While there are an endless list of possibilities for fun things to do on Maui, nothing compares to getting up close and personal with the largest mammal in the Pacific. Whale watching is a wholly unique and magical experience. When the humpback whales arrive to Maui from the cold waters of the Northern Pacific to birth and raise their young; visitors and locals alike are treated day and night to tail slaps, pec fins waving, and full breaches.
If you are looking to cross not just one, but many, marine experiences off your bucket list, come to Hawaii and book the best Maui whale watching tour today!
What to Expect From a Maui Whale Watching Tour
When you book a small group intimate raft tour to go whale watching you are able to closely interact and pick the brain of a seasoned captain and marine naturalist who are well educated in the diverse sea life in the channels separating the islands of Maui County.
While snorkeling with whales is prohibited-- you have the ability with a small boat and crew to experience these mammals safely, respectably, and sometimes up close (if the whale chooses to come to the boat!).
Many people make the mistake of trying to track down or approach humpback whales on their own. Since the reopening of the island there have been reports of paddle boarders and kayakers from the coastline resorts embarking out and getting within arms reach of these creatures. This is illegal and unsafe. While whales are considered gentle, they are giants, and like most mammals they are protective over their young; it is not your fault if you look down and happen to notice one of these 100+ foot beings gliding under you but we advise you try and get away to avoid being accidentally trapped under a breach or arm slap. If you are intentionally approaching whales closer than 100 yards you could face fines and jail time for breaking this federal law that protects humpback whales.
An intimate whale watching tour booked to embark from Lahaina town is our favorite option. You not only are able to get out on the water fast but you can experience whales safely and respectfully as well as intimately because of the small group of guests on the boat and the low to water style vessel, providing eye-level encounters with whales.
Other Maui whale watching tours, like those that leave from Maalaea, are typically larger vessels and groups of people. They draw in crowds that are looking for larger, slower boats. While they are still a great option for those that prefer a cruise-like option or are traveling with a bigger party they may not allot much exposure to these whales existing in their natural habitats.
When to Book a Maui Whale Watching Tour
The whales travel to warmer waters of Maui during the mid fall to late spring months; the peak of whale season occurs from January to March. However, whales have been known to be spotted off Maui’s coasts months before or after this projected timeline; in fact, the first whale of this years (‘22-’23) season was just spotted in September! We start whale watching tours December 1st and typically end around the 15th of April. Whale watching during Christmas vacation on Maui is a popular activity!
While pretty much everywhere else in the United States experiences torrential downfalls or snow during these months, Maui’s waters stay seemingly bath-like. So, if you book your Maui vacation for this winter you not only are able to experience the joys of whale watching but swim the same warm waters that all of the unique sea life does.
How to Prepare for Your Maui Whale Watching Tour
There are a few things you must keep in mind when booking and potentially embarking on a whale watching tour in Maui. Firstly, make sure that you book your tour for the highs of whale watching season to ensure you are able to see plenty of whale activity, book early as this experience is one of the most sought after and tickets sell out fast, and make sure that you are aware of all the safety rules that encompass a trip to Maui as well as a trip out on its waters.
There is a phrase that is commonly said amongst the communities across the islands that make up Maui’s county “Respect the 'Aina”. This encompasses more than just respecting the people and the land of Maui. It also implies respecting the ocean and animal life. Listen to your boat crew, residents, and advisors on your Maui vacation to keep you and the 'Aina safe and sharing aloha.