Whale Watching from Kailua-Kona on a Famous Captain Zodiac Raft

Whale watching is best done on a power raft as they can get to the whales and experience a close encounter.

Captain Zodiac Raft Big Island

Whale Tour Summary

2 Morning Whale Watching Tours Available Daily

Experience the majesty of nature on a three-hour whale-watching tour on the west end of the Big Island! Use the hydrophone and hear the whale songs.

Make your experience of the Big Island one you’ll never forget with a Kona whale watching tour! Zodiac rafts are known worldwide as the perfect vessel to observe marine life. Captain Zodiac’s fast-moving Zodiacs get into viewing position quickly and provide an exhilarating and fun ride. The small-group atmosphere allows for a personal and intimate tour. The rafts are only a few feet off the water and everyone has a front-row seat on a 16-passenger Zodiac.

Whale Tour Availability

Rates and Dates: Book Here for the Best Price

Whale Tour Highlights

Reasons to Go Whale Watching with Captain Zodiac

When you arrive at Captain Zodiac’s meeting location, your naturalist captain will explain the whale’s behaviors and get as close to them as possible (they adhere to Federal MMPA viewing regulations).

The peak whale season on Hawaii is January and February but they guarantee sightings through March. Book early to get the date and time that you like. We recommend booking the early morning tour as the water is calmer and the temperature is cooler. Also, book your whale watching tour early in your trip so if you don’t see whales then you can rebook. Or, you may want to go out again during your vacation!

Departs from the Harbor Just North of Kailua-Kona

12-minutes north of Kailua-Kona, check-in at the harbor 15-minutes before your trip (click for directions).

Everyone Has a Front-Row Seat

6-passenger Zodiac raft gives everyone a front seat for viewing

Listen to Whale Songs

The humpback breeding season is one of the few opportunities to experience the symphony of humpback whale songs. There is nothing quite like listening to the music of the whales.

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Choose the Tour For You

Two tours are available daily. See the calendar above for available days and book early as they fill up! The tour duration is 3 hours

Guaranteed Sightings!

Guaranteed whale sightings or come again for free

Snorkel Tours Available

Captain Zodiac also provides tours to our favorite snorkel spot at the Captain Cook Monument. Learn more here: Captain Zodiac Snorkel Tours

Frequently Asked Questions

Get the Details on Whale Watching

Captain Zodiac has a 48-hour cancellation policy. Customers will receive a full refund or credit with 48 hours’ notice of cancellation. For parties of 6 or more, they have a 72-hour cancellation policy.

Zodiac rafts are known worldwide as the perfect vessel to observe marine life. Their fast-moving Zodiacs get into viewing position quickly and provide an exhilarating and fun ride.

The small-group atmosphere allows for a personal and intimate tour. The rafts are only a few feet off the water and everyone has a front-row seat.

They frequently sight dolphins and other marine life and as time allows, they can take you up close to see the sea caves, lava tubes, and rugged coastline.

Please note that due to the bouncy nature of our ride they do not allow any persons with back or neck problems or ladies that are pregnant on the tour. For ages 4+.

Their rafts can hold up to 16 passengers.

How do I get to the whale tour check-in location?

We recommend arriving 15 minutes prior to your tour.

Check-in is at Gentry’s Kona Marina (click here for directions)

What does the marine naturalist do onboard?

Their professional naturalists are here to educate and enhance your experience. With their in-depth knowledge of the diverse marine life here in Hawaii, you’ll leave with a greater understanding of, and respect for, the wildlife you encounter. 

Can I bring a good camera?

Absolutely! Bring a GoPro or another suitable water camera with a selfie stick to get underwater shots. You can also bring your fancy camera but there may be light spray so make sure you can keep it dry.

Is the whale viewing better in the early or late morning?

The whales are not on a sleep cycle like us or behavior cycles. There is no statistical evidence that viewing them is better per time of day. Erica and I prefer the early morning tour as it is cooler out on the water.

Do you provide transport from my hotel or condo?

While staying on the island, you will probably find it cheaper and more convenient to rent a car. Otherwise, there are a number of taxi companies and Uber and Lyft that can assist you.

What do I bring on the whale watching trip?

Bring a hat, sunglasses and a camera! Remember to apply sunscreen before the tour! Dress like you are headed to the beach.

Will I get seasick?

If you’re prone to motion sickness, we recommend taking motion-sickness medication the night before your tour and one hour before your scheduled departure.

How does the weather affect the trip?

We are fortunate to be on the Kona Coast of the Big Island. Our side of the island is protected from wind and weather by three volcanoes so we are rarely affected by bad weather. If it does happen you may cancel or reschedule without penalty.

About

A Local Company

Captain Zodiac will take you to explore some of Hawaii’s most amazing sights along the Kona Coast! Their snorkel destination is Kealakekua Bay where you will find some of the best snorkeling in the state of Hawaii. This remote marine preserve features hundreds of colorful fish and beautiful coral. A key place in Hawaiian history and site of the Captain Cook Monument, we “talk story” about these cultural and historic events.

Up-close encounters with marine life are an opportunity not to be missed on our Zodiac rafts. We often see pods of Hawaiian spinner dolphins, humpback whales (seasonal), pilot whales, sea turtles, and other rare species. The small-group atmosphere of our adventure allows for a personal and intimate tour.

Their captain and crew are well versed in marine science, animal behavior, the geology of the island’s lava flows, Hawaiian history, culture, and folklore. This makes our tours informative as well as fun! The captains are part-entertainer and all pirates.

We are affiliate partners with Captain Zodiac which means we receive a small commission for each completed booking made through this site. This is done without any additional cost to you. You can read more about our affiliate policies here. Know that we only recommend tour operators that we know and trust. Your positive experience and your trust in us mean more than any affiliate commission. By booking tours through our website you help us to provide free information and videos to help you and other readers plan their perfect Hawaii vacation. Thank you so much for your support — you are amazing!