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The shallow, warm waters around the Hawaiian islands are an annual stop-over for Pacific humpback whales, making Hawaii one of the world's best whale watching locales. See below for our tips on seeing these amazing creatures in Hawaiian waters.

When to Go
The arrival of the season's first humpback whale—usually between August and October—is a big deal in the islands. Maui hosts a Whale Festival each year with parades and exhibits at the height of the season in February. Hawaii's humpback whale season is in full swing by November, and winds down with the majority of whales departing in April and May. If viewing whales by boat, opt for an early morning or late afternoon tour to avoid the midday heat and to sail when seas are calmest.

Where to Go
Of the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island are best known for their stellar whale watching. The shallow channel between West Maui, Lanai, and Molokai regularly hosts the largest numbers. Land-based watching—from coastal peaks where ocean panoramas make them easy to spot—is also a possibility.

What You'll See
The 45-ton humpbacks display a number of characteristic movements: spouting, breeching (jumping and belly-flopping), smacking the surface with their pectoral fins, and deep diving displaying their tail flukes. But humpbacks aren’t the only species you’re likely to see on a Hawaii whale watch tour—seabirds such as tropicbirds, boobies and albatross as well as marine mammals like Hawaiian spinner dolphins also make frequent appearances.

How to Go
There are many variations on the whale watching cruise in Hawaii. Choose from catamarans, zodiacs, jet-boats and even kayak and outrigger canoe tours that depart from centralized locations including Lahaina and Kaanapali on Maui, Waikiki on Oahu, and Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Dedicated charters can last anywhere from two to three hours, but longer adventures combine whale watching with snorkeling or sunset dinner cruising.

What to Bring
Be sure to pack a waterproof camera (an extendable arm can afford incredible underwater shots), sunglasses (polarized are best), a hat, sunscreen, and a light water-resistant jacket. Binoculars and seasickness medication may also be useful.
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Whale Watching On The Big Island

Whale Watching On The Big Island

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150
Hawaii’s Big Island is home to migrating pods of humpback whales, which often breach as they build up energy for their northward migration. This narrated tour brings you to some of the best viewing grounds via 24-person catamaran. You’re able to hear the whales singing through the provided hydrophones. The tour provider guarantees whale sightings or the next trip is free.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$94.00
From
$94.00

Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion

Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion

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282
Go whale-watching off the coast of Oahu on this excursion from Waikiki or Ko Olina. During the months from December to May, pods of humpback whales migrate through Hawaii's warm waters, and this tour guarantees whale sightings. With a small group of people, watch the gentle giants swim, feed, breach and play around your boat. In the rare event that you don't see any whales, you will be allowed to do the tour again for free. Snacks are included.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$75.01
From
$75.01

Maui Whale Watch Cruise from Lahaina Harbor

Maui Whale Watch Cruise from Lahaina Harbor

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640
Catch an exciting peek at the underwater world on this whale-watching cruise in Maui. Your excursion includes narration from your captain and crew, as you learn more about these majestic creatures. Enjoy stunning views and photo opportunities while traveling along Maui’s exquisite coastline. Your family-friendly cruise comes with a guarantee that you spot a whale during your adventure.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$74.25
From
$74.25

Dolphin Watch Boat Tour - See Dolphins Whales & Turtles - Oahu
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Dolphin Watch Boat Tour - See Dolphins Whales & Turtles - Oahu

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661
View dolphins in their natural habitat and swim within safe viewing distance to turtles and green sea turtles on this popular Oahu snorkel cruise from Honolulu. Sail into waters home to spinner dolphins, and then glide alongside colorful fish. Snorkel gear, kayaks, and paddle boards are available onboard to help you get the most of this outing. Hotel transport included.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$179.00
From
$179.00

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal

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556
Sail on a catamaran down Oahu's western coast during this cruise from Ko Olina. Glide through the unspoiled waters on this side of the island in search of dolphins and whales, then dive in for a snorkeling experience in a hidden local spot rich with marine life. Enjoy a Hawaiian buffet, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, before heading back to shore. Choose from three daily departure times.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$134.00
From
$134.00

Wake Up With the Whales Cruise
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Wake Up With the Whales Cruise

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70
See, hear and photograph the Humpback Whales from our stable catamaran decks. Early morning ocean conditions are generally the calmest of the day! Includes, soft drinks and crunchy granola bar snacks. Guaranteed – see a Humpback or ride again for free!
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$107.00
From
$107.00

Up-Close Maui Whale Watch Tour from Lahaina

Up-Close Maui Whale Watch Tour from Lahaina

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394
This tour departs from the historic Lahaina Harbor to find the majestic humpback whales that frequent the waters surrounding Maui in the winter months. Traveling in a small raft creates an intimate whale watching experience not found on the larger vessels commonly used on whale watching tours. Plus, the raft travels quickly, letting you spend more time whale watching and less time in transit.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$48.23
From
$48.23

Kona Snorkel Adventure - Navy SEAL Zodiac Boat, 14 Guest Max!

Kona Snorkel Adventure - Navy SEAL Zodiac Boat, 14 Guest Max!

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437
Go coral reef snorkeling on our fast boat, explore parts of the coast line with sea caves etc. & hopefully Encounter Marine Wildlife such as Dolphins, Whales, Manta Rays etc. watching from the boat! (*wildlife is NOT guarantee*) For the adventurous adrenalin riders ONLY ( this boat ride / ocean can be rough, bumpy & choppy on RARE occasions) this is not a slow cruise boat, please don't come us if you feel you'll have a negative experience, feel free to cancel with us after booking if this is not for you. Snacks, drinks & gear are free. Tour time is NOT EXACT (3 - 4 hours) why? weather conditions, how long you snorkel etc. Boat Capacity: We need a minimum of 6 guest for the tour to operate. Its rare we don't meet the capacity! If your tour time slot doesn't fill up, we will move you to a different time slot or day.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$99.00
From
$99.00

Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii
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Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii

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1527
Have a unique Big Island experience snorkeling with manta rays on this tour. Led by a local guide, you’ll take a short cruise out to the manta site, where you’ll watch the beautiful Hawaiian sunset before dipping into the water to watch the manta rays up close. All necessary equipment will be provided for your excursion, as well as light refreshments and snacks to enjoy on board. Your tour will conclude at its original departure point. If you don't see manta rays on this excursion, book again for another night--no charge.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$70.00
From
$70.00

Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure

Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure

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134
Winter is the most exciting time to be out on the water in Hawaii, as it’s the time of year when thousands of migrating humpback whales visit the islands. On this exciting Big Island whale watching tour, experience the thrill of traveling aboard a high-speed raft, and then seeing a whale swimming just in front of the boat. Though the boat will obey the federal laws and not approach within 100 feet (30 meters), it isn’t uncommon for the whale to decide to swim up under the boat!
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$115.66
From
$115.66

Turtle Canyon Catamaran Snorkel Cruise from Waikiki

Turtle Canyon Catamaran Snorkel Cruise from Waikiki

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1143
Snorkel with green sea turtles in Oahu's Turtle Canyon on this 2- to 3-hour tour departing from Waikiki. Board a power catamaran and sail along the shore of Oahu towards the island's best place to spot the resident turtles. Turtle sightings are guaranteed; if a turtle is not sighted, you will be given a free second cruise. After snorkeling, enjoy lunch (if option selected ) and two provided drinks while you keep your eyes peeled for passing marine life like dolphins and migrating whales.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$96.75
From
$96.75

Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure

Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure

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1014
Ride a personal, self-propelled, electric underwater scooter through Oahu's underwater world. During this 2-hour tour, cruise past Diamond Head Crater through Maunalua Bay on a power catamaran, then dive under the surface on your scooter to see green sea turtles, schools of tropical fish and other native marine life. No experience is necessary for this guided tour; all equipment is provided.
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  • 2 hours
From
$146.60
From
$146.60

Whale Watching Experience in Waikiki

Whale Watching Experience in Waikiki

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25
Set sail on the Pacific—and see if you can spot whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life—on this family-friendly catamaran cruise. In the morning, head to the Honolulu waterfront, hop aboard your vessel, and set sail along the Waikiki shore. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the views over the water, all while your guide looks out for migratory humpback whales.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$106.71
From
$106.71

Mid-Morning Whale Watch

Mid-Morning Whale Watch

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16
This whale watch departs directly from Kawaihae Harbor within the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Waters so you won’t have to travel far to see the majestic Humpback Whales. Tours include expert interpretation from on board marine naturalists, great photo ops, and an underwater hydrophone to hear the whales as they sing. This trip includes crunchy snacks, tropical juices and soft drinks. The morning light makes for great photos! Guaranteed – see a Humpback or take the trip again for free!
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$107.00
From
$107.00

Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail

Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail

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228
Sail along the Leeward Coast of Oahu on this morning cruise. Snorkel with an expert guide and watch for spinner dolphins on this family-friendly adventure off the scenic southwestern coast of the island. This excursion, complete with spectacular scenery and fun water activities includes breakfast and lunch
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$140.24
From
$140.24

Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin and Seasonal Whale Watching from Oahu

Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin and Seasonal Whale Watching from Oahu

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426
Head to the west shore of Oahu to view Hawaii’s spinner dolphins and other local marine mammals! Our lifeguard certified crew of marine biologists and naturalists with decades of experience will try to find as much as possible during your tour. Cruise along the Waianae Coast and snorkel with tropical fish and Hawaiian green sea turtles. During the winter months (January to March), the Waianae Coast has more visitors -- humpback whales! Avoid crowds on our 32 foot USCG inspected vessel. We only allow 15 guests on board, and every seat has a great view of the animals. You may bring your own snacks and beverages on the boat. You may also purchase food and drinks at Spinners Cafe next to check in before or after your tour with us. You will receive 10% of your food purchase.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$193.88
From
$193.88

Oahu Shark Dive

Oahu Shark Dive

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1258
Set out from Oahu’s scenic North Shore to the depths of the big blue Pacific, where you have the chance to observe wild sharks from inside an underwater shark cage. Thanks to your professional, experienced crew, the Oahu shark dive is completely safe as they know the predators’ behavior, and the underwater cage provides proven safety against all different species of sharks. Whether you’re in the cage with sharks right in front of you or watching from up in the boat, Oahu shark diving is a Hawaii activity you’ll definitely never forget.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$109.26
From
$109.26

Whale Watch Excursion from the Big Island

Whale Watch Excursion from the Big Island

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92
Get up close with humpback whales near the Big Island of Hawaii on this guided, whale watching excursion. During Hawaii's whale season, the ocean is full of activity from humpback whales migrating from the Pacific Northwest to breed and nurse their young. Hear the whales with a hydrophone and learn about their behavior patterns from the certified naturalist guide. Snacks and light refreshments are provided.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$105.95
From
$105.95

Moana’s 2-Hour Guided Turtle Snorkel Adventure at Waikiki

Moana’s 2-Hour Guided Turtle Snorkel Adventure at Waikiki

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145
Discover all the vibrant marine life that calls Turtle Canyon’s reefs home—and enjoy an accessible way to snorkel and explore—on this family-friendly catamaran trip. Make your own way to the Kewalo Harbor, and hop aboard your well-appointed catamaran: snorkels, fins, masks, and more are all provided on board. Once you make it to the reefs, dive in, spot sea turtles and other marine life, and admire the underwater scenery.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$106.71
From
$106.71

1-Hour Guided Hawaiian Parasailing in Waikiki

1-Hour Guided Hawaiian Parasailing in Waikiki

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584
Fly over the sparkling waters of Oahu on 1-hour parasailing adventure in Waikiki. Hop aboard your 12-person boat, soaring up into the skies with one or two other people for 10 minutes. Then, spend the rest of your hour gliding across the ocean, keeping your eyes peeled for dolphins, tropical fish and sea turtles. This small-group tour includes hotel pickup and drop-off for up to 12 travelers, and offers both morning and afternoon departures.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$94.00
From
$94.00

Maunalua Bay Parasailing Adventure

Maunalua Bay Parasailing Adventure

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159
Go parasaling over Maunalua Bay on this 1-hour adventure from Honolulu. Choose from two flights that take you 500 feet (152 meters) or 700 feet (213 meters) in the air for views of the Ko'olau Mountain Range, Koko Head and the Hawaii Kai coastline. GoPro videos and digital photos of your tandem flight and dip in the warm ocean water are available upon return to land.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$89.01
From
$89.01

Four Winds II Molokini Snorkeling Tour from Maalaea Harbor

Four Winds II Molokini Snorkeling Tour from Maalaea Harbor

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446
Snorkeling in Molokini Crater is undeniably one of the best parts about visiting Maui. Here in this crescent, submerged volcano off Maui’s southern coastline, over 250 species of fish inhabit a world-class reef. Experience water so exceptionally clear you can see down 75 feet, and swim with schools of tropical fish while cruising the vibrant reef. You can also just sit and suntan on the deck, with sweeping views of Haleakala set just off the back of the boat.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$149.67
From
$149.67

Dolphin Watch & Snorkel Captain Cook Monument Big Island Kailua-Kona Hawaii

Dolphin Watch & Snorkel Captain Cook Monument Big Island Kailua-Kona Hawaii

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240
View dolphins in their natural environment with guides who respect these intelligent creatures’ boundaries. After feeding in deeper waters at night, spinner dolphins come close to the Kona shore where they often interact with boats, playing in their wake. The utmost respect and care are given to our aquatic friends to assure that we do not disrupt their rest, nursing and breeding behaviors. Depending on where and when we locate the dolphins there may also be time for a quick snorkel at one of the many beautiful reef areas along the Kona coast line, quite possibly Kealakekua Bay.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$160.49
From
$160.49

Snorkel with Manta Rays Guaranteed
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Snorkel with Manta Rays Guaranteed

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221
Embark on an evening adventure and swim near Hawaii’s manta rays. Start the tour with a sunset sail on a comfortable trimaran to ‘Manta Ray Village’. After a safety briefing, put on your snorkel gear and spend an hour in the water using a state-of-the-art, lit up flotation device to stay on the water’s surface and observe the manta rays bellow as they feed on plankton. Finally climb aboard the boat and warm up with hot chocolate and snacks as you return to shore.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$125.70
From
$125.70

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Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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