It is one of our favorite times of year in Hana, as the North Pacific Humpbacks escape the cold winters in Alaska and migrate to the Hawaiian Islands for warmer weather. From now until early spring, Maui is the prime locale for whale watching. Whether you prefer take in the view from an Ocean Bungalow lanai or venture out snorkeling to hear the whale songs, we’ve got front row seat access.

Each year from around November through early spring, the beautiful and majestic North Pacific Humpback Whales migrate over 3,500 miles from Alaska to seek warmer weather in the Hawaiian Islands. Can you blame them? It seems that, just like us, they prefer Maui, too!

Legends, stories, and rituals featuring Kohola (whales) can be found throughout Hawaiian culture, with some artifacts found by archeologists dating back to early Polynesian era 1-600 AD. Today, biologists say Hawaii’s Kohola (whale) population is the largest, with the majority of their calves born here each year. Thanks largely due to conservation efforts, the whale population is continuing to increase, growing from an estimated 6,000 in 1993 to approximately 21,000 in 2014.

The end of winter through the beginning of spring is the prime season for watching Humpback Whales play throughout the islands. Below the surface, whales are teaching their young calves important motor skills away from natural predators for the journey back to Alaska, while older whales take this time to breed for next season. Both activities result in the beautiful visual we see above the water as they breach the ocean surface and soar into the air.  

In Hana, we have spent many afternoons watching them frolich from one of our Ocean Bungalow lanais. The unobstructed, panoramic view makes you feel like you’ve got VIP seating for whale watching. This season, we’ve added a few binoculars to the Makana Center to take your viewing to a whole new level.

If you’re prefer to get closer to the action, we recommend taking some snorkel gear and heading to Hamoa Beach. While you won’t see the whales from underwater, you will definitely hear them sing!

For more information on the North Pacific Humpback Whales and tips for watching them this season, visit our friends at Maui Whale Watching.

Photos courtesy of Anna Kim Photography