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Waianae, located on Oahu's west side, is a beautiful coast along the Waianae Mountains lined with rural towns, a recreational boat harbor, and the Ko Olina resort area where you can find the Marriott, Four Seasons, and Disney Aulani hotels. Waianae stretches for 20 miles from Nanakuli to Makua Beach and offers great panoramic views of the sunset and pods of friendly wild dolphins jumping off shore.
History of Waianae

It is said that the great demi-god named Maui, a mythological Hawaiian superman, who fished the islands of Hawaii from the depths of the ocean, first settled here on the Waianae coast. With its abundant waters and nutrient rich soil, the ancient people of Waianae prospered as a bustling fishing community.

In 1778, Captain Cook first caught sight of Oahu’s Waianae Coast on his pacific journey, but continued on to Kauai instead. Soon after in 1811, European and American traders became interested in the untapped sandalwood trees of Waianae that would sell for a hefty sum to merchants in China and other Asian countries. The Hawaiian chiefs of the time quickly put everyone to work harvesting sandalwood at the unfortunate expense of neglecting the crops and fishing. The combination of a crumbling tribal infrastructure and exposure to outside disease plummeted the population of Waianae until only 800 native Hawaiians were left in the entire area.

The entire west coast of Oahu, including Waianae and its northern neighbor Makaha, went through a number of land ownership changes over the course of the century as numerous businessmen and companies sought to purchase the vast tracts of rich land. At one point in the 1880s, Benjamin Franklin Dillingham began building a railroad that would connect Waianae to Honolulu. The once arduous 35-mile trek via horseback had been reduced to a speedy two hour journey by rail. Although now defunct, you can still see the remains of the rails while driving along the Farrington Highway.

The commercialization of the area came to an end with the closing and liquidation of the Waianae Sugar Plantation. In 1946, their doors closed after a long and arduous battle between the owners and workers for water rights. Since sugar plantations require a large amount of water, the owners held a monopoly on the area’s water usage to the dismay of the many residents of Waianae.

Now the Waianae coast is one of the last remaining untouched areas of Oahu, offering pristine beaches and waters filled with marine life, including the often seen Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins that frolic in the early morning sun. As you head north past Makaha to Kaena Point, you will even see ancient caves concealing petroglyphs carved by Hawaiians hundreds of years ago.

Highlights

Waianae Harbor is a popular departure point for many early morning dolphin swimming and watching tours, as well as a number of fishing boat charters. The Waianae Mall Shopping Center has all of the stores you will need to grab a book or stock up on food and refreshments before heading out to the popular Pokai Bay. Be sure to visit some of the local road-side vendors selling unique Hawaiian treats and food.
15Activities
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    Availability varies by date for all activities.

  1. Sail from Waianae Harbor in pursuit of leaping dolphins. Learn about the history and culture of Hawaii on the way, and get in the water for a personal encounter.
    Pick-up Provided
    Meal Provided

    From USD132.60

    15%
    OFF
    Group Discount
    Early Booking
    Daily
    2 - 8 hour(s) (morning, afternoon)
  2. Make your dream come true and swim with Hawaii’s graceful spinner dolphins and snorkel at two of the most spectacular dive spots on the west coast of Oahu!
    Pick-up Provided
    Meal Provided
    Special

    From USD126.03

    10%
    OFF
    Early Booking
    Daily
    4 - 7.5 hour(s) (morning, afternoon)
  3. Witness the beauty and majesty of the amazing Humpback Whales as they make their annual migration through Hawaiian waters.
    Pick-up Provided

    USD96.75

    Daily
    2.5 - 3.5 hour(s) (afternoon)
  4. Embark on a day of adventure to watch majestic humpback whales breach the water in magnificent displays. Dive right in for a swim with green sea turtles.
    Pick-up Provided

    USD120.00

    Weekday
    5 - 7 hour(s) (morning)
  5. Escape the crowds of Waikiki and discover the untouched beauty of the west coast, snorkel at a secluded beach and take in the views of dramatic valleys.
    Pick-up Provided
    Special

    USD135.00

    Tue, Fri
    6 - 8 hour(s) (morning)
  6. Enjoy a relaxing eco-friendly dolphin watch sail and snorkel on one of the island's finest spots. Includes breakfast, lunch and full bar service.
    Pick-up Provided
    Meal Provided
    Special

    From USD140.24

    Daily
    3.5 - 7 hour(s) (morning)
  7. West Coast Sunset Cocktail Sail (Waianae Harbor)
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    Experience a relaxing, family-friendly sunset cruise along the scenic west coast of Oahu. Sip on tropical cocktails and enjoy delicious appetizers.
    Pick-up Provided

    USD96.75

    Weekday
    (evening)
  8. Train with the pros, and learn everything you need to know before your first real scuba dive off the Waianae Coast of Oahu, a hidden trove of prime dive sites.
    Pick-up Provided

    USD172.85

    Daily
    3.5 - 5 hour(s) (morning)
  9. Experience the thrill of passive-swimming with dolphins on this exciting adventure on Oahu's west side! Then snorkel with turtles at two beautiful coral reefs.
    Pick-up Provided
    Meal Provided

    USD139.00

    Daily
    3.5 - 8 hour(s) (morning, afternoon)
  10. Cruise aboard the Dolphin Star! Watch dolphins play on Oahu's scenic west coast on a morning tour or add snorkeling to your adventure with an afternoon cruise!
    Pick-up Provided
    Meal Provided

    From USD66.00

    2-for-1
    Review Rebate
    Daily
    2.5 - 7 hour(s) (morning, afternoon)
  11. Ready to try Scuba in Hawaii? Go out with the pros from Oahu’s beautiful west side and learn everything you need to know about this wonderful island hobby.
    Pick-up Provided

    USD205.47

    Daily
    5.5 - 7 hour(s) (morning)
  12. The ocean is your playground on this West Oahu cruise where you get to snorkel and play in the dolphin-filled waters of the leeward coast.
    Pick-up Provided

    USD96.75

    Daily
    2.5 - 3.5 hour(s) (afternoon)
  13. Take back your vacation! Design the perfect tour along the Waianae Coast to snorkel among colorful marine life, or just relax with food and fun on deck.
    Pick-up Provided
    Meal Provided

    From USD2,259.00

    Daily
    3 - 5 hour(s) (afternoon)
  14. Suit up for a scuba diving experience that will take you to popular dive sites off the Waianae Coast. Follow your guide on an incredible undersea adventure.
    Pick-up Provided

    USD172.85

    Daily
    3.5 - 5 hour(s) (morning)
  15. Explore West Oahu's underwater world with an expert guide and visit unique dive sites along the Waianae Coast selected for optimal conditions and visibility.
    Pick-up Provided

    USD205.47

    Daily
    5.5 - 7 hour(s) (morning)
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