You are here

17 Nov 2016
Related Items: 
Big Island Activities

Big Island Whal Watching


Big Island Whale Watching

Whale watching on the Big Island is one of the most exciting things to do during the winter season. The Big Island whale season is between Decmber and early April, when humpback whales migrate from the icy waters of Alaska to the Hawaiian Island to mate, give birth and care for their calves. Hawaii has been designated as the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in an effort to protect the whales and their habitat. There are several ways to see these beautiful creatures and for many, it’s the best part of their visit.

Go to the beach!

All along the beaches of the Kohala coast, you can see the humpback whales breach the surface of the water from the comfort of your beach chair during the winter season. Whales can be seen leaping into the air everywhere around the Big Island, but the protected Kona-Kohala Coast, which lies on the lee side of the island, is the best place to see them.

Boat Tours

The popular whale watching boat tours on the Big Island advertise that you are guaranteed to see whales. You can charter a private boat with a small group or join one of the larger tours. Out of respect and safety, all boats must remain at least 90 meters from the whales, but it feels much closer because of how massive they are.

Kayak or Canoe

For the more adventurous ocean lovers, you can get a good look at the whales from a kayak or canoe. There are common spots to launch a kayak or canoe where the water is calmer, such as Puako Bay or Anaehoomalu Bay. From this vantage point, you can see pods of humpback whales that include mothers with calves. The whales are not intimidated by the kayaks, but be sure to maintain a safe distance because when they breach and land in the ocean, they make a huge splash.

If it’s your first time on the island, it is a surreal experience to see these amazing animals in their natural habitat!