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The shallow, warm waters around the Hawaiian islands are an annual stop-over for Pacific humpback whales, making Hawaii one of the world's best whale watching locales. See below for our tips on seeing these amazing creatures in Hawaiian waters.

When to Go
The arrival of the season's first humpback whale—usually between August and October—is a big deal in the islands. Maui hosts a Whale Festival each year with parades and exhibits at the height of the season in February. Hawaii's humpback whale season is in full swing by November, and winds down with the majority of whales departing in April and May. If viewing whales by boat, opt for an early morning or late afternoon tour to avoid the midday heat and to sail when seas are calmest.

Where to Go
Of the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island are best known for their stellar whale watching. The shallow channel between West Maui, Lanai, and Molokai regularly hosts the largest numbers. Land-based watching—from coastal peaks where ocean panoramas make them easy to spot—is also a possibility.

What You'll See
The 45-ton humpbacks display a number of characteristic movements: spouting, breeching (jumping and belly-flopping), smacking the surface with their pectoral fins, and deep diving displaying their tail flukes. But humpbacks aren’t the only species you’re likely to see on a Hawaii whale watch tour—seabirds such as tropicbirds, boobies and albatross as well as marine mammals like Hawaiian spinner dolphins also make frequent appearances.

How to Go
There are many variations on the whale watching cruise in Hawaii. Choose from catamarans, zodiacs, jet-boats and even kayak and outrigger canoe tours that depart from centralized locations including Lahaina and Kaanapali on Maui, Waikiki on Oahu, and Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Dedicated charters can last anywhere from two to three hours, but longer adventures combine whale watching with snorkeling or sunset dinner cruising.

What to Bring
Be sure to pack a waterproof camera (an extendable arm can afford incredible underwater shots), sunglasses (polarized are best), a hat, sunscreen, and a light water-resistant jacket. Binoculars and seasickness medication may also be useful.
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151 results | All Hawaii Tours

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Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion

Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion

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460
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

Eye-Level Whale Watching 2 Hour Eco-Raft Tour from Lahaina, Maui

Eye-Level Whale Watching 2 Hour Eco-Raft Tour from Lahaina, Maui

star-5
734
This tour departs from the historic Lahaina Harbor to find the majestic humpback whales that frequent the waters surrounding Maui in the winter months. Traveling in a small raft creates an intimate whale watching experience not found on the larger vessels commonly used on whale watching tours. Plus, the raft travels quickly, letting you spend more time whale watching and less time in transit.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD57.87
From
USD57.87

2-Hour Whale Watching Experience! (Lahaina Harbor, Maui)

2-Hour Whale Watching Experience! (Lahaina Harbor, Maui)

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1111
Catch an exciting peek at the underwater world on this whale-watching cruise in Maui. Your excursion includes narration from your captain and crew, as you learn more about these majestic creatures. Enjoy stunning views and photo opportunities while traveling along Maui’s exquisite coastline. Your family-friendly cruise comes with a guarantee that you spot a whale during your adventure.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD73.38
From
USD73.38

Dolphins & You Whales Spotted with lunch Included Turtle Swim & Ocean Activities
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Dolphins & You Whales Spotted with lunch Included Turtle Swim & Ocean Activities

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1010
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

Keauhou Manta Ray Night Snorkel in Kailua-Kona, HI

Keauhou Manta Ray Night Snorkel in Kailua-Kona, HI

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994
Have the opportunity to admire wild manta rays in their natural habitat on this evening cruise. Set sail after dark, when the manta rays come out to feed on plankton, and use a custom-made lightboard that attracts the rays. Float through the warm waters for up to 40 minutes, use your snorkel to watch as the rays swim and feed, and learn more about the majestic creatures from your guide.
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  • 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD93.00
From
USD93.00

From Lahaina Harbor: Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Quicksilver
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From Lahaina Harbor: Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Quicksilver

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286
Observe humpback whales in their natural habitat during their return migration to Maui’s waters December–April. This whale watching adventure by high-speed catamaran provides a front row seat to fin slaps, flukes, and breaches. Underwater hydrophones help you hear whale songs, while the captain and crew provide the commentary. Juices and sodas are available on board to keep passengers hydrated.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD39.95
From
USD39.95

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal

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837
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
USD149.00
From
USD149.00

From Lahaina Harbor: Lanai Snorkeling & Dolphin Encounter Aboard Quicksilver

From Lahaina Harbor: Lanai Snorkeling & Dolphin Encounter Aboard Quicksilver

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401
Sail to one of Hawaii's less-frequented islands on this snorkeling tour form Lahaina to Lanai, or the Pineapple Island. Snorkel beneath 300-foot tall cliffs near Shark Fin and Manele Bay, and look out for sightings of Lanai's resident pod of Spinner dolphins. This tour also includes breakfast and lunch to fuel a full day of fun.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD139.95
From
USD139.95

Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii
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Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii

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2574
Have a unique Big Island experience snorkeling with manta rays on this tour. Led by a local guide, you’ll take a short cruise out to the manta site, where you’ll watch the beautiful Hawaiian sunset before dipping into the water to watch the manta rays up close. All necessary equipment will be provided for your excursion, as well as light refreshments and snacks to enjoy on board. Your tour will conclude at its original departure point. If you don't see manta rays on this excursion, book again for another night--no charge.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD94.00
From
USD94.00

Ultimate 4 Hour Whale Watch & Snorkel from Lahaina Harbor
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Ultimate 4 Hour Whale Watch & Snorkel from Lahaina Harbor

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606
Skip the overcrowded boat tours and enjoy a more intimate experience of Hawaii. Travel to the island of Lanai in the company of no more than 22 passengers. Make snorkeling stops off the island to see tropical fish, turtles, octopus, manta rays, and dolphins. This tour includes breakfast and snacks and your ticket supports active marine research and the work of Maui’s whale entanglement response team.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD155.39
From
USD155.39

Turtle Canyon Catamaran Snorkel Cruise from Waikiki

Turtle Canyon Catamaran Snorkel Cruise from Waikiki

star-4.5
1630
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

Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure

Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure

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1487
Ride a personal, self-propelled, electric underwater scooter through Oahu's underwater world. During this 2-hour tour, cruise past Diamond Head Crater through Maunalua Bay on a power catamaran, then dive under the surface on your scooter to see green sea turtles, schools of tropical fish and other native marine life. No experience is necessary for this guided tour; all equipment is provided.
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  • 2 hours
From
USD183.25
From
USD183.25

Whale Watching Experience in Waikiki
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Whale Watching Experience in Waikiki

star-4.5
48
Set sail on the Pacific—and see if you can spot whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life—on this family-friendly catamaran cruise. In the morning, head to the Honolulu waterfront, hop aboard your vessel, and set sail along the Waikiki shore. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the views over the water, all while your guide looks out for migratory humpback whales.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD149.13
From
USD149.13

Whale Watching from Lahaina Harbor

Whale Watching from Lahaina Harbor

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438
Don’t miss one of the most popular whale-watching tours in Maui! This 2-hour catamaran cruise takes you from the historic Lahaina Harbor out to waters home to humpback whales. Using underwater hydrophones, listen to them sing, and watch males compete for mates or mother whales calving — you never know you might see on this adventure that guarantees whale sightings. Enjoy the views from the open upper deck or the shaded cabins below, and hear informative commentary from naturalist-guides on board. This family-friendly outing includes a Naturalist Program for kids.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD82.65
From
USD82.65

Swim with Dolphins in the West Coast line of Oahu
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Swim with Dolphins in the West Coast line of Oahu

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409
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

COMBO: Wild Dolphin, Sea Cave & Reef Snorkel on Speed Boat, 14 Guest Max!

COMBO: Wild Dolphin, Sea Cave & Reef Snorkel on Speed Boat, 14 Guest Max!

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565
Explore the waters off the Big Island on this exciting combo tour. Get your adrenaline pumping as you cruise out and along the coastline on a speedboat. Look for caves, cliffs, whales, dolphins and other marine life along the way. Afterwards, jump into the clear waters and explore the underwater world as you snorkel around. Snacks, drinks and snorkel equipment are all included.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD130.00
From
USD130.00

Oahu Shark Dive
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Oahu Shark Dive

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1628
Set out from Oahu’s scenic North Shore to the depths of the big blue Pacific, where you have the chance to observe wild sharks from inside an underwater shark cage. Thanks to your professional, experienced crew, the Oahu shark dive is completely safe as they know the predators’ behavior, and the underwater cage provides proven safety against all different species of sharks. Whether you’re in the cage with sharks right in front of you or watching from up in the boat, Oahu shark diving is a Hawaii activity you’ll definitely never forget.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD89.00
From
USD89.00

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

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367
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
USD160.00
From
USD160.00

Whale Watching & Late Breakfast Cruise in Honolulu

Whale Watching & Late Breakfast Cruise in Honolulu

star-4.5
54
Don't miss out on seeing whales because you're busy eating breakfast. This whale watching and breakfast tour allows you to take it easy and enjoy your morning meal while cruising toward Diamond Head crater. There, with luck, you'll watch migrating whales swim, play, feed, and breach while sipping a cup of coffee. Other marine life such as dolphins and sea turtles will also likely make an appearance.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD95.86
From
USD95.86

1-Hour Guided Hawaiian Parasailing in Waikiki
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1-Hour Guided Hawaiian Parasailing in Waikiki

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941
Fly over the sparkling waters of Oahu on 1-hour parasailing adventure in Waikiki. Hop aboard your 12-person boat, soaring up into the skies with one or two other people for 10 minutes. Then, spend the rest of your hour gliding across the ocean, keeping your eyes peeled for dolphins, tropical fish and sea turtles.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD94.00
From
USD94.00

Maunalua Bay Higher Flyer Parasailing Adventure

Maunalua Bay Higher Flyer Parasailing Adventure

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211
Go parasaling over Maunalua Bay on this 1-hour adventure from Honolulu. Choose from two flights that take you 500 feet (152 meters) or 700 feet (213 meters) in the air for views of the Ko'olau Mountain Range, Koko Head and the Hawaii Kai coastline. GoPro videos and digital photos of your tandem flight and dip in the warm ocean water are available upon return to land.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD93.00
From
USD93.00

Whale Watching Cruise with Open Bar from Ka'anapali Beach

Whale Watching Cruise with Open Bar from Ka'anapali Beach

star-5
194
Set sail into one of the world’s most active winter whale playgrounds on a whale-watching tour from Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach. Head offshore directly from the beach and, with the help of a naturalist guide, look for pods of humpback whales making their winter home in Maui’s warm waters. Get comfortable aboard a spacious catamaran with plenty of seating—including bean bags on open nets that get you close to the action—and enjoy unlimited drinks from an open bar as you cruise alongside spectacular marine mammals.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD85.73
From
USD85.73

Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion from Waikiki, Hawaii

Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion from Waikiki, Hawaii

star-5
2277
Share the warm Hawaiian waters with green sea turtles, tropical fish, and more on a 2-hour snorkel excursion from Waikiki. No need to wear your flippers and mask on the plane, as all necessary gear is provided. Under the careful guidance of a tour leader, discover the vibrant sea life of Turtle Canyons. Above water wildlife sightings may include spinner dolphins, flying fish, and - in winter months - humpback whales.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD85.28
From
USD85.28

Small Group 2 hour Whale Watch from Raft (Mala, Lahaina)
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Small Group 2 hour Whale Watch from Raft (Mala, Lahaina)

star-5
219
Head out to sea for the chance to see migrating whales with this two-hour excursion from Lahaina. Your group will sail off to the waters of the Maui Nui whale sanctuary, a mating and birthing destination for humpback whales. Best of all, you're guaranteed to see the gargantuan sea mammals or you'll get to go on another trip for free.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD73.00
From
USD73.00

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What people are saying about Whale Watching in Hawaii

star-5
Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion
"Beautiful scenery, kind and attentive crew - everything we were hoping for and more! Booked 2 more trips with them before we head home. Highly recommend!!!"..."
star-5
Eye-Level Whale Watching 2 Hour Eco-Raft Tour from Lahaina, Maui
"Seeing many mothers and babies, solo males. Quite a performance by all. The guides, Jill & Elah were very knowledgeable and as animated over the whales as we all were. Best trip I’ve had all season!"..."
star-5
2-Hour Whale Watching Experience! (Lahaina Harbor, Maui)
"Saw many breaching whales with the highlight being mother and calf hanging out by the boat for quite some time!"..."
star-5
Dolphins & You Whales Spotted with lunch Included Turtle Swim & Ocean Activities
"It was super Nice, we saw some whales and everybody was super friendly. The crew is amazing and it was a lot of fun. I would recomendo it for sure"..."
star-5
Keauhou Manta Ray Night Snorkel in Kailua-Kona, HI
"Fantastic trip with a great crew. I read a TON of reviews trying to find the right fit and this was it! Small group of 6 people, knowledgeable and fun staff and a quick trip to and from the viewing area. Oh and we did get to see several mantas!"..."
star-5
From Lahaina Harbor: Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Quicksilver
"The whale sings under water was awesome, and the amount of whales and baby whales that we saw. Spectacular tour."..."
star-5
Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal
"Very fun boat trip!! Crew was awesome, accommodating and kept it fun! We saw whales, dolphins, and turtles. The guide pointed out wildlife while snorkeling. Buffet was good and plenty, went back for seconds. Couldn’t ask for more on a boat trip!"..."
star-5
From Lahaina Harbor: Lanai Snorkeling & Dolphin Encounter Aboard Quicksilver
"Wonderful snorkeling experience! Bonus sightings of whales and bottle nose and spinner dolphins! The crew was very helpful and friendly."..."
star-5
Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii
"Great experience with nature, an amazing and entertaining crew, something you don’t see everyday unless you’re working the boat. Captain gives you a lot of good info about the manta rays, the history, and the do’s and don’ts.. staff in the water are very attentive and helpful. Beautiful experience!!"..."
star-5
Ultimate 4 Hour Whale Watch & Snorkel from Lahaina Harbor
"Whales came right up to the boat. Staff was very friendly and would answer any questions. Snorkeling was in a great location."..."
star-5
Turtle Canyon Catamaran Snorkel Cruise from Waikiki
"Great crew Great swim Nice little post swim snack Great drinks Great day Saw lots of turtles Loved it"..."
star-5
Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure
"Feeding the fish and being under water. I can't swim and I was not afraid. I would recommend this adventure to anyone."..."
star-5
Whale Watching Experience in Waikiki
"Beautiful voyage! Shared the experience with family, 9 of us and three were children ages 10 and two 6 year olds. Saw whales, dolphins, sea turtles and stingrays. Would definitely recommend"..."
star-5
Whale Watching from Lahaina Harbor
"The humpback whale that swam around the boat spy-hopping. He obviously was having as much fun looking at us as we had watching him. We saw two close up fluking actions. A very special whale watching experience."..."
star-5
Swim with Dolphins in the West Coast line of Oahu
"It was My girlfriends birthday, and we had the best time ever, we saw a dolphin mother with her baby, A whale family and sea turtles! The crew and staff were excellent and It was such a great experience. We’d recommend this to everyone!"..."
star-5
COMBO: Wild Dolphin, Sea Cave & Reef Snorkel on Speed Boat, 14 Guest Max!
"Amazing experience, highly recommend. Crew is a lot of fun. Got to see dolphins, amazing snorkeling and even sharks in the distance."..."
star-5
Oahu Shark Dive
"The experience was awesome. Boat guide had a fun sense of humor. The sharks were an added bonus! Some said cages were for wimps, but I was glad to have one."..."
star-5
Swim with Sharks (cage-free) from Haleiwa, Oahu
"It was a wonderful experience I can’t way to do it away , the guys who were hosting the experience are really nice and they make the activitie really smooth 🙌🏻🤙🏻"..."
star-5
Whale Watching & Late Breakfast Cruise in Honolulu
"Seeing a baby and a mommy from the top of the boat and the bottom. They also provided breakfast for us witch had the option of a Hawaiian breakfast or French toast witch was encluded in the bill 💸. Hilly recommend 👍"..."
star-5
1-Hour Guided Hawaiian Parasailing in Waikiki
"Really exciting with a group of people,captain is nice and the souvenir photos are beautiful!Really recommend it!"..."
star-5
Maunalua Bay Higher Flyer Parasailing Adventure
"Wow- they were amazing. The views were wonderful and the team made it very easy to get excited and get over fears. We will use them again when we come back!"..."
star-5
Whale Watching Cruise with Open Bar from Ka'anapali Beach
"Fantastic! The boat is the perfect size and not crowed. The crew were friendly. We didn't get as close to whales as some of the photos here, but we saw them and it was awesome! Oh, and the drinks were better than expected."..."
star-5
Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion from Waikiki, Hawaii
"Captain Nate and his crew were friendly and knowledgeable. We saw lots of turtles and fish. I especially liked the way they took care of everyone. Even those who were not good swimmers and were a little scared still were able to get in feel completely safe and see all of the sea life."..."
star-5
Small Group 2 hour Whale Watch from Raft (Mala, Lahaina)
"Great experience! Stephan and Brooke were great! Very knowledgeable and respectful of the whales! You can tell they love their jobs! Highly recommend this trip! We saw so many whales with the highlight at the end when the whales came up to our boat and put on a great show!"..."
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