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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
399
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
USD75.01
From
USD75.01

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal

star-4.5
686
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
USD134.00
From
USD134.00

Dolphin Watch and Snorkeling with Hula and Water Activities
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Dolphin Watch and Snorkeling with Hula and Water Activities

star-4.5
787
View dolphins in their natural habitat and swim within safe viewing distance to turtles 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
USD189.00
From
USD189.00

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

star-5
458
Head to the west shore of Oahu to view Hawaii’s spinner dolphins and other local marine mammals! Our lifeguard certified crew of marine biologists and naturalists with decades of experience will try to find as much as possible during your tour. Cruise along the Waianae Coast and snorkel with tropical fish and Hawaiian green sea turtles. During the winter months (January to March), the Waianae Coast has more visitors -- humpback whales! Avoid crowds on our 32 foot USCG inspected vessel. We only allow 15 guests on board, and every seat has a great view of the animals. You may bring your own snacks and beverages on the boat. You may also purchase food and drinks at Spinners Cafe next to check in before or after your tour with us. You will receive 10% of your food purchase.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD193.88
From
USD193.88

Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail

Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail

star-4.5
243
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
USD161.99
From
USD161.99

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

star-3.5
77
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
USD40.00
From
USD40.00

Chief's Luau Admission

Chief's Luau Admission

star-4.5
1232
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
USD155.00
From
USD155.00

Turtle Canyon Catamaran Snorkel Cruise from Waikiki
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Turtle Canyon Catamaran Snorkel Cruise from Waikiki

star-4.5
1263
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
USD107.62
From
USD107.62

Afternoon Waikiki Glass Bottom Boat Cruise
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Afternoon Waikiki Glass Bottom Boat Cruise

star-4.5
661
Settle in for an afternoon cruise aboard the Haleiwa Queen, a 50-foot power catamaran that departs conveniently from Honolulu’s harbor. Learn about Hawaii past and present from the friendly crew as you venture into the open Pacific Ocean to look for dolphins, sea turtles, and even migrating whales. As a bonus, look beneath the water’s surface at fish and coral reefs through unique magnifying view portals.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD40.00
From
USD40.00

Paradise Cove Luau
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Paradise Cove Luau

star-4
2000
Experience a traditional Hawaiian luau with sunset coastal views at Paradise Cove. Enjoy a welcome Mai Tai and authentic Hawaiian fare, including fresh seafood, kalua pork, and tropical fruit during this 5.5-hour experience. Watch the sunset and enjoy entertainment from Hawaiian musicians, hula dancers, and fire twirlers. Three dining packages are available to customize your experience, and round-trip transportation from Waikiki hotels is available.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD125.00
From
USD125.00

Private Whale Watching Adventure
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Private Whale Watching Adventure

star-5
15
Venture off the coast of Oahu in a private boat in search of whales. Depart from Waikiki and set sail all along the southern coast in search of the majestic creatures. Your captain combs the coast for optimal viewing areas and teaches you about the migrating habits of the whales. Since this is a private tour, feel free to customize the trip as you wish.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD795.00
per group
From
USD795.00
per group

Wild Dolphin Watch Cruise With BBQ Lunch & Optional Snorkel

Wild Dolphin Watch Cruise With BBQ Lunch & Optional Snorkel

star-4.5
43
On this three-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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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD89.00
From
USD89.00

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

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

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209
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
USD106.71
From
USD106.71

Swim with Sharks (cage-free) from Haleiwa, Oahu
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Swim with Sharks (cage-free) from Haleiwa, Oahu

star-5
256
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
USD153.85
Price varies by group size
From
USD153.85
Price varies by group size

Swim with Dolphins in the West Coast line of Oahu

Swim with Dolphins in the West Coast line of Oahu

star-5
182
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
USD176.96
From
USD176.96

Private Adventure Boat Charter with Snorkeling
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Private Adventure Boat Charter with Snorkeling

star-5
61
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
USD695.00
per group
From
USD695.00
per group

Moana’s Tradewinds Sail off the Coast of Waikiki
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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
USD53.36
From
USD53.36

Whale Watching and Breakfast Cruise in Honolulu

Whale Watching and Breakfast Cruise in Honolulu

star-4.5
29
For those of you who appreciate a more leisurely start to your day! Watch the blue waters come alive as you savor the morning sun on the open decks, searching for migrating whales, dolphins, Hawaiian sea turtles and more! All while enjoying a unique, chef inspired breakfast, served to you by our exceptional staff!
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD85.00
From
USD85.00

Dolphins and You Private Boat Charter

Dolphins and You Private Boat Charter

star-5
26
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
USD3,267.61
per group
From
USD3,267.61
per group

Private Snorkel Trip from Oahu on a Yacht
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Private Snorkel Trip from Oahu on a Yacht

star-5
15
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
USD1,956.82
per group
From
USD1,956.82
per group

Turtle Canyon Waikiki Snorkel Adventure
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Turtle Canyon Waikiki Snorkel Adventure

star-4.5
12
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. We include premier snorkel gear and wetsuits to keep you comfortable during your snorkeling adventure. Don't want to swim or snorkel, come on as a rider instead and sit on our boat and enjoy the Waikiki view
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD85.09
From
USD85.09

Dolphin Watching & Snorkel in the West Coast line of Oahu
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Dolphin Watching & Snorkel in the West Coast line of Oahu

star-5
11
In the clear waters of West Oahu, enjoy dolphin watching and snorkeling experience and get to see the wildlife and tropical island fishes. You might also see Hawaiian sea turtles and Hawaiian monk seals and mantas. You will board a spacious 42 passenger catamaran boat to cruise the West Coast of Oahu searching for wild dolphins. This double-hulled catamaran features a comfortable and stable ride as you relax and take in the breathtaking views of the ocean and the mountains. Dolphin watching & snorkel tour is very easy even for beginners, perfect choice for families with small children.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD156.02
From
USD156.02

West Oahu Whale Watching & Sunset Cruise
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West Oahu Whale Watching & Sunset Cruise

star-5
7
Winter whale watching season begins! Every winter the humpback whales travel thousands of miles from Northern Pacific Ocean to the warm Hawaiian waters to breed and give birth to new calves. It is believed that half of humpback whales in the Northern Pacific comes to the Hawaiian Island. Join us on our spacious catamaran boat to spot the majestic koholas’ playfully surfing, tail slapping and blowing spout in the air as you cruise the western coastline for a breathtaking view of the countryside away from the busy city for most memorable experience of Hawaii. *We do not have a wild whale guarantee on our the Above tour・Winter only whale watching tour *If you want to see the sunset, choose a tour from 3:30PM. ・One of the few sunset cruises on the West Coast ・Safe and secure shuttle service from Waikiki ・Reasonably priced sunset tour on the west coast. ・You can bring in alcohol and food.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD125.65
From
USD125.65

Waikiki Sunset Turtle Snorkeling Cruise BYOB

Waikiki Sunset Turtle Snorkeling Cruise BYOB

star-2.5
5
The best way to experience Hawai'i sunsets is from the sea. With the opportunity to jump in, float around, snorkel, and BYOB in an intimate setting with friends and new acquaintances, you're sure to have a fun and unforgettable evening. Waikiki Dive Center is PADI-certified and has been operating tours off the coast of Honolulu for over 40 years. Captain and crew are knowledgeable about the area and can find the optimal spot for snorkeling and if we're lucky – whale watching in the winter season.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD100.00
From
USD100.00

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What people are saying about Whale Watching in Oahu

star-5
Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion
"Seeing a whale. Fantastic. The crew had great attitude and were very helpful. Just a fantastic experience."..."
star-5
Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal
"We booked the afternoon adventure for my family of 3 and we really enjoyed this experience! Make sure you take some motion sickness pills if you are prone to getting nauseated by boats though. The captain and crew were very helpful and friendly, we were lucky enough to see dolphins twice that day!"..."
star-5
Dolphin Watch and Snorkeling with Hula and Water Activities
"Seeing the pod of dolphins was amazing the captain was able to keep the boat with them for a really good look! All of it was beautiful & fun my grandson loved the slide & snorkeling was also good. All of the staff was fun, professional & very attentive to everyone."..."
star-5
Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin and Seasonal Whale Watching from Oahu
"Snorkeling to peak into sea life, and watching a dolphin jump several feet in the air after riding the boat’s waves will never get old! The captains are really kind as well."..."
star-5
Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail
"I loved everything about this activity. Very professional, Provided breakfast and lunch. Beautiful views. Saw dolphins and sea turtles along with beautiful fish. I so enjoyed very much."..."
star-5
Whale Watch, Dolphins, Turtles and Sightseeing Cruise (winter only)
"Awesome and the best it’s all good aloha unique vibes and experience that shows the Hawaiian stile 🔥"..."
star-5
Chief's Luau Admission
"Great food and excellent show. The food and drinks were great. Chief was awesome and hilarious. The whole show was amazing."..."
star-5
Turtle Canyon Catamaran Snorkel Cruise from Waikiki
"Our first time and it was amazing! Captain Greg and the whole crew was wonderful. We saw a lot of turtles including babies. We would highly recommend this tour"..."
star-5
Afternoon Waikiki Glass Bottom Boat Cruise
"The boat the was incredible!! It was our first time on a boat and we absolutely loved it! We had our kids with us and they kept saying this was their best vacation ever! We saw Sea Turtles and the view was stunning!! 10/10 recommend. The captain Brandon did a great job."..."
star-5
Paradise Cove Luau
"It was fantastic! Great experience! I would definitelyrecommendthis luau to anyonecoming to Hawaii! Best show!"..."
star-5
Private Whale Watching Adventure
"We saw several whales. We were able to get closer than any tour boat. We also were able to follow two of them at a safe distance for quite a while. The guides were very knowledgeable and friendly."..."
star-5
Wild Dolphin Watch Cruise With BBQ Lunch & Optional Snorkel
"This was such a fun experience! So relaxing and beautiful To see the dolphins and other sea life. Great and wonderful crew! Definetly a to do while in Oahu."..."
star-5
Moana’s 2-Hour Guided Turtle Snorkel Adventure at Waikiki
"Awesome experience. The crew was very nice and helpful. Seen so many fish and turtles, it was beautiful. Worth every penny, a one of a kind experience. I enjoyed myself and I don’t consider myself a swimmer."..."
star-5
Swim with Sharks (cage-free) from Haleiwa, Oahu
"So glad we did the cage free experience! It was amazing and couldn’t ask for better guides! Highly recommend this!"..."
star-5
Swim with Dolphins in the West Coast line of Oahu
"Had an amazing time! A great experience and wonderful crew! Saw dolphins, turtles and even a shark! Had a great time!"..."
star-5
Private Adventure Boat Charter with Snorkeling
"Other boat trips are a dime -a-dozen and packed with aloof tourists and bratty kids. Chris and Ryan asked what was important to us and made our dreams come true. We swam with turtles, saw a pod of Dolphins, and were able to have individual conversation with locals. This was the highlight of our trip."..."
star-5
Whale Watching and Breakfast Cruise in Honolulu
"Great tour!!! Tracy (capt) fabulous!!! Saw many whales!!! Great breakfast!!! Clean boat. Punctual. Check in a breeze. A great day and DRONE pictures were great!! Highly recommend PRINCE Kuhio whale watching! Dallas, TX"..."
star-5
Turtle Canyon Waikiki Snorkel Adventure
"We enjoyed the whole experience. Kids had a great time. The Crew members were excellent and supportive."..."
star-5
Dolphin Watching & Snorkel in the West Coast line of Oahu
"Everything was fantastic very friendly I will do this trip again for sure but next time we’ll be able to all my family thank you guys so much"..."
star-5
West Oahu Whale Watching & Sunset Cruise
"Everyone on the crew was fantastic and would recommend this for anybody interested in don't do this sort of thing"..."

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the best Whale Watching in Oahu?
Q:
What Whale Watching in Oahu are 1 hour or less?
Q:
What Whale Watching in Oahu are taking additional safety precautions?
Q:
What Whale Watching in Oahu are good for avoiding crowds?