Between the months of November and April, the humpback whales travel from Alaska to the warm Hawaiian ocean to give birth and raise their babies. The most active times to see the whales just offshore is between January and March. During this season, there are also plenty of whale-watching tours which will take you out to see the whales more up close and personal. Here are a few of the various whale watching tours on the islands that offer them:
A little different than the other islands, the Big Island is not just home to whales during a certain season. Instead, Sperm whales, Pygmy Killer whales, Pilot whales, and the rare beaked whales make the waters around the Big Island their home year-round. That means there are whale watching tours available all year.
Adventure X Boat Tours
Formally Adventure X Rafting, Adventure X Boat Tours specializes in tours that offer seasonal fun: from whale watching to swimming with the dolphins and even night snorkeling. You may even be treated to sightings of the islands other residents: monk seals, sea turtles, and manta rays. There are many features of the tour, but one of the aspects that the captains pride themselves on are smooth rides for passengers of all ages.
The tours offered by Wasabi are full-day events that provide a full, 360-degree view of the Big Island. This island boasts 8 of 13 climate available in the zones in the world, from volcanoes to pasture land, and black sand to dense rainforests. Of course, whale-watching and other sea-life is always a possibility on the tours, and with a full-day tour, the odds are even higher.
Not looking for a crowd on your tour? Try a private sailboat tour with Shadowfax! The our options include snorkeling, dinning, whale-watching, and more – and the trip is fully customizable to what you would like to experience. The max for groups is 6 and there is usually a waiting list, so get your reservation in early!
Adhering to tradition, the Maui Magic crew begin each trip with the call of a conch horn. As the sun crests the dormant Haleakala Volcano, you will be sailing along the world-famous South Maui Coast. This trip include snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the Molokini Crater. Of course, season and weather permitting, the chances of spotting whales and other sea-life of the islands are pretty high.
Oahu Catamaran Cruise
With this cruise, you will board barefoot right off Waikiki Beach and sail at sunset while sipping tropical drinks, champagne, beer, juice, or soft drinks. You will also get full views of the ocean, Waikiki, Honolulu, and more. While you may see sea-life during the cruise, the true experience is in the beautiful, relaxed, and fun evening.
Star Of Honolulu
Voted Hawaii’s most popular whale watching cruise several years in a row, The Star of Honolulu is a fantastic viewing for whales. This is due to the 60-foot high observation deck and 4 walk-around decks, which allow you to see very far out on all sides of the ship. If you are unlucky enough not to see any whales, Star of Honolulu offers vouchers to come back again.
Captain Andy’s is one of the most popular charter tours on Kauai, and offer several different tour options on their catamarans and/or rafts. However, the most popular tour for whale watching i the Sunset Dinner Na Pali cruise. This option goes between Kauai and the Island of Nihau to show you the Na Pali coast like very few people have seen it – painted in the gorgeous oranges and reds of sunset. This area is also one of the best areas for whale-watching, because it is far less frequented by people and boats.
Holo Holo Charters
At Holo Holo, the goal is to get you to your destination faster, so you can enjoy it for longer. Snorkeling, sightseeing, relaxing on a the Na Pali coast cruise are all options to create the best experience for what you want. However, the speed does not sacrifice safety in any way, and the tours are appropriate for all ages.
No matter which island you are on or which tour you choose, here are a few tips that will help to make the experience the best possible.
1. Book Your Trip in Advance
Many tours, especially on this list, are popular enough to accrue a waiting list, especially during “peak” tourist seasons. For this reason, it is a good idea to get your reservation in as soon as possible. Even months in advance is not too early to book.
2. Arrive Early
Whether you are taking a morning, afternoon, or sunset cruise, it is best to arrive early, In fact, most cruises begin boarding at least 20 minutes before sailing time, so it’s good to arrive 30-45 minutes early to get your group ready and in the right place so you don’t miss the boat!
3. Dress Appropriately
The usual attire for a Hawaiian cruise is tank tops, shorts, and a light jacket in case of spray or rain, but the specific tour may change the attire you wear. Some will need swimwear, and others only light layers. Be sure to review the suggested dress code for the tour you’ve chosen.
4. Enjoy Whatever Happens
While you may be going on a tour specifically to see whales, no tour can guarantee whale sightings or the whale activity. Likewise, other sea life will behave differently, so you may not get to see those dolphins you want. Instead, try to enjoy the experience, no matter what it brings.