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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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91 results | All Hawaii Tours

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Whale Watching On The Big Island

Whale Watching On The Big Island

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126
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$85.90
From
$85.90
Taking safety measures

Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion

Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion

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215
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$75.01
From
$75.01
Taking safety measures

Maui Whale Watch Cruise from Lahaina Harbor
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Maui Whale Watch Cruise from Lahaina Harbor

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506
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$74.25
From
$74.25
Taking safety measures

Wake Up With the Whales Cruise

Wake Up With the Whales Cruise

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55
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$107.00
From
$107.00
Taking safety measures

Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure

Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure

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108
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$115.66
From
$115.66
Taking safety measures

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal

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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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$134.00
From
$134.00
Taking safety measures

Wild Dolphin Encounter & Reef Snorkel on Zodiac Navy Seal Speed Boat..!

Wild Dolphin Encounter & Reef Snorkel on Zodiac Navy Seal Speed Boat..!

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Limited to minimum of 6 & maximum of 14 people, this guided snorkeling adventure by speedboat provides a more intimate experience of Hawaii’s marine life and coral reefs than is possible on a larger group tour. The schedule is customizable, but swimming near wild dolphins. All snorkeling gear, snacks, and drinks are provided.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$130.00
From
$130.00
Taking safety measures

Snorkel with Dolphins and Turtles in the Wild and experience Hawaiian Culture

Snorkel with Dolphins and Turtles in the Wild and experience Hawaiian Culture

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Swim within safe viewing distance to dolphins 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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$179.00
From
$179.00
Taking safety measures

Swim with Dolphins Big Island Kailua-Kona Hawaii (READ FULL DESC BEFORE BOOKING)

Special Offer

Swim with Dolphins Big Island Kailua-Kona Hawaii (READ FULL DESC BEFORE BOOKING)

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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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$144.44
$160.49
$16.05 savings
From
$144.44
$160.49
$16.05 savings
Taking safety measures

Snorkel with Manta Rays Guaranteed

Snorkel with Manta Rays Guaranteed

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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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$125.70
From
$125.70
Taking safety measures

Swim with Sharks (cage-free)
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Swim with Sharks (cage-free)

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Leave your preconceptions about sharks at the door and get up close to these sleek creatures on this unique ocean experience. Head out from Haleiwa, on the North Shore of O’ahu, and spend roughly half an hour swimming with the sharks living in the area. Don’t worry, though: even if you aren’t swimming in a cage, you’re still in safe hands, with a guide on board and a safety diver swimming with each group.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$153.85
Price varies by group size
From
$153.85
Price varies by group size

Whale Watch Excursion from the Big Island

Whale Watch Excursion from the Big Island

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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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$105.95
From
$105.95
Taking safety measures

Mid-Morning Whale Watch

Mid-Morning Whale Watch

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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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$107.00
From
$107.00
Taking safety measures

Keauhou Manta Ray Night Snorkel in Kailua-Kona

Keauhou Manta Ray Night Snorkel in Kailua-Kona

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416
Small groups and a short boat ride set our experience apart. Call tour provider directly to confirm availability, seats are limited. 8.0.8 3.1.3 1.1.1.6 You may be asked to move time or date if you have not confirmed availability. In order to book this tour prior swimming and snorkeling experience is required. Guest's must be able to independently climb up a side boat ladder. Not recommended for guest's who have undergone surgery or have with mobility/physical restrictions. Contact tour provider for exceptions. Snorkeling with our beautiful Kona manta rays is an experience you don't want to miss. You will never forget having these gentle giants swim so graceful before your eyes. Our expert captains and in-water guides are pulling out all the stops to make sure you get the best viewing possible. This family run business takes pride in sharing the importance of taking care or our land, ocean, animals, and each other.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$79.00
From
$79.00
Taking safety measures

4-Hour Lanai Snorkel Dolphin Express Tour from Lahaina Harbor

4-Hour Lanai Snorkel Dolphin Express Tour from Lahaina Harbor

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Skip the overcrowded boat tours and enjoy a more intimate experience of Hawaii. Travel to the island of Lanai in the company of no more than 22 passengers. Make snorkeling stops off the island to see tropical fish, turtles, octopus, manta rays, and dolphins. This tour includes breakfast and snacks and your ticket supports active marine research and the work of Maui’s whale entanglement response team.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$144.68
From
$144.68
Taking safety measures

Deluxe Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument
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Deluxe Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument

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This half-day boat cruise takes you to the two best snorkeling sites in Kealakekua Bay: The reef beneath Captain Cook's monument and the underwater lava formations of Red Hill. In addition to breakfast and lunch, your guides provide all necessary equipment, basic snorkeling tips, and identification charts to help you spot fish and dolphins in their natural habitat. Don’t forget your camera—the route showcases sweeping views of the Kona coastline.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$141.82
From
$141.82
Taking safety measures

Kona's Best Snorkel - Captain Cook Monument and Place of Refuge

Special Offer

Kona's Best Snorkel - Captain Cook Monument and Place of Refuge

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31
It’s common to spot green sea turtles and spinner dolphins while snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay. This snorkel tour departs Keauhou Bay in the morning to avoid the crowds. Explore the coral gardens with a guide who points out the Captain Cook Monument and Place of Refuge. A tropical lunch, snacks, and beverages are served.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$126.02
$140.03
$14.01 savings
From
$126.02
$140.03
$14.01 savings

Private Snorkel Trip from Oahu on a Yacht
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Private Snorkel Trip from Oahu on a Yacht

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There are snorkeling trips, and then there are snorkeling trips on a famous, 46-foot yacht with three bedrooms, three restrooms, a full kitchen, lounging areas, a fully-stocked bar, and a prepared lunch. If you’re up for leaving your luxurious accommodations, follow your guide on a 45-minute tour of a reef and the wildlife that calls it home. After snorkeling, return to the yacht (not boat) and bask in the Hawaiian sun as you sail back to the marina. Snorkeling equipment, lunch, drinks from the bar, and bean bags for lounging included.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$1,956.82
per group
From
$1,956.82
per group

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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Snorkel and swim with spinner dolphins off the west shore of Oahu during this full-day excursion. Sail up the Waianae Coast, then hop in the water to commune with green sea turtles, schools of tropical fish and dolphins. From January to March, you may get an up-close look at the migrating humpback whales. All necessary snorkel gear, lunch after the cruise and round-trip hotel transportation from Waikiki hotels are provided.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$193.88
From
$193.88
Taking safety measures

Four Winds II Molokini Snorkeling Tour from Maalaea Harbor
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Four Winds II Molokini Snorkeling Tour from Maalaea Harbor

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409
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$149.67
From
$149.67
Taking safety measures

Kayak Snorkel Capt. Cook Monu. See Dolphin in Kealakekua Bay Big Island (3.5hr)

Kayak Snorkel Capt. Cook Monu. See Dolphin in Kealakekua Bay Big Island (3.5hr)

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298
In terms of history, scenery, and marine life, there isn’t anywhere on the Big Island of Hawaii that compares to Kealakekua Bay. This protected cove on the island’s west shore is where Captain Cook met his end, and today a memorial stands at the bay to honor the famous explorer. On this guided Big Island kayaking tour, hear the history of Captain Cook as well as surrounding temples, and, after paddling past rugged sea cliffs and caves, snorkel and swim in the clear waters of this Marine Life Conservation District.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$110.42
From
$110.42
Taking safety measures

Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Tour - 4 hour Kona Zodiac Adventure

Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Tour - 4 hour Kona Zodiac Adventure

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265
Splash into the crystal-clear waters of Kealakekua Bay on this Big Island snorkeling adventure! Dart in and out of sea caves and explore the gorgeous Kona coastline in an agile Zodiac raft. Snorkel among colorful tropical fish, and keep an eye out for other marine life like whales, dolphins and sea turtles. Along the way, learn about the island’s geologic history and local legends from your expert guide, and see the spot where Captain Cook first landed in Hawaii.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$135.11
From
$135.11
Taking safety measures

Up-Close Maui Whale Watch Tour from Lahaina

Up-Close Maui Whale Watch Tour from Lahaina

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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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$48.23
From
$48.23
Taking safety measures

Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail

Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail

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211
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$140.24
From
$140.24
Taking safety measures

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