Escape the hustle and bustle of Waikiki by exploring Oahu’s Technicolor underwater landscape. Commune with sharks, sea turtles, and tropical fish while listening to humpback whales’ songs echo along the reef. Whether you snorkel, dive, paddle, or otherwise get into the water, here are some of Oahu’s best underwater adventures.
Take a Snorkeling Cruise by Catamaran to Turtle Canyon
Soak up the sun while sipping cocktails and cruising aboard a catamaran off Waikiki Beach, then don your snorkel and mask for an adventure at Turtle Canyon. The reef site, within view of the downtown skyscrapers and iconic Diamond Head Crater, teems with green sea turtles.
Try Scuba Diving, Snuba, or Underwater Scooters
Itching for a more immersive underwater experience? Certified divers can take a 2-tank boat ride to sites with sunken WWII-era airplanes and shipwrecks. First-timers can breathe underwater too in a “discover scuba” or snuba adventure (where your air is supplied from the surface)—both allow you to stay down long enough to navigate coral pinnacles and befriend colorful fish. In Maunalua Bay, near Hawaii Kai, leave the strenuous kicking up to machines while taking a tour of the seafloor in a self-propelled underwater scooter.
Stay Dry in a Submarine or Glass-Bottom Boat
Search for dolphins and spouting whales at the surface while monitoring the underwater world below in a 2-hour glass-bottom boat tour from Honolulu’s Kewalo Basin Harbor. To go deeper and still stay dry, take a submarine tour through coral reefs with local naturalist guides. Unlike with snuba or scuba, you’ll be able to hear all the commentary and ask questions as you survey the underwater scene.
Dive with Sharks
Thrill-seekers should head to Haleiwa on the island’s North Shore, where boat charters head for the deep blue. Bold guests slide into protective metal cages and drop into the ocean for eye-to-eye views of cruising grey reef sharks, sandbar sharks, and hammerheads.
Kayak to Remote Beaches to Snorkel with Tropical Fish
On the Windward Coast of Oahu, rent kayaks to explore hidden pockets of white sand and offshore seabird sanctuaries; their remote locations make them prime snorkeling spots. From this vantage point you’re also in a prime spot for whale watching (in season, November through March).