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Snorkeling Tours

Choose from the best Oahu snorkeling with top rated Oahu snorkeling tours, and explore the ocean waters of Honolulu, Turtle Canyon in Waikiki, Sharks Cove on the Oahu's North Shore, Electric Beach on the west side of Oahu, and Magic Island Lagoon. From all inclusive Oahu snorkeling cruises from Waikiki and Ko Olina that include a delicious lunch, to small group shore snorkeling tours, find the perfect Oahu snorkeling tour for any age and swimming ability. Book now, and get ready to snorkel!
Your Guide to Oahu Snorkeling Cruises & Tours
During your visit to Oahu, you can explore the stunning snorkeling spots around the island, all of which are renowned for their amazing natural beauty. Whether you choose to go on a self-guided or guided Honolulu snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, explore the clear waters of Electric Beach, or take a snorkeling cruise Turtle Canyon, you will be in awe of the large coral reef systems, exotic tropical fish, Hawaiian green sea turtles, and other captivating marine creatures that inhabit these waters. With a wide range of Oahu snorkeling tours catering to various budgets and physical abilities, solo travelers, couples, families, and groups of friends can all take part on an unforgettable snorkeling adventure. Take a look, and learn more with this ultimate guide to the best snorkeling tours on Oahu!

Oahu Best Snorkeling Destinations
Learn about Oahu’s best snorkeling locations, and learn about swimming with turtles off of Waikiki and Diamond Head on the South Shore, cruise the stunning coastline of Ko Olina and Waianae on the West Side and search for dolphins, or head to the North Shore for unique shark snorkeling and rafting trips to secluded spots.
  • Waikiki Turtle Canyon : This popular Oahu snorkeling destination is located off the coast of Waikiki in Honolulu, and is named after the Hawaiian green sea turtles that frequent the area to have their shells cleaned by the resident tropical fish.
  • Ko Olina: While many Oahu West Side snorkeling tours depart from the Ko Olina Marina, the resort area is known for its swimming and snorkeling. The lagoon at Ko Olina Beach Park is protected from the open ocean by a man-made breakwater, making it an ideal location for beginner snorkelers or those who prefer calmer waters.
  • Waianae and Makaha: Home to many pods of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins, these Oahu West Side snorkeling spots are popular with both residents and locals alike. The dolphins will often come into the shallow waters off of the Waianae and Makaha coast in the morning after an evening of feeding in deeper waters, and are normally always seen on early morning snorkeling tours.
  • Kaneohe Bay Sandbar: One of Oahu’s most popular snorkeling destinations, the sandbar is a unique natural formation located in Kaneohe Bay on Oahu’s East and Windward Shore. This narrow strip of sand emerges from the ocean at low tide, creating a small island that is surrounded by shallow waters which makes it a perfect spot for snorkeling and other ocean activities.
  • Waimea Bay: Although this is a beautiful snorkeling spot located on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii features deep crystal-clear waters close to shore, a soft sandy beach, and an abundance of marine life, during the winter months, you will want to sit on the shore to watch the big wave surfers ride the massive waves that the North Shore is famous for.
  • Hanauma Bay: Perfect for beginners and non-swimmers, this Oahu nature preserve and marine life conservation district is home to over 400 species of fish and other marine animals. Snorkelers can explore the coral reef and underwater rock formations, swim with colorful fish, and see sea turtles within its calm and clear waters
  • Electric Beach: Known for its clear waters and abundant marine life, this top rated Oahu beach is named for the nearby electric power plant which discharges warm water into the ocean, creating a unique environment that attracts many different species of fish and other sea creatures like turtles and moray eels.
  • Shark's Cove: Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Shark's Cove is a rocky cove that is home to fish, sea turtles, and even occasional sightings of harmless reef sharks. The cove is known for its natural rock formations, and it is recommended that you snorkel during low tide to access the best snorkeling spots. The area is also known for strong currents and sharp rocks so it should only be explored by strong swimmers. Visitors can also explore the tide pools and rocky shorelines that are located around the cove.

Oahu Harbors & Snorkel Tour Departing Locations
  • Ala Wai Harbor, Waikiki: Next to the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites, The Modern Waikiki, and Prince Waikiki Hotel
  • Kewalo Harbor, Honolulu: Near the Ward Village, and 10 minutes from most Waikiki hotels
  • Waikiki Beach: Departure locations include the area behind the Duke Kahanamoku Statue (Duke’s Statue), Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Moana Surfrider, and Hilton Hawaiian Village
  • Ko Olina Marina, West Oahu: 45 minutes to one hour
  • Waianae Harbor, West Oahu: One hour to one hour and 15 minutes
  • Haleiwa Harbor, North Shore One hour to one hour and 15 minutes
  • Heeia Kea Small Boat Harbor, Kaneohe: 45 minutes to one hour

All listed drive times are approximate and calculated using a car from Waikiki. Please be sure to check with a GPS app to check current drive times.

Parking is available at all check-in locations, and depending on the parking area, it could be free or there will be a nominal charge.

For tours that do not provide transportation, rideshares and taxis are often available for guests that do not have access to a rental car or other vehicle.

What to Expect & Know Before You Go
  • Oahu snorkeling cruises and tours are some of the most popular activities on the island, and it is highly recommended that you make your reservations two to four weeks in advance.
  • With Oahu’s warm sunny weather, make sure to bring sunscreen with you on your Oahu snorkeling tour, and use reef safe sunscreen. Traditional sunscreens contain chemicals like xybenzone and octinoxate that can harm coral reefs and marine life. Reef safe sunscreens use natural and mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to provide sun protection without harming the environment.
  • Do not touch any marine life or the coral reefs during your snorkeling tour on Oahu. Touching marine life can disturb or harm the animals, especially if you accidentally step on or break off pieces of coral, and many marine species are also fragile and can easily be damaged by human contact.
  • Avoid snorkeling after heavy rain storms since rainwater runoff from the land can carry sediment and debris into the ocean, and will reduce visibility underwater. This can make it difficult to see marine life while in the water, and can also result in accidents as well.
  • If you are planning on bringing an underwater camera (GoPro, mobile phone with an underwater case, etc.) on your snorkel tour in Oahu, also bring a red lens filter to get the best shots. As you go underwater, the color red becomes less pronounced, and having a red lens filter will ensure vibrant and beautiful photos and videos.
  • Oahu snorkeling cruise guests who are prone to seasickness should take a motion sickness preventative at least one hour prior to departure. No matter how calm the water may look, there will always be some rocking while on the water, and it is better to be safe than sorry if you have experienced seasickness in the past. There are also all natural alternatives including ginger pills and acupressure bands that you can try.
  • What to wear: Have your swimsuit on before boarding the boat since marine restrooms (heads) can be quite cramped depending on the boat. You will also want to wear a light jacket or sweatshirt to wear after you exit the water since it can get rather chilly.
  • What to bring: Reef safe sunscreen, sunglasses, flip flops or sandals, large towel, underwater camera or water-safe case for your phone, and a bottle of water.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which side of Oahu has the best snorkeling?
A: Although you do not need to go on a tour to snorkel in Hawaii, many of the snorkeling tours will take you to locations that cannot be reached without a boat or knowledge of where to enter the ocean. Expert guides also make it a safer experience since they will be on hand if you have any questions or safety concerns.

Q: What Hawaii island is best for snorkeling?
A: Oahu is home to several great snorkeling spots, but the best side for snorkeling can depend on various factors such as weather, water conditions, and the type of fish and marine life that live in the area.

Q: How much does it cost to snorkel in Oahu?
A: Snorkeling tour prices in Oahu start at approximately $40 for Oahu snorkel gear rentals where you will go on a self-guided excursion. Generally, a guided snorkeling tour in Oahu can cost anywhere from around $70 to $200 or more per person depending on the length of the tour and any additional activities included.

Q: What is the best Oahu snorkeling tour for beginners?
A: Beginner snorkelers on Oahu will have a variety of different tours and cruises to choose from including underwater scooter adventures, guided shore snorkels at Hanauma Bay and Magic Island, and the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar with ample snorkeling and ocean activities.

Q: What is the best snorkel cruise for advanced and expert snorkelers?
A: Many of the open water Oahu snorkeling with turtle cruises are a popular option for advanced and experienced swimmers and snorkeling enthusiasts since it is located in deep waters that allow for ample time to swim and explore.

Q: What snorkeling in Oahu is good for avoiding crowds?
A: If you want to avoid crowds, choose the best Oahu snorkeling tours that depart from Ko Olina and Waianae since they will often go to areas that are more secluded like the deeper areas off of Electric Beach and Makaha Beach.

Q: Can I snorkel with turtles on Oahu?
A: Yes, you can snorkel with turtles on Oahu! The island of Oahu is home to the Hawaiian green sea turtle, and these turtles can often be seen swimming and resting in popular areas like Turtle Canyon in Waikiki, and in many other locations on Oahu’s east, west and north shores.

Q: Can I snorkel with dolphins on Oahu?
A: Although there were once a number of different wild dolphin swimming and snorkeling tours on Oahu’s west side, Federal law now prohibits going within 50 yards of dolphins in Hawaii, and swimming with dolphins in the wild is not allowed. Since dolphins are nocturnal and go out into deeper waters at night to feed, and back closer to shore during the day, they use this time to rest and relax. When Hawaiian spinner dolphins have to swim away from people or vessels that are closely approaching them, it disrupts their rest and puts them on high alert. This requires the dolphins to use extra energy to swim faster and change direction, preventing them from fully resting.

Q: Can I snorkel with sharks on Oahu?
A: Yes, and Oahu is the only island in Hawaii that has shark snorkeling tours. You can choose from open water shark snorkeling or cage snorkeling, and both types of tours depart from Oahu’s North Shore at Haleiwa Harbor, and will have you in the water with real life sharks!

Q: Do I need to know how to swim to go on an Oahu snorkel tour?
A: Yes, knowing how to swim is important if you want to snorkel on Oahu since snorkeling involves swimming on the surface of the water while wearing a mask and snorkel to breathe. You do not need to be an expert swimmer, but you should be comfortable swimming in the ocean and be able to tread water for at least a few minutes. For those who do not know how to swim, you should choose beginner snorkeling tours that depart from the shore and stay in shallow waters.

Q: How do you stay safe during Oahu snorkeling?
A: Snorkeling on Oahu can be an enjoyable and memorable experience, but safety should always be your top priority while in the water. To ensure your safety, it is crucial to check the weather and ocean conditions before you go snorkeling and avoid snorkeling in rough water or strong currents as they can be quite dangerous. Remember to always have a buddy with you and keep an eye on each other, as this can prevent mishaps and ensure your safety. Additionally, Oahu boasts a diverse range of marine life, and it's important to remain conscious of your surroundings and refrain from touching or disturbing the marine creatures. Since snorkeling can be physically strenuous, it's important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before and after your snorkeling session.

Top-Rated Activities for Oahu

Latest reviews of Snorkeling Tours

Waikiki Snorkel with Turtles Cruise with Beers & Cocktails - Ke Kai Catamaran

Turtle Canyon Snorkle

2023/11/28 Couples Kat

Went in November and it was a very small trip. The guides and captain were great, the equipment was well maintained, and the boat was comfortable.

Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Ocean Sports Adventure with Snorkel, Kayak, SUP & Live Music

Sandbar was the best experience we had in Hawaii!!

2023/11/27 Couples Lala

Me and my husband did several activities in the Big Island and Oahu and the experience we had in the Sandbar was the best out of all. The reservation was easy and the staffs/crews on the boat were very friendly. They del... more

Kaneohe Bay Kayak & Snorkel Self-Guided Tour with Gear Rental

Must do experience in Oahu

2023/11/27 Couples Tom

If you're looking for an experience where you can enjoy the waters of Oahu, have a chance to swim with Hawaiian green sea turtles, and want to take in the breathtaking views of the island then this is the tour to take. T... more

Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Ocean Sports Adventure with Snorkel, Kayak, SUP & Live Music

Amazing staff!

2023/11/27 Friends Elise

It was a great experience and best time I and my friends had in Honolulu. All staff was very nice and helped us to enjoy the activities safely. Thank you and we will visit again!

Kaneohe Bay Kayak & Snorkel Self-Guided Tour with Gear Rental

A great Kaneohe kayaking experience!

2023/11/21 Couples Sarah

The staff is super friendly and helpful when checking in. They give you all the necessary info and tips to ensure your time is well spent. All the equipment was in good condition. Definitely recommend self-guided tour if... more

Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Ocean Sports Adventure with Snorkel, Kayak, SUP & Live Music


2023/11/19 Solo Travelers Danielle

The staff was very friendly. However, the price of the ticket did NOT match the value of the experience.

The inside of the boat is in poor condition (holes in the ceiling tiles, visible mold, peeling paint, an overall... more

Snorkeling Tours | Book Oahu Tours, Activities & Things to Do with
Choose from the best Oahu snorkeling with top rated Oahu snorkeling tours, and explore the ocean waters of Honolulu, Turtle Canyon in Waikiki, Sharks Cove on the Oahu's North Shore, Electric Beach on the west side of Oahu, and Magic Island Lagoon. From all inclusive Oahu snorkeling cruises from Waikiki and Ko Olina that include a delicious lunch, to small group shore snorkeling tours, find the perfect Oahu snorkeling tour for any age and swimming ability. Book now, and get ready to snorkel!