Views of Waikiki and Diamond Head Crater in Oahu

7 Best Waikiki Snorkeling Tours in Oahu (2024)

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Are you looking for the best Waikiki snorkeling tour?

On my family trip to Oahu, snorkeling with the turtles and snorkeling at Hanuama Bay was at the top of my list.

I loved being out on a catamaran boat with stunning views of the Waikiki coast and Diamond Head!

Hawaii has a plethora of coral reefs, protected bays, and conservation areas that make it perfect for anyone wanting to snorkel.

If you’re visiting Oahu, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. Check out the top 7 best Waikiki Snorkeling tours in Oahu below.

I’ll go into what each tour includes and what makes it different than the other ones. No matter what kind of experience you’re interested in, Oahu has a tour for you.

Do not have time to read the whole article? Here is my top pick for the best snorkeling tours from Waikiki –

Diamond Head Sail and Snorkel Adventure – Small group tour of max 20 people on a stylish catamaran boat and great friendly crew.

My Top 3 Picks: Best Waikiki Snorkeling Tours

#1 Top Pick

Views of Waikiki and Diamond Head Crater in Oahu

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Diamond Head Sail and Snorkel Adventure
✔️ Catamaran boat, 2 hrs
✔️ Small group – 20 max
✔️ Great crew

#2 Top Pick

Hawaiian turtle swimming underwater

Hawaiian Sea Turtle Snorkel Sail Waikiki
✔️ Catamaran boat, 2 or 3 hrs
✔️ Guaranteed turtle sighting
✔️ drinks and snacks

#3 Top Pick

Waikiki skyline Views from the water

Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion from Waikiki
✔️ 2 hrs, 40 people max
✔️Snacks

7 Best Snorkeling Tours in Waikiki, Hawaii

Are you interested in seeing Hawaiian sea turtles in the water, diving with sharks, or experiencing all the different ways to play in the ocean? There’s a tour for you on this list!

1. Diamond Head Sail and Snorkel Adventure

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Catamaran |   Group max: 20 people 
Food: Snacks and Water |  ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours | Departure: 12:30pm or 3:00pm

Book it!

Views of Waikiki and Diamond Head Crater in Oahu from our catamaran boat during  Waikiki snorkeling tour
Views of Waikiki and Diamond Head Crater from our catamaran boat

For a unique perspective on the iconic Diamond Head crater and a chance to jump into the gorgeous water around Oahu, look no further than this Diamond Head Sail and snorkel adventure!

Your experienced captain will take you on a relaxing sail off the southern coast of Oahu. Check out different snorkeling spots and see Hawaiian sea turtles, brilliantly colored fish, and maybe even dolphins or whales (season dependent).

Snorkeling equipment is provided.  Keep an eye out for the state fish— the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. This reef triggerfish has a long snout and a distinctive design.

This snorkel tour stands out because of its smaller group size. Get a more intimate experience with this fun-loving crew

Plus, the captain sometimes brings his dog aboard for the sailing trips as a bonus for animal lovers.  

The 38-foot Catamaran itself is spacious and comfortable. You’ll find two bathrooms on board, and fruit, snacks, and water are provided after you’re done snorkeling. 

Sit on the deck, listen to Hawaiian music, and enjoy being out on the Pacific Ocean.

Anu’s Pro-Tip – Bring something warm to wrap yourself in after the snorkel, like a robe or blanket.

The captain was very knowledgeable and humorous! Made for an amazing experience! The snorkeling was beyond amazing, I would recommend to anyone.

– Sarah (See more reviews)

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Diamond Head Sail and Snorkel Adventure

2. Hawaiian Sea Turtle Snorkel Sail Waikiki

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Catamaran |   Group max: 80 people 
Food: Snacks/lunch and drinks |  ⏳ Tour Length: 2 or 3 hours
Departure: 8 am or 11 am

Book it!

Hawaiian turtle swimming underwater seen during snorkeling tour in Oahu

This Hawaiian Sea Turtle Snorkel tour heads out from Waikiki and goes to Oahu’s Turtle Canyon to see the endangered Hawaiian sea turtle. 

Swim with the Honu (Hawaiian word for turtle) and watch them glide gracefully through the crystal clear waters.

Turtle sightings are guaranteed! You’ll get a free second cruise if you don’t see a turtle. 

There are two options for this cruise. You can opt for a 2-hour morning or 3-hour midday cruise that includes lunch, snacks, and drinks.

This tour is an excellent option, even for beginners. You’ll head towards Turtle Canyon, one of the best spots for sighting turtles.

Once safely anchored, you can hop into the water and snorkel to your heart’s content. 

If you choose the midday option, you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch after snorkeling. 2 alcoholic beverages and unlimited alcoholic drinks are included in the price. 

Transportation to and from the boat is provided at an additional cost, making this a highly convenient option. 

This is an excellent tour for anyone nervous about getting in the water. The professional guides help you with the snorkeling gear and ensure you’re safe in the water.

The captain and crew were great! We enjoyed a nice catamaran ride before stopping for snorkeling where we saw several turtles and fish!

– Dianna (See more reviews)

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Hawaiian Sea Turtle Snorkel Sail Waikiki

3. Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion from Waikiki

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: 46 foot excursion vessel |   Group max: 40 people 
Food: Light Refreshments |  ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours
Departure: 7:00 am, 9:30 am, 12:30 pm, 3:00 pm

Book it!

Waikiki skyline Views from the boat while going on Waikiki snorkeling tours

Explore the coral reefs, see tropical fish, and check out Honu (turtles) at Turtle Canyon on this Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion from Waikiki.

This two-hour excursion heads out of Waikiki, making it convenient and easily accessible for many travelers.

Cruise along the Honolulu Coastline and go to a turtle cleaning station. There, you’ll get fitted with snorkeling equipment and learn all about snorkeling safety and the local marine life before finally jumping into the water.

There’s nothing like watching turtles swim in the ocean next to you. While they may be slow and have trouble moving on land, they soar majestically underwater.

When you’re not watching brilliantly colored fish dart among the coral below the water, you can soak up the sunshine and listen to the water lap against the boat.

This tour offers complimentary refreshments on each outing. With multiple departure times, you can choose the one that best suits your schedule.

Anu’s Pro-Tip – I recommend booking a tour earlier in the morning before the winds pick up. You’ll get better visibility and have an easier time swimming in calmer waters.

This was an amazing trip! We got to see so many different fish and turtles, we also got the chance to see dolphins swim right under us:) the crew members were amazing and made us feel very safe. 

– Brooke (See more reviews)

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Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion from Waikiki

4. Kayak, Snorkel, and Surf with Turtles in Honolulu

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Kayak |   Group max: 5 people 

Food: Snacks |  ⏳ Tour Length: 3 hours
Departure: 7:30 am, 3:00 pm, 5:15 pm

Book it!

Girl Snorkeling and seeing fish

This Kayak, Snorkel, and Surf combo tour is perfect for anyone looking for the ultimate water adventure! You’ll get to snorkel, surf, and go ocean kayaking.

The small group size of 5 and the combo tour is what sets this tour apart from the rest!

Your guide is also an instructor extraordinaire. You’ll start with either kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding. 

Next, head over to Turtle Canyon, where you’ll snorkel and see Honu up close and personal in their habitat.

You’ll then head over to an old shipwreck that you can explore. See how the fish have turned the ship into their home!

Finally, you’ll finish your morning of adventure with a surf lesson at Waikiki Beach.

You’ll need basic swimming skills to partake in this activity; otherwise, you’ll be taught everything you need to know.

Plus, with a maximum group size of 5 people, you’ll get an exceptional personalized experience.  

Snacks and bottled water are provided; you won’t need to worry about transportation. 

Get picked up and dropped off at your hotel for ultimate convenience.

This was awesome experience with Kayaking, Snorkeling and above all Surfing! We had a blast. Both me and my wife were very basic with swimming but they made it so easy with loads of fun! Don’t miss these guys while in Hawaii!

– Pravash (See more reviews)

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Kayak, Snorkel, and Surf with Turtles in Honolulu

5. Hanauma Bay Snorkeling

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: N/A |   Group max: 10 people 

Food: N/A |  ⏳ Tour Length: 5 hours | Departure: 6:00 am, 8:00 am

Book it!

Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay in Oahu
Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay in Oahu

No trip to Oahu is complete without a visit to the gorgeous Hanauma Bay. This marine life conservation area is an old volcanic crater. 

The shape of the bay creates perfectly calm water to see the gem-colored tropical fish. 

It can be a hassle to visit this conservation area. You need reservations to visit the Bay Area, and there is limited parking and long lines once you arrive.

This Hanauma Bay snorkeling tour is a perfect option to avoid dealing with all the annoying details. With transportation included, you won’t have to worry about anything. 

Get picked up at your hotel, zoom to the front of the line, and then enjoy the stunning beach and marine life. 

We took this tour to visit Hanauma Bay, and along with the transportation, we were also provided with all the snorkeling equipment. It saved us the hassle of worrying about reservations and parking.

I’d recommend booking the 6:00 am departure if it’s available. Not only will you spend less time in line, but you might even see a gorgeous sunrise. 

You’ll need to bring an additional $25 for the State Entrance fee to the bay (children under 12 are free). 

Check out over 450 species of tropical fish and the endangered Hawaiian sea turtles!

By booking a tour, it guaranteed a reservation into Hanauma Bay Park. Otherwise it’s very difficult to find an opening due to restrictions of only 1,000 people per day. This spot offers the most colorful fish in Oahu. The drivers were friendly and gave tips on how to snorkel, look for fish and procedures to enter the park. The cost of the tour was less than what it would be for an Uber ride and snorkel rental.

– Rick (See more reviews)

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Hanauma Bay Snorkeling

6. Shark dive tour Oahu North Shore

Rating: 5/5  |  Group max: 12 people 
Food: N/A |  ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours
Departure: 7:00 am, 9:30 am, 12:00pm, 2:30pm

Book itCageless Shark Dive | Shark Dive in a Cage

Sailboat in ocean at sunset

While this tour isn’t out of Waikiki, it’s a fantastic experience that I highly recommend prioritizing!

Located in Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu (about an hour’s drive from Waikiki), you can come face-to-face with a predator of the deep. 

You and a small group of 11 other people will head out to deeper ocean waters where Galapagos and tiger sharks are known to frequent. 

This is a cage-less shark dive tour, meaning it’s just you, your snorkel gear, and the sharks in their natural environment.

Don’t worry! You’ll be with trained professionals. 

Snorkel gear is provided on this tour; you can even purchase professional photos of your experience.

If you are looking for a shark dive experience from the safety of a cage, I recommend this highly rated Oahu North Shore Shak Dive in a Cage.

One of the best experiences I had in Hawaii. Definitely a must do. Never a time where I felt unsafe. There were 10+ sharks around us and they get so close. The staff was also amazing. Don’t hesitate! Just book it!

– Justin (See more reviews)

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Shark dive tour Oahu North Shore (cageless)

Shark dive tour Oahu North Shore (in a cage)

7. Oahu’s Dolphin Watch, Turtle Snorkel, Sea Slide, Kayaks and Lunch

Rating: 4.5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Catamaran |   Group max: 70 people 
Food: Lunch |  ⏳ Tour Length: 3.5 hours + 2 hours transportation
Departure: 7:00 am, 8:00 am

Book it!

Catamaran boat in ocean with views of Waikiki and Diamond Head

If you’ve ever dreamed of heading out on a boat with dolphins racing next to you into the horizon, this is the tour for you! 

This Dolphin and turtle combo snorkel tour functions as both a snorkel tour and a dolphin watch. You’ll head out into the ocean and watch for spinner dolphins. 

While a sighting isn’t guaranteed, the crew knows where they tend to frequent and will do their best to get you a sighting on the way to a fantastic snorkeling spot. 

Once you’re done snorkeling, enjoy the fun ocean activities included. There’s a 20-foot water slide, kayaks, and paddle boards

As you return to the harbor, enjoy your complimentary lunch bento and a Hawaiian hula performance from the crew

This boat excursion heads out of Waianae. Hotel pick-up is offered for anyone staying in Waikiki and Ko Olina hotels, so you don’t have to worry about getting to the harbor. 

The variety of activities and lunch bentos make this the perfect tour for families or anyone traveling with younger kids.

The crew was very kind and respectful. They showed lots of ALOHA! The activities were awesome. We went kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and they even had a water slide. The best part about it was watching the dolphins do tricks. Definitely recommend this trip.

– Kaulana (See more reviews)

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Oahu’s Dolphin Watch, Turtle Snorkel, Sea Slide, Kayaks and Lunch

FAQs about going on a snorkeling tour in Honolulu

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about taking a Waikiki snorkel tour:

Do I need any experience to go on a snorkeling tour in Waikiki?

No, you don’t need prior snorkeling experience. Tours often cater to all levels, from beginners to advanced snorkelers, and include a safety briefing and instructions. You need to know how to swim to be comfortable in ocean waters and enjoy snorkeling.

What will I see while snorkeling in Waikiki?

Snorkeling in Waikiki and Honolulu offers a chance to see diverse marine life, including tropical fish, Hawaiian sea turtles, and coral reefs. Specific sightings can vary by location and day.

How long do Oahu snorkel tours last?

Most snorkel tours in Oahu last between 2 to 4 hours. The duration can vary depending on the tour package you choose.

Is equipment provided on Oahu snorkeling tours?

Yes, snorkeling tours typically provide all necessary equipment, including snorkel, mask, fins, and sometimes a flotation device. Some tours might offer additional gear like wetsuits or underwater cameras for rent.

Are there any age restrictions for snorkeling tours?

Age restrictions can vary by tour operator. Generally, children are welcome on snorkeling tours, but there might be minimum age requirements for very young children. It’s best to check with the tour provider.

What should I bring on a snorkeling tour?

It’s recommended to bring sunscreen and a towel, a change of clothes, and water. Some tours may provide beverages, snacks or lunch, but you can bring your own food and drinks if preferred.

What’s the best time of year for snorkeling in Waikiki?

Snorkeling in Waikiki is enjoyable year-round, but the best visibility and calmest waters are typically from April to October.

How much does a snorkeling tour in Waikiki cost?

Prices for snorkeling tours can vary widely based on the length of the tour, the size of the group, the type of boat, and any additional amenities. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200 per person.

More things to do in Waikiki

Check out some of these other attractions and activities in Waikiki to add to your Honolulu itinerary


Where to stay in Waikiki

Below are my top recommendations for your stay in Waikiki!

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Resort
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort – This is where we stayed!

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort (mid-range) – This is where we stayed and loved it! The Hilton Hawaiian Village offers a unique resort experience with its multiple swimming pools and the widest beachfront in Waikiki. There is a lagoon as well and a marketplace next door.

Moana Surfrider Resort and Spa (luxury) – Experience Victorian elegance with modern amenities at the historic Moana Surfrider. This beachfront luxury hotel, known as the “First Lady of Waikiki,” features a world-class spa and fine dining, enveloped in its historic charm.


Conclusion: Best snorkel tours in Oahu

Hawaii has the best snorkeling in the entire United States. The warm, crystal-clear water of the Pacific Ocean is home to thousands of fish, turtles, dolphins, and whales. 

If you’ve read through the list of the best snorkeling tours in Waikiki and are still determining what you want to do, I’d highly recommend the Diamond Head snorkel tour

The intimate group size means you won’t have to contend with a huge crowd to see the sights. Plus, a deck dog? Sounds like a win to me. 

For the more adventurous traveler, I recommend one of the combo activity tours or the shark dive. 

Regardless of your chosen tour, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in the waters around Oahu.

Still can’t decide which Waikiki Snorkel Tour to pick?

➡ Go with Diamond Head Sail and Snorkel Adventure – Highly-rated, small group tour of max 20 people on a stylish catamaran boat and great friendly crew.

 

More About Oahu

Check out these other posts about my trip to Waikiki and Oahu!