The gateway to most Hawaii adventures, the island of Oahu and its capital Honolulu combine a stunning setting with some superb water sports opportunities, including several organised snorkelling tours.
The island is known by many as the birthplace of surf, with a statue of the sport’s founding father perched permanently on Waikiki’s Kuhio Beach. But snorkelling doesn’t come far behind when it comes to watersports here. Visitors are welcome to embark on their own snorkelling expeditions, or they can join an organised tour instead. For those favouring the latter, we’ve picked out five of the best snorkelling tours the island and its famous capital have to offer.
Honolulu: Turtle Canyon Guided Snorkelling Adventure Tour
Turtle Canyon is one of the best spots on Hawaii for snorkelling, and visitors can experience it for themselves on this 3-hour tour. After making your way to the dive shop to meet your guide and fellow guests, you’ll cruise off the coast and enjoy the views of Oahu disappearing behind you. Once at Turtle Canyon, you’ll warm up with a light surface session and see how many fish you can spot, before moving on to one of the favourite reef sites in Honolulu to swim alongside green sea turtles in their natural habitat. Back on the boat, relax on deck during the return journey. From $105 per person.
Private Catamaran Cruise and Snorkelling Tour in Honolulu
If you’re keen to discover the idyllic waters that surround Oahu, but would rather avoid the tourist hordes that come with big boat tours, this private, intimate 2-hour excursion could be the ideal choice for you and a select group of family or friends. While journeying along the coastline to iconic Diamond Head, you’ll stop along the way for wildlife-spotting, as well as taking the chance to hump off board and swim and snorkel in the water. The tour price includes bottled water, soda/pop, and use of snorkelling equipment. From $755 per group (max 6 people).
From Honolulu: Oahu Dolphin Swim and Snorkelling Trip
Swimming with dolphins is one of the most common bucket list entries and here’s your chance to tick it off. During this 4-hour tour, you’ll explore the remote Wai‘anae coast, looking for Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins. You’ll then explore deeper chartered waters to drop in and swim with bottlenose and spotted dolphins, and listen to your guide offer interests facts about the area’s marine life and local culture. After voyaging back inland and mooring at the pristine Makaha bay, you can join ocean activities such as paddle boarding before enjoying a delectable lunch and then travelling back to the harbour to end the tour. From $177 per person.
From Hawaii: Eco-Friendly Snorkelling Experience with BBQ
Discover Kona’s underwater paradise on this expedition that includes a delectable BBQ lunch. After an early-morning departure you’ll reach your snorkelling destination for the day, a protected marine sanctuary. As you travel, tuck into a light breakfast and enjoy the views. On arrival, it’s time to hit the water and snorkel in the protected marine sanctuaries of Red Hill, home to over 600 species of ocean wildlife. You’ll also have access to flotation toys, paddleboards, a waterslide and high-dive platform, at no extra cost. As you splash around, your crew will prepare your BBQ and set up the full-service bar. After lunch, the tour comes to an end with a return transfer back to Kailua-Kona. From $168 per person.
Oahu: North Shore Snorkelling Tour from Haleiwa
For those with a little less time, this two-hour Oahu ocean adventure could suit. You’ll head out to a secluded location in Waimea Bay, where you’ll have a chance to snorkel with dolphins, rays, turtles, native Hawaiian reef fish, and see other marine wildlife which are known to frequent the area, away from the usual tourist crowds. And if you’re on the from November to April, you may even see Humpback whales make their annual journey to Hawaii. The tour price includes your expert guide and use of snorkelling equipment. From $97 per person.