Whale Watching on Maui

No, you don't have to go on a boat to see whales if you are here during the right time of the year. It is common to see people standing on a hillside overlooking the ocean and watching the signs of distant whale activity through binoculars.

You can often SEE whales from shore ... but you can't EXPERIENCE them from that distance. There is a tremendous difference between watching a whale splashing in the water two miles away and experiencing the thrill of looking over the edge of the boat and having one of these gentle giants swim directly underneath you. If you are here during peak season from December 15th to April 15th, do yourself a favor and go on a whale watch.  

Central Maui - Maalaea Harbor -- Quicksilver Whale Watch

Quicksilver Vessel Quicksilver is a large, stable powered catamaran with an upper deck. This vantage point up high gives a commanding view of the ocean and makes it easier to see whales while they are under the surface. It is the best value in a whale watch too, which makes it a good choice for families with younger children. One free child 6 and under per paying adult! Quicksilver Whale Watches operate DAILY December through mid-April) at 8:00am and 10:30am. Check in is at slip 76 of Maalaea Harbor.

Quicksilver Whale Watch Rate

$67.95 per Adult, $57.95 per Paying Child (12 and under), Free Child (6 and under / 1 per paying adult) FREE
(plus 7.712% Hawaii sales/harbor tax)

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West Maui - Kaanapali Beach - Teralani Sailing Catamarans

Departing every day from Kaanapali Beach, the Teralani offers three different whale watching packages with different features / length, and price. All tours are done on their beautiful sailing catamarans and all guests are barefoot. You walk through the sand and get your feet wet as you board the vessel.

Teralani 2.5 Hour Premium Whale Watch Rate

$130.16 per Adult, $100.16 per Child (6-12), $70.16 per Infants (under 6)
(plus 7.712% Hawaii sales/harbor tax)

The Premium whale watch is 2.5 hours long, and includes a chef-inspired lunch and full open bar for beer, wine, mai tais, other mixed cocktails, assorted juices, soda, and water. Offered at 12:30pm daily from December 15 to April 15.
Teralani 2 Hour Classic Whale Watch Rate

$90.16 per Adult, $60.16 per Child (6-12), Infants (under 6) FREE
(plus 7.712% Hawaii sales/harbor tax)

The Classic whale watch is 2 hours long, and includes snacks and full open bar for beer, wine, mai tais, other mixed cocktails, assorted juices, soda, and water. Offered at 7:30am and 10:00am daily from December 15 to April 15.
Teralani 2 Hour Discount Whale Watch Rate

$70.16 per Adult, $50.16 per Child (6-12), Infants (under 6) FREE
(plus 7.712% Hawaii sales/harbor tax)

The Discount whale watch is 2 hours long, and snacks and beverages are available to purchase. Offered at 1:00pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from mid November to April 15.


South Maui - Kihei Boat Ramp - Blue Water Rafting Whale Watch

Blue Water RaftingDeparting from Kihei Boat Ramp, Blue Water Rafting offers 90 minute tours on their high-speed RHIBs. (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat). The speed of these rafts gets you to the whales quickly, and the waters off Kihei are shallow and many whale calves are born in this area. This is a great option for those who don't want to drive to the west side of the island. Dedicated whale watches are held daily at 8am, 10am, and 12pm. Note: No one with neck or back injuries, no one pregnant, and minimum age is 5.

Blue Water Rafting operates their dedicated whale watches from December 16th to March 31st.

Blue Water Rafting Whale Watch Rate

$87.49 per Adult, $76.30 per Child (4-12)
(Hawaii sales tax included)

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Cruise Ship Clients

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NCL cruise ship passengers in Kahului are able to do a whale watch on either day they are in port in Kahului. The Quicksilver whale watch is just a short 15 minute cab ride from the cruise ship dock.


Kevin at Falls

No, you don't have to go on a boat to see whales. During the peak season (mid-January to mid-April) it is very common to be able to see whales from the shore. But these sightings are usually pretty far away ... it is not a particularly impressive sight to watch a whale jump out of the water three miles away. And these creatures are SO impressive when you experience them close-up. There is a big difference between SEEING a whale and EXPERIENCING a whale. There is a popular whale watching site along the Pali Highway a few miles west of Maalaea Harbor. The scenic overlook there is often packed during peak whale season with people who are too cheap to spend $30 to really experience these gentle giants. Do yourself a favor ... go on a whale watching cruise.

The Humpback Whales begin to arrive in November, and most of them have arrived by the beginning of January. Whale Searches usually begin sometime around Thanksgiving ... sightings that early in the season may not be guaranteed. That changes in December. During the peak season all the boats guarantee that you will see whales. If you are here in February you won't have to worry about getting skunked ... it will be whale soup out there! They love the warm, shallow waters between Maui, Kahoolawe, Molokai, and Lanai. 

There are so many boats that do whale watching, I couldn't even begin to list them here. My favorite boat is the Whale Explorer because it is a smaller, FAST boat which guarantees you spend less time getting to the whales and more time actually watching them. This kind of raft isn't for everyone though; they don't allow anyone with neck or back injuries or anyone pregnant as the ride can be bumpy at times.

How close will you get to the whales? That depends on the whales. By law, the boats must stop 100 yards away from a whale. They are incredibly curious animals though, and they OFTEN approach much closer than that. Sometimes they mug the boat, and you may get the rare treat of smelling whale breath! The sound of a spouting whale is something you will not forget ... it is much like the puff of a steam engine locomotive.

Best time of day? The whales will put on a good show anytime you like. The morning tends to be less windy though. The mid-morning trips usually fill up a few days in advance, so reserve in advance to get the best time of day!