Guide to Whale Watching in Maui – A Top Hawaii vacation Activity

February 11, 2022

Aside from the world-renowned beaches, there’s another thing that will make your visit to Maui a memorable experience. Every year, the majestic humpback whales travel from the chilly waters of Alaska to the warm Hawaii sea. They do this to mate, give birth, and keep their calves safe during their first months.

Seeing these large migrating mammals in their natural environment is undeniably one of the most awe-inspiring marine wildlife adventures you’ll experience in Maui. If you’re going on a vacation to the island, you should definitely consider adding whale watching to your itinerary. We’ve prepared a guide that details everything you need to know to help you plan out this activity.

When is the best time to do this?

Before you get all excited and immediately book a flight, remember that whale migration is a seasonal movement. You won’t see these gentle sea creatures doing acrobatic stunts in the Maui ocean throughout the entire year. They visit the Hawaii Islands in the winter season, starting as early as October until the last days of May.

In Maui, the whale watching season kicks off from December to March. However, the real fun is during its peak season in February. The majority of the migrating whales will arrive at this time, making it the best month to join whale-watching tours. If you come to Maui around this time, you can surely see these magnificent creatures everywhere you look.

Best tours for whale watching in Maui

There are various ways for you to experience whale watching in Maui. You can either go for a classic boat tour or a combination of whale watching and kayaking activities. However, it’s always best to join a tour with a professional.

They have the best vessel to ensure your safety, expert knowledge to help you learn more about the whales, and even a hydrophone to hear their underwater songs. Are you ready to witness the annual migration of humpback whales to Hawaii? Check out these popular tours in Maui.

Maui Kayak Adventures Whale Watch Tour

Do you want to get up close and personal with these humpback whales? A kayak tour is one of the best ways to see these gentle giants. Since boats have a noisy engine that disturbs their natural routine, they cannot approach the whales within 100 yards. Maui Kayak Adventures’ Whale Watching Tour gives you the perfect opportunity to be as close as possible.

This three-hour tour is one of Maui’s most peaceful and intimate whale watching tours. It’s limited to ten guests per guide to ensure you have their complete attention. Groups can depart from Makena or Olowalu, with both areas providing an unforgettable experience to see marine life. And if you don’t have a camera with you, your guide can capture all those special moments using a GoPro for free.

Redline Rafting Whale Watching Tour

For an intimate setting, Redline Rafting offers a small group tour of 15 to 24 people. Because of the agility of their raft, you can ensure you reach your destination quickly. You spend less time searching for pods of whales and more time enjoying the rare moment of watching these massive sea creatures.

Like the kayak tour above, you will have a marine naturalist on board to give you an educational and exciting experience. Plus, with their hydrophone, you will have the opportunity to listen to the whale’s captivating song. They offer a convenient South Kihei departure with three schedules per day.

Maui Whale Watch Cruise from Lahaina Harbor

With a 4.5 star and over 700 reviews in Viator, the Whale Watch Cruise from Lahaina Harbor is truly worth a try. The two-hour trip guarantees whale sightings. But if there aren’t any humpback whales showing up, they promise to give you another tour, free of charge.

As you hop aboard the boat, you can watch the whales at the comfort of the upper observation deck or the enclosed main cabin with massive viewing windows. An experienced captain and crew will accompany you as you cruise around the Maui waters and listen to their narration. They also show images from an underwater webcam for additional visibility and let you listen to whales through the hydrophone.

Maui Sunset Luau Dinner Cruise

There’s nothing more enthralling than witnessing the whales frolic all against the mesmerizing Maui sunset as the backdrop. Imagine going on this trip with your loved ones as you enjoy a generous buffet, listen to live music, and watch a hula show. It’s no wonder the Maui Sunset Luau Dinner Cruise has a badge of excellence in Viator.

For this tour, you will depart at Maalaea Harbor at 5 pm. You can book this any time of the year, but be sure to go during their migration season if you want to see the humpback whales. With all the included dinner, alcoholic beverages, and entertainment, it’s an excellent value for the money.

Ali’i VIP Maui Whale Watching Tour

The Ali’i VIP Whale Tour is another option that will give you a great experience. The captain and crew are all professional and will provide you with the royal treatment a true VIP deserves. They use a USCG-rated vessel that will take a limit of 11 guests to ensure a quality experience.

They promise to give you plenty of opportunities to see the humpback whales and other sea creatures in the most comfortable way possible. Aside from that, they also have a high-performance Hydrophone Audio System, which plays the whale’s sounds over gentle island music. All their tours depart from Lahaina every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Catch whale sightings even at the comforts of your lodging

Although watching them up-close is a more exciting experience, you can still get a glimpse of these majestic creatures at the shorelines of Maui. With a short-term or long-term rental in one of Maui’s beachfront properties, you can see the whales breaching the surface of the water from the comforts of your temporary home. Just imagine sipping your drink while watching the sunset with your loved ones and suddenly spotting a pod of whales. It’s truly a magical experience!

At AA Oceanfront, you can find the best Maui vacation rentals that ensure a great view of the ocean. Aside from the breathtaking sceneries, the listed accommodations include amenities and everything you need to stay comfortable. Do you have any questions about a property or need help finding the best spot for your whale watching activity? Give us a call at (800) 488-6004 or send an email at!

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