808-966-4200 | OFFICE HOURS 7AM-7PM
Kohala Tours - Frequently Asked Questions

What should I bring with me?

During dolphin snorkel cruises, we recommend you bring your suit, towel and sunglasses.  If you are joining us on a Hawaii Whale Watching Cruise, we recommend a light weight jacket, camera, and comfortable flat shoes. We accept all major credit cards.

How do I make a reservation for a boat cruise with Kohala Tours?

You can book online on any tour page, or call us at 1-808-966-4200 . Our office is open daily from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM HST.

Do we need to make reservations in advance?

Advanced tour bookings are highly recommend to guarantee you get the dates you want.  Our most popular boat tours sell out 1 – 2 weeks in advance and other tours are sold on demand.   By booking in advance you will have first pick of your tour dates and times.

What is your cancellation policy?

We require a minimum of 48 hours cancellation notice to ensure your seats. For private charters, 72 hours notice is required. With less than the minimum notice, guests are charged at full rate of the tour.

Will we see Whales?

Being that we depart from within the Hawaiian National Marine Sanctuary the chances are very high that you will see whales.  During our dedicated Whale Watching Cruises in Kawaihae we guarantee you will see Humpback Whales or come again FREE.   Best time to see whales is between mid December through March when the Humpback Whales have migrated to Hawaii from the north Pacific for their annual Hawaii Vacation.  In addition we see other marine mammals quite often including dolphins.

Will we see Dolphins?

The resident spinner dolphin pod on the Kona-Kohala Coast is quite playful and at time quite large with sightings in the hundreds.  We do not guarantee sightings on every tour however 98% of the time they greet us and enjoy riding the wake created from the boat.   They are as curious of us as we are them and enjoy the interaction as well.  As a eco-friendly operator we do not bother the dolphins during thier important rest cycle to ensure they will be here for future generations to enjoy.

Will we see Mantas?

Well we all have to eat, these giants know that lights attract the plankton they feed on thus creating an amazing opportunity to witness the graceful manta rays.   Generally we see manata rays every night sometimes just one or two but we’ve had over a dozen individual mantas identified in a night.

What if I’ve never snorkeled before?

Thats ok were learning too.  No, just kidding we specialize in accommodating those who are new to snorkeling and non swimmers. We offer “Snorkeling 101″ for beginners or those wanting a refresher course. Our snorkel locations are in the best snorkel spots on the Kona-Kohala coast with over a dozen sites to choose from your Captain will find you the best spot to enjoy a great snorkel experience.  We offer an array of flotation water toys including: ski vests, life jackets, noodles, sea view boards and boogie boards. All Captain’s and Crew are First Aid, CPR and Life Guard certified. There are always a designated Life Guard in the water with you and a crew member watching from the boat while anyone is in the water.

Where do your tours depart from?

Whale watching and snorkel cruises depart Kawaihae Harbor South, Hawaii’s newest boating facility minutes from Waikioloa and Kohala Coast Resorts. We do hotel pickups in Waikioloa and Kohala Coast Resorts on a limited basis. Give us a ring to  find out if a hotel pickup is available for your boat cruise. 808-966-4200

How do we get to Kawaihae South Harbor?

From Waikoloa travel north on Hwy 19 to Hwy 270, turn left onto Hwy 270 at T intersection, turn left at MATSON terminal, take next immediate left before harbor security building,  take  right at T at end of fence, go straight for about 3/4 of a mile, take a left into the green gate #12, follow 1/2 mile through another gate which may still be under construction and you’ve found us. Vessel “Lavakai II”  will be waiting at the dock to greet you.

Our street address 61-3527 Kawaihae Rd, Kawaihae, Hawaii 96743

Hows the Parking?

Lucky,  the harbor is fairly new and still kind of a secret with ample FREE parking steps away from the boat boasting amazing views of King Kamehameha’s temple also known as “The Hill of the Whale.”

How many people do you take on tour at a time?

The “Lavakai II” is US Coast Guard rated for 30 passengers.  If we need to accomdate larger group tours we also have our sister ship the “Lavaone” a 49 passenger vessel for a total capacity of 79 guests.

Do you offer specials or discounts?

AAA, military, group and return guest discounts are available.

What are your office hours?

Friendly reservation agents are available 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM daily HST.

How experienced are your Captains & Crew?

Each member of our team provides a unique skill set with backgrounds in marine biology, oceanography, geology, natural history, local knowledge in addition to excellent customer service and first aid.  Our seasoned US Coast guard licensed captains, Friendly Crew and highly trained Naturalist Guides take pride in providing you the best boat tours in Hawaii

We take great pride in having some of the best Interpretive Guides on the island. Our Guides are trained in island ecology, geology, natural history, in addition to safe driving practices, customer service and first aid.

What happens if it rains?

The rain is one of the great elements of Hawaii.  It calms the seas, waters the plants & in does not effect our tours.  Lucky we are a 80% covered vessel so if we do see the liquid sunshine you can stay undercover if you choose.   We only cancel if  extreme weather or ocean conditions exist.

How can I leave feedback after my tour with Kohala Tours?

Please email us or leave feedback at you favorite social media sites  <a href=”mailto:kohalatours.gmail.com”>kohalatours.gmail.com</a>. Facebook, Yelp, Tripadvisor, Google

Can I have an private tour for just myself and my family?

Sure we’d love to arrange a exclusive private tour for your next family outing or event, invite up to 30 of your friends.  For more information, contact our friendly staff at 1-808-966-4200.

Is there any shade on your boat?

The modern luxury catamarran “Lavakai” is 80% covered providing plenty of shade for those looking so stay shielded from the sun.

Should we tip the Crew?

Wind & Seas may rock the boat but only you can tip our crew.  In considering a gratuity for your crew, please review whether or not the crew met or exceeded your expectations? Did you feel the aloha spirit on-board, was the tour operated safely, did the crew provide for your care and comfort, was the tour pleasurable, the boat clean, entertaining and fun? Would you like to come back or refer a friend to Kohala Tours?

Here is a basic, industry-wide guideline for tipping: http://gohawaii.about.com/od/traveltips/a/tipping-in-hawaii.htm