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Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure

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Kailua-Kona, United States
Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure

From USD115.66

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon3 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

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
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Rafting expedition
Beverages (sodas, fruit juices and bottled water) and snacks
Local taxes
Gratuities
Hotel pickup and drop off
74-425 Kealakehe Pkwy , 74-425 Kealakehe Pkwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
This activity will end right where it started.
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 travellers
  • Minimum age is 4 years
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Not recommended for travellers with back problems
  • Most travellers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 16 travellers
  • OPERATED BY Captain Zodiac
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled 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 travellers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Temperature checks for travellers upon arrival
See all safety measures taken by Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitisation during Zodiac Raft Whale Watching Adventure?
A:The policies on sanitisation are:

  • Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff
  • Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitised between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitised
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.

Traveller Photos

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Traveller 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
198 reviews

Reviews by Viator travellers

We perform checks on reviews

Showing 1-10 of 198 reviews
star-1
Bring your own life vest.
Elise_G
, Apr. 2022
Unfortunately, I was so disappointed. The Captain and his Mate, were very nice. I questioned the safety of the children under 15yrs old, the youngest was 5yrs old, none of them had a life vest on. That bothered me a lot. But if there parents where ok with it, who am I to insist on it. The water was extremely choppy that day. The captain kept on going full throttle, the only time we really stopped was when they had snacks for everyone. Once we started up again, we went full throttle again, not stopping till we got back to the dock. The ride would have been so much better if it ended an hour sooner. Due to the winds, and choppiness of the water, I know we all would have love to have been done with this trip. Hopefully safety will be a bigger factor in the future..........Oh I forgot to mention, we didn't see any whales or dolphins. So disappointed
icon Response from Host , Apr. 2022
Aloha Elise, We are sad to hear how poorly you thought of your experience! Safety is always our top priority. We have lifejackets on board for everyone to wear. It is not required so this is absolutely the guest as well as parents choice whether or not they want to wear them. I can say with confidence that we do not lose guests over the side of the raft but are always more than happy to provide life jackets. It sounds like you must have gone out with us at the end of our whale season. The best and worst thing about whales is that they are wild animals. So while that makes them incredibly special to see we get unlucky a couple times a year towards the beginning and end of their time here. Seeing as we sometimes find whales toward the end of a trip and get spectacular shows we do not typically cut our tours short but instead like to give our guests what they paid for. The tour isn't for everyone but we appreciate you taking the time to provide feedback. Aloha!
star-5
I was so happy with this...
Julie_G
, Mar. 2022
I was so happy with this company. We got a call before our trip. They let me know that the actual sightings was very low and they felt the whales had left early this season. So they gave me a choice of going ahead and trying with this trip, changing to another of their options or a full refund. I thought this was so helpful and honest of this company. They put my needs before their profits. I can’t say enough good things about this company. I will definitely use them again in the future.
star-5
Hawaii Excellence
Kaitlyn_A
, Mar. 2022
I loved this tour! My boat guide Ashley was awesome and very knowledgeable and even gave us some recommendations for things to do on the island. We saw a lot bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, one sea turtle, and lots of humpbacks! We were able to see a heat run which included a breach! It was amazing. Thank you!!!
star-4
Whales left early this...
David_B
, Mar. 2022
Whales left early this year and really didn't see much but captain was very knowledgeable and shared lots of stories.
star-5
Saw a breach!
Nancy_M
, Mar. 2022
This was one of our favorite tours on the Big Island. Ashley and Devante were knowledgeable and shared great information plus they were a lot fun! The best part? We actually saw a breach!! Thank you!
icon Response from Host , Apr. 2022
Mahalo! we are happy to hear you had a great time with Ashley and Devante. Whale breaches are our favorite too! So exciting to get to witness such a big marine mammal making it look effortless. Thanks for taking time to say something positive about us and your crew!
star-2
Word to the wise - reapply
Sara_M
, Mar. 2022
Word to the wise, reapply. It was a rough ride and we were out longer than expected- as a result of the wind and the sun we both got a nasty sunburn to the face. We did see a couple whales but the experience was diminished because we didn’t get the chance to reapply sunscreen when we were out longer than anticipated.
icon Response from Host , Apr. 2022
Sorry to hear you guys got sunburnt! While watching the whales you should always reapply, even during snack time is another great time to reapply, the sun here can be intense and since we are so close to the equator it happens quickly. We also have a tube of sunscreen on every boat so if a guest forgets theirs then we got you covered. Our captains tend to extend the tour or stretch the timing for various reasons, mostly to find more things or if the whales are putting on a good show so the three hour timing is pretty flexible. I hope the sunburn has faded by now and you can remember the whales more.
star-5
Zodiac Whale Watching on the big island
ROBYN_P
, Mar. 2022
We saw a humpback whale and her calf. They went under our raft. The zodiac ride was fun. The zodiac raft is not like the one pictured. You will have to sit on the side of it and hold on with ropes that are attached to it. There is no shade. Hold on to your hats!
star-5
Best whale watch I've done
Joel_F
, Mar. 2022
Our captain was great! He had a lot of interesting stories to tell and was able to find us groups of whales that were well away from the other boats. Loved being close to the water in the zodiac.
star-5
Great Crew
Arman_S
, Mar. 2022
Great crew! Captain Ashley and Davonte made it a fun trip. Good energy, lots of laughs, and we saw a bunch of whales.
star-5
Fun experience!
Megan_S
, Feb. 2022
My husband and I did this tour in February. It was a blast! Captain Rick and Devonte were friendly and amazing at spotting whales. We had good luck and got to see a lot when we went out on the morning tour. Riding in the zodiac raft makes it feel like more of an adventure and guarantees a small group.
star-5
Lots of whales
Patricia_S
, Feb. 2022
Saw lots of whales, very knowledgeable about whales, great trip, water like soup with whales and he know how to find them
1 traveller found this review helpful
star-5
Great day
Michael_M
, Feb. 2022
Many many whales and breaches ! Outstanding day in the water! JC and Devonte were outstanding as captain and crew!
star-5
Do it!
Erin_P
, Feb. 2022
Fabulous time! Captain was entertaining and as excited to see the wildlife as we were! Super respectful of them as well!
star-5
Sea, fun, whales!
Eileen_L
, Feb. 2022
2-18-22, 8:00 am, boat #1. Great crew. The two men were completely friendly and knowledgeable. Saw a school of dolphins. Many whales…young ones, their moms and a large male. Active with fin slapping, and tails up from diving. Weather was beautiful. Sea really enjoyable to ride, in our safe and sturdy raft. You are out in the open air. This is a tour worth taking. Note: There were two young children on our trip and they had a good time and were safe.
star-5
More than 60 breaching
Rose_H
, Feb. 2022
This is our first whale watching, and we were so lucky to see many whales. One of the baby whales did more than 60 breaching.🥳The captain was very knowledgeable and fun. It was one of the most exciting moments in my life.
star-5
Appreciating Life.
jerry_d
, Feb. 2022
Great spiritual experience. Captain Elliot and First-Mate, Seth made it a very rewarding adventure Seeing these great mammals up close makes you appreciate life just a little more than usual. Mahalo
star-5
Whales Breech at same time
Malcolm_S
, Feb. 2022
We saw 2 adult Humpback whales breech at the same time , just like 2 synchronized swimmers 😂 Great experience!!!
star-5
Amazing!
Richard_R
, Jan. 2022
This was an amazing whale watching experience. We have done several others in other parts of the US and this was one of the best. Ashley the captain and Devonte (sp) were wonderful. Ashley provided a lot of great information about what we were seeing and the area in general while Devonte backed her up and kept us chuckling, they are a great team. The Zodiak boat provides a nice ride, and we were blessed with some great sightings including a double whale breach about 10 minutes into our adventure. I highly recommend this operator.
star-5
A whale of a time
Nicholas_F
, Jan. 2022
Very fun experience. Our captain, Shaggy, was extremely knowledgeable and taught us a ton of facts about whales, other species, and about the big island in general. We saw several humpback whales (at least 10 in total) as the first mate, Nate, was great at whale spotting. Also, a group of curious pilot whales even approached the raft at one point. Also saw a black-footed albatross, which apparently is not a common sighting. The raft was fun but super bouncy. If you have back issues or are prone to sea-sickness, probably not for you.
star-5
Excellent adventure!
Larysa_W
, Jan. 2022
Seeing the whales, of course! Captain (Carl?) was also very knowledgeable. Great trip, highly recommend!

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