Whale Watching Cruise with Researchers

Central Maui, South Maui
January to April
Lunch & Drinks Included
Jumping whale in front of Ocean Explorer boat


  • Observe majestic humpback whales
  • Learn about their behavior from onboard marine biologists, and hear about current whale research projects
  • Hear whales sing with underwater hydrophone
  • Support a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting marine life and oceans
  • Small research boat for more intimate experience
  • Whale sighting guarantee or go again for free
$75 per adult
  • 8:00am
  • Duration 3 hours
This activity is not currently available.

You may be interested in our other Top Maui Activities


On limited dates at 8 am from January through April, experience the Ultimate Whalewatch with a special cruise led by whale researchers and marine biologists. The Pacific Whale Foundation's renowned research team will discuss their current research projects and teach you all about humpback whales and marine science. On this longer (3 hours) and more intimate cruise (max of only 38 people -- 18 during COVID) on a vessel that had served as the main research boat in the past and has unobstructed open-air views (great for photography), you'll have plenty of interaction time with the experts, who will also narrate the whale behavior you will see. Lunch and drinks (including alcohol) included, as well as a marine life poster card to take home with you.

AVAILABILITY: This cruise has limited dates and often sells out well in advance. The calendar above shows up-to-date availability. Note that all our other whale cruises also have experts onboard with extensive commentary.

COVID-19 UPDATE: This cruise is currently operating, with passenger capacity reduced by 50% for the foreseeable future. For the safety of staff and guests, enhanced sanitation measures and onboard best practices to reduce contact and maintain social distancing have also been implemented.

TravelShack's Choice

Why we recommend this option over others
  • Whale watching is PWF's specialty, and you are learning from a prominent organization that has advanced whale research and conservation efforts for over 35 years
  • Profits from your tickets support PWF's important work
Traveler Reviews
TravelShack Customer rating:

5.0 out of 5 stars
Also rated on:

February 2020

Tammy M wrote:

We really enjoyed the whale watching tour. Great food, beverages and very informative. Smaller group of people made it more enjoyable experience.

February 2020

Lisa H wrote:

So many whales!!! Learned so much. Folks running the excursion were top notch!

March 2019

Katrina G wrote:

Excellent!!!! The staff is educated in Biology and very knowledgeable. I would do whale watching with them again.

Guidebook Reviews

Maui Revealed Guidebook:

Maui is the undisputed whale watching capital of Hawaii.

For whale watching, Pacific Whale Foundation remains our top choice because of their knowledgeable crews. This is their passion.

Make sure you book a dedicated whale watching tour that focuses on that and nothing else.

Lonely Planet Guidebook:

Whale Watching: Top 10 Maui Highlight

The Pacific Whale Foundation whale watching cruises are immensely popular

Fodor's Guidebook:

Whale Watch: Top 15 Maui Attraction. The humpback whales’ attraction to Maui is legendary, and seeing them is a highlight for many visitors. It’s one of the most popular activities on Maui.

Moon Guidebook:

Whale Watching: Top 10 West Maui Highlight: The waters off Maui are home to the highest concentration of humpback whales on the planet


  • Central Maui, South Maui
Departure Point
Ma'alaea Harbor

30 min from Ka’anapali / Lahaina
10-25 min from Kihei / Wailea
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Non-profit organization whose mission is to protect the oceans through science and advocacy. It conducts marine research, educates the public, and fights for marine life and ocean conservation.
  • Hawai'i Ecotourism Association Sustainable Tourism Certification
  • Holds annual Maui Whale Festival to raise awareness about conservation and raise funds to support its important programs
  • Boats use energy efficient, low emissions engines
  • Developed and outfitted all boats with whale protection devices, the first devices in the world for commercial vessels that guide whales away from propellers and running gear
  • Uses bio-compostable plates, cups, and utensils
  • Sources locally grown fruits, vegetables, and meats to reduce carbon footprint
Terms and Conditions
Cancellation Policy
  • Fully refundable until 48 hours prior to cruise
Taxes/fees added at checkout
  • 4.166% Hawaii sales tax (GET)
  • 3% Harbor Tax
  • $4.50 fuel surcharge per person