Dolphin Watching Oahu


Dolphin Species:Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin
Hawaiian Name:
Island: Oahu
Dolphin Season:
Best Time for Spotting: Morning

Watching dolphins in Oahu

Dolphin Behavior to Watch For
Hawaiian spinner dolphins have a fascinating range of surface behavior, so they are ideal animals to watch from above the water. Even while sleeping, dolphins must come to the surface in order to breathe

They are most well known for their namesake, which is leaping and spinning out of the water, but they also communicate and move in other ways.

Dolphins will sometimes use head or tail slaps as a way to get the attention of the rest of the pod, whether to signal a change in travel direction, food or danger. We don’t really know why dolphins perform their famous aerial leaps, but scientists have theorized it may be to emphasize what they are communicating, or to rid their bodies of parasites. Or it could be just for fun!

Where to go Dolphin Watching in Oahu
Spinner dolphins spend their mornings resting in the the bays of west Oahu.They use this time to reserve energy before heading out into deeper water at night to hunt for their prey. 

Though the dolphins typically spend most of their mornings as far west as Makua Beach or Yokohama Bay, they have been seen as far east as Diamond head. It is very rare to see dolphins on Oahu’s North Shore or northeast side. 

Though dolphins can be seen from shore, they often swim at least a mile from the beach. The best way to get a close and personal interaction is to watch from a tour boat. Spinner dolphins also enjoy ‘surfing’ the waves along the bow of Oahu’s boats, which can make for an exciting encounter!

Oahu snorkel tour route map

Watching with Dolphins and You
Dolphins and You has been helping Hawaii travelers have encounters with spinner dolphins for 30 years. More than 200,000 guests have joined the tour and had the experience of a lifetime.

In April of 2019, Dolphins and You began offering separate tour rates for guests who do not want to swim with dolphins and would rather watch from the boat. Within the same family, some guests may choose to swim while others could watch. Whether you are watching or swimming with the dolphins in their natural habitat, Dolphins and You has a spot for you.

Dolphins and You

Spend your day off the shores of West Oahu with spinner dolphins and Hawaii's best tour crew! Enjoy Hawaii's incredible ocean wildlife, lunch and hula entertainment. 

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