Humans should take a tip from the 12,000+ whales that travel from Alaska to Hawaii each winter to escape the cold. In fact, one of the appeals to vacationing in Hawaii this time of year is to catch a glimpse of the bus-sized mammals completing their 3,500-mile migration – or homecoming, as the locals call it. In anticipation of the excitement, InvitedHome, the nation’s most highly reputed vacation home rental company, has created a complete guide to making the most of a truly epic travel experience:
Stay in Maui. Maui has earned a reputation for being one of the best places in the world to watch whales. People travel from all over to partake in the island’s most anticipated event of the year. And because the marine animals swim so close to shore here, they can often be spotted from the beaches, making boat tours unnecessary.
Plan for peak season. The best time to catch whales frolicking in the ocean is now. Peak whale watching season typically runs from January until mid-March as they arrive to enjoy the warm water and stay to raise their young (calves can also be seen!).
Choose morning for calm water. Whales are active throughout the day, meaning a viewing experience is impacted more by weather conditions, such as wind speed or sun glare. The Pacific Ocean tends to be smoother in the mornings, but sunset makes for a great picture.
Take advantage of free whale-oriented activities. The Old Lahaina Courthouse hosts free “whale talks” three days a week, covering topics that range from local folklore to the latest scientific research. Learn how the whales recently escaped extinction, as well as the difference between a peduncle slap and a peduncle arch.
Listen while you swim. Although the fifth-largest whale species, humpbacks are best known for their song rather than their size. Go snorkeling at a less-commercialized spot, such as Kahekili Beach Park, and listen to their melodies nearby while swimming above coral reefs and alongside sea turtles.
Finally, consider making one of InvitedHome’s selection of condos at Honua Kai Resort your base camp. In addition to four communal pools – with waterfalls, waterslides and lava-rock-lined lazy rivers – the resort offers a “Tons of Fun” whale watching package, which includes daily breakfast at Duke’s oceanfront restaurant, a cooler equipped with binoculars and sunscreen, and a tour either out on a raft or catamaran in search of blow spouts. Amongst the largest of the units is Ocean’s Edge, with an open floor plan and generous views of the Pacific from nearly every room (increasing the chances of spotting a whale out on the horizon). The Palm Tree is also luxuriously furnished, and features a private lanai for quiet evenings and dining experiences.