Dolphin Encounters on Oahu

For many travelers, a visit to the idyllic island paradise of Hawaiʻi just wouldn’t be complete without capitalizing on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with dolphins on Oʻahu. There are three main species of Naiʻa, the Hawaiian term for dolphins, that exist in the islands: spinner dolphins (the most common, known to frolic in daytime pods near shore), spotted dolphins (more often found among the channels between the islands versus nearer shore), and bottlenose dolphins (differentiated due to their much larger size and muted gray hue).

Unlike tropical whale watching, whose sightings tend to be more seasonal based on migration, Hawaiʻi dolphin encounters, including dolphin snorkels, as well as the chance to actually go swimming with dolphins on Oʻahu, are offered (and common) year-round. And although dolphins may be seen in the wild among many (if not most) of the waters surrounding the island, there are hosted dolphin excursions on Oʻahu, where one may better hedge their bets to ensure the chance to behold—and interact with—these beautiful beings in their natural habitats. Read more

The unanimous consensus, when polling those in the know, is that the calm and clear waters along the island’s Waiʻanae coast—including the concentrated areas of Makua Bay, Pokai Bay, and Kahe Point, particularly in the early morning hours—are the ideal locales to swim with dolphins on Oʻahu, as spinner dolphins especially are known to gather here often.These western waters are, for this reason, among the most popular to host guided dolphin tours in Oʻahu. Listed below are the most exciting dolphin excursions on Oʻahu, each boasting various options for those visiting and eager to interact with these magical aquatic mammals.Among the most popular of dolphin excursions on Oʻahu is hosted by Wild Side Hawaii, a trusted tour company that has been specializing in west side dolphin and snorkel tours since 1996. Participants may expect an exciting adventure, as they accompany the marine biologist crew, to experience dolphins amongst nature, wild and free, upon a 3 hour+ tour departing from Waiʻanae Boat Harbor.

Also a great option for travelers stoked for swimming with dolphins on Oʻahu is Dolphin Excursions, a company also operating on Oʻahu’s west shore and showcasing a popular 3-hour dolphin tour where clients may opt to either survey the species from the dry safety of a boat or splash around with them in the sea.

Whichever dolphin excursion you decide to choose, swimming with these extraordinary mammals among the magical waters of Oʻahu is a memory that will last a lifetime.

dolphins on oahu

Underwater dolphin encounter. Photo: Hawaii.com member Karen S.

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