swim with hawaiian sea turtle

So you’re visiting Oahu soon, and wondering what are the best activities on offer? Well, worry no more because there are plenty of snorkeling tours on Oahu Island each with their own variation! There’s nowhere in the world quite like Hawaii when it comes to snorkeling activities and Oahu island is no exception. With about a thousand miles of coral reef surrounding the Hawaiian Islands, snorkeling is one of the island’s most popular water activities. Come face to face with tropical fish, green turtles, spinner dolphins, spotted eagle rays, and even majestic humpback whales. Does this sound good to you? If so, then you should check out these top-rated snorkeling tours in Oahu and you might want to consider booking in advance before your holiday to Oahu, Hawaii as many of them are quite popular and have limited spots per day.

In this blog post, I have rounded up the ten most highly-rated tours on Oahu. I’ve snorkeled at every spot on this list and also done many of these tours like the dolphin snorkeling and the Turtle Canyon Snorkel. Below I have a comparison table with prices and duration and if you keep scrolling down, there is a description of each tour and a link to the tour booking page. Enjoy and I hope you find a snorkeling tour on Oahu that suits you and your family!


Oahu Snorkeling Tour

Hanauma Bay Guided Snorkel Tour$1263 hours
Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran $804 hours
Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Half-Day Cruise (Best Seller)$1305 hours
Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin and Seasonal Whale Watching$1506.5 hours
Hidden Gems of Oahu with North Shore Turtle Snorkeling $948 hours
Oahu Snorkel Cruise: Swim with Turtles in the Wild$1004 hours
Oahu: Eco-Friendly West Oahu Snorkel Sail with Dolphins$1346 hours
Catamaran Sail and Snorkel on Oahu $1473 hours
Half-Day Oahu Combo Adventure: Bike, Sail, and Snorkel$1305.5 hours
Tour of North Shore and Hanauma Bay$1459 hours


Tour: Hanauma Bay Guided Snorkel Tour

Hanauma Bay is the top snorkeling spot on Oahu for a reason. It’s nice and shallow, easy for beginners, and has lots of beautiful reefs, fish, and even turtles if you are lucky. On this Oahu snorkel tour, everything from pick up to drop off and in between was easy and smooth. Another edge on signing up this tour is you can choose a couple of morning departure times.  The tour guide will provide basic snorkel equipment such as a high-quality silicone dive mask, snorkel, and fins then take you to the reef. If you are a novice, the inner reef is ideal for you, whilst the outer reef is good to thrill advanced snorkelers. Personally, this tour does a great job and is perfect if you want a guide to point out the marine life to you, provide the equipment, and most importantly, keep you safe in the water!

Click Here to check the rates and availability of this tour on the booking website.

Tour: Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran 

Have you ever dreamt of snorkeling with green turtles in Oahu? Then it’s time to do it! Let Catamaran Cruise take care of getting you there with everything you need for a lovely day of snorkeling and cruising. For $97, you will get pretty much everything you need from pick-up and drop-off, snorkeling and SCUBA equipment, lunch and snacks, complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and expert guide. There are two tour options; a 2-hour morning tour and a 3-hour midday tour. It is impossible not to spot green turtles during the tour but if you don’t see any on your tour, you can book another tour for free. As a photo lover, I like the chill on the deck of the boat and take photos of Waikiki’s insane scenery. Definitely worth the time and the money for this one!

Click Here to check the rates and availability of this tour on the booking website.

Tour: Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Half-Day Cruise (Best Seller)

If watching wild spinner dolphins and snorkeling with tropical fish and sea turtles are what you are looking for, Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Half-Day Cruise is just what you need. You’ll get a fully inclusive tour that offers transport to and from hotels, meals on-board your boat, two complimentary alcoholic beverages, and free use of snorkel gear. The captain and the crew are personable, knowledgeable, and professional so you will definitely enjoy their journey. The excursion starts at 9:00 A.M. and you will return to Waikiki around 1:00 P.M. If you are lucky, giant humpback whales will be there to greet you. If ever you don’t encounter dolphins, you will still receive a snorkeling activity at no cost or a cruise with cocktail and sunset. Not as cheap as other tours in Waikiki but it’s worth it! 

Click Here to check the rates and availability of this tour on the booking website.

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

I think this is the best tour of the island if you want to see spinner dolphins and turtles. What’s more, if you’re fortunate enough and go in the right season you will spot magnificent humpback whales. The tour guide picks you up from Waikiki and takes you on a snorkeling adventure in Waianae Coast, about 45-minutes’ drive to the harbor before you board the boat. Then, they will provide you a complete snorkel gear such as masks, fins, snorkel, and life vests. The snorkeling will take 3 hours and you will then return to Waianae Harbor for a delicious lunch with vegetarian choice at Spinner Café. The staff is fantastic and they always look out for guests’ safety. This is great for all types of travelers and is highly recommended!

Click Here to check the rates and availability of this tour on the booking website.

Tour: Hidden Gems of Oahu with North Shore Turtle Snorkeling 

This whole-day tour is a combination of land and water excursion and will show you Oahu’s famous spots and hidden gems with sea turtle snorkeling on Oahu. The tour picks you up at 7:15 in the morning at selected Waikiki hotels and the itinerary includes Diamond Head Lookout, Tropical Hawaiian Coffee, and Macadamia Nut Farms, ChinaMan’s Hat, North Shore Shrimp Trucks, North Shore Fruit Stand, the legendary Sunset Beach, Turtle Snorkeling, and Dole Pineapple Plantation. The highlight of the trip is the snorkeling in Hanauma Bay where it’s quite famous for swimming with lots of tropical fish and sea turtles. Don’t worry about the gear as the tour guide will provide you snorkel gear like goggles and masks. This tour is perfect for visitors who stay in Oahu for a short time but still want to see what Oahu has to offer.

Click Here to check the rates and availability of this tour on the booking website.

swim with hawaiian sea turtle

Tour: Oahu Snorkel Cruise: Swim with Turtles in Waikiki

If you want to experience the majesty and magic of snorkeling and swimming with wild dolphins, then Oahu Snorkel Cruise have you covered! The unique combination of swimming closely with the dolphins and turtles, various options of delicious food, and learning about Hawaiian history and culture has made it a top pick amongst animal enthusiasts and history buffs alike. This 4-hour morning tour provides comfortable hotel transport from Waikiki and Ko Olina to Waianae Harbor. All the gears you need from snorkel, masks, fins, and life jackets are provided to help you get the most of your day in the water. Alternatively, you should try some exciting water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding, and hopping on a 20-foot waterslide. After the snorkeling, you’ll definitely love the Hawaiian’s traditional Hula dance and delicious Hawaiian cheeseburger on taro bread and pineapple for lunch. This is a family-friendly tour and it’s value for money.

Click Here to check the rates and availability of this tour on the booking website.

swim with hawaiian sea turtle

Tour: Oahu: Eco-Friendly West Oahu Snorkel Sail with Dolphins

The west side of Oahu is the most underrated place on the island and also where you are most likely to have a natural encounter with a dolphin or turtle. I can tell you that from experience, you rarely go west and don’t see some sealife! Not only that, but the captain will also entertain you by talking about Hawaiian natural history whilst taking you to a hidden snorkeling spot. You’ll be provided with all the gear you need for perfect snorkeling in a not-so-crowded spot. They have showers and changing facilities onboard for you to get comfy. If you are not taking your cameras with you, you can purchase souvenir photos taken during the excursion before you head back to your hotel. I will definitely recommend this one.

Click Here to check the rates and availability of this tour on the booking website.

Tour: Catamaran Sail and Snorkel on Oahu 

Catamaran Sail offers a half-day snorkeling adventure that covers everything from transportation (pickup and drop-off from selected Waikiki hotels as well as the boat ride), high-quality snorkel gear, delicious Hawaiian-style lunch, and complimentary cocktails. The boat will take you to two different snorkeling spots where you can see amazing corals and native Hawaiian sea animals like pods of spinner dolphins. The first spot is at Ko Olina Marina and Resort where you can munch some snacks before jumping into the water. After snorkeling in the first reef, the boat veers away and takes you to the next reef. What’s more! If you want something different other than regular snorkeling, you can upgrade to SNUBA which is a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving. I tried it and it’s way more exciting! Whether you’re traveling solo or with family, I highly recommend signing up for this joiner tour.

Click Here to check the rates and availability of this tour on the booking website.

swim with hawaiian sea turtle

Tour: Half-Day Oahu Combo Adventure: Bike, Sail, and Snorkel

If you love cycling and snorkeling at the same time, this is definitely your best pick. On this exciting Oahu combo tour, you start with a downhill bike ride with insane views of the coastline. You’ll stop for a deli-style lunch halfway through your cycling before boarding a comfortable 38.6-foot catamaran for a two-hour snorkeling adventure. Everything from round-trip transportation, snorkel gear, and tour guide experts are included in the tour. What’s more exciting is you will get the opportunity to learn about the culture and geology of Oahu island and perhaps you’ll see spinner dolphins and humpback whales while sailing to the snorkeling area. It’s rated as the best combo tour on the island.

Click Here to check the rates and availability of this tour on the booking website.

Tour: Tour of North Shore and Hanauma Bay

If you are on a quest to find the legendary Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore, known around the world for its perfect barreling waves, then this tour is perfect for you. This 9-hour tour does not only allow you to visit Banzai Pipeline but also other spots like Turtle Town, Dole Plantation, Waimea Bay, and the best spot for snorkeling, Hanauma Bay.  Like any other tours, the Tour of North Shore and Hanauma Bay offers a mini-van pick-up in Waikiki and drop-off. The tour guide expert will provide you with complete snorkel gear and narrative. You can enjoy lunch at Tsue Farms on the Northshore as well kayaking and paddleboarding if you upgrade your tour into Premium. 

Click Here to check the rates and availability of this tour on the booking website.

I hope one of those Oahu snorkel tours seemed like a good fit for you and your family and it is one of the highlights of your vacation to Oahu!


What to Pack?: Before you head off to Oahu, make sure you read my Hawaii Packing List guide so you know what essentials you need to enjoy the island life. Also, one very important thing to remember is to make sure you purchase your travel insurance before you travel.

My travel insurance: One last thing before you get started! Have you got your travel insurance for Hawaii yet? You can Click Here to find out how I get the best deal on travel insurance and why I never travel without it. 

If you are yet to arrive in Oahu, I thought I would share my top five places to stay on the island. One hotel is my overall favorite, one is a value pick, another is a family choice and there is also a budget pick in there too.

View from Diamond Head Crater

Where to stay on Oahu

  • Overall Favorite: Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort – In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. Hilton is easily the most recognizable hotel on the Island. It has its own private lagoon. Kids can kayak, swim and snorkel with no worries. There are no currents, waves or sea creatures to worry about.  
  • Luxury: Sheraton Waikiki  A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.
  • Value Pick: Ewa Hotel Waikiki –  This is the perfect hotel if you want location but are willing to sacrifice a pool to save up to $200 per night. All of the hotels in this area are minimum of $300 per night and often much more. Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD. 
  • Budget Choice: Waikiki Beachside Hostel  A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.
  • Family Choice: Disney Aulani Resort – This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu. A huge lazy river/tire tube lagoon is probably the highlight of the resort although the water slides and private beach aren’t too far behind. The kids club and massage center are just among a few of the many activities included in your stay. 


I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

My Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST


A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?




Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII

The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII

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