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Top Oahu Dolphin & Whale Watching

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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13 Oahu Dolphin & Whale Watching

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Did you know?You can reserve your spot today and pay when you're ready.
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Did you know?
You can reserve your spot today and pay when you're ready.Learn more

Oahu Whale-Watching ExcursionOther Water Sports

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Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion

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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 and round-trip transportation from Waikiki hotels are included.
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  • 2 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
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USD75.01 
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  • 2 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and Hawaiian BuffetDay Cruises

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Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and Hawaiian Buffet

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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. Round-trip transportation from select Oahu hotels is included.
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  • 6 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
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USD134.00 
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USD134.00 
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  • 6 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin and Seasonal Whale Watching from OahuOther Water Sports

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

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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
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  • Free Cancellation
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USD150.80 
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  • 3 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

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Whale Watch, Dolphins, Turtles and Sightseeing Cruise - 3pmDay Cruises

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Whale Watch, Dolphins, Turtles and Sightseeing Cruise - 3pm

star-3.5
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 30 minutes
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USD39.44 
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
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  • Free Cancellation

Oahu Wild Dolphin Watching Cruise with Optional SnorkelOther Water Sports

Oahu Wild Dolphin Watching Cruise with Optional Snorkel

star-4.5
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). Dolphin sightings are guaranteed, and select the lunch option for the chance to 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
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USD72.00 
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  • 2 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel SailSnorkeling

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Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail

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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, lunch, and optional round-trip transportation from Oahu hotels
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  • 3 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
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USD140.24 
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  • 3 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Speedboat Dolphin Snorkel TourSnorkeling

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Speedboat Dolphin Snorkel Tour

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This tour allows you to explore Oahu's second largest coral reef and swim with pods of spinner dolphins when they are spotted. Spend time snorkeling at both locations, then refuel with a traditional Hawaiian lunch. Pickup and drop-off from select Waikiki hotels and use of snorkel equipment included.
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  • 7 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
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  • 7 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Swim with Sharks (cage-free)Snorkeling

Swim with Sharks (cage-free)

star-5
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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Small group
  • 2 hours
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USD153.85 
Price varies by group size
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USD153.85 
Price varies by group size
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  • 2 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Skin Diving Snorkel Adventure with ScooterSnorkeling

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Skin Diving Snorkel Adventure with Scooter

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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
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  • Free Cancellation
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  • 3 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Adventure Boat Private Charter / SnorkelNature & Wildlife

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Adventure Boat Private Charter / Snorkel

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Escape the crowds and embark on a sailing and snorkeling adventure in the company of just your party. This private boat charter offers spectacular coastal sightseeing, incredible sea life (turtles, fish, dolphins, and whales—in season), and the full, undivided attention of your crew.
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Private experience
  • 2 to 3 hours
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USD666.67 
per group
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USD666.67 
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  • 2 to 3 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Private Boutique Sailing CharterSailing Trips

Private Boutique Sailing Charter

Your time with us will be your best memory of the islands, with only you and up to 5 other friends! Our friendly crew will take you on an unforgettable ocean sailing experience, off the magnificent North Shore of Oahu. You'll see the sights, feel the wind, taste the spray of the water, as you leave the hustle and bustle of the shore behind. Our 40' Trimaran is safe, comfortable and fast. Winter months we'll go whale watching, hopefully, the dolphins will playfully hang out on our bow, We should see green sea turtles move gracefully on the surface, while abundant, color sea life swim under them. Summer months we'll head to the calm waters of Iconic Waimea Bay where you'll get in the water to snorkel with the turtles and tropical reef fish. We can end our day watching the sun kiss the ocean, as she dips under the waters for one of the most beautiful sunsets anywhere! Whenever the time of the year you join us it'll be the most enjoyable!
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  • 3 hours
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USD1,538.47 
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  • 3 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

One Tank Boat Dive (Diver Certification Required)Other Water Sports

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One Tank Boat Dive (Diver Certification Required)

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Join us on select mornings or every afternoon as we explore a local west side Oahu dive site. This is for SCUBA divers of all skill levels with a minimum of an Open Water Scuba Diver certification. Come see why the Waianae west coast is regarded as the best diving on Oahu. We will explore a popular dive site on the west side, possibly including the Makaha Caverns when conditions permit. Come experience converging lava tubes that form a spacious underwater well-lit cavern. Enjoy Hawaii’s unique sea creatures, including sea turtles, octopus, eels, dolphins, ray and coral formations. All equipment is included with the price and three hours of boat time and free use our underwater propulsion devices or scooters. Take your experience to one you will NEVER forget and add the Navy SEAL Helicopter Jump for an additional fee per person.
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  • 3 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
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USD248.20 
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  • 3 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Whale Watching CruiseOther Water Sports

Whale Watching Cruise

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Aloha! All inclusive intimate private charter boat, if you want to skip the crowd and have a boat all to yourself with friends and family Diamond Head Cruises is what your looking for. Light cuisine and some non-alcoholic beverages, fresh fruit and some Hawaiian style desserts provided. Amazing customer service with a great captain and crew to provide you with all your needs. Option for BYOB, we can do table service for champagne or any other beverage you would like to bring. Coastal Cruise, Snorkeling with the reefs and Turtles, Sunset Cruise, and Waikiki Fireworks every Friday night.
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Private experience
  • 2 to 4 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
USD86.09 
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USD86.09 
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  • 2 to 4 hours
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  • Free Cancellation


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