour Whale Watching Cruise from Lahaina Harbor
- Mauilahaina Harbor Afternoon Snorkel
- Molokini Snorkeling Adventure on Maui
- Maui Deluxe Sunset Sail from Lahaina
- Dolphin and Snorkel Adventure from Lahaina to Lanai
- From Lahaina Lana I Coast Maui Sail and Snorkel Tip
- Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise from Ma Alaea Harbor With Drinks
The 30 Best Whale Watching in Maui
1. Small Group Sunset Cocktail Sail from Maui
Enjoy a front-row seat for Maui’s stunning sunset on the Small Group Sunset Cocktail Sail from Maui. Step onto the boat from Kaanapali Beach and relish in the scenic views of the nearby islands of Lanai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe while sipping on unlimited handcrafted cocktails from the premium bar. The sailing cruise offers an opportunity to observe dolphins swimming and jumping offshore while enjoying the nightly display of the Hawaiian sky. The tour comes with snacks, non-alcoholic drinks, and all taxes, fees, and handling charges included. It is the perfect way to end the day and appreciate one of mother nature’s best light shows. The tour also includes hotel pickup and drop-off, making the experience hassle-free. The check-in time is 30 minutes before departure at 2435 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina HI 96761 USA. Book your ticket and enjoy the Small Group Sunset Cocktail Sail from Maui for an unforgettable experience.
2. Lanai Snorkel Dolphin Watch Half Day
Join this once-in-a-lifetime experience of snorkeling in the clear waters off the coast of Lanai, and witness the tropical marine life in their natural habitat. This half-day tour offers a more intimate experience, with a maximum capacity of only 22 passengers on board. Enjoy a fresh breakfast and snacks on board, and explore secret coves that bigger boats are unable to reach. Not only will you have an unforgettable adventure, but your ticket purchase also supports marine research and wildlife conservation efforts. Please note that this tour is not suitable for children under 4, pregnant women or guests with back or neck injuries. The meeting point is Slip 17 at Lahaina Harbor, where you should check in 30 minutes prior to the tour start time. Don’t forget to include your phone number or email in your booking for further information.
3. Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
Experience a magical evening aboard a Maui sunset dinner cruise and witness a fiery Maui sunset as you cruise along the Maui shoreline. Sip on mai tais, strawberry lava flows, soda water, juices, and Maui Brewing Co. beers while tableside wait staff serves your three-course meal featuring prime rib, roasted chicken, macadamia nut encrusted mahi mahi, or vegetarian meatballs. Live music performed by Maui’s popular entertainers provides the perfect ambiance as you enjoy views of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. And with guaranteed upper-deck seating, you’ll have unparalleled views of the stunning sunset. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience. Reserve your spot now for an evening filled with romance and natural beauty.
4. Deluxe West Maui Snorkel Tour
The Deluxe West Maui Snorkel Tour offers a comfortable and private boat ride with knowledgeable guides who can teach you about local wildlife and environment. You will have the chance to swim with turtles, see beautiful reef fish, and look for dolphins at two different snorkeling sites. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and soft drinks are included, as well as the use of snorkeling equipment. Alcoholic beverages are also available, and you can tip the crew in cash or Venmo. Don’t forget to bring your own towel. The tour departs directly from Ka’anapali Beach in front of Whaler’s Village, and check-in is at 8:30 am.
5. Molokini Sail and Snorkel Adventure
Molokini Crater is undoubtedly one of the top snorkeling spots in Maui, with over 250 species of fish inhabiting the pristine reef. The crystal-clear waters offer exceptional visibility up to 75 feet, allowing you to swim with schools of tropical fish while soaking in the stunning views of Haleakala from the boat’s deck. The Four Winds Catamaran boasts two restrooms, a glass-bottom viewing room, two spacious decks, plenty of shades, and three boarding ladders, making it a comfortable choice for your adventure. You can expect to see abundant marine life, turtle watching, whale watching (seasonal), and stunning views of Maui’s coastline during your tour. Fun music and tattoos for kids will add to the excitement. Your tour includes a delicious tropical breakfast, grilled BBQ lunch, and beverages such as water, soda, beer, wine, and juice. Hotel pickup and drop-off is also included for your convenience. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience!
6. Maui Atlantis Submarine Adventure
Imagine exploring the ocean floor on a submarine tour in Maui pressing your face against circular portholes in search of reef sharks and fish. On this tour, you’ll descend over 100 feet (30m) in an air-conditioned sub experiencing the sights sounds and scenes of life beneath the waves. You’ll be able to view the underwater reef and marine creatures up close, with complete professional narration throughout the tour. Japanese audio narration is also available for those who need it. This adventure is fantastic for all, with seasonal whale watching and wildlife spotting as added bonuses. The tour includes a return shuttle cruise to the submarine dive site, and you can choose from morning and afternoon departure times. Please be aware that all passengers must be 36 inches or taller to ride the submarine. Local taxes, gratuities, and hotel pickup and drop-off are all included. The meeting point is located at 658 Wharf St, Lahaina HI 96761, for the Atlantis Submarines Maui tour.
7. West Maui Snorkeling Adventure
Dive in to explore West Maui’s underwater world during this half-day snorkeling excursion from Ka’anapali Beach. Under the guidance of your experienced captain, travel to some of the island’s best snorkel locations to see green sea turtles, schools of colorful tropical fish, and maybe spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, or even humpback whales (seasonal). After snorkeling, enjoy a delicious lunch onboard the boat accompanied by nonalcoholic refreshments and beer and cocktails for purchase. Breakfast, lunch, and use of snorkel equipment are included. All taxes, fees, and handling charges are also included, as well as gratuities. Meeting point is at 2435 Kaanapali Pkwy.
8. Dolphin and Snorkel Adventure from Lahaina to Lanai
Experience the beauty of Hawaii’s less-visited island with the Dolphin and Snorkel Adventure from Lahaina to Lanai. Snorkel in stunning bays surrounded by 300-foot tall cliffs near Shark Fin and Manele Bay. Keep your eyes open for a chance to spot over 100 Spinner dolphins who call Lanai their home. This family-friendly activity includes high-quality snorkel gear, water slide, breakfast snacks, drinks, and lunch. Glide through the serene waters in the comfort of a spacious catamaran with a covered seating area. The onboard music and narration provide entertainment and context to make your snorkeling experience even more enjoyable. Hotel pickup and drop-off, parking fees, and gratuities are also included in this unforgettable excursion.
9. Lanai or Turtle Town Afternoon Snorkel Aboard Quicksilver Maui Lahaina Harbor
Embark on an afternoon snorkel tour to Turtle Town, one of Maui’s top snorkeling destinations, home to green sea turtles and an array of fish species. The tour starts at Lahaina Harbor and includes a visit to the turtle cleaning station, where you’ll learn about the local ecosystem from your guide. During winter months, enjoy whale-watching with a hydrophone to hear the humpbacks sing. Lunch and non-alcoholic drinks are included, and all snorkeling equipment and instruction is provided. Take in the beautiful coastal scenery of Maui while you sail. The experienced captain and crew provide a Snorkel 101 Tutorial, as well as the use of top-quality snorkel gear and floatation devices. Gratuities, hotel pickup and drop-off, and parking fees are also included in the tour package. Meet at Lahaina Harbor Main Loading Dock at Wharf Street and check in 30 minutes prior to departure. Look for the tour company at the mandatory check-in service.
10. Snorkeling and Whale Watching to Molokini Crater 5 Hour Morning Session
This half-day snorkeling tour in Maui takes you to the Molokini Crater and Turtle Town on a 53-foot boat with an onboard waterslide. You’ll have the opportunity to snorkel and Snuba (additional cost) at two locations, while also keeping an eye out for blue whales. Enjoy a continental breakfast and deli lunch onboard, as well as the use of snorkeling equipment and towels. Meet at Maui Snorkeling Lani Kai and arrive 30 minutes prior to the start time.
11. Clear Kayak and Snorkel Adventure
Explore the underwater world of Olowalu in Lahaina with this unique tour that combines a clear kayak ride and snorkeling adventure. See green sea turtles, colorful fish, and vibrant coral through the clear bottom of your kayak, and then dive into the crystal-clear water for an up-close encounter with marine life. This tour includes bottled water, snacks, and the use of snorkeling equipment. During the winter months, keep an eye out for humpback whales. Private and group options are available for this activity, which starts at 7:00 AM and ends back at the meeting point, Olowalu Beach Reserve. Gratuities, lunch, and private transportation are included. Please note that the tour will meet at 700 Olowalu Village Rd Lahaina HI 96761 and transportation should be arranged beforehand.
12. Champagne Sunset Sail
Set sail into the sunset aboard a former racing yacht with the Champagne Sunset Sail cruise. This intimate trip caps group sizes at 22 passengers, ensuring a more relaxed atmosphere. A professional crew will take care of the sailing and servers will provide free beverages, including champagne, white wine, local beers, sodas, juices, and bottled water. You’ll depart from Lahaina Harbor, located at Lahaina HI 96761 USA, and check-in 30 minutes prior to departure time at Lahaina Harbor Front Row Slip 2 Booth to process electronic or paper ticket and each passenger’s Waiver Release form if not previously signed. Enjoy the beautiful views while sipping on your favorite beverage and indulging in chocolates. This is the perfect end to a day in Maui.
13. Turtle Reef Kayak Tour
Leave your cares and worries behind and explore the turquoise waters above Turtle Reef in Maui on this incredible kayaking tour. Launching out of Makena Landing, just ten minutes from Wailea, this tour offers stunning views of the Haleakala volcano as you hug the shoreline of a historic volcanic cove. Experience a close encounter with marine life, including the endangered Hawaiian Green sea turtle and enjoy snorkeling in the tropical underwater world. You’ll be provided with quality snorkel equipment, a PFD, and a dry bag if needed. Make the most out of your adventure with an optional swimming or snorkeling adventure. The tour includes a Beach Instructions and Safety Talk, as well as Guide Assisted Launch and Landings. Transportation is also included, as the company offers hotel pick-up and drop-off. Plan your drive to arrive on time at the meeting point at 5230 Makena Alanui, Kihei HI 96753, USA. Book now for an unforgettable experience on Maui’s south side.
14. Sunset Dinner Sail
Leave behind the crowds of Ka’anapali Beach and spend the evening on a sunset cruise off the coast of Maui. This romantic sunset cruise offers stunning island views, photo opportunities, and even the chance to spot whales (December–April). Choose between indoor and outdoor seating options, both of which ensure your comfort regardless of the weather. Parking validation is included so there are no added costs. Plus, sunset lighting creates the perfect atmosphere for photography. This tour includes dinner, alcoholic beverages, 4 hours of parking validation, and gratuities. Check in at the Sea Maui kiosk located between Leilani’s & Hula Grill along the beach walk at Whaler’s Village. We validate 4 free hours of parking for the Whaler’s Village parking structure. Remember to bring your parking ticket to CHECK IN before we depart.
15. Half Day Snorkeling Trip to the Island of Lanai
Join a small group on an ocean raft and set out on a half-day snorkeling trip to the island of Lanai from Lahaina Harbor Slip 8. Sail along the coast while soaking up scenic views and search for playful dolphins. Discover the underwater world around Maui and Lanai at a couple of snorkel spots where you get to come face-to-face with a variety of aquatic species, including fish and sea turtles. All snorkeling equipment and floatation devices are provided, and breakfast and delicious snacks are served on board. The excursion’s small group size ensures you receive personalized attention from your guide. It’s important to note that full face masks are not permitted due to safety hazards. Pregnant individuals, those with back or neck issues, and children under 4 are not allowed on the tour. Meet your guide at the Hawaii Ocean Rafting Whale Watch and Snorkel on 675 Wharf St Slip #8 Lahaina HI 96761 USA. Don’t forget to check in 30 minutes prior to the start time.
16. Maui Afternoon Snorkeling Tour to Coral Gardens
Home to many tropical fish and sea turtles Coral Gardens lies within a naturally protected ocean bay in southwestern Maui. On this snorkeling tour of Coral Gardens from Wailuku, you will travel on a 53-foot boat with a 20-foot waterslide. Upgrade to try SNUBA—a snorkeling and diving combo (added cost). From November through April you have the chance to spot blue whales. The tour includes bottled water, coffee and/or tea, and towels. The meeting point is at Maui Snorkeling Lani Kai, which is located at Maalaea Harbor on 395 Maalaea Rd Slip #64, where you must arrive 30 minutes prior to the 01:00 PM start time to check in and sign waivers. The activity ends back at the meeting point. All fees and taxes are included in the tour.
17. Sunset Live
Watch the stunning sunset in Maui while sailing aboard a catamaran with live music entertainment. Depart from Kaanapali Beach and enjoy the beautiful views of Maui coastline while local musicians perform popular contemporary, reggae, and traditional songs. Your sailing experience includes an open bar with drinks and light appetizers like pork sliders, caprese skewers, asian slaw, and fried chicken with aioli. You can take amazing photos of the sunset and the Maui coast from the sailboat. Don’t forget to check in 30 minutes prior to departure at the Sea Maui. Gratuities are also included in the package. Book your Sunset Live tour now for a memorable experience in Maui!
18. Lanai Snorkel and Dolphin Watch
Discover the beauty of Hawaii’s marine wildlife on this 5-hour Lanai Snorkel and Dolphin Watch. This guided tour takes you to one of the world’s best dive spots off the island of Lanai. Experience the exhilaration of watching Hawaiian Spinner bottlenose and spotted dolphins swimming alongside the boat before diving in for a snorkel session above a coral reef where you can see a diverse range of marine life. The tour includes continental breakfast, lunch, and refreshments along with premium snorkel gear and flotation devices. Certified Marine Naturalists are onboard to assist and provide a fish identification class. Reef Safe Sunscreen is available for purchase onboard for a discounted price. This excursion is perfect for the whole family and is a must-do when in Maui. Hotel pickup and drop-off, as well as gratuities, are all included in the package. Join this unforgettable adventure and make a memory of a lifetime.
19. Lahaina Kayak and Snorkel Excursion
Combine kayaking and snorkeling in a single tour to explore the calm waters off Lahaina. This excursion allows you to paddle your kayak along the coast for scenic views of the West Maui Mountains. You’ll get the opportunity to swim and snorkel while discovering the underwater world with complimentary snorkel equipment. Keep an eye out for Hawaiian green sea turtles, eagle rays, spinner dolphins, and monk seals, and learn about their biology and behavior from your knowledgeable guide. Bottled water and snacks will be provided, and souvenir photos will be available for purchase. Hotel pick-up and drop-off will also be included for your convenience. The meeting point is located at 505 Front St., Lahaina HI 96761 USA.
20. Kayak and Snorkel South Shore Turtle
Discover Maui’s South Shore with a kayaking and snorkeling adventure in Makena Bay. Led by a local guide, paddle through picturesque surroundings and spot green sea turtles and colorful marine life. Suitable for beginners and experts, this excursion includes snorkeling gear and paddling instructions. Choose between a 2.5- or 4.5-hour tour and enjoy lunch on the longer option. Hotel pickup and drop-off is not included. Meet at 5230 Makena Alanui in Kihei.
21. Adventure Sail
Enjoy stunning coastal views only available from the water during this sailing tour down Hawaii’s Au’au Channel. Relax onboard a comfortable well-equipped sailing yacht with a full captain and crew. Enjoy complimentary beverages such as wine, local beer or soft drinks while taking photos and admiring the hilly coastlines with views not reachable from the land. Check-in 30 minutes prior to departure time at Lahaina Harbor Front Row Slip 2. This activity ends back at the meeting point. Confirmation will be received at the time of booking. Please note that this tour is not wheelchair accessible and not recommended for guests with heart problems or other serious medical conditions. Public transportation is available nearby.
22. Oluwalu Honu Nui Kayak Snorkel
Paddle out from Maui’s beaches for a 3.5-hour small-group kayak and snorkeling tour along the gorgeous Olowalu coastline. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the West Maui Mountains while kayaking through calm, clear waters. Then, hop into the water to experience snorkeling with endangered green sea turtles and tropical fish. This family-friendly journey requires basic swimming skills. All necessary snorkeling gear, refreshments, and snacks are included. A friendly and knowledgeable guide will accompany guests throughout the entire tour. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience!
23. Molokini Crater and Turtle Town Intimate Snorkeling Tour
This half-day snorkeling tour of Molokini Crater is perfect for those looking for a more intimate experience. With a maximum of two dozen passengers on the spacious yacht, you’ll have plenty of room to relax and enjoy the scenery. The tour includes breakfast, lunch, and an open bar with beer and cocktails. In addition to snorkeling the famous Molokini Crater, you’ll also visit multiple snorkeling spots throughout the day. Please note that for safety reasons, only traditional snorkeling equipment will be allowed on the tour. The meeting point is located at 101 Maalaea Rd and the tour departs at 8:00 AM sharp. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to explore the beautiful waters surrounding Maui.
24. Maui 2 Hour Whale Watching Cruise from Lahaina Harbor
Experience whale watching like never before with this thrilling 2-hour cruise from Lahaina Harbor. Travel through the Maui Channel in a high-speed double-deck catamaran to witness humpback whales in their natural habitat. The whales migrate to Hawaii every year to mate and give birth, making this the perfect time to catch a glimpse of them.
This tour offers comfortable and spacious seating arrangements that ensure everyone gets a good view. You’ll have the chance to listen to the whales communicating with each other using underwater hydrophones and witness their playful behavior, including slapping their fins and tails, breaching, and spy-hopping. The captain and crew will provide information about the whales’ behaviors, habitats, and other fun facts.
Onboard, you’ll enjoy complimentary soda, juice, and water, and have access to restrooms. Hotel pickup and drop-off are included, but alcoholic drinks can be purchased separately. Don’t forget to tip the captain and crew if you enjoyed your experience.
Come and witness the majesty of these beautiful creatures with this unforgettable whale watching tour that promises a great time for all ages!
25. Mauilahaina Harbor Afternoon Snorkel
Spot Hawaii’s native marine life in its natural habitat on a snorkel cruise to Turtle Town from Lahaina Harbor. Enjoy panoramic views of the west Maui mountains Lanai and Molokai while swimming past green sea turtles, lowfin chubs, goatfish, octopus, black durgon, and frogfish. During whale season, witness the majestic humpback whales swimming in their natural habitat and learn about their fascinating behaviour and place in Hawaii. The itinerary is subject to change but typically includes diving into the crystal clear waters of Turtle Town Lahaina, home to dozens of sea turtles. All snorkel equipment is provided, and an onboard lunch of hot dogs, chips, and a chocolate chip cookie, or a veggie wrap, refreshments, and a snorkel tutorial are included. After the afternoon snorkel adventure, the tour concludes back at Lahaina Harbor.
26. Molokini Snorkeling Adventure on Maui
Embark on a half-day snorkeling adventure in Maui that will exceed your expectations. A glass-bottomed catamaran will take you to two of Maui’s most famous snorkel locations: Molokini and Turtle Town. You’ll witness the majestic beauty of the extinct volcanic crater and snorkel in crystal-clear waters with 150′ visibility and 250 species of fish. Be prepared to be amazed by the friendliest marine animals, Hawaii’s Green sea turtles, as you swim along. Spend time admiring the Maui scenery and create unforgettable memories with family and friends. The tour includes breakfast, lunch, and unlimited refreshments (such as juice, soda, coffee, and tea). Additionally, lifeguards certified in live-saving techniques and an experienced captain will accompany you throughout the tour. Note that alcoholic beverages are available for purchase at an additional cost of $3.00 each. Join this fantastic snorkeling adventure like no other for a memorable day in Maui.
27. Maui Deluxe Sunset Sail from Lahaina
Enjoy a deluxe sunset sail from Lahaina on a catamaran cruise along the stunning coastline of Maui. Experience the romantic views as the sun dips below the sea and keep an eye out for local wildlife, such as wide-winged seabirds and playful dolphins. Savor mouth-watering cold hors d’oeuvres and a range of ice-cold drinks while relaxing on the forward trampolines or under the covered cabin space. This tour includes hotel pickup and drop-off, as well as gratuities. Please note that this tour is not suitable for people with mobility impairments. Join us for an unforgettable evening on the water.
28. Dolphin and Snorkel Adventure from Lahaina to Lanai
Explore a new Hawaiian island on a catamaran cruise from Maui to Lanai on this fantastic tour. Enjoy a continental breakfast and deli sandwich lunch while sailing on the clear and cool waters, under the warm Hawaiian sun. Look out for spinner dolphins while you snorkel and swim with vibrant marine life. Admire towering cliffs above you and capture unforgettable memories. The tour includes captain and crew, snorkel gear and flotation devices, snorkeling gear tutorial, lifeguard, jump platform, slide, hotel pickup and drop-off, parking fees, and towels. Please note that this tour is not suitable for individuals with mobility impairments, wheelchair users, or non-swimmers. After snorkeling, enjoy $3 beers and mai tais to celebrate an amazing adventure in Hawaii. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to explore Lanai and discover spinner dolphins in their natural environment.
29. From Lahaina Lana I Coast Maui Sail and Snorkel Tip
Join this amazing adventure along the beautiful coast of Lana’i. This trip explores the pristine reefs along Lana’i’s south shores. You will get the chance to visit multiple snorkel sites when the time and weather allow for it.
On the way back to Lahaina, set sail and look for Lana’i’s famous spinner dolphins and enjoy a gourmet continental breakfast and a deli-style lunch. Admire the views of the stunning cliffs of Lana’i while relaxing with a beverage and tropical fruits of your choice aboard the vessel.
This experience is a wonderful way to spend the weekend and explore pristine reefs at special snorkeling spots with uncrowded snorkeling sites and expansive island views. Please note that itineraries are subject to change, but your experienced crew will select the best locations to visit based on the conditions that day.
30. Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise from Ma Alaea Harbor With Drinks
Watch the sun set behind the Kahalawai Mountains Lanai Island and the Molokini Crater on this Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise from Ma’alaea Harbor. Hop aboard a comfortable triple-decker catamaran, grab a drink from the bar and relax as you listen to Hawaiian music and look out for humpback whales. A delicious Island-inspired dinner, including a decadent dessert, will be served while you take in the stunning views of Ma’alaea Bay. The tour includes two alcoholic beverages per person, parking fees, and hotel pickup and drop-off, making for a stress-free and unforgettable experience.
Frequently Asked Questions About Whale Watching in Maui
If you are planning a trip to Maui, you may be wondering what to expect from whale watching tours. Here are some frequently asked questions about whale watching in Maui that will help you prepare for this incredible experience.
1. When is the best time to see whales in Maui?
The best time to see whales in Maui is during the winter months, from December to May. During this time, humpback whales migrate from Alaska to Hawaii to mate and give birth. The peak of the whale watching season is from mid-January to mid-March, but you can still see whales throughout the season.
The early morning and late afternoon tours tend to be less crowded and offer better lighting for photography.
2. What types of whales can you see in Maui?
The only type of whale you will see in Maui is the humpback whale. These whales are known for their acrobatic behavior and are often seen breaching, tail slapping, and fin waving.
Look out for a V-shaped blow and a dorsal fin that is knobby and jagged. These are characteristics of humpback whales.
3. Are the whale watching tours safe for the whales?
Yes, the whale watching tours in Maui are strictly regulated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to ensure the safety and protection of the whales. The guidelines include keeping a distance of at least 100 yards from the whales, not approaching or blocking them, and not staying with a whale for longer than 30 minutes. The boats are also required to turn off their engines when a whale is spotted and wait for them to approach.
Choose a reputable tour company that follows the guidelines and has certified naturalists on board to educate you about the whales and their behavior.
4. What should you wear on a whale watching tour?
It is recommended to dress in layers and wear comfortable, non-slip shoes. Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, as the sun can be strong on the water. A waterproof camera or phone case is also a good idea.
If you are prone to motion sickness, take medication before the tour or bring ginger candy or tea to ease nausea.
5. What is the duration of a whale watching tour?
The duration of a whale watching tour varies depending on the tour company and type of tour. Most tours last between 2 to 3 hours, but there are also half-day and full-day options available.
Check the tour company’s website or call ahead to confirm the duration of the tour and any additional details.
6. What is the cost of a whale watching tour?
The cost of a whale watching tour varies depending on the tour company, type of tour, and season. Prices generally start at around $50 per person for a basic tour, but can go up to $200 or more for a private luxury tour.
Look for discounts or promotions online, or book your tour in advance to get the best deals.
7. Are there any age restrictions for whale watching tours?
Most tour companies allow children of all ages on their whale watching tours, but some may have age restrictions for safety reasons. It is always best to check with the tour company before booking.
If you are traveling with young children, choose a tour company that offers kid-friendly amenities like life jackets and binoculars.
8. Can you swim with whales in Maui?
No, it is illegal to swim with humpback whales in Maui. The whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and disturbing them is a federal offense.
You can still have an immersive experience by choosing a tour that offers underwater viewing pods or hydrophones to listen to the whales’ songs.
9. What should you do if you see a distressed whale?
If you see a distressed whale, do not approach it and do not try to help it. Distressed whales can be dangerous, and approaching them can make the situation worse. Instead, contact the NOAA hotline at 1-888-256-9840 to report the sighting and provide as much information as possible.
You can also report a distressed whale sighting through the WhaleReport app, which is available for free download on iOS and Android devices.
10. What happens if you don’t see any whales on your tour?
Most tour companies offer a guarantee that you will see whales on your tour. If you don’t see any whales, you can usually get a refund or a voucher for another tour. However, keep in mind that whale sightings are not guaranteed, and the tour company cannot control the whales’ behavior or movements.
Enjoy the ocean and the scenery even if you don’t see whales. You may still see other marine life like dolphins, sea turtles, and colorful fish.
How to do whale watching in Maui: A comprehensive guide
If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, specifically Maui, whale watching should definitely be on your bucket list. Maui is one of the best destinations to witness the annual migration of humpback whales from Alaska to Hawaii. These gentle giants travel over 3000 miles every year to Maui’s warm waters to mate, calve and nurse their young ones.Watching these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat is an unforgettable experience, but it takes a bit of preparation and insight to ensure you have the best whale watching experience. Here’s our comprehensive guide on how to do whale watching in Maui.
When to go whale watching in Maui
The best time to go whale watching in Maui is between December and April, as this is when the humpback whales migrate to the warm Hawaiian waters. During this peak season, you’ll have a higher chance of spotting these giant creatures. If you visit Maui outside of this season, you may still spot whales as some of them don’t migrate and stay in the waters around Hawaii throughout the year.
Where to go whale watching in Maui
There are multiple areas in Maui where you can go whale watching. Here are some of the best places to catch a glimpse of these amazing creatures:
Lahaina Harbor is one of the top spots for whale watching tours in Maui. Many whale watching tours depart from this harbor, which makes it an ideal location to witness these sea giants. This spot is popular because it’s closer to where the whales usually gather.
Ma’alaea Harbor is located in central Maui and is also a popular spot for whale watching tours. This location is ideal for those who are staying in Kihei, Wailea or Makena.
Other areas where you can see whales include Ka’anapali Beach, Kapalua Bay, and Wailea Beach.
Choosing a whale watching tour
There are many whale watching tours that you can choose from in Maui. When selecting a tour, consider the following factors:
Larger boats offer more stability and are ideal for those who are prone to seasickness. Smaller boats offer a more intimate experience and allow for better viewing.
Do some research on the tour company before booking to ensure that they have a good reputation for safety and knowledge about the area.
Duration of tour
Whale watching tours usually last between 2 and 3 hours. Consider your schedule and how much time you want to spend on the ocean when choosing the duration of your tour.
What to bring for whale watching
Here’s a list of essential items to bring on your whale watching tour:
A camera is a great way to capture the moment when you spot your first whale.
Sunscreen and a hat
The Hawaiian sun can be harsh, so make sure to wear sunscreen and bring a hat to protect you from the sun.
Even though Maui is warm, it can be chilly on the water. Dress in warm clothing to ensure maximum comfort.
Binoculars can be helpful in spotting whales from a distance.
Tips for whale watching
Here are some tips to keep in mind when whale watching in Maui:
Listen to the captain’s instructions
The captain has a lot of experience and will know how to find the whales safely. Make sure to listen to their instructions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Arrive at least 30 minutes before your tour to ensure a smooth check-in process.
Bring plenty of water and other non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated during the tour.
Be patient and observant
Whale watching can be thrilling, but it requires patience and careful observation. Be patient and watch the water for any signs of whales.
The bottom line
Now that you have a good idea about how to do whale watching in Maui, it’s time to book your whale watching tour. Remember to choose a reputable tour company, bring essential items with you, and listen to the captain’s instructions. With a bit of preparation, you’ll have an unforgettable whale watching experience in Maui.
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