Maui is a beautiful place that has activities and attractions that cater to a wide variety of interests. For mountain lovers there’s the Haleakala volcano which makes for a challenging hike, while those seeking relaxation can go to the shore and bask in the sun.

Admirers of wildlife are in for a special treat thanks to the adjoining ocean that is rife with dolphins, whales, and other beautiful sea life. To get up close and personal with these animals, there is a number of options for whale watching in Maui. We’ve done the homework for you and here are the 3 best options.

Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel
Image Credits: @ultimate_whalewatch_n_snorkel

Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel

Located in Lanai, Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel has been offering small group ocean rafting tours since 1982. The service is run by a knowledgeable and friendly staff who make it their duty to make your experience as fun as possible.

Many tourist companies make hollow promises as to the kind of wildlife you can spot with them. UWW&S will make sure that you’ll have an experience you’ll never forget. Sergio, one of the captains, will swim with you and point out and dispense interesting information about the wildlife. The group size is also kept small (less than 26 people per rafting vessel) and the rafts they use are safe.

For a truly unforgettable experience, UWW&S guarantees an encounter with the mighty Humpback Whale from December through May.

Makai Adventures
Image Credits: @makaiadventures

Makai Adventures

Located in Lahaina, Makai Adventures is a locally-operated tour guide that only takes small groups to memorable places. Unlike big agencies, Makai offers personalized tour guidance so your Maui adventure is as unique as possible.

The company offers several water adventures, including dolphin and whale watching. The crew is highly knowledgeable about marine wildlife and Mark, the captain, is a marine biologist. The group size is kept sufficiently small (often times no more than 15 people) and the crew members are a constant source of entertainment with their light-hearted comments and jokes. For safety, the captain will go as far as to snorkel with the guests and will make sure that they get to see interesting marine creatures.

The captain also has great etiquette during whale encounters and keeps a safe distance from the large mammals. Being a marine biologist, Mark always has something unique to share about wildlife, and about the island of Hawaii itself.

Pacific Whale Foundation
Image Credits: @pacificwhalefoundation

Whale Watching from Lahaina Harbor by Pacific Whale Foundation

This 2-hour catamaran cruise leaves from the historic Lahaina Harbor in search of humpback whales. One of the unique aspects of this tour is that a whale sighting is guaranteed, or you can take the tour again for free.

This tour is specifically designed for whale watching, and it delivers. The staff is highly knowledgeable and always excited to answer any questions you might have. There is plenty of time to spot whales and dolphins with each tour lasting close to 2 hours. The group size is decent, but it can vary depending on the kind of boat you’re in.

Travelers should keep in mind that there are very few whales in the summer, and it’s generally recommended to visit Maui from February onwards for guaranteed whale sightings.

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