What’s the Best Way to Whale Watch on Maui?

In the winter months, people from around the world flock to Maui for the warm temperatures, sunny beach days, and WHALES! But what’s the best way to whale watch on Maui? Here are 5 great options to see whales on Maui this 2019 season.

1. From a White Sandy Beach

Whale season provides an added element to those relaxing, sun-filled beach days. During peak months, between January and March, it’s also common to hear them communicating underwater, even at shallow depths. If you want to see whales without abandoning the comfort of your beach chair, sit back, relax and keep an eye on the horizon.

2. From a Boat, but Choose Wisely

There are dozens of whale watches available in both South Maui and West Maui during whale season. Many boats will even guarantee whale sightings during peak months, but which is right for you and your family?

First, consider the time of day. If you’re looking for the best picture opportunities or are prone to seasickness, mornings are recommended as the water is typically calm. Afternoons bring a greater chance of wind and choppier water but can also be easier on your wallet as many companies offer midday discounts. You can also choose a sunset whale watch. Drinking a Mai Tai while seeing a whale breach as the sun goes down is a magical experience.

Another factor to consider is the type of boat. Some have theater-like seating where you spend most of the trip sitting down. Others are more designed to walk around, hopping from bow to stern and port to starboard wherever there are whales. There’s also the option of rafting for a closer view from the ocean’s surface.

If you’re visiting Maui with a top priority to see whales, a boat trip is your best bet. Each outing is unique, and you never know how much activity you’re going to see, so take several while you’re here.

3. From a Kayak

Whale watching from a kayak can be an exhilarating choice for your viewing adventure. Ask anyone who’s had a whale swim directly underneath their kayak! Independent rentals and guided tours are both available. However, if you’re new to kayaking, start with a tour, as water and wind conditions can change with little notice.

4. From a Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP)

This is perhaps the most exciting way to see whales, but also a bit of a gamble. You simply can’t move very fast on a SUP board. If you see a whale in the distance, chances are the whale will be long gone by the time you get closer.

Keep in mind if you decide to go out on your own, make sure to keep your distance. By law, you are not permitted to approach a whale within 100 yards, though the whales don’t always adhere to this regulation.

5. From Your Vacation Home

There’s nothing better than waking up in your home, grabbing a cup of coffee and scanning the horizon for whales. Whether from a condo in Kihei, a house on Keawakapu Beach or a vacation rental in Wailea, a home-based whale watch can provide hours of entertainment.

If you’ve fallen in love with Maui and would like to own your own piece of paradise, call me. The majority of Maui’s leeward coast is developed with oceanfront properties. Many of these can be legally rented out on a short-term basis while you’re away. Maui had 1.6 million visitors last year during whale season alone! This is why it can be relatively easy to cover a portion, all or more of your monthly expenses through vacation rentals.

So if you’re on Maui this winter, make sure to keep your eyes on the water. You never know when you’ll have that “WOW!” moment encountering the North Pacific Humpback Whales.

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