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Whale Watching in Hawaii – tickets, prices, discounts, timings, what to expect, FAQs

The advent of winters in Hawaii marks the beginning of whale watching season as kohola, the humpback whales, rush towards the Hawaiian coast to escape the cold waters of Alaska. 

Upon entering the waters of Hawaii, the humpback whales prepare to breed, calve, and raise their babies in warm waters.

Their stay in the Hawaiian oceans last from December to April only, so those touring this beautiful island state shouldn’t miss the opportunity to watch whales up close. 

This article covers everything you must know before booking tickets for Whale Watching in Hawaii.

What to expect at Whale Watching in Hawaii

Hawaii Whale Watching is a very popular activity that takes you off the Maui coast to spot humpback whales flaunting their acrobatic skills. 

The guide on the cruise, catamaran, raft, or boat will share some interesting facts about these mammals, including their birthplace, migratory patterns, and feeding habits. 

Other than whales, you may even see green sea turtles, porpoises, and many other sea creatures.

Tickets Cost
Eye-Level Whale Watching 2-Hour Eco-Raft Tour from Lahaina US$79
Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Quicksilver from Lahaina Harbor US$50
Whale Watching Cruise with Open Bar from Ka’anapali Beach US$86
2-Hour Whale Watching from Oahu US$47

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Where to book tickets

Are you planning to experience Whale Watching in Hawaii? Then you can book your tickets online by clicking here.  

Online ticket prices tend to be cheaper than tickets at the venue.

When you buy online, you can avoid the long queues at the attraction’s ticket counters.

When you book early, you also get your preferred time slot.

Booking early also helps avoid last-minute disappointments.

How do online tickets work

Visit the  Hawaii Whale Watching booking page,

Once there, you will be asked to specify your planned travel date, time slot, and the number of members in your traveling party.

Upon payment, the tickets will be emailed to you.

You don’t need to carry any printouts. 

Show the e-ticket on your smartphone to the staff at the pickup point and carry a valid ID. 

Whale Watching in Hawaii ticket prices

The cost of tickets for Hawaii’s Whale Watching depends on the type of tour you select.

The Eye-Level Whale Watching 2-Hour Eco-Raft Tour from Lahaina ticket is priced at US$79 for adults aged 13 years and above and US$72 for children between three and 12 years. 

The Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Quicksilver from Lahaina Harbor ticket costs US$50 for those over 13 years and US$40 for kids between seven and 12 years.

The tickets for Whale Watching Cruise with Open Bar from Ka’anapali Beach are available for US$86 for guests aged 21 years and over, US$75 for those between 13 to 20 years, and US$64 for children in the age group of three to 12 years. 

A standard 2-Hour Whale Watching from Oahu tour costs US$47. 

Discounts

Almost all whale watching cruises in Hawaii offer reduced ticket prices. 

Children and infants (below 3 years) tickets are available at great discounts making family whale-watching tours more budget-friendly.  

Whale Watching in Hawaii tickets

If you’re seeking the best whale-watching options in Hawaii, we have some excellent tours to recommend to you.

Those who wish to see humpback whales closely should buy tickets for the “Eye-Level Whale Watching Eco-Raft Tour from Lahaina,” which takes you on a tour in small rafts. 

Guests seeking a more relaxing and comfortable experience should consider whale watching on catamarans which offer complimentary drinks and additional amenities. 

For instance, you can pick from “Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Quicksilver from Lahaina Harbor” or “Whale Watching Cruise with Open Bar from Ka’anapali Beach”.

Eye-Level Whale Watching 2-Hour Eco-Raft Tour from Lahaina

Eye-Level Whale Watching 2-Hour Eco-Raft Tour from Lahaina
Image: HawaiiTours.com

This tour departs from Lahaina Harbor, and guests will be traveling in small rafts that can accommodate a maximum of 16 people.

The rafts offer a more clear and up-close view of the whales, unlike on cruise ships where binoculars are often needed.

Additionally, in the event that you don’t spot any whales, you can venture back onto the water at no extra cost.

Your experience includes a narrated tour led by a marine naturalist, access to a hydrophone for listening to whale songs, provided life jackets for your safety, and complimentary bottled water to keep you refreshed.

Ticket Prices

Eye-Level Eco-Raft Whale Watch

Adult Ticket (13+ years): US$79
Youth Ticket (3 to 12 years): US$72

Discount Mid-Day Whale Watch

Adult Ticket (13+ years): US$69
Youth Ticket (3 to 12 years): US$61

Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Quicksilver from Lahaina Harbor

Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Quicksilver from Lahaina Harbor
Image: QuickSilverMaui.com

On this tour, you’ll be traveling in high-speed catamaran boats that will take you to the humpback whales quickly. 

This ticket offers three whale watching options to choose from – early bird whale watching (7 am), morning whale watching (9.30 am), and sunset whale watching (4 pm).

All your comforts and needs are met with restroom facilities, shaded cabins, and beverage purchase facilities onboard. 

Also, get complimentary ice-cold sodas and juice. 

You’ll be provided with underwater hydrophones to listen to whale songs and accompanied by professional captains and crews who will share important facts.

Ticket Prices

Adult Ticket (13+ years): US$50
Child Ticket (7 to 12 years): US$40
Infant Ticket (up to 6 years): Free

Whale Watching Cruise with Open Bar from Ka’anapali Beach

Whale Watching Cruise with Open Bar from Ka'anapali Beach
Image: MauiHideaway.com

From Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach, board catamarans and sail into the waters to catch the sight of humpback whales.

The ship has bean bags on open nets, offering a closer view.

During the cruise, enjoy unlimited drinks from an onboard open bar. 

Ticket Prices

Adult Ticket (21+ years): US$86
Youth Ticket (13 to 20 years): US$75
Child Ticket (3 to 12 years): US$64
Infant Ticket (up to 2 years): Free

2-Hour Whale Watching from Oahu

2-Hour Whale Watching from Oahu
Image: HawaiiActivities.com

Set yourself free on a whale-watching cruise to see humpback whales, green sea turtles, and many other marine species. 

During the tour, soak in the stunning views of coastal Oahu.

Take advantage of hassle-free pickups from Honolulu. 

Ticket Cost (4+ years): US$47

Save time and money! Explore Helicopter Tours in Hawaii and witness volcanoes, lush mountains, waterfalls, and pristine beaches from the sky. This bird’s eye experience is an opportunity to enjoy the thrill of your life. You might even land in the middle of a desert, winery, or snow!


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Departure point for Whale Watching in Hawaii

In Hawaii, the various whale watching cruises have different departure points. 

Some boats depart from Lahaina Harbor, while others from Ka’anapali Beach or Oahu. 

You can check the meeting point or departure point on the tickets at the time of booking. 

But make sure you arrive at the location at least 15 to 20 minutes before the departure time. 

Whale Watching in Hawaii timings

Usually, whale watching in Hawaii starts at 7 am.

However, the timings of this activity vary depending on the ticket you book.

Some tour providers offer sunset whale watching cruises as well, which leaves the shore at 4 pm. 

How long does the tour take

How long does the tour take
Image: MauiHideaway.com

The whale-watching cruise in Hawaii lasts for about 2 hours. 

If guests don’t spot any whales, they can ride again without having to purchase tickets anew.

Best time to go on Whale Watching in Hawaii

The best time to go whale watching in Hawaii is when the first vessel leaves the shore early in the morning (usually around 7 am or 8 am).

In the morning, humpback whales are most active as they are on the hunt for food, and there are very high chances of spotting them.

The Whale Watching season in Hawaii is from December to April, and you can experience this activity by making advanced reservations. 


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FAQs about Whale Watching in Hawaii

Here are some questions guests generally ask before going Whale Watching in Hawaii. 

Where can I buy tickets for Whale Watching in Hawaii?

You can buy tickets by clicking here.

What to wear for Whale Watching in Hawaii?

Wear comfortable clothes, and don’t forget to carry sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.

Do I have to bring binoculars for Whale Watching in Hawaii?

Bringing binoculars for whale watching is optional but can significantly enhance your experience.

Will I get wet during Whale Watching in Hawaii?

Yes! You’ll surely get wet during the tour whether you’re on a small raft or a big cruise ship. Do prepare accordingly.

What are the best conditions for Whale Watching in Hawaii?

Calm winds and stable ocean currents offer the best conditions for safe whale watching.

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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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