Situated on Maui’s north shore within the 22,000-acre Kapalua Resort, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua offers guests the chance to witness and learn firsthand about Hawaii’s whales. In partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, the newly renovated resort’s dedicated Ambassadors of the Environment program—designed to introduce guests to the ecosystems and cultural traditions of the Hawaiian Islands—is debuting seasonal whale watching excursions once again, the season for which runs December through April.
Led by Cousteau-trained naturalists, participants will discover the reasons why thousands of north Pacific humpback whales travel over 3,500 miles every year to return to the warm Hawaiian waters, while observing from a safe and comfortable boat where every seat has front-row access. The naturalists provide in-depth insight into the whales’ social behaviors by guiding guests though collaborative activities and instructions, including listening to their songs with an underwater hydrophone. This three-hour outing is available, starting December 19, every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 11:00 a.m. for $129.95 per person and includes transportation, digital photography and refreshments.
Furthermore, Ambassadors of the Environment offers “Whale Wonders,” an additional whale watching expedition created for children and youth (ages five through 14), which aims to encourage exploration of nature’s sights and sounds while under guided supervision. This two-and-a-half-hour program takes place Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m. for $84.95 per child.
For those who prefer to remain ashore, guests can spot whales by walking along the Kapalua Coastal Trail that surrounds the resort, listen for the Burger Shack’s designated whale bell to ring of a sighting, or watch them from the comfort of the hotel’s lobby lanai or recently renovated guestrooms.
The resort is one of four select Ritz-Carlton properties that is home to the Jean-Michel Cousteau’s award-winning Ambassadors of the Environment program, offering an environmental and cultural education center with programs led by experts in the field. In addition to the seasonal Whale Watching experience, Ambassadors of the Environment offers an array of local and hands-on activities for participants of all ages, including Cities Under the Sea underwater snorkeling/photography, coastal hikes, community volunteering and more.