whale watching from a private boat on Maui.Enjoy one of Maui's best activities, watching the Hawaiian Humpback Whales frolic in the sea off the coast of Maui.


Every Winter season Humpback Whales swim steadily from the waters off the Alaskan Coast directly to the waters of the Hawaiian Islands to mate, give birth, and raise their calves to be strong enough to swim back to Alaska in late spring. The whales don't feed while they are visiting Hawaii, they live off their fat reserves to enjoy the warm waters of Hawaii which stimulate their breeding behaviors. The calm water in Hawaii allows for up close viewing of these giant animals. NOAA enforces the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary regulations which affect boaters and personal watercraft users (Jet Skis etc), which helps to ensure a safe environment for the whales.

Maui's Best Whale Watching tours

You can learn and view these animals from land or sea.

There are many tour companies on Maui offering Whale Watch Tours from boats, leaving from three different harbor locations, depending on the size of the vessel. We love to ride on the smaller boats, such as inflatable rafts or smaller hard-hulled vessels to get the most intimate experience. Try Blue Water Rafting from the Kihei Small Boat Harbor for the most exciting and close up encounters, or if you want to sail, Paragon Sailing out of Ma'alaea Harbor for a great boat experience and comfort, or the Ultimate Whale Watch Raft that leaves from Lahaina Harbor. These boats provide guides to help you learn more information while viewing the whales.

The nose and spout of a humpback whale near Maui  Get Your Camera Ready

 As seen from a boat...There are regulations about how close a vessel may approach whales, 100 yards minimum distance, following from behind, don't chase or cross travel paths or alter their behavior, but whales can be curious, if the captain times it right and cuts the engines often whales will approach the boat to investigate. This is called "Mugging" when the whale is so close that the vessel has to remain still until the whale is 100 yards or more away. Mugging is one of the best encounters and can last for 1 minute to an hour most times.

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Humpback Whale Breach

Why do Whales Breach?

There are many speculations to whale behavior, but not many conclusions due to the limited ability to track and study their every movement. Check out what the Ocean Conservancy says about breaching here.

Whale Watching

Find out more about Humpback Whale Behavior and Life Cycles while keeping dry and out of the Maui sun.

Our favorite place from shore to learn about the whales is in the new whale exhibit and 3D dome at the Maui Ocean Center centrally located at Ma'alaea Harbor. This amazing exhibit gives visitors a full education about migration, behaviors, whale song, raising their young and more. Afterwards watch the incredible 11 minute 3D video of these whales from underwater in the new concrete dome theater. This state of the art movie was filmed by hard-core Maui divers and researchers to bring these whales into a life size experience for you and your family. We have watched this many, many times, and can't get enough, the film is so amazing and "in your face" close ups will give you chills. Gently narrated and scored with a thrilling soundtrack, you will become immersed in their world while in the comfort of a high-back theater chair while wearing 3D glasses.

Mother and Baby Whale Calf

whale tail


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