- Boating & Sailing
- Dolphin Encounters
- Scuba Diving
- Water Sports
- Whale Watching
Dolphin Encounters on the Big Island
Famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau claimed no aquarium, however spacious it may be, can duplicate the conditions of the ocean. This becomes abundantly clear for visitors who venture out for a day on the water looking for, and swimming with, wild dolphins. The Big Island offers ample opportunity to get up close and personal with these intelligent, magnificent creatures.
In the Hawaiian language the name for dolphin is ‘naiʻa.’ There are four different species of dolphins found in the waters surrounding Hawaiʻi. The most common is the Spinner Dolphin, but Bottlenose Dolphins, Spotted Dolphins, and Rough-toothed dolphins also make an occasional appearance.
Once in a Lifetime
Swimming with dolphins on Hawaiʻi Island is available to visitors of all ages. It requires only basic swimming skills and feeling comfortable in deep water. Tour companies take small groups of snorkelers out into the ocean to look for dolphins, and when found swimmers are instructed when to get into the water. The experience of swimming with wild dolphins is often described as an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Best Dolphin Scouting Locales
The Kona and Kohala Coasts on the west side of Hawaiʻi Island are the best places to swim with dolphins. The weather is almost always cooperative, and the water conditions are favorable. It’s not uncommon to run into a pod of Spinner Dolphins while swimming or snorkeling on your own. However, if you want to guarantee your opportunity to see these creatures up close, your best bet is to book a professional tour.
Dolphin Tour Options
Most tours last approximately four hours and include snorkel gear, snacks and beverages. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a towel. There are several options for seeing dolphins while on Hawaiʻi Island. Dolphin Discoveries offers four-hour dolphin swims and often throws in some snorkel time at Kealakekua Bay, if time permits. For those interested in staying dry and doing some dolphin and marine life watching from aboard, Body Glove Cruises offers dolphin watching trips complete with pupus (appetizers) and a full no-host bar. However you choose to become familiar with these amazing creatures, it will be an experience not soon forgotten.
Dolphin Encounters Directory
Visit Pearl Harbor and take a city tour of Honolulu. Flight/transport included.
Fly over mountains, waterfalls, volcanoes, and the Pacific Ocean.
- Choose from over 300 Hawaiian island tours; relive history at Pearl Harbor, snorkle beautiful reefs, experience luaus, visit ancient volcanos & more!
- Choose from a wide selection of vacation homes in Kona. Find great offers on ocean view and beachfront properties. Rates start at $89/night.
- Breathtaking views of waterfalls & the Pacific Ocean await you on Hawaii's #1 zipline experience. SAVE 10% w/ 7 day advance booking w/CODE HAW10.
- Make some new friends at Dolphin Quest Oahu
- Touch, Swim with, and even Kiss a Dolphin!
- Family-friendly Cacao Farm Tour & Tasting – Kids < 6 Free!
- "GUARANTEED" Dolphin Tour with Snorkeling Na Pali
- WAIKIKI ESCAPE Save up to 35% when you stay 3 or more nights
- Rent with Enterprise® for low car rental rates in Hawaii.
- Royal Lahaina Romance Pkg w/Dinner, luau, & more fr. $499/nt
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car: Get great rates
- Tour the heritage sugarcane fields and taste Hawaii’s Kō Hana Rum - $25
- Visit Pearl Harbor with Hawaii's top tour company! As low as $49
- Go Flumin' to see, touch & feel the hidden beauty of Hawaii
- From $89- West Oahu Sunset Sail with Hawaii Nautical