Prefer whale watching with no snorkeling? Visit our Dedicated Whale Watch Tour Page

3363Share 49Tweet 26 22G+ 0Stumble 10Email 0Print Comment

Get Our Newsletter:

Print Friendly and PDF

whale watching tour
Our Maui whale watching tour is truly an EXCEPTIONAL VACATION VALUE. You’ll enjoy a full two hour whale watch combined with snorkeling a beautiful coral reef.
Pride of Maui is the most stable and spacious boat on Maui with unsurpassed amenities including two restrooms, glass bottom, water slide, submerged boarding ladders, warm showers, large hardwood bar, and over 2500 feet of open deck space.

food onboardYour freshly prepared BBQ lunch includes big juicy burgers, hot dogs, marinated chicken breasts, as well as an open bar with ice cold beer, regional wines, and tropical mai tais. Homemade mac-nut white chocolate cookies are baked fresh daily for your enjoyment.

Maui Whale Watching

Every year from December through March the North Pacific Humpback Whales migrate to the warm tropical waters of Hawaii. The  coastal waters of Maui by far, enjoys the largest concentration of these amazing animals. Whale Watching in Maui is some of the best in the world and as good as it gets. Whale Watching aboard our flagship “Pride of Maui” is even better. No other vessel compares to the space, stability and 360 degree panoramic viewing from her sprawling upper deck. The superior stability  and additional space aboard our larger power cat makes all the difference in the world, when choosing the right whale watching vessel. The Pride is spacious and stable, with unsurpassed amenities and comforts, including more deck space per passenger and perimeter seating for ease of movement throughout. This provides ample opportunity to view and photograph a variety of exciting whale behaviors.

whale iconDuring your whale watch cruise these amazing animals will often display themselves in full glory, giving you the ultimate whale watching on Maui experience. You may witness a mother whale frolic with her calf, or a full-grown adult breach exuberantly out of the water. Sightings of these playful behemoths, which grow as large as fifty feet and weigh about one ton per foot, are GUARANTEED on our Whale Watch Tour. Whales will be sighted, or your next whale watch tour aboard the Pride of Maui will be complimentary.

Maui Whale Season

For more than one reason, the Island of Maui is consistently rated as the Best Island in The World. (Conde Nast, 2013) Not only do the visitors and happy full-time residents of Maui know this, but so do the Humpback Whales. Year after year, the Humpback Whales travel from cool Alaskan waters all the way to warm Hawaiian oceans for their annual Winter breeding migration. They are commonly first spotted in Maui’s waters as early as October, and their presence gradually increases as more pods and escorts finally arrive in Hawaii just in time for the holiday season. Maui’s Whale Season runs from mid-Fall to April, and the peak season for watching whales is generally during the latter part of the season; January, February and March.

Maui Whale Season

One of the most amazing things about the Humpback Whales on Maui, is how easily they can be watched in their natural habitat. It is common to see them breech, frolic and play on the ocean’s surface, easily seen from the shoreline. For a more intimate Whale Watching experience, venture on a Pride of Maui vessel. Choose a Whale Watching Tour, a Snorkel & Whale Watching Tour, or a romantic Sunset Cruise & Whale Watch adventure in Maui. Private Chartered Whale Watching Tours are available by request.

What You'll See

Some common behavior displayed on a whale watching trip includes blowing and spy hopping. They’ll also slap their tails, believed to be an act of communication and to demonstrate their individual strength. Spy hopping is when the humpback whales come high out of the water to literally have a look around at the world above.

what you see whale watchingA mature North Pacific Humpback Whale averages about 40ft in length & weighs about 40 tons, although they’ve been known to grow up to 16 meters or 52ft long. Their heavy bodies can weigh up to 50 tons. The heart alone is about 400lbs or more. The size of these whales makes them hard to miss, especially when they swim in groups. Female whales are slightly larger, in order to defend themselves and their nursing calves from the more aggressive males.

Male and Female Behavior

humpback whales

The male humpback whales are driven to mate with the females and pro-create. It is common during the heat of the Maui whale watching season to find large competitive groups (pods) of male humpback whales jousting for the opportunity to mate with a single female. Watching them is an exciting experience, as they wrestle with each other for the position to mate.

The female humpback whales with new born calves are particularly vulnerable to the advances of the males during the Maui whale watching season. Sometimes during our whale watch we are mugged (an affectionate term), by the female and her calf as she uses our large yacht to hide under in an attempt to ditch the hopeful males. Other times curiosity causes them to come closer to us. Being mugged on a whale watch in Maui by humpback whales is the ultimate whale watching experience where photo opportunities create cherished memories. 

Humpback Whale Conservation

The original Endangered Species Conservation Act (ESCA) of 1969 has been now amended as The Endangered Species Act of 1973. This Act was the first of its kind to protect marine species in danger of extinction, and common threats including poaching and sport hunting. During previous points in time, the Humpback Whales had been maltreated and had no protection. The foreseeable future for the Humpback Whale species was at a great risk.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was passed by US Congress in 1972, and added extra levels of protection for endangered and threatened marine species, including the Humpback Whales. This Act was introduced to protect species that were in danger of extinction and/or depletion due to human activities. The Act carefully sees that threatened species do not become extinct, taking measures to “replenish the species.” The 1994 amended version of the Marine Mammals Protection Act added requirements for authorization and permits for scientific research, commercial fishing operations, and preparing stock assessments of marine mammal species in US jurisdiction.
Working in conjunction with various marine related non-profits, and education based activity tour companies, the ESCA and the MMPA are responsible for protecting the growing numbers of the magical Humpback Whale species. Pride of Maui goes to great lengths to educate guests on the habits and beauty of the Humpback Whales, as well as insure that their practices are at the highest standards of safety for the ocean, marine life and guests. Pride of Maui vessels are top of the line, boat Captains and staff are educated and expert trained, and all tours are in line with the most recent Marine Conservation practices.


whale migration map

Humpback whales migrate in the thousands from the Gulf of Alaska to and around the Hawaiian Islands, and in particular the island of Maui, creating the perfect Maui whale watching experience. The island of Maui offers sheltered water, where the females can more safely give birth and raise their young. Whales are mammals and the calves are fed with their mother’s milk. While suckling, it is believed they may be safer from predators in the sheltered Maui waters, as opposed to the open ocean or less protected seas.

Surface Sightings

Data compiled and sponsored by The State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, National Marine Sanctuaries (Hawaiian Islands), and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


 Join us for the best Maui whale watching for the memories of a lifetime! The North Pacific Humpback Whale is a baleen whale (toothless), declared as an endangered and protected species.


Whale watching in Maui is as good as it gets, with the opportunity on any given trip to see numerous animals displaying a variety of interesting and memorable behaviors.

Newborn calves in addition to being adorable are curious and often bring mom close to the boat for a close encounter. As a protected animal, it is unlawful to approach closer than 100 yards from these majestic animals during a Maui whale watch, and we adhere strictly to these regulations.

It is not uncommon for the whales to approach us as we sit idle in the water. Close encounters initiated by the whales are common on a whale watching tour in Maui.

whale watching in maui

During the Maui whale watching tour, you might  see a young calf swimming beside its mother. The newborn calves are about 14 feet long. When you see them, you have definitely experienced some of the best whale watching.

They are not small, even when newborn. The mother stays with her offspring for about one year, feeding it with up to 100 gallons of milk every day. There are 2 maturity levels discussed by researchers.  Sexual maturity and physical.

Females are said to reach sexual maturity at about 5 years/males 7.  Physical maturity is after 10 years, according to some researchers.  Life span has been discussed and not agreed upon by most researchers.  No one knows how long humpbacks live, but bowhead whales (a cousin) have been proven to live well beyond 200 years!

To make your whale watch cruise in Maui even better, we’re going to take you on a snorkel adventure where you will enjoy snorkeling at one of Maui’s beautiful coral reefs. Whale Watching and snorkeling on the same cruise is the perfect pairing of the two most popular ocean adventures on Maui.

Ten Interesting Facts about Humpback Whales

Whales start migrating to Hawaii in December and leave in April. Past year sightings have been as early as October, staying in Hawaiian oceans as late as June. The peak time to watch whales in Maui is in February during mating season, with March coming in second. (2012- Whale sightings confirmed early December)

Humpback Whales can range from 25ft to 45ft, as big as a school bus! They can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, equivalent to 6 elephants*

Humpback Whales migrate 3,500 miles from Alaska to Hawaii every year. It takes them 4-8 weeks to complete this journey. Alaska is their feeding ground, and Hawaii is their breeding and birthing ground.

Humpbacks are still a huge mystery. There have been no recorded sightings of Humpback Whales mating or giving birth.

During the late season, as the whales are preparing to leave the Hawaiian waters, male bulls come to escort a female and her calves out of the Hawaiian channels. It is quite common to see “competitive pods” of males at this time. (Males fighting amongst each other to win over and impress the females.) Male Humpback Whale competitive pods can be very aggressive; head slapping, tail slapping, and breaching upon each other sometimes resulting in bloodshed.

The majority of Humpback Whales that migrate to Hawaii end up in the oceans around Maui.

Baby Humpback Whales are in utero for 11-12 months. When born, they can be between 12-14 feet in length, and weigh 1-1/2 tons. Surviving off their mothers 50% fat milk, the calves grow at least 1-inch and gain approximately 100 pounds per day.

It is quite common to see the newborn Humpback Whale frolic and play on the surface of the ocean. They will raise their pectoral fin up and down on the ocean’s surface. This is called pectoral slapping, a learned action that will continue with them through adulthood.

Humpback Whales are not monogamous! They are believed to be promiscuous breeders, and the males do not play a parental role in the lives of their calves. Genetic testing shows that over the breeding life of an individual female, calves will have different fathers.

Only male Humpback Whales sing! They sing in their breeding grounds to attract females, and ward off other males. The singers are lone animals, singing 50-60 feet below the oceans surface with their heads pointing down and their tails pointed up. Their songs can last from 20-40 minutes, and are liken to a complex classical music when broken down into specific phrases and units.

Pride of Maui

You can relax and take it easy on board the spacious Pride of Maui. Enjoy the view any where on the sprawling upper deck, or downstairs in the large main cabin. With your comfort in mind, the Pride of Maui is an exquisite passenger vessel, with more than enough room for you to comfortably enjoy your afternoon Maui snorkeling and whale watching fun.

You are in for very personalized service on the afternoon whale watching and snorkeling tour. This is because many visitors start their day early, joining us on the Morning Molokini snorkel tour. As such, the afternoon adventure always cruises with fewer passengers.


pride of maui humpback

Activity Date Adult (13+)Child (3 - 12)InfantsPromo Code (optional):







Days of the week
Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Maui Coastline For Whale Watching

Where to Board
Maalaea Harbor Public Loading Dock

Boarding/Check in: 1:00 pm

Trip: 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Meal Service: 4:00 pm

What to Bring


Snorkeling gear and instruction is included and
provided for you.

Camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, and towels.

Underwater Camera rentals are available for purchase.

Picture ID is required for passengers
consuming alcoholic beverages.



Includes complimentary lunch and open bar.

Juice, Soft Drinks,
Beer on tap, Wine & Mai-tai’s

Bikini Blonde Lager
Big Swell IPA

Pauhana Pilsner

Fresh Vegetables, Ranch Dressing Dip

Lunch (HOT off the Grill)
Cheeseburgers, Hot Dogs, Chicken Breast
Vegetables, Pasta salad, Cookies



December 15 – March 31




Allow Pride of Maui to be your guide for the best Maui snorkeling trip of your life! Your Pride of Maui boat Captain will choose a destination with the best ocean conditions to insure that your activity with Pride of Maui is the very best. Favorite destinations are Olowalu, Coral Gardens and the infamous Turtle Town. Gift yourself, your family and friends with the most amazing ocean activities on Maui!

whales at olowalu

Swim with the Green Hawaiian Sea Turtles at Olowalu (Fantasy Reef) on Maui. Fantasy Reef is one of the most exceptional snorkeling destinations in the world, and our boat Captains and staff have the valuable insiders perspective that make all the difference. Check out a gorgeous Hawaiian-style underwater world decorated with lava fingers stretching from shoreline to the deep blue, and a vibrantly colored collection of tropical fish and indigenous marine species. Depending on the season, see rare marine animals like the Green Hawaiian Sea Turtles, Manta Rays, Spinner Dolphins, Humpback Whales and more. Olowalu is an internationally recognized destination, and just so happens to be one of the few “Cleaning Stations” in Hawaii. Cleaning Stations provide a place for the Green Sea Turtles and Manta Rays to congregate and be cleaned by the aptly named fish, the “Cleaner Wrasse.” Snorkeling at Olowalu allows guests an opportunity to be fully immersed in some of Hawaii’s rarest ocean experiences. Become a hands on spectator of Hawaiian marine life with Pride of Maui.

humpback whales at coral gardens

Venture on a Pride of Maui vessel to Coral Gardens, one of Maui’s secretly disclosed snorkeling locations, and one this is a rare sight for visitors. Coral Gardens is located off of West Maui’s most noteworthy coastline, and offers guests a chance to see gently sloping lava bed terrains and sheltered coves. This is a perfect location for all levels ranging from beginner to advanced. Here, guests have an amazing chance to experience an underwater wonderland; inhabiting zones full of colorful tropical fish, and effervescent coral seabeds. Witness Hawaiian marine life on Maui firsthand with Butterfly Fish, Damsel Fish, Cardinal Fish, a variety of Crustaceans, Octopi, and the ever-loving Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, easily in arms reach. A Snorkel Tour with Pride of Maui will most definitely not be soon forgotten!

Captain CJ

Our Captains are trained to the highest levels, and embody a true love for the ocean. They share their experiences with all guests, and thats what makes our ocean activity tours in Hawaii the best. First, we seek out the best location to visit pending weather and ocean conditions. Then, we make sure that your snorkeling adventure with us rides high above all expectations. Feel rest assured, create cherished memories, and know that depending on your day, we have chosen the very best locale for you to maximize on your Snorkel Tour on Maui. Experience an unforgettable snorkeling adventure with Pride of Maui!

Dive In. Book Your Adventure.