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Each year, Oahu's shallow, tropical waters teem with seasonal visitors—humpback whales that depart chilly Alaska for tropical Hawaii to mate and give birth. Here's what you need to know about where to go and how to spot them.

When to Go
The arrival of the season's first humpback whale—usually between August and October—is a big deal on the islands. Whale season is in full swing by November and winds down with the majority of whales departing by April. If you'll be viewing whales by boat, opt for an early morning tour when seas are calm and before the afternoon heat sets in.

What You'll See
You'll know you've spotted a whale by its spout—the characteristic funnel-shaped breath of aerated water particles shot dozens of feet above the surface. It's not uncommon to see humpbacks breaching in the waters around Oahu, smacking down in epic belly flops and leaving behind eerily still "footprints." You can also spot whales by their flukes or fins flapping at the surface.

Humpback whales aren’t the only creatures you might spot on an Oahu-based whale-watching tour. In addition to a host of seabirds such as petrels, tropicbirds, and albatross, pilot whales, Hawaiian spinner dolphins, and even the rare killer whale have been spotted. If you're very lucky, you may even catch sight of a Hawaiian monk seal, the most endangered seal species on the planet.

How to Go
Whale-watching tours are the best way to learn about and get great photos of these breaching behemoths up close. A number of speedboat, pontoon, and sailboat tours depart from areas around Waikiki—especially from Kewalo Basin Harbor opposite Ala Moana Beach Park—as well as from the North Shore and the western leeward side of the island. It may also be possible to spot humpbacks from points along the shoreline, with some hiking tours visiting good whale-watching spots. Popular lookouts for spout-spotting include the paths atop Diamondhead Crater and along the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail.
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Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion

Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion

star-4.5
219
Go whale-watching off the coast of Oahu on this excursion from Waikiki or Ko Olina. During the months from December to May, pods of humpback whales migrate through Hawaii's warm waters, and this tour guarantees whale sightings. With a small group of people, watch the gentle giants swim, feed, breach and play around your boat. In the rare event that you don't see any whales, you will be allowed to do the tour again for free. Snacks are included.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$75.01
From
$75.01

Encounter with Dolphins and Turtles in the Wild and Hawaiian Cultural Experience

Encounter with Dolphins and Turtles in the Wild and Hawaiian Cultural Experience

star-4.5
622
Swim within safe viewing distance to dolphins and green sea turtles on this popular Oahu snorkel cruise from Honolulu. Sail into waters home to spinner dolphins, and then glide alongside colorful fish. Snorkel gear, kayaks, and paddle boards are available onboard to help you get the most of this outing. Hotel transport included.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$179.00
From
$179.00

Whale Watch Cruise aboard the Majestic by Atlantis Cruises

Whale Watch Cruise aboard the Majestic by Atlantis Cruises

star-4.5
38
Get a guaranteed view of a humpback whale on this whale watching cruise on Oahu. Pick a spot aboard the fresh air of the decks or by the indoor viewing windows as you glide past Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach. A naturalist joins you on board to provide informative commentary and point out any other spotted marine life, such as sea turtles, porpoises and Hawaii spinner dolphins. Upgrade your cruise ticket to include hotel pickup and drop-off.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$79.74
From
$79.74

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal

star-4.5
524
Sail on a catamaran down Oahu's western coast during this cruise from Ko Olina. Glide through the unspoiled waters on this side of the island in search of dolphins and whales, then dive in for a snorkeling experience in a hidden local spot rich with marine life. Enjoy a Hawaiian buffet, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, before heading back to shore. Choose from three daily departure times.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$134.00
From
$134.00

Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin and Seasonal Whale Watching from Oahu

Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin and Seasonal Whale Watching from Oahu

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417
Snorkel and swim with spinner dolphins off the west shore of Oahu during this full-day excursion. Sail up the Waianae Coast, then hop in the water to commune with green sea turtles, schools of tropical fish and dolphins. From January to March, you may get an up-close look at the migrating humpback whales. All necessary snorkel gear, lunch after the cruise and round-trip hotel transportation from Waikiki hotels are provided.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$193.88
From
$193.88

Whale Watch, Dolphins, Turtles and Sightseeing Cruise (winter only)

Whale Watch, Dolphins, Turtles and Sightseeing Cruise (winter only)

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Explore Oahu's wildlife-rich waters on a sightseeing cruise that conveniently departs from Honolulu. Get a fresh perspective on Diamond Head and other South Shore landmarks as you stretch out on the spacious decks or under a shade cover. The seasoned crew helps spot dolphins, sea turtles, and occasionally humpback whales—plus, you can peer through magnifying glass portholes for a look underwater.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$39.44
From
$39.44

Early Bird Whale-Watching Cruise

Early Bird Whale-Watching Cruise

star-4.5
73
Spot the majestic flips and dives of humpbacks on a 2-hour whale-watching cruise from Waikiki. Take photos of these incredible mammals from the vessel’s four viewing decks, along with other sea creatures that may pop up, such as Hawaiian spinner dolphins, sea turtles and porpoises. Enjoy cultural activities on board while the Kahala Gold Coast and Diamond Head appear in the distance.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$42.00
From
$42.00

Chief's Luau Admission

Chief's Luau Admission

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929
Enjoy a traditional lei greeting and experience a luau on Oahu. Hosted by Chief Sielu, Original World Fire Knife Dance Champion, this event provides the ideal opportunity to immerse yourself in island culture. Watch a Polynesian show, learn headband weaving, or take a hula lesson, before indulging in a Hawaiian feast, including pineapple glazed chicken and kalua pork. Upgrade to include priority access and convenient pickup, for a hassle-free experience.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$155.00
From
$155.00

Turtle Canyon Catamaran Snorkel Cruise

Turtle Canyon Catamaran Snorkel Cruise

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1101
Snorkel with green sea turtles in Oahu's Turtle Canyon on this 2- to 3-hour tour departing from Waikiki. Board a power catamaran and sail along the shore of Oahu towards the island's best place to spot the resident turtles. Turtle sightings are guaranteed; if a turtle is not sighted, you will be given a free second cruise. After snorkeling, enjoy lunch (if option selected ) and two provided drinks while you keep your eyes peeled for passing marine life like dolphins and migrating whales.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$96.75
From
$96.75

Whale Watching Experience in Waikiki

Whale Watching Experience in Waikiki

star-4.5
23
Set sail on the Pacific—and see if you can spot whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life—on this family-friendly catamaran cruise. In the morning, head to the Honolulu waterfront, hop aboard your vessel, and set sail along the Waikiki shore. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the views over the water, all while your guide looks out for migratory humpback whales.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$106.71
From
$106.71

Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail

Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail

star-4.5
219
Sail along the Leeward Coast of Oahu on this morning cruise. Snorkel with an expert guide and watch for spinner dolphins on this family-friendly adventure off the scenic southwestern coast of the island. This excursion, complete with spectacular scenery and fun water activities includes breakfast and lunch
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$140.24
From
$140.24

Private Whale Watching Adventure

Private Whale Watching Adventure

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6
**Private boat tour for up to 6 people.** Escape the crowds and join us on 2-hour private whale watching cruise you won’t soon forget. Want to see some whales? Come find them with us. We can cover more ground in our whale watching adventures because we can go farther and faster than other tour boats, ensuring that you get a good look at these graceful giants. From the east side to the west side, we can reach the entire southern coast of Oahu on this trip. Because this is a private charter, the experience is fully customizable and the adventure is up to you! *Whales are wild animals in their natural environment. They do not keep an organized schedule, and therefore we obviously cannot guarantee that we will find them during your scheduled tour. We will do our best, however, and our best is better than most. We usually succeed in finding them.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$795.00
per group
From
$795.00
per group

Oahu Wild Dolphin Watching Cruise with BBQ Lunch

Oahu Wild Dolphin Watching Cruise with BBQ Lunch

star-4.5
34
On this two-hour Oahu eco-tour, explore the shoreline of Oahu’s western coast in search of Hawaiian spinner dolphins. In addition to the pods of playful dolphins that leap and spin in the air, there’s also the chance you’ll find Bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins, and whales (December-April). Build your own burger from the BBQ lunch station aboard the boat. A fun outing for the entire family!
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$89.00
From
$89.00

Moana’s 2-Hour Guided Turtle Snorkel Adventure at Waikiki

Moana’s 2-Hour Guided Turtle Snorkel Adventure at Waikiki

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133
Discover all the vibrant marine life that calls Turtle Canyon’s reefs home—and enjoy an accessible way to snorkel and explore—on this family-friendly catamaran trip. Make your own way to the Kewalo Harbor, and hop aboard your well-appointed catamaran: snorkels, fins, masks, and more are all provided on board. Once you make it to the reefs, dive in, spot sea turtles and other marine life, and admire the underwater scenery.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$106.71
From
$106.71

Swim with Sharks (cage-free)
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Swim with Sharks (cage-free)

star-5
168
Leave your preconceptions about sharks at the door and get up close to these sleek creatures on this unique ocean experience. Head out from Haleiwa, on the North Shore of O’ahu, and spend roughly half an hour swimming with the sharks living in the area. Don’t worry, though: even if you aren’t swimming in a cage, you’re still in safe hands, with a guide on board and a safety diver swimming with each group.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$153.85
Price varies by group size
From
$153.85
Price varies by group size

Three Hour Snorkel Adventure with Scooter in Hawaii

Three Hour Snorkel Adventure with Scooter in Hawaii

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87
Participate in the local sport of skin diving in a safe and supervised way, in the company of an expert guide during this half-day tour on Oahu. You and your group will learn the basics of skin diving and be provided with the equipment you need to try it yourself. Keep watch for marine life such as tropical fish, eagle rays, manta rays, and humpback whales (depending on the season). You’ll also have access to a large float where you can take breaks and underwater propulsion devices to carry you farther and faster.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$159.00
From
$159.00

Swim with Dolphins in the West Coast line of Oahu

Swim with Dolphins in the West Coast line of Oahu

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67
Discover the beauty of Oahu's coastal scenery—and spot its marine life, including pods of dolphins—on this half-day swimming and snorkeling boat tour. Following pickup from your hotel, head to your catamaran and hop aboard. After you set sail, embark on a swimming or snorkeling session to see fish, octopuses, and more wildlife in its natural habitat.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$167.54
From
$167.54

Private Adventure Boat Charter with Snorkeling

Private Adventure Boat Charter with Snorkeling

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48
Escape the crowds and join us on 2 hour private cruise you won’t soon forget. We can go faster and farther than anyone else in town, offering spectacular coastal sightseeing, incredible sea life (turtles, fish, dolphins, and whales—in season), and even snorkeling. This private boat charter offers exclusively offer private charters. Fully customizable itineraries are available as the adventure is up to you.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$695.00
per group
From
$695.00
per group

Moana’s Tradewinds Sail off the Coast of Waikiki

Moana’s Tradewinds Sail off the Coast of Waikiki

star-3
2
Swap the hustle and bustle of Honolulu for a day out on the ocean on this relaxing afternoon cruise. Soak up the sun and sea breeze as you sail along the coastline, past Diamond Head, aboard a spacious and comfortable catamaran. Relax on board while looking out for spinner dolphins, Hawaiian sea turtles and (in season) humpback whales.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$53.36
From
$53.36

North Shore Oahu Snorkeling Tour

North Shore Oahu Snorkeling Tour

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35
Exploring the world beneath the waves is a must-do when visiting Hawaii. This small-group tour ensures that you find the best snorkeling spots off the North Shore of Oahu, in an area that dolphins, rays, turtles, and native Hawaiian reef fish are known to frequent. This tour also bring you closer to sharks in their natural environment.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$99.00
From
$99.00

Dolphins and You Private Boat Charter

Dolphins and You Private Boat Charter

star-5
19
Celebrate a special occasion, or simply treat yourself, by chartering a 55-foot (17-meter) power boat and take to the water around O'ahu.. Spot marine life and customize your tour with Hawaiian cultural performances, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding, sea kayaking, and/or a 20-foot water slide. Includes lunch and refreshments.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$3,267.61
per group
From
$3,267.61
per group

Private Snorkel Trip from Oahu on a Yacht

Private Snorkel Trip from Oahu on a Yacht

star-5
13
There are snorkeling trips, and then there are snorkeling trips on a famous, 46-foot yacht with three bedrooms, three restrooms, a full kitchen, lounging areas, a fully-stocked bar, and a prepared lunch. If you’re up for leaving your luxurious accommodations, follow your guide on a 45-minute tour of a reef and the wildlife that calls it home. After snorkeling, return to the yacht (not boat) and bask in the Hawaiian sun as you sail back to the marina. Snorkeling equipment, lunch, drinks from the bar, and bean bags for lounging included.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$1,420.85
per group
From
$1,420.85
per group

Private Boat Charter North Shore Oahu

Private Boat Charter North Shore Oahu

star-5
4
Our North Shore adventure tours are perfect for people of all ages. Bring your family or friends and create new memories. Turn the tour into a corporate activity that strengthens team spirit. Or organize a unique military group activity that’s relaxing. The private boat charter can also host your engagement and wedding photo shoots. Tell us how you want to spend your day on the beautiful Oahu coastline. We’ll make it happen for you.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$1,500.00
per group
From
$1,500.00
per group

Turtle Canyon Waikiki Snorkel Adventure
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Turtle Canyon Waikiki Snorkel Adventure

star-4
3
Relax and enjoy the crystal blue Hawaiian waters as a snorkeler and observer. Jump in and swim along Oahu's lively reefs and see our Hawaiian reef fish. More than 21% are endemic, you won't see them anywhere else in the world. Snorkel with our Honu, Hawaii's Green Sea Turtle as they frolic below and come up for air. Pods of dolphins frequent the area and in the winter, humpback whales are seen breaching.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$85.09
From
$85.09

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