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Maui Dolphin & whale watching

Our most recommended Maui Dolphin & whale watching

Lahaina: Turtle Town Snorkel and Whale Watching Cruise

1. Lahaina: Turtle Town Snorkel and Whale Watching Cruise

Spot Hawaii's native marine life in its natural habitat on a snorkel cruise to Turtle Town from Lahaina. Swim past green sea turtles, Moorish idols, and even humpback whales. Enjoy an onboard lunch and drinks. Set sail from Lahaina Harbor towards Turtle Town, aka Mala Wharf (if weather conditions allow). See where, in 1992, a powerful hurricane created an artificial reef and sanctuary where corals and other marine life thrive. Spot Moorish idols, green sea turtles, and saddle wrasse while snorkeling here. If snorkel conditions are not ideal at Turtle Town a.k.a. Mala Wharf, cruise to one of the other premier westside snorkel locations such as Honolua Bay, Airport Beach, or Launiupoko. See Hawaiian green sea turtles, brightly colored tropical fish, and beautiful coral reef formations. During the whale season between December to April, observe humpback whales as they enjoy the warm Hawaiian waters (time permitting). Learn from expert narration about the whales and provide a play-by-play commentary of the whales' behavior as you view them.

Lahaina: Maui Channel Whale-Watching Catamaran Cruise

2. Lahaina: Maui Channel Whale-Watching Catamaran Cruise

Travel via high-speed catamaran from Lahaina Harbor to the Maui Channel to see the humpback whales, who return to Hawaii for a few months each year to mate and give birth. Get up close to these creatures in their native environment from comfortable table and chair seating. Keep your eyes peeled for whales slapping the surface with their very long side fins, tails, or the strong muscles attaching the tail to the rest of the body. See them spy-hop, when humpback whales come high out of the water to have a look around at the world above. See the majesty of a breaching whale, if you are lucky. This is when a whale rises completely out of the water and crashes down again. Don’t forget to bring your camera and take memorable photos from the shade of a spacious cabin.

From Lahaina: Lana'i Coast Maui Sail and Snorkel Trip

3. From Lahaina: Lana'i Coast Maui Sail and Snorkel Trip

Start the tour by boarding a brand new luxury catamaran at the dock in Lahaina. Set off on your incredible adventure along the spectacular coastline of Lana'i. Onboard the vessel, enjoy a continental breakfast of tropical fruit, freshly baked banana bread, and locally roasted coffee. Head towards the pristine reefs along Lana’i’s south shores where you'll discover stunning sea cliffs, uncrowded snorkeling sites, and expansive island views. Get geared up with the snorkeling equipment provided and plunge into the warm waters to discover an array of local marine life.  This relaxed tour does not have a set destination, so the experienced crew can select the best locations based on sea conditions, and visit multiple snorkel sites when time and weather allow. After swimming and snorkeling, sit back with a drink and enjoy a full lunch while trying to catch a sighting of Lana’i’s famous spinner dolphins. Finally, return to the dock where your memorable day at sea concludes.

From Ma'alaea Harbor: Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Malolo

4. From Ma'alaea Harbor: Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Malolo

Depart from Maalaea Harbor, easily located off the highway with ample parking. This high-speed catamaran is located at Slip 87 near Coast Guard Station. While on board, enjoy complimentary juices and sodas, and a variety of alcoholic beverages. The optimal whale watching season starts in December and goes through April, during which thousands of humpback whales return to Hawaii for a few months each year to mate and give birth. Depending on the whales’ behavior during your two-hour whale watching trip, you may see any number of whale activity happening, from tail flapping to full body breaching. Keep your eyes peeled for whales slapping the surface with pectoral fins (their very long side fins), flukes (the tail), and the peduncle (the strong muscles attaching the tail to the rest of the body). Keep your fingers crossed for a breach - this is when a whale rises completely out of the water and crashes down again. And most importantly, don’t forget to bring your camera to capture a picture of these amazing animals.

Kaanapali: Whale Watching Cruise with Open Bar

5. Kaanapali: Whale Watching Cruise with Open Bar

Experience the beauty of the Hawaiian coastline on this whale-watching tour from Kaanapali. Hop aboard for the chance to see Pacific humpback whales in their native environment. Embark from Ka’anapali beach and take in sweeping views of the sandy shore as the captain and the trained naturalist guides set off in search of the most active whale pods in the area. Listen as your guides provide you with fun and interesting facts about Pacific humpback whales. Pass the time between the shore and the whale sightings with a cool drink in hand from the premium open bar. Enjoy a tour that operates with hours that are specifically dedicated to the whales to ensure that you get to see these magnificent creatures in action. Ask the naturalist guides all your burning questions about whales, as they are eager to share their passion for whales with you. Take a tour that is suitable for beginner whale watchers or for those that are more seasoned. Know that no two whale watching tours are alike Let a breaching whale take your breath away at a location that is host to the largest population of Humpback Whales on the planet. Return to your starting point at Kaanapali Beach in Lahaina. 

From Ka'anapali Beach: West Maui Half-Day Snorkel Adventure

6. From Ka'anapali Beach: West Maui Half-Day Snorkel Adventure

Begin your snorkeling adventure by departing from Kaanapali Beach on a luxury catamaran. On the way to the snorkel spot, enjoy some breakfast while keeping your eyes open for Hawaiian spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and during the winter months, large humpback whales. The captain will determine the best spots to visit on the day, based upon the weather conditions. Once in the water, observe beautiful tropical fish, honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles), colorful coral reefs, and potentially some other rare underwater species. After the snorkeling session, have a delicious lunch with premium beers, cocktails, and other liberations. Relax as you cruise back to Kaanapali Beach, enjoying the scenery along the way.

From Ma'alaea Harbor: Whale Watching Cruise

7. From Ma'alaea Harbor: Whale Watching Cruise

After boarding your whale-watching cruise, your onboard naturalist, captain, and crew will be just as excited as you are to see humpbacks. These 45-foot cetaceans inspire awe, delight, and excitement with their very existence.  As soon as the boat leaves Ma'alaea Harbor, keep your eyes peeled for any significant movement on the surface. Especially huge clouds of misty spray in the distance (that's how a whale exhales). The whale watch naturalist will give you an exciting play-by-play on the whale's "swimming commentary." Some of the more popular moves whales engage in are the tail slap, the pec slap, the peduncle throw, the spy hop, and the ever hoped-for "launch-of-an-entire-whale-from-the-water" full breach.  Go down to the underwater viewing room whenever the boat is stopped. If the whales swim beneath the vessel, you can see them through the glass panels at the bottom of the hull. It is rare for a whale-watching vessel to have a glass-bottomed seating area, so enjoy it on this triple-decker catamaran. From December to April, you can climb aboard the boat and make your way to the top. This is Maui’s only catamaran with three decks, so you cannot go higher on this island. The 360-degree ocean views are fantastic, even when you go inside for a bit to take a break from the sun.  The first and second decks have spacious cabins with tinted windows, making for excellent viewing through the water’s surface, regardless of the sun’s glare. Comfortable seating throughout this stable vessel ensures a relaxing time on the water while you look for these incredible marine mammals.  Take advantage of the bar and snack area while you check out the boat. The crew will be happy to mix up whatever you feel like.

Maui: Eco-Friendly Whale Watching Tour from Ma'alaea Harbor

8. Maui: Eco-Friendly Whale Watching Tour from Ma'alaea Harbor

Whale-watch with the experts on Maui's top-rated ecotour and see these amazing creatures in their natural wild habitat. Every excursion is led by certified Marine Naturalists for fun and informative interpretation of humpback whale behaviors and characteristics. Not only will you see these majestic creatures up close and personal, but your Marine Naturalist will provide an educational experience. Watch mothers and calves interact, see males compete for females, hear underwater whale songs – every trip is unique. Don't miss out on utilizing underwater hydrophones to hear whale songs. If you're bringing children, this family-friendly experience has onboard Jr. Naturalist Programs for kids. Don't forget to put on your Reef Safe Sunscreen, complimentary at check-in. For the more serious whale-watcher, this tour has affordable camera and binocular rentals. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to protecting our oceans through science and advocacy. All profits from these cruises support ocean research, education and conservation programs.

From Ma'alaea Harbor: Molokini Snorkeling Adventure

9. From Ma'alaea Harbor: Molokini Snorkeling Adventure

Embark on a half-day snorkeling adventure on a glass-bottomed catamaran, with breakfast, lunch, and a professional crew included. Look out for all types of Pacific marine life, from dolphins to turtles and coral reefs, in 2 snorkeling spots — the Molokini Crater and Turtle Town.  Begin your tour at Maalaea Harbor to board your boat. Join the crew aboard the Calypso, Maui's newest addition to the fleet, where you can even view the ocean from its glass bottom. Calypso is the only 3-deck catamaran in Hawai'i. Benefit from an easy-to-use stairway in and out of the water, lots of shade, and plenty of Jimmy Buffet music.  Start the day off right with a hearty breakfast that includes scrambled eggs, Portuguese sausage and either turkey or chicken and mushroom sausage, mixed muffins, pastries, mixed fruit, coffee, tea, and juice. Next, be dazzled by Molokini Crater, located off the south shore of Kihei. Expect pristine conditions as Molokini is a protected marine preserve and bird sanctuary.  See how the extinct volcanic cone provides a home for native Hawaiian marine life such as manta rays, fish, urchins, and sharks, who all swim around the coral through the clear water year-round. Use the provided snorkeling equipment to explore the underwater world.  Take advantage of the 2 water slides to make it more fun, especially for kids. And fret not— a lifeguard is always in the water watching over the snorkelers to ensure their safety. After leaving Molokini, your second snorkeling spot of the day is Turtle Town, where you will swim with Hawaiian green sea turtles amid the calm water and coral. Then, return to the boat for a relaxing barbecue lunch buffet. Finally, enjoy a fun trivia game for the chance to win a crew T-shirt. Some of the tour’s top amenities include 2 slides, a jumping platform, 2 freshwater showers, use of snorkeling gear, flotation devices, and restrooms on the boat. There are 11 stair points to get into the water for easy and comfortable access. Hire everything you need on the day, with wetsuits, or underwater digital cameras available to rent.

Lahaina: 2-Hour Whale Watching Tour

10. Lahaina: 2-Hour Whale Watching Tour

Get a front row seat to see Humpback Whales up close. Set out from Lahaina and make your way to the Maui Nui whale sanctuary to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Every winter, Humpback Whales migrate to the waters around Maui to mate and give birth. Hop on a custom-built inflatable raft to enjoy an intimate experience with the whales. Your captain and crew will share information about the whales to give you a full experience. There's even a hydrophone and high-quality speakers on the boat, so you can hear the whales' beautiful songs. This trip is perfect for the whole family. Bring your friends and loved ones and share the awe and splendor of Maui's Humpback Whales together.

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What people are saying about Maui

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 145 reviews

The booking online was easy with a very clear calendar on what dates were available. From the start of the early morning boarding process (7:30am) til the end(about 11am) it was fantastic. There was an awesome breakfast of fresh fruit, breakfast sandwiches and banana bread PLUS drinks (and mimosas for adults). The catamaran is big and roomy with plenty of walk around space and my kids loved to sit up front on the netting. I will say we were lucky and had a half dozen whales breach (jumping out of the water) in front of us plus another 12/15 sightings of heads and tails. It was AMAZING!! granted we were there in late December which is start of the season but we will be back and book again on our next rip to Maui. Just a very relaxing, exciting adventure to share with my two sons and wife. Also it goes without saying the crew is the best and will answer literally every question you and your kids have, they are all the friendly and you can tell they love their job.

We booked this adventure at the last minute and could not be happier with what we got. It was my birthday and they treated us like royalty! I went with my husband and Son and daughter in-law. There were more whale sightings than they have seen in a VERY long time and more whales in each pod than ever before. Everyone was super friendly and knowledgeable and I would definitely recommend this adventure to all my friends. We will also be sure to check with you first for more adventures when we come back to beautiful Maui. Mahalo!

We had an amazing experience with Dive Maui and the 2-hr Whale Watching experience! The captain and her co captain were fantastic and so knowledgeable. We saw so many pods. They knew where to go and then kept moving to find more. It was an amazing experience and we learned so much! We were a group of 6 adults and all of us were in awe. Take some motion sickness precautions if you tend to get motion sickness, you are in a small boat in a big ocean. Highly recommended~

Awesome - awesome - crew was great - food was good and the experience was one of a kind!

Came January 1st and saw lots of whales! Great boat team too.