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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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42 results | All Oahu Tours

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Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion

Oahu Whale-Watching Excursion

star-4.5
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

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

star-4.5
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

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal

Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal

star-4.5
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

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

star-5
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

Moana’s 2-Hour Guided Turtle Snorkel Adventure at Waikiki
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Moana’s 2-Hour Guided Turtle Snorkel Adventure at Waikiki

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402
Discover all the vibrant marine life that calls Turtle Canyon’s reefs home—and enjoy an accessible way to snorkel and explore—on this family-friendly catamaran trip. Make your own way to the Kewalo Harbor, and hop aboard your well-appointed catamaran: snorkels, fins, masks, and more are all provided on board. Once you make it to the reefs, dive in, spot sea turtles and other marine life, and admire the underwater scenery.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD79.99
From
USD79.99

Whale Watch, Dolphins, Turtles and Sightseeing Cruise (winter only)

Whale Watch, Dolphins, Turtles and Sightseeing Cruise (winter only)

star-3.5
85
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
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD40.00
From
USD40.00

Afternoon Waikiki Glass Bottom Boat Cruise

Afternoon Waikiki Glass Bottom Boat Cruise

star-4.5
1080
Settle in for an afternoon cruise aboard the Haleiwa Queen, a 50-foot power catamaran that departs conveniently from Honolulu’s harbor. Learn about Hawaii past and present from the friendly crew as you venture into the open Pacific Ocean to look for dolphins, sea turtles, and even migrating whales. As a bonus, look beneath the water’s surface at fish and coral reefs through unique magnifying view portals.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD40.00
From
USD40.00

Hawaii | Waikiki Beach Sightseeing Cruise - Glass Bottom Boat

Hawaii | Waikiki Beach Sightseeing Cruise - Glass Bottom Boat

star-4.5
226
Get out onto the water in Oahu for an express sightseeing cruise, even if you just have an hour to spare. This glass-bottom boat tour is the perfect introduction to Hawaiian sea life, as the expert captain and crew help spot creatures like green sea turtles (honu), migrating whales, and dolphins. Unlike other catamaran cruises, this one lets you look underwater through clear magnifying port holes.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD40.00
From
USD40.00

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

star-5
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

Swim With Dolphins, Snorkel, and Waterslide Activities on the West Side of Oahu!

Swim With Dolphins, Snorkel, and Waterslide Activities on the West Side of Oahu!

star-5
14
We go out and swim with bottle-nose and spotted dolphins, then snorkel in the beautiful Makaha bay with turtles and a variety of tropical fish. We have fun ocean activities such as a waterslide, rock climbing wall, paddle boards, and a floating mat. Locally crafted lunch is included along with transportation from select hotels in Waikiki and Ko Olina!
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD199.00
From
USD199.00

Turtle Canyon Waikiki Snorkel Adventure

Turtle Canyon Waikiki Snorkel Adventure

star-4.5
55
Go snorkeling on the south shore of Oahu with this small-group, half-day adventure. Join your guide for a swim and snorkel in Turtle Canyon and observe a wide variety of marine life including dolphins, turtles, rays, octopus, fish, and even sharks. Visit different, lively snorkel sites during one half-day tour. All snorkel gear and wetsuits are included.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD85.09
From
USD85.09

Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail

Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail

star-4.5
260
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 and lunch
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD161.99
From
USD161.99

West Oahu Whale Watching & Sunset Cruise

West Oahu Whale Watching & Sunset Cruise

star-5
9
Climb aboard a spacious catamaran for a whale watching adventure at sunset in West Oahu. Each winter, humpback whales travel to the warm Hawaiian waters to breed and West Oahu is an excellent place to see these magnificent creatures swim and play. Cruise along the western coastline and admire views while keeping an eye out for a range of wildlife. Shuttle service is available from Waikiki.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD135.08
From
USD135.08

1.5 Hour Whale Watching Cruise With pick-up and drop-off

1.5 Hour Whale Watching Cruise With pick-up and drop-off

star-3.5
18
Our whale watching tours have the lowest prices in all of Hawaii, and are operated by the most experienced crews. The best time to see Humpback whales in Hawaii is between the months of December and April, and there’s no better place to view them than from our double deck catamaran. Join us off the coast of Oahu on an excursion from Waikiki and experience the majesty of Humpback whales for yourself. These playful, and surprisingly acrobatic animals have a strong cultural value to native Hawaiians, as a whale is the representation of Kanaloa, the god of all ocean life. With us as your guide, we will assure you that our crew will try our best to spot Hawaii's beautiful marine life for you!
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD45.00
From
USD45.00

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

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

star-5
496
Cruise along west Oahu’s pristine shoreline to see the spinner dolphins, humpback whales (seasonally), and other marine creatures that frequent the Waianae Coast. Your 32-foot USCG vessel is led by a lifeguard-certified crew of marine biologists and naturalists, maximizing your chances of spotting Hawaii’s underwater wildlife. Plus, with snorkeling gear included, you can choose to swim alongside tropical fish and sea turtles, too.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD193.88
From
USD193.88

Dolphin Watching & Snorkel in the West Coast line of Oahu
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Dolphin Watching & Snorkel in the West Coast line of Oahu

star-5
31
In the clear waters of West Oahu, enjoy dolphin watching and snorkeling experience and get to see the wildlife and tropical island fishes. You might also see Hawaiian sea turtles and Hawaiian monk seals and mantas. You will board a spacious 42 passenger catamaran boat to cruise the West Coast of Oahu searching for wild dolphins. This double-hulled catamaran features a comfortable and stable ride as you relax and take in the breathtaking views of the ocean and the mountains. Dolphin watching & snorkel tour is very easy even for beginners, perfect choice for families with small children. *This tour is dolphin watching. After watching the dolphins from the boat, you can enjoy snorkeling. If you want to swim with dolphins, click on the "by Indigo Ocean Hawaii" link at the top to book our other tour, 【Swim with Dolphins in the West Coast line of Oahu】
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD156.02
From
USD156.02

North Shore Oahu Snorkeling Tour

North Shore Oahu Snorkeling Tour

star-4.5
45
Exploring the world beneath the waves is a must-do when visiting Hawaii. This small-group tour ensures that you find the best snorkeling spots off the North Shore of Oahu, in an area that dolphins, rays, turtles, and native Hawaiian reef fish are known to frequent. This tour also bring you closer to sharks in their natural environment.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD99.00
From
USD99.00

Whale Watch Cruise aboard the Majestic by Atlantis Cruises

Whale Watch Cruise aboard the Majestic by Atlantis Cruises

star-4.5
126
Whale Watch Guarantee :If our Naturalist does not sight a whale during the cruise, guests are given a complimentary return whale watch cruise. Pick a spot aboard the fresh air of the decks or by the indoor viewing windows as you glide past Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach. A naturalist joins you on board to provide informative commentary and point out any other spotted marine life, such as sea turtles, porpoises and Hawaii spinner dolphins.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD97.00
From
USD97.00

Waikiki Sunset Cruise in Hawaii

Waikiki Sunset Cruise in Hawaii

star-5
5
Cruises are offered all day and night in Hawaii, but one of the best times to go on one is at sunset. This Waikiki Sunset Cruise takes you on the water to see the city, Diamond Head, and the ocean all at sunset. Plus, music, snacks, and soda provide a relaxing environment as you cruise.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD68.00
From
USD68.00

Whale Watching Cruise in Honolulu
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Whale Watching Cruise in Honolulu

star-5
7
Watch whales swim, play, feed and breach, in their natural environment. This excursion is truly a life altering experience. This Prince Kuhio Cruise is truly awe-inspiring. Our large open decks offer an exceptional platform for viewing.
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  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD85.00
From
USD85.00

Private Adventure Boat Charter with Snorkeling

Private Adventure Boat Charter with Snorkeling

star-5
72
Escape the crowds and join us on 2 hour private cruise you won’t soon forget. We can go faster and farther than anyone else in town, offering spectacular coastal sightseeing, incredible sea life (turtles, fish, dolphins, and whales—in season), and even snorkeling. This private boat charter offers exclusively offer private charters. Fully customizable itineraries are available as the adventure is up to you.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD725.00
per group
From
USD725.00
per group

Private Whale Watching Adventure

Private Whale Watching Adventure

star-5
16
Venture off the coast of Oahu in a private boat in search of whales. Depart from Waikiki and set sail all along the southern coast in search of the majestic creatures. Your captain combs the coast for optimal viewing areas and teaches you about the migrating habits of the whales. Since this is a private tour, feel free to customize the trip as you wish.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD795.00
per group
From
USD795.00
per group

Waikiki Sunset Night Dive Adventure
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Waikiki Sunset Night Dive Adventure

star-1
1
First, explore the reef and visit the colossal colony of swaying Garden Eels as the sun begins to fade. Come up from your dive to enjoy a beautiful Hawaiian sunset, relax, and have a bite to eat. On the second dive, you descend into bioluminescent darkness and in the beam of your light watch the nightlife come alive. Observe in awe as Oahu's majestic green sea turtles, reef sharks or spotted eagle sting rays and manta rays glide in from the darkness to feed on the microscopic plankton attracted to your light. Never hidden fees All ScubaPro premier professional gear included 40+ years of excellence in professional development, diving academics and services The only 5-Star dive shop and scuba diving tours in Waikiki Two USCG inspected vessels Private charters and private inspectors available
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
USD219.00
From
USD219.00

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What people are saying about Whale Watching in Oahu

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
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
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
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
Moana’s 2-Hour Guided Turtle Snorkel Adventure at Waikiki
"the crew was patient, helpful, and very informational. they made sure to express how safety was very very important on the boat, which was 10 stars in my book. would absolutely do again"..."
star-5
Whale Watch, Dolphins, Turtles and Sightseeing Cruise (winter only)
"Our capitains were super friendly and incredibly informative about everything from local language to good food to other attractions in Honolulu and on Oahu. It was awesome to run into a large pod of dolphins, and seeing the whale calf flipping in circles was definitely a highlight that I won't soon forget."..."
star-5
Afternoon Waikiki Glass Bottom Boat Cruise
"It was a great experience, I learned a lot about the island/animals from my helpful boat guide! Thoroughly enjoyed myself"..."
star-5
Hawaii | Waikiki Beach Sightseeing Cruise - Glass Bottom Boat
"The captain was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. The tour was beautiful and relaxing. We genuinely enjoyed every minute."..."
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
Swim With Dolphins, Snorkel, and Waterslide Activities on the West Side of Oahu!
"Great trip, very nice crew! Saw dolphins, turtles and many other beautiful, colourful fish. Pickup in Waikiki was on time. However, after conpleting the booking, we had to call the tour operator to ask for the pickup time, since Viator did not provide it (only the boarding time at Waianae harbor was mentioned)."..."
star-5
Turtle Canyon Waikiki Snorkel Adventure
"The staff on 1/14/23 at the 1030 adventure was excellent! Very informative and welcoming! It was a great experience! Would def. do it again!!"..."
star-5
Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Sail
"Great Crew, can’t remember names but they were super knowledgeable. We were able to see two types of dolphins, whales and while swimming, Hono. Highly recommend dry clothes or dry towel for afterwards because it’s a tad chilly for littles on the ride back."..."
star-5
West Oahu Whale Watching & Sunset Cruise
"Friendly and helpful tour guides. Brought my 85 year old mom over for the holidays, and she has never seen a whale so whale watching cruise was a big bucket list item for her. We were approached by a small pod of Spinner dolphins who had fun playing and jumping around the boat. We saw a mama and baby whale which made my mom so excited and happy. Crew was great at spotting and helping my mom safely navigate the boat for the best viewing. Fantastic afternoon, we will go again."..."
star-5
1.5 Hour Whale Watching Cruise With pick-up and drop-off
"The crew was so nice and informative. Even though it was really in the season, we got to see 3 whales and a large sea turtle. I would totally recommend this tour. It did rain but it was still great."..."
star-5
Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin and Seasonal Whale Watching from Oahu
"Great tour! Saw whales, dolphins and turtles. Even got a little swim in even with some BIG waves......"..."
star-5
Dolphin Watching & Snorkel in the West Coast line of Oahu
"Owner went out with us to Dolphins sighting and to snorkeling. She is sweet and very tentative. Didn't see turtles when snorkeling, still enjoyed it."..."
star-5
North Shore Oahu Snorkeling Tour
"The crew. Brandon the Captain was amazing and obviously loves his job and Jen was an excellent guide in the water, showing us all the local ocean life. They make a great team and made us feel like we belonged on the boat. Definitely will do this tour again and I highly recommend this tour."..."
star-5
Whale Watch Cruise aboard the Majestic by Atlantis Cruises
"We watched a mother and baby whale for over an hour. It was awesome! The boat is very nice. Food and drinks were decent. A very pleasant trip."..."
star-5
Waikiki Sunset Cruise in Hawaii
"Unbelievable experience surrounded by dolphins. Beautiful sunset and full moon rising. Friendly and fun crew. 🤙🌅"..."
star-5
Whale Watching Cruise in Honolulu
"The activity had to get moved two different times, but that didn’t honestly matter that much. We ended up going on the whale watching breakfast cruise. Jaedyn made this an activity to remember. Super helpful crew and overall had a blast. The food was really good. It doesn’t matter if you get the French toast or the loco moco"..."
star-5
Private Adventure Boat Charter with Snorkeling
"Taking our family of 6 on this private tour was the best idea ever! Kept the outing simple and relaxed not having to worry about them in other people’s bubbles. The guys were awesome and knowledgeable of the sea life, island, and help teach the ways of snorkeling. Definitely the best decision for one of our adventures."..."
star-5
Private Whale Watching Adventure
"We saw several whales. We were able to get closer than any tour boat. We also were able to follow two of them at a safe distance for quite a while. The guides were very knowledgeable and friendly."..."
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Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the best Whale Watching in Oahu?
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What Whale Watching in Oahu are 1 hour or less?
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What Whale Watching in Oahu are taking additional safety precautions?
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What Whale Watching in Oahu are good for avoiding crowds?