TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE

The Top 3 Swimming with Dolphin Tours in Oahu Reviewed

Ryan, Senior Traveler, US
30 August 2017

Did you ever wonder how you can elevate your holiday experience on Oahu? In case you did, we have a recommendation for you – try out one of the amazing swimming with dolphins tours in Oahu!

There are so many different things you can do on Oahu, so the question is, why would you go swimming with dolphins over some of the other activities?  Well, for one, dolphins are extremely friendly and beautiful animals! Ranked as one of the top Oahu tours on the island, you will have the chance to get to know their behavior and daily habits. You will play with them in their natural environment, and most likely you will get a dolphin kiss or a belly ride!

Dolphins are playful and curious animals. Unlike other activities you can do on Oahu, dolphin tours are a great way to spend a lovely family afternoon with kids in an interactive and memorable trip. On top of getting the chance to interact with dolphins, you’ll also take an incredible cruise along some of the most beautiful coastlines of Oahu.

What You Can Expect When Swimming With Dolphins

Not every dolphin tour is the same, but there are some things that you can expect on each of them.

Exploring the wildlife in its purest form – how many times have you wished to go out in the ocean and explore the beauties of the underwater world? There’s so much unknown about the sea, and there’s a reason why sharks and dolphins, or whales spark so much interest from humans.  We just want to know what they’re like up close and personal in their natural habitat.  Well, when you go swimming with them, that’s exactly what you’ll do.  On top of dolphins, your tour includes seeing other sea creatures, like turtles, fish or whales while gently cruising along the bay or coastline.

Visiting some of the most beautiful coastlines – if you want to enjoy fresh air, sunset, and amazing scenery from the Oahu coast, you should consider booking a tour.  The reason is simple – with a dolphin tour, you’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone by taking in the breathtaking views Oahu has to offer, while also going on an adventure no other cruise can offer.

“Enjoy the beautiful blue waters of Oahu as you swim with the dolphins…a can’t miss experience!”

Additional activities – besides swimming with dolphins, you’ll be able to experience other activities as well such as snorkeling, kayaking or paddle boarding, which is a great addition to the already amazing experience.

Hanging out with amazing people – all of the crew members that we encountered on the top tours were extremely knowledgeable and fun as well.  They made you feel safe, but also brought a carefree vibe to the tour which will take care of any anxiety you might be experiencing before you head out.

Now that you know what you can expect, it’s time to introduce some of the top rated tours on Oahu. We searched every single review to give you the best pieces of information on prices, activities, amenities, and requirements for each visit. Check out our top 3 list of a swim with dolphin tours below.

If you think you’re ready to pull the trigger and book a swimming with dolphins tour, read our reviews first and then book a trip you liked the most.

Tour #1 – Catamaran and Snorkeling Tour with Dolphins

 

This tour is run by a family-owned company, which gives people the opportunity to enjoy a smaller tour with wild dolphins.

There’s a possibility to see whales in the winter season as well, but for sure you’ll see some turtles along with the dolphins. In fact, you can take a swim with them, too. Hawaiian Honu turtles are very friendly, and you’ll get the chance to take a closer look at these amazing sea creatures. As for the rest of the tour, you’ll also get to enjoy some laid-back cruising and sightseeing. On this tour, you’ll be exploring the west side of Oahu, with its significant historical features along the Wai’anae Coast.

The trip starts from the moment you leave the harbor and goes on until lunch. During lunchtime, the captain will stop for a while, and talk about some interesting facts on dolphins, and sea life in the area. After that, you are allowed to try out snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boarding, which is a great addition to the tour.

When you go back to the catamaran, you’ll be served with some fresh snacks and beverage, as you sail back to the harbor. Overall, you’ll be on the open sea for approximately two and a half hours, which is plenty of time to get in your sightseeing, adventures, and of course, swimming with the dolphins.

What should you bring on the tour?

The recommendation is to bring as little personal items as possible. The company will provide life vests, lunch, island snacks, and cold beverages, you just need to bring the sunscreen and camera if you have one.

Price

Adults are charged $120 plus taxes for this tour, while children (5-12) pay $100 plus taxes.

Pros

  • Not limited to dolphins – you can also see turtles, whales, and other sea life
  • Exploring Oahu’s west coastline
  • Free lunch, snacks and beverage on the tour
  • Pick-up and return from/to Waikiki
  • If there were no dolphins seen, we can re-book another tour for you for Free – https://www.liveyouraloha.com/hawaii-tours-guide/

 

Cons

  • Not allowed for children under the age of 5
  • There is a small chance of not seeing dolphins

 

Final verdict: An excellent tour which gives you real value for the money. Not only will you be seeing dolphins, but you’ll also explore the marine life in its purest form.

Tour #2 – Premium Dolphin Swim Tour

 

Another great dolphin excursion that will give you the opportunity to snorkel and swim with these beautiful animals is the Premium Dolphin Swim Tour. It’s a great trip for a bigger group of people, which also means larger transportation (bus), and a bigger boat. The crew of Premium Dolphin Swim Tour is friendly and fun to be around with. Not only will you be safe and sound while exploring the west coast of Oahu, but you’ll also have the chance to enjoy a traditional E’Ho Mai ceremony. Before going to the place where you’ll be watching dolphins, the whole crew and passengers will take a moment to perform a traditional Hawaiian song.

After the song, you’ll arrive at the place where you’ll finally meet some dolphins. Most of them belong to the Spinner Dolphins, which are smaller than other species. They are known for their acrobatics – the name “spinner” signifies their ability to spin along their longitudinal axis while they’re in the air. Imagine how exciting that is to see from a very close range! Just remember you’re not allowed to touch them and you’ll be in good shape.

In case there were no dolphins, the company will provide a free rescheduling of the tour. But, there are also some other sea creatures that can cross your view, such as Honu turtles, who are very friendly and amusing animals. After you finish the dolphin part of the tour, you can continue your adventure with other ocean activities, like snorkeling. In the meantime, the Captain will make sure you get a healthy meal when you get out of the water. His go-to specialty is usually a Hawaiian cheeseburger.

 

What should you bring on the tour?

You can take some spare clothing or a light jacket with you. The company will provide life vests, snorkeling equipment, food and beverage.

Price

The price per adult is $156 with all taxes and fees. The children (2-11) will pay $124 with all taxes and fees included.

 

Pros:

  • a bigger boat with a fantastic crew
  • eco-conscious staff
  • organized pick-up and drop-off
  • interacting with wild dolphins
  • swimming with Honu turtles
  • free food and beverage

 

Cons:

  • slight chance of not seeing dolphins
  • higher possibility of motion sickness

 

Final verdict: An exciting half-a-day ocean experience that will fit your budget perfectly. This tour is an excellent way to make some new friends and enjoy the ride with dolphins in their natural environment.

 

Tour #3 – Dolphin Swim Adventure

 

If you don’t like the idea of getting motion sickness on the tour, then this dolphin tour might be the one for you, since it’s held at the sea park. This Dolphin Swim Adventure includes trained dolphins, meaning that you’re allowed to touch them. The tour is, however, a shorter experience, lasting for about an hour (45 minutes in the water).

This tour is more intimate and educational than the two previously reviewed. The participants will learn more about how dolphins interact with humans and experience some of the coolest things like a dolphin kiss and a belly ride. Dolphins on this tour are in captivity, which means that you won’t have the same freedom of space as you would out in the ocean. However, unlike the other tours, this one does come with a dolphin guarantee!

On this tour, you will also get a beautiful photo which will capture your tremendous experience with the dolphins. It’s a bit pricey adventure (similar to the cost of a helicopter tour in Oahu), especially compared to the other two tours where you get more time for the money. But, this one will give you a 100% dolphin experience, which is the whole point of these tours in the first place. Unlike the other tours, toddlers can’t attend this one. Children (8-12) can attend the show only if they are accompanied by an adult (18+). Thirteen year olds can attend the show on their own.

 

What should you bring on the tour?

The company suggests bringing your swimwear, a towel and a biodegradable sunscreen (which you can purchase in the gift shop in the park). You shouldn’t bring any jewelry.

Price

In the peak season (6/1-8/31), the price for adults and children (8+) is $199.99. In the regular season (1/1-5/31 and 9/1-12/31), the price is $189.99.

 

Pros:

  • an interactive show with dolphins
  • unique features like dolphin kiss, belly ride or a single dorsal tow
  • no boat ride (a pro if you’re prone to motion sickness or just don’t like boats)
  • a photo of your experience

 

Cons:

  • pricey
  • a short lasting experience

 

Final verdict: If you want a guarantee that you’ll swim with dolphins, albeit in a slightly different habitat, you should check out this tour. It will give you a short but lasting experience with dolphins.

Bring Some Dolphin Adventure!

 

You can’t go to Oahu without swimming with dolphins. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience unlike any other. Once you taste the excitement, you’ll definitely want to come back for more. Dolphins are fun and gentle to be around as long as you listen to the instructors.  Whether you see them in their natural habitat, or in the park, either way it’ll be a memorable experience you’ll cherish for years to come!

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