Tours and Tickets
Whale Watching from Lahaina Harbor
4.5

Whale Watching from Lahaina Harbor

By Pacific Whale Foundation
Recommended by 91% of travellers
91% of reviewers gave this product a bubble rating of 4 or higher.
About
See one of the ocean’s most majestic creatures up-close by taking a whale-watching excursion that offers a whale-sighting guarantee—if you don’t spot whales you can go again for free. Plus, throughout the tour, learn from a guide about the whales’ lives, ecosystems, and threats. Along the way, you can also enjoy the perks of a boat ride including panoramic views and additional marine life sightings.

Ages 0-99, max of 65 per group
Duration: 2h
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Live guide: English
More

Highlights
  • Embark on a whale-watching tour from the historic whaling village of Lahaina
  • A guide enhances the trip by sharing details and stories along the way
  • Get an opportunity to capture up-close photographs of whales
  • Enjoy a catamaran cruise through Maui’s picturesque waters

  • All taxes, fees and handling charges
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Live commentary on board
What's not included
  • Gratuities
  • Alcoholic drinks (available to purchase)
  • Drinks
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off


Start:
  • 612 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
    Across the street from Banyan Tree Park Check-in 45 minutes prior to departure tour time
End:This activity ends back at the meeting point.

    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Stroller accessible
    • Service animals allowed
    • Near public transportation
    If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 15807P10

    • Children must be accompanied by an adult
    • Children 4 and under are always free but need to be accounted for on the booking
    • Please check in 45 minute prior to your departure
    • Most travellers can participate
    • Collapsible wheelchairs may be accommodated if the passenger can walk onto or be assisted onto the vessel
    • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 65 travellers

    • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

    If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 15807P10

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    About the operator
    Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator:
    • Pacific Whale Foundation
      2,330
      Lahaina, Hawaii
      Joined in February 2018
    • JPF300
      0 contributions
      For a whale of a time - choose PWF
      Professional staff, excellent boats, different experiences offered. Nov-Feb basically guaranteed to see whales. Respectful of the whales however gets the boat as reasonably close to these magnificent creatures as is safe (and legal). Since Lahaina burned down in Aug 2023, the tours depart from Ma'alaea Harbor near the aquarium. Tour is just a good as if departed from Lahaina.
      Written February 9, 2024
    • Travel250080
      0 contributions
      Amazing!
      Captain Doug was amazing! The entire boat crew were so helpful. Great snorkeling and we saw a ton of whales. I highly recommend.
      Written January 24, 2024
    • alohara
      0 contributions
      Phenomenal half day adventure
      Phenomenal half day adventure. Took our 3 and 6 year olds, who loved this whole experience. Crew were professional, knowledgeable, and kind. Cooked up a great breakfast and lunch, while also educating us and keeping us safe. Saw too many whales to count on the way out to the crater. Delightful snorkeling. And, you can support the Pacific Whale Foundation!
      Written January 21, 2024
    • cathyl443
      0 contributions
      Snorkeling was top notch.
      This was an amazing trip. The boat captain who managed the seating was a bit racist (pretended he lost our reservation). I wasn’t standing for that…the girls helping were lovely. Despite that we had an amazing time.
      Written January 3, 2024
    • 309alicer
      0 contributions
      Great snorkeling trip and ocean outing!
      It was a very windy day (typical for 2nd windiest harbor in world they say) and we felt safe with the Captain and crew. They took good care of us, We didn't feel a real warm personal touch, but they were busy and we like supporting the Pac Whale Foundation. I would go with them again. Good food and service provided. Also gave good naturalist info, and the Captain took us to try to find a whale after we saw spouts. Also saw spinner dolphins, and a turtle that surfaced for a breath in a special area the Captain knew about. Fun snorkeling at Molokini and saw a lot of fish.
      Written November 13, 2023
    • Yukasin
      0 contributions
      Great Celestial Boat Cruise
      This was the best value and most interesting thing we did on Maui. Two and one half hours, on a boat, nice assortment of pupus, three drinks, and a guided tour of the stars from a PhD. All for $130, and you can even get it for $110 if you buy on line. And, the money goes to supporting their environmental efforts. We had a great time, despite the windy conditions. They had like 8 staff for about 80 of us. Totally impressed.
      Written November 4, 2023
    • Diana S
      0 contributions
      Top activity to enjoy in Maui
      My husband and I had a great time sailing / snorkeling with Pacific Whale Foundation! Very friendly and knowledgeable crew. We were taken to 2 amazing snorkeling spots… lots of marine life, even got to see a couple turtles in their natural habitat… Definitely a memorable experience!
      Written November 3, 2023
    • Debbie B
      0 contributions
      Great experience.
      Great crew. Easy to find the meeting place. The boat was a nice size with inside and outside seating. We were glad for prescription goggles and wet suit tops. Great experience.
      Written November 2, 2023
    • teribU7137WQ
      0 contributions
      Great day
      Fun trip, well organized, crew seemed to care that everyone was comfortable and enjoying themselves. Breakfast was great: croissants, fresh oranges and pineapple, egg frittata, juice & coffee. They provided chips and yummy salsa to snack on after our first snorkel stop at Molokini. Lunch was hot dogs, pulled pork, veggie burger (which I appreciated), macaroni salad, cole slaw, fixings for burger/dog, sodas, beer, mai tais. All were delicious. They had all the equipment we needed and all were in good shape. We appreciated the informative talk about the fish we saw after the snorkel stop at Molokini. All in all a great day, good value and was as advertised. Highly recommend and would do again.
      Written November 1, 2023
    • mhkobe
      0 contributions
      Great experience all around!
      Great introduction to snorkeling in Maui. Everything was done well from the food -beginning with a continental breakfast to a delicious hot lunch; the staff were friendly, knowledgeable and fun; they provided all the equipment including a wet suit top (which was appreciated as the water was cool in October). We saw beautiful fish at both sites -unfortunately no turtles, but that is weather and nature dependent. The crater was an interesting site that worth viewing from above and below the water. Would recommend for both novice and experienced snorkelers!
      Written November 1, 2023
    • DorothyDick
      0 contributions
      Great Day!
      Fun experience! The crew was helpful and friendly. Adequate support for the number of participants. Equipment was in good repair. Molikini was beautiful- amazingly clear water, lots of fish and coral to see. The reef tour with the marine biologist was great! Despite the name, we didn’t see any turtles at turtle town. Still lots of other marine life. Definitely recommend!
      Written October 19, 2023
    • I8846WPkarenm
      0 contributions
      Worst, unsafe tour ever!
      This is by far the worst snorkeling tour I’ve ever been on. They anchored in Molokini Cove with white caps rolling in. People throwing up all over the deck, people barely lasted 10 minutes in the water. I’ve snorkeled Molokini before and this was just irresponsible captain at the helm that put 80 people’s lives in danger. The Captain prioritized money over safety.
      Written October 12, 2023
    • rohinij515
      0 contributions
      Great for beginners!
      Pacific Whale Foundation’s snorkeling trip to Molokini Crater was amazing - we liked the whole package. They keep you well fed and hydrated, explain things well for beginner snorkelers (like us) and prioritise safety over everything else, which is very reassuring. Was perfect for first time snorkelers and would 100% repeat the experience with them again!
      Written September 28, 2023
    • jizpallath
      0 contributions
      You guys are the best! Thank you!
      This was an amazing expedition! I’ve only been snorkeling once before in Key West so I already felt comfortable using the equipment. They held a class for those who didn’t feel comfortable using the snorkeling device and multiple team members are in the ocean with you to make sure you are safe. They make the experience extra special by using their marine biology skills to snorkel with you and teach you about the different fish and species on the coral reef. Seeing the big sea turtles and all the beautiful colors on the reef was picturesque! All the staff was really kind and knowledgeable. Thankfully there was both breakfast and lunch on the trip because snorkeling did make us really hungry.
      Written September 17, 2023
    • A1222WTpaulw
      0 contributions
      Go do it!
      Snorkeling at Molokini is a fantastic experience. The number and variety of fish is impressive. We were not lucky enough to see any turtles at the spots we tried, but we did see two or three swimming at the surface on our way back to the harbor. The staff are super friendly and quite knowledgeable, also very passionate about the work they're doing.
      Written September 16, 2023
    See all 2 reviews
    These reviews are the subjective opinions of Tripadvisor members and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

    Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

    Popular mentions

    4.5
    368 reviews
    Excellent
    301
    Very good
    37
    Average
    16
    Poor
    6
    Terrible
    8

    OMB
    Apex, NC38 contributions
    Jan 2023
    In May 2022, my wife and I went whale watching in Alaska and were disappointed. We discovered the whales were not that active in Alaska because they had just traveled all the way from Hawaii where they breed in the winter. So when planning our 2 week vacation to Hawaii for January 2023, I booked PacWhale Eco-Adventures’ Small Group Whalewatch Lahaina Tour in hopes of seeing more active whales. That tour was canceled, but we ended booking the 2 hour, 10:00 AM Whalewatch Sail Lahaina Tour on the vessel Ocean Spirit. Communication with PacWhale Eco-Adventures was excellent prior to our arrival in Maui. We knew exactly when and where to meet and what to bring. It helped that we had a beautiful sunny day for our tour along with calm waters. My wife and I ended up in a perfect spot on the front of the boat. We saw numerous blows and tail fins as whales dove. One whale surfaced right in front of the boat, eliciting a big “WHOA” from passengers and crew. However, the highlight of the trip was a tail slapping contest between 2 males. Just off the bow of the boat, a male slapped his tail 13 times in succession. A minute later, another male reared back and slapped his tail 11 times in a row. On my video of the 2nd male slapping his tail, one can hear the captain say “You know what this means. No refunds. The captain’s getting paid today.” Every passenger on the boat had to agree with him. That up close view of the tail slapping contest exceeded all expectations. Members of the crew came around a couple times during the tour to give us water and keep us hydrated. One of the crew even offered to take a picture of my wife and I toward the end of the tour. We thoroughly enjoyed our 2 hour excursion on the Ocean Spirit.
    Written January 22, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    MplusA
    Fayetteville, AR74 contributions
    The staff was great. Nothing felt rushed and they clearly were invested in giving us the ultimate experience. We weren’t lucky enough to have whales come within 100 ft (only the whales can make that happen), but we got as close as legally possible and the whales put on a show. Specifically, the calf was breaching and spy hopping constantly. It made for wonderful memories and some fun photos. We absolutely loved it. We did the whale watcher deluxe and were served lunch, which was pretty good, and one complimentary alcoholic beverage (more available for $). We heard the whale songs with the hydrophone and learned a ton about whale behavior. Overall, it greatly exceeded my expectations and I highly recommend the relatively smaller setting allotted by the whale watcher deluxe option.

    Don’t forget, you get a free reschedule if your don’t see a whale, so it’s low risk and high reward!
    Written March 23, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Safari579056
    Playa del Carmen, Mexico1 contribution
    Jan 2020
    The tour boat is only half full with 70 people on it, which is why it is twice the price at around $65 - $75 a person. Excellent crew and commentary and we saw fabulous Humbback Whales. The boat gets no closer than 100M of the whales - though one went under the boat and surfaced about 10M from the boat. Great view sights and the skipper positions the boat for optimal photography by taking into account where the sun is.
    Written January 23, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Aloha. We are so happy to hear that you enjoyed your whalewatching ecotour with us. Mahalo for your review.
    Written January 23, 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Lei
    Maui, HI3 contributions
    It was my first ever whale watch and I was not disappointed.

    The crew was awesome and the naturalists were great! Very informative tour not just a look and watch for whales type of money being spent.

    Due to COVID-19 and county regulations, I feel the company did great with efforts towards safety while allowing us to experience the beauty of our marine life and Hawai’i.

    The assigned seating was not a bother to me BUT I believe there should boundaries. It makes it difficult to see what is happening when people are allowed to stand up and walk around once we hit the deep waters and they have no respect or courtesy. Why would you stand right in front of someone blocking their view?? Even when I would stand they would just scoot their way close into me. MIND YOU, I am short and most of ya’ll are tall so you can clearly see what is happening from above me haha.

    So I think allowing them to only stay in their assigned area is great. There were times when the whale would be in the back but I wouldn’t go back there because I didn’t want to block others’ views. However, if this is not possible, the crew should be reminding people to be courteous not to block anyone due to excitement.

    Another thing I think needs improvement deals with wearing our face masks. Yes, crew members will tell us and remind those who have it off to use it correctly, but some will not put it on or listen! If those people do not listen or put it on, the crew members should stay put until the person puts it on or the crew member should tell that person to remain seated at their assigned seat if they will be walking around without a mask on.

    Anyways, I loved the tour. Great company. We saw much whales (maybe luck?) and our captain stayed at a legal distance. It gets hot so I’d recommend bringing sunscreen to reapply and maybe a hat. You can also bring your own food and drinks (not alcohol) on the boat to eat.

    Worth the $$$
    Written March 3, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    We are so thank that you chose to come out with us to wtiness the wonder of the humpback whales and so happy to hear that you enjoyed the experience. We appreciate your insightful feedback and take it all very seriously as we try to continually improve the customer experience amidst the pandemic. You stay safe and healthy and we'll hope to have you out with us again on your nex visit to Maui.
    Written March 4, 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Alicia Ludescher
    Peosta, IA403 contributions
    Mar 2022
    I am from the Midwest, so naturally when I came to Hawaii, I ensured it was during whale watching season. I wasn't going to waste the trip by any means. Whale watching was one of the priorities of our trip. I booked the Ultimate Whale Watch with Experts from Lahaina Harbor. For $120 a person, I was a little surprised that the boat was so small; however, I would later come to realize the size of the boat probably helps move from site to site more swiftly as the whales do not remain stationary as you can imagine. We rented a pair of binoculars for $10 which was a smart thing to do. We were able to see the distant whale activity very well. In addition to guaranteed whale activity, we were also provided with a breakfast of: yogurt parfait, pastries and fruit with coffee and water. Three hours was plenty of time for the tour. We moved from many sites as well as moved alongside some whales unexpectedly. We did not see any whales breach (jump from the water) on our tour, but that's not necessarily something you can predict. Our guides were quite knowledgeable, answering questions and providing all sorts of education regarding whales, their habits and their migration patterns. There was also an underwater microphone that allowed us to hear the whales "sing."

    If I had to make a recommendation to someone considering a tour or tours with PacWhale I would say if your between tours or cost is an issue, book the snorkeling tour during whale season. You will for sure see whales on any tour plus you get to snorkel. A win-win!

    The only issue was the confusion at the Harbor. There wasn't a designated person working for PacWhale directing people. There are multiple tours with PacWhale that depart early in the morning, so there was quite a bit of confusion and chaos moving people around. The photographer ended up directing people which of course wasn't his job. I feel hiring someone to direct tours in the morning would help alleviate this issue.
    Written March 18, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    mj@necanet.org
    1 contribution
    Dec 2019
    Great, knowledgeable staff and boat crew. The boat navigation was accurate and attention to the needs and safety of the passengers was given high priority. The crew found the whales. Have been on these types of boat rides before and have seen nothing but water. This one delivered.
    Written January 3, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    binghamb
    Terrace, Canada7 contributions
    Mar 2020 • Couples
    We had a wonderful whale watching tour with pacific whale eco-adventures out of Lahaina. The boat was large and very comfortable, the staff friendly, and our guide had a marine biology degree and was very knowledgeable about the humpback whales we were watching. He also had a great sense of humour! We saw numerous mamas, babies, and escorts. They put on quite a show and we saw a few breaches, many tail displays and fin slapping. All in all a great afternoon!
    Written March 11, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    We truly appreciate that you chose to come out with us to see the amazing humpback whales that visit our waters every year to mate and give birth. It truly is a special time of year and we’re so happy you enjoyed the experience!
    Written March 12, 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Karen P
    1 contribution
    Mar 2020 • Friends
    6 of us hat a wonderful experience with the staff on the boat. They were very knowledgeable about the habits of the whales and answered any questions guests had. We got an added bonus when a family of whales just seemed to be keeping themselves at the top of the water for at least 20-30 minutes. Along cane some Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins and it was wonderful. The dolphins are usually not around when the whales are. To me the best part was when they put a special microphone into the water and we got to listen to the whale songs over the sound system. It was the best experience we’ve had of all the whale watching excursions we’ve been on!!
    Written March 5, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Aloha Karen. We truly appreciate that you chose to come out with us to see the amazing humpback whales that visit our waters every year to mate and give birth. It truly is a special time of year and we’re so happy you enjoyed the experience.
    Written March 5, 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    Karen M
    Madison, WI163 contributions
    Apr 2022
    The whole trip was my favorite part. The boat is comfortable, the captain (Chris) was very good and had a good voice over the speaker, the naturalist aboard was informative and crystal clear on the speaker, the crew was efficient, and we had lots of whale sightings. We were on a Pacific Whale Foundation trip a # of years ago. This year our hotel suggested a less expensive tour, but we indicated we preferred this one because the boat was comfortable and the information provided was what we wanted. We weren't sorry. Comparing our catamaran to some of the smaller, more cramped boats out at at the same time was really no comparison.
    Written April 8, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Simona
    Czech Republic3 contributions
    Dec 2022
    The photograph that advertises the trip is misleading. You don't get to see the whales this close at all. Only a few minutes before boarding they tell you that the closest you will get to the whales is 100 yards. And you are offered binoculars that you can rent for 10 USD. You cannot really use it, the boat movements make it impossible. Go whale watching on Cape Cod, if you get a chance. The whales there love the attention, they come very close to the boat and they are accompanied by dolphins who jump out of the water in two's and three's.
    It is understandable that here on Maui whales mating or giving birth need extra protection and establishing a marine sanctuary is a good step. But they should tell you in advance what the conditions are and what you can and cannot expect. That said, the boat was nice and clean and the crew was knowledgable and trying very hard to make the best out of it.
    Written December 12, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Thank you for coming out with us whale watching, although we're sorry you were disappointed with the experience. It is true that the closest we can get is 100 yards per regulations in place to protect the humpback whales and not infringe on their natural behavior. We support and have fought for such rules. With that said though, the whales do often come near the vessels and "Mug" them, at which point they can't move until the whales are 100 yards away. You just never know what to expect and every trip is unique. We hope that you'll return during prime whale season January-March when there are more humpback whales in our waters, as these amazing giants of the see are incredible to witness. Happy Holidays to you and thank you for your feedback.
    Written December 13, 2022
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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    Whale Watching from Lahaina Harbor provided by Pacific Whale Foundation