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Hawaii Dolphin Tours

Dolphin watching is a favorite activity on Kauai.

There are 15 tours in this category with adult prices that range in price from $93.90 to $209.00 Skip Directly to Tours.

Kauai Dolphin Tours

Kauai Dolphins can be seen on a wide variety of dolphin watch excursions, often at discounted pricing.

Dolphin tours on Kauai pass what we refer to as the "sizzle" test! This is the test that measures the excitement and sheer joy that exudes from the pours of its participants.

Do your own experiment: Ask a child what sea animal or fish is the most fun or which they would most like to be. Nine times out of ten the answer will come back quickly with the word "dolphin". Dolphins seem to take that position in our "mind's eye" as the most carefree and happy of the animals found in the ocean. This is quite simply why the Kauai dolphin watches are so very popular.

A young child cannot be an adult, but an adult can still be a young child, and the child within us all recognizes the dolphins and all they embody as the most exciting sea animal in the ocean. When dolphins jump and race and flip and play they raise the spirits of all who see them and it is for this reason that when the very first dolphins are spotted on a dolphin watch the side of the vessel they were seen from will be swamped with both children and adults who can't wait to get a first glimpse.

What time of year is the best to see the dolphins on Kauai and when are the dolphin watches?

Unlike whales, dolphins on Kauai can be seen throughout the entire year. This is where they live. Unlike whale watches, there are no specific 'dolphin watch only' tours available. This is because dolphins can be seen on virtually all the tours that go out on the water. Whether you are on a snorkel tour to the Na Pali Coast, a dinner cruise, a sunset sail, a dive charter, a fishing charter or any other seaborne activity, you will in greatest likelihood have an opportunity to view the dolphins.

Will you be able to swim with the dolphins?

The islands of Oahu and the Big Island both offer tours that allow you to swim with the dolphins because there are specific locations on each island where the dolphins can always be found. This is not the true on Kauai and there are no tours available to allow you to swim with the dolphins. As far as seeing the dolphins, that is a different story and dolphins can and will be seen on many different types of Kauai ocean excursions.

What species of dolphins are found on Kauai.

The Hawaiian name for dolphin is Nai'a, and refers to all species of dolphins found in Hawaiian waters. Four species of dolphins are often found in the waters around Kauai. They are the Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin, the Rough-toothed Dolphin, the Spotted Dolphin and the Spinner Dolphin. Other dolphin species have been known to pass through the islands but are relatively rare.

The two most popular species of dolphins seen in Kauai waters are the Bottlenose Dolphins and the Spinner Dolphins.

  • Spinner Dolphins are the smallest of Kauai's common dolphins. The Spinners are generally between 4 and 6 feet in length and weigh 125 to 180 pounds. Kauai has its own subspecies that is easy to recognize by its distinctive "three-tone" color pattern which consists of a sharply defined dark gray "cape" on their backs, a stripe of lighter gray on their sides and a white or pink belly. These Spinner dolphins gets their name from their peculiar habit of jumping high into the air and spinning several times on their tails before falling back into the water. No one is quite sure why the dolphins spin, but this particular maneuver is one of the most fun to watch. Around Kauai, Spinner Dolphins congregate at night in large herds in the deep underwater drop-offs that surround the island. In the daytime, they separate into smaller groups and come near shore to relax and to frolic. The Spinners Dolphins can often be seen on the coastline leading from Port Allen on the way to the Na Pali Coast at great delight to those taking day trips to visit the spectacular Na Pali Coastline.
  • The second species of dolphin most often found in the waters off Kauai is the Bottlenose Dolphin. Known for their playfulness around vessels and star performances at oceanariums, Bottlenose Dolphins are probably the most popular of all cetacean species. Adults range in size from seven to eleven feet in length and weigh between 600 and 850 pounds. Their backs are medium gray, their sides are lighter gray and their bellies are white or pink. Offshore animals are darker in color than those found inshore and sometimes appear to be less interested in swimming along with boats. A few thousand Bottlenose Dolphins are believed to inhabit the waters around Kauai, usually living in groups of two to fifteen individuals. Most of these groups are permanent residents of certain coastlines and harbors, and are therefore easy to spot.

Here are some interesting facts regarding dolphins on Kauai.

  • The life cycle of cetaceans in general is also the life cycle of the dolphin. Both bare live young which are nursed on mother's milk as they provide care for their young.
  • A dolphin calf is born ready for action with its eyes wide open and it already has enough muscular coordination and alertness in its senses to immediately follow its mother.
  • Immediately after birth the mother will take its calf directly to the surface for its first breath of air.
  • Unlike other mammals the dolphin's mother will nurture it and stay with it for years, often nursing it for two years and then caring for it for an additional two to five years.
  • Dolphins can have a life expectancy of up to thirty years and they tend to bare one calf once every other year.
  • The dolphins have a brain size roughly the size of a human.
  • Their superior intelligence to that of other mammals in unquestionable and they have an impressive ability to learn and to imitate behaviors.

Pride of America Cruise Ship:

Kauai Dolphin Tours do not pick up clients at the cruise ship. Cruise ship passengers can arrange for a taxi to take them to the departure point from the ship's dock or Tom Barefoot's Tours can make arrangements for you to have a Rental Car shuttle pick you up at the dock. Depending upon the specific time guidelines regarding the various tours listed below these Dolphin Tours on Kauai can be arranged for the Thursday or the Friday on your cruise ship schedule. Please book well in advance to assure availability.

Do you still have questions about Dolphin Tours?

    Look for this symbol in the tour descriptions below to indicate if it is Pride of America compatible.

    Dolphin Tours Sorted by Specific Tour


    Dolphin Tours Sorted by Company

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    Blue Dolphin Charters

    2 Activity Options

    56 foot wide-beam sailing Trimaran, 27' Raft and 63' Catamaran

    Blue Dolphin Charters offers spectacular motor sailing cruises to the NaPali Coast of Kauai and to the 'forbidden island' of Niihau. In addition Blue Dolphin also offers whale watches, snorkeling, snuba, dinner cruises, sunset sails and rafting excursions. All emphasis is placed upon customer comfort and its large boats each maintain large walk-in restrooms, fresh water showers and plenty of deck space.
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    NaPali Explorer

    1 Activity Option

    Na Pali Coast Snorkel and Raft

    Boasting two very fast and maneuverable rigid hull inflatables, Napali Explorer provides adventurous boats that are ideal for the conditions that can be found along the Napali Coast. The small groups taken on these tours make them very personalized and these boats are perfect for exploring the numerous caves and sheer cliff formations that make the Napali Coast so famous.
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    (19 Reviews, 4.9 Stars)

    Kauai Sea Tours

    5 Activity Options

    24' Rigid Hull Inflatable Rafts, Lucky Lady' 60' Sailing, Power Catamaran

    Kauai Sea Tours is a large charter boat company that offers tours off the coast of Kauai and particularly the NaPali Coast with its beautiful 'signature' boat , Lucky Lady. In addition it also provides romantic dinner cruises and whale watches and also has a fleet of specially designed raft boats which are great for exploring caves, snorkeling and racing dolphins.
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    (8 Reviews, 4.9 Stars)

    Holo-Holo Charters

    2 Activity Options

    61' and 48' Sailing Catamarans, 38' Raft

    Holo Holo Charters offers a variety of boat tours on Kauai on large, powerful and stable catamarans. Tours include beautiful snorkel and dolphin watch excursions to the NaPali Coastline, raft tours of NaPali during the summer months, dinner sunset cruises, whale watching and tours to the forbidden island of Niihau.
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    (17 Reviews, 4.7 Stars)

    Captain Andy's Expedition

    2 Activity Options

    55' Sailing Catamaran, 55' Gold Coast Yachts, 30' and 38' RAIV

    Captain Andy's Sailing Adventures for years has offered tours to see the spectacular NaPali Coastline of Kauai. Sailing large and luxurious Gold Coast Yacht Sailing Catamarans, Captain Andy's will take you snorkeling and dolphin watching as well as provide romantic dinner and sunset cruises. In addition you can enjoy rafting adventures to the NaPali Coast.
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    Liko Kauai Cruises

    2 Activity Options

    49' Catamaran

    Liko Kauai Cruises offers morning and afternoon boat tours to the beautiful NaPali coastline. This 49 passenger vessel is specifically designed for the waters surrounding this coastline and every effort was made to make this ocean experience a comfortable and enjoyable one. Captain 'Liko' himself is a descendant of full Hawaiians from Kauai and Niihau and his trips reflect and educate about the culture of Hawaii.
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    Kauai Z Tourz

    1 Activity Option

    Dolphin tours on a 24 foot Zodiac Inflatable Raft.

    Kauai Z-Tours operates 16 passenger rafts along the southern coastlines of Kauai. Their complement of tours includes snorkeling excursions, whale watches and dolphin watches. The southern coastline of Kauai is ideal for rafting the majority of the year as opposed to the 'north shore' where the waves can become too dangerous in the winter. Sunny weather is usually on hand all year also so it makes for a great snorkeling destination.
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    Recent Reviews


    Top Activities
    Customer Favorite Tours Based on Reviews

    So, certainly one of the most fun activities that we have on the island of Kauai is the tours that go out to see the dolphins.

    Actually, just about all the tours that go on the water a chance of seeing the dolphins and do quite frequently.

    The dolphins, probably of any of the marine mammals, are the ones that people love the most. They seem so frolicking and fun-loving, they chase your boat, they race you in the wake of the boat, they come greet you like a friend. From little kids to adults to older people, everyone has a fondness for dolphins, and they're a big part of what happens in the tours that we have on Kauai.

    There are very few tours that we have throughout the year that exclusively go out just to look at the dolphins on Kauai, but there always something that is happening if you're doing a Snorkel Tour, or if you're going out on a Dinner Cruise, you're going on a Sunset Sail. Whatever you're doing on the ocean, the chance of seeing dolphins is very prevalent, and it just adds to all the occasions that you're out on the water. And it just seems like Kauai has a little bit more of the dolphin action than we have on the other islands. The trips up to Napali from Port Allen, almost always seeing the dolphins.

    There's four different types of dolphins that are generally found in Kauai. There's two that are the most frequently seen - the spinner dolphins and the bottlenose dolphins. The spinners are smaller ... still pretty big. They can be, like, 100 pounds and maybe five feet, something in length like that. The bottlenose are going to be between maybe seven and 11 feet in length, 500 pounds, 600, up to 800 pounds, so they're really, really big ... but they're all really friendly and really fun, and that's a big part of it.

    And I guess you're all probably familiar with the fact that dolphins are really, really intelligent. They actually have a brain the size of a human brain, so who knows what goes on in all that grey matter, but they've been among the most intelligent animals that are on the planet for many, many, many centuries.

    In any event, why don't you consider seeing the dolphins while you're in Kauai? It's something that everyone will enjoy. Keep in mind that it's not something you have to do a specific dolphin watch, but just get out on the water and think of it as, "Wow, it's another second thing that's going to happen in addition to my Snorkeling, in addition to my sunset. It's going to be a really exciting thing for us." Dolphins on Kauai are really prevalent. They go together, and I think that you will really enjoy that part of your ocean experience.

    So if you have any questions about Tours or Activities in Hawaii, just give us a call, or check out tom-barefoot-dot-com. We're here to help.


    Hawaii dolphin watching together with swimming with the dolphins in Hawaii is an industry all to its own. There is probably no sea creature quite as endearing in the eyes of a human being as the dolphin.

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    The Wai'anae coast off leeward Oahu is arguably the very best spot to view dolphins in Hawaii. Hundreds of Spinner dolphins are located just moments from the harbor and trained professionals are there to introduce you to the dolphin environment.

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    Unlike Maui's famous Humpback whales, dolphins are year-round residents of Hawaii and can be seen off all the Hawaiian islands during virtually every month of the year.

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    Known for their inshore habits, playfulness around vessels and star performances at aquariums, Bottlenose dolphins are probably the most popular of all cetacean species located off the Big Island of Hawaii.

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