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Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure

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Kailua-Kona, United States

COVID-19: Check local travel restrictions and learn what we're doing to help keep you safe and your plans flexible. Learn more.

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon3 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

Keeping you safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your visit
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
Social distancing enforced throughout experience
Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
Gear/equipment sanitized between use
Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
Guides required to regularly wash hands
Regular temperature checks for staff
Temperature checks for travelers upon arrival
Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
More questions?
(888) 651-9785

Overview

Winter is the most exciting time to be out on the water in Hawaii, as it’s the time of year when thousands of migrating humpback whales visit the islands. On this exciting Big Island whale watching tour, experience the thrill of traveling aboard a high-speed raft, and then seeing a whale swimming just in front of the boat. Though the boat will obey the federal laws and not approach within 100 feet (30 meters), it isn’t uncommon for the whale to decide to swim up under the boat!
  • Whale watching adventure off the coast of Hawaii
  • Travel along Kona coast with spectacular views
  • Look out for spinner dolphins, green sea turtles, manta rays and humpback whales
  • Explore the geology of Hawaii through lava tubes and sea caves
Saved to wishlist!
Rafting expedition
Beverages (sodas, fruit juices and bottled water) and snacks
Local taxes
Gratuities
Hotel pickup and drop off

Departure Point

74-425 Kealakehe Pkwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA

Departure Time

8:00 AM

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
This Kona whale watch departs from the slips of Honokohau Marina, which is just north of Kailua-Kona in the direction of Waikoloa. As you scour the coastline in search of a spout, your captain will discuss everything from Hawaiian history to the island’s unique geology, all while scanning the cobalt horizon for signs of a breach or a splash. 

In winter, humpback whales travel here to these waters to mate and give birth to their young. The captain also serves as a naturalist and has a wealth of info on the whales, and also carries a hydrophone on board so you can hear the haunting and eerie song of whales singing underwater. In addition to pods of humpback whales, there’s also the chance you could see turtles, dolphins, manta rays or other marine life, and the Kona coast is also home to some lesser-known species of whales.

Depending on where the whales are spotted, you’ll also have the chance to see coastal sea caves and small, volcanic lava tubes, and hear some tales about how the island is still continuing to grow. 

Since the boat only holds up to 16 passengers you’re guaranteed a personalized experience. Although the smaller Zodiac raft can be bouncy, and isn’t recommended for anyone pregnant or with back or neck problems, it's able to cut through the water without the stomach-churning rock. Many say it navigates the waters of the Kona coast better than any other style of boat.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • Minimum age is 4 years
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 16 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Captain Zodiac

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

  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure?
A:
The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Temperature checks for travelers upon arrival
See all safety measures taken by Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure?
A:
The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure?
A:
The policies on social distancing are:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
See all safety measures taken by Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure?
A:
The policies on staff health & safety are:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Regular temperature checks for staff
See all safety measures taken by Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure.
Q:
What is the maximum group size during Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure?
A:
This activity will have a maximum of 16 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure.

Traveler Photos

Traveler Tips


  • "With that said, prepare to have your body beat up, the water is so rough making the ride painful and not fun." See review
  • "Being on the raft was fun and allowed for a small group so you never had to worry about anyone in your way of seeing the sights." See review

Reviews

5.0
star-5
86 Reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 86 reviews
star-5
A whale of an adventure
Vashti_S
, Mar 2020
Great adventure and we saw a calf up close and breaching whales in the distance. A great day and excellent boat handling. Highly recommend Captain Zodiac.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Mahalo for such kind words about your whale watch with us!! Come join us on one of our snorkel tours next time and continue the adventure!! Aloha
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star-5
Best Whale Watching Experience!
Amy_L
, Mar 2020
The most magical and rare whale watching experience! 🐋 We captured incredible video of a male humpback whale under the water singing it’s beautiful songs! 🎶✨ Captain Dre and her Co-Captain Amanda were amazing. Super knowledgeable and so much fun. We had the best time! Thank you for this once in a lifetime experience.🙏🏼❤️
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
It was quite the first time experience for your captain and crew!! We were just as excited as all the passengers were. So happy to be able to share that with all the great people on the boat. Hope to have you out with us again.
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star-3
Get ready to hurt
Brian
, Feb 2020
This adventure was a mixed bag. Our guide and captain were great. The number of whales and breaches we saw topped any tour I have ever done. With that said, prepare to have your body beat up, the water is so rough making the ride painful and not fun. I know I will be sore for days. If I understood what I was in for, I would have not booked the tour.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Aloha Brian, We are very sorry to hear that your experience was not the best due to adverse weather conditions. Typically here in Kona, the water is the most calm in the state. Unfortunately, the unforeseen rare occasion that the winds pick up to create a more choppy ride can happen after we have already departed for our tour which is why we always do our best to make clear the bouncy nature of our ride. This is also stated on our waiver which each of our guests are required to sign before boarding our raft. Our captains and crew work very hard to provide the experience of a lifetime and we are glad to hear that you did enjoy them but we also appreciate your feedback on the ride due to the state of the weather.
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star-5
Awesome Whale Watching
christinavermet
, Feb 2020
Captain Dray and her first mate were awesome! The excursion was exciting as we saw many whales: mommas and calves as well as the escort whale and a few crazy sets of male whales breaching! Bonus was the large group of spinner dolphins we encountered as well! Captain Dray made us all comfortable and told us much about the whale behaviors and put the whale device in the water to hear the male whales communicating and singing in the water. Dray was very knowledgeable about the whales since she was raised on the Big Island. Overall good excursion.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Sounds like you had one exciting whale watch. We are glad our captain was informative, engaging and probably having as much fun as you were. I hope you have check to see what photos were posted by your captain. Hope to have you come out with us again!!
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star-5
Incredible morning whale watch
dmenter1
, Feb 2020
Absolutely wonderful morning activity. I loved being on the raft as it helped us move very quickly to where ever we saw the whales starting to surface. We saw two mom and calf pairs which was incredibly special. Being on the raft was fun and allowed for a small group so you never had to worry about anyone in your way of seeing the sights.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Everyone gets a front row seat on our zodiac boats. We love that guest can experience that sense of closeness with a 45 foot mommy humpback whale and calf. Glad we were able to give you a tour worth remembering. Please join us again next whale season or for any snorkel tour. Aloha.
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star-5
Awesome Experience
debbie
, Jan 2020
The experience was awesome! The crew was great. They took very good care of us and tried their best to try and find whales for us to view. Would highly recommend this trip.
icon Response from Host , Jan 2020
Thanks for stopping back by to give us a review! Our Captains and crew to try their best to spot and blow, tail, or hump while out on our tours!
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star-5
Rick and Bryce were a great captain...
Jabtekmom
, Mar 2017
Rick and Bryce were a great captain and first mate. Saw whales, learned a lot and had a really good time.
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star-4
we were lucky, a humpback whale calf...
ascachong
, Feb 2017
we were lucky, a humpback whale calf came close to our boat!
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star-4
The Captain did his best to find...
Cathy S
, Jan 2017
The Captain did his best to find whale sightings. It was a slow day initially, but turned out fabulous. He took extra time to allow us to listen to a whale singing that ended up very close. The Captain didn't always have his facts straight, but overall was a good adventure.
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star-5
Great tour! The crew was very...
Frank L
, Mar 2016
Great tour! The crew was very knowledgeable about the area and whales, as well as entertaining with their discussion. They joked that it's more of a whale-waiting trip, but we were able to see a lot of whales during the 3 hour trip. There was some waiting, but the whales aren't a scheduled show, so that is to be expected. Make sure to take sunscreen!
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Product code: 3196WHALE

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