Hawaii Dolphin Tours

You can swim with dolphins off the coast of the Big Island.

There are 29 tours in this category with adult prices that range in price from $69.90 to $1200.00 Skip Directly to Tours.

"The Big Island" of Hawaii Dolphin Tours

Swimming with the Dolphins on the Big Island

Swimming with dolphins in the open ocean is a dream most people would love to have come true. With the possible exception of swimming with dolphins off the Waianae Coast of Oahu, the Big Island is truly the only Hawaiian location that your dolphin swim fantasy can actually come true.

  • It is remarkable how many days out of the year we can actually not only find the dolphins off the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii but actually swim with them as well.
  • It is for this reason that dolphin watches and dolphin excursions which offer dolphin viewing, swimming with dolphins and information about dolphins in general are so very popular on the Big Island.

How do you swim with the dolphins? What is the process?

  • Most dolphin swim boats depart in the morning time as this is the best time to find the dolphins.
  • You will meet your boat at the selected harbor and head out to sea.
  • You will be given instructions about what to do and what not to do regarding swimming with the dolphins.
  • The experienced boat captains know the habits of the dolphins and generally know where to find them. You will cruise to the location they are likely to frequent and jump into the water with your masks and snorkels and wait a short time for them to pass through your small group. After they have passed you may have additional opportunities to repeat the experience at other locations.
  • The success rate of finding dolphins and then swimming with them here in the waters off of Kona are generally higher than 80%.
  • Often you will be able to moor off additional locations where you will be able to concentrate on the rich reef and sea life found along the coastline.

Bottle Nose Dolphins

  • Known for their inshore habits, playfulness around vessels and star performances at aquariums, Bottle Nose Dolphins are probably the most popular of all cetacean species.
  • Adult Bottlenose Dolphins in the waters off the Big Island of Hawaii 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 Hawaii, 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.

Spinner Dolphins

  • The Spinner Dolphins are the smallest of the dolphin varieties found on the Big Island and are generally between five and six feet in length and weigh 130 to 200 pounds. Hawaii 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.
  • This species gets its name from its spectacular habit of leaping high into the air and spinning several times on their tails before falling back into the water. Researchers are not sure why the dolphins spin, but most people who have had the opportunity to watch these Big Island dolphins don't seem to mind, and find it a real treat.
  • Hawaiian spinner dolphins congregate at night in large herds in the deep channels between the islands to feed. During the day, they break up into smaller groups and come near shore to rest and play. A particular place the dolphins of the Big Island can often be seen is Kealakekua Bay however dolphins can frequent the entire Kona Coast as well.

Dolphins are simply amazing. Here are some facts that are sure to interest you.

  • The life cycle of dolphins is similar to that of other cetaceans. As mammals, dolphins bare live young and the mothers nurse them on milk and provide care.
  • A dolphin calf is born tail-first with eyes open, senses alert and enough muscular coordination to follow its mother immediately.
  • At birth, the mother helps her calf to the surface to get its first breath. While nursing lasts between one and a half to two years, the mother will remain with her calf for a period between three and eight years.
  • There is some variation in the age at which sexual maturity is reached, the reproduction rate and the life expectancy among the different species of dolphins. Most species tend to bare one calf every other year or so during their active years of reproduction and are believed to have an average life expectancy of about thirty years.
  • The Hawaiian name for dolphin is Nai'a, and refers to all species of dolphins found in Hawaiian waters.
  • Four species of dolphins are regularly found in the waters around the Big Island of Hawaii. They are the Pacific Bottle Nose 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.
  • As anyone who has had the opportunity to watch dolphins perform in a show can attest, dolphins have an impressive ability to learn and imitate behaviors, often for what appears the sheer pleasure of doing so. This observation, together with their large brain size, has led to numerous studies of dolphin intelligence.
  • Dolphins' brains are about the size of our own.

Pride of America Cruise Ship:

Big Island of Hawaii Dolphin Swim Tours do not pick up at the Cruise Ship Dock. The majority of these dolphin swims however can be reached by a short taxi ride from the dock. These would be available to you on Wednesday morning from the port of Kona.

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

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(8 Reviews, 5 Stars)

Kamanu Charters Inc.

4 Activity Options

36' Sailing Catamaran

You'll enjoy "real sailing", snorkeling and whale watching on this trip with Kamanu Charters on their 36' custom designed sailing catamaran "Kamanu" to Pawai Bay. This area, located just north of Kona, is under State Fishery Management . The bay is within the Queen Liliuokalani Trust Land at Kaiwi Point and it is private. They also offer night manta ray snorkels.
More Info / Buy Now


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(1 Review, 5 Stars)

Ocean Encounters

1 Activity Option

46' Delta

The Kona Coast of the Big Island is famous for its manta rays, dolphins and whales and Ocean Encounters 46' Delta is the perfect boat from which to find and observe these beautiful underwater creatures. Being both seaworthy and stable this is a great boat for anyone but is especially ideal for an extended family with older persons on board or for anyone who is tentative with movement on the ocean.
More Info / Buy Now


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(1 Review, 5 Stars)

Sea Quest Rafting

1 Activity Option

Inflatable Rafts, Rigid Hull Inflatable Raft

Quick, maneuverable and personal are all words that accurately describe the tours offered by Sea Quest Rafting. Leaving from Keauhou Bay their 26' rafts travel the distance down to famous Kealakekua Bay to snorkel and the various tours they offer will include other locations as well. These tours are all marine intensive and dolphins almost always seem to play a big role in each ocean outing.
More Info / Buy Now


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(1 Review, 5 Stars)

Hang Loose Boat Tours

1 Activity Option

Hang Loose Boat Tours

Wild dolphin watch & snorkel, evening sunset & manta snorkel, Kealakekua Bay snorkel.
More Info / Buy Now


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(5 Reviews, 4.8 Stars)

Ocean Safaris Adventures

1 Activity Option

Kayak and Whale Watch, Kayak Adventures, Kayak and Whale Watch, Stand Up Paddle Classes, Watching Do

If you think you might enjoy the adventure of an ocean kayak experience, Ocean Safari Kayak Adventures me be just the ticket for you. Established in 1994, the pristine Kona coastline has been the 'water world' playground of this popular kayak company which has hosted thousands of kayak enthusiasts. A variety of fish, dolphins, beautiful reefs and possibly even cliff diving can all play a part in these exciting kayak adventures.
More Info / Buy Now


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(4 Reviews, 4.8 Stars)

Dolphin Discoveries

4 Activity Options

25' Rigid Hull Adventure Craft, 32' Zodiac Mark VI

Dolphin Discoveries focuses on finding the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins and/or Spotted Dolphins on their educational and personalized tours. These trips offer small groups the chance to capture a memory of a lifetime while enjoying a cruise along the calm Kona Coast of the Big Island.
More Info / Buy Now


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(24 Reviews, 4.7 Stars)

Body Glove

2 Activity Options

65' Custom Catamaran, 51' Trimaran

Kailua Kona's Body Glove Charters offers snorkel and dolphin watching tours on a daily morning charter, dinner cruises in the evenings, a historical luncheon cruise, SNUBA diving and a whale watch during the winter season. If you are interested in a wonderful 3 hour coastal tour without the snorkeling, Body Glove is the only game in town.
More Info / Buy Now


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(7 Reviews, 4.6 Stars)

Captain Zodiac

3 Activity Options

23' Inflatable Zodiac Rafts, 24 Foot Inflatable Zodiac Raft

One of the oldest charter boat companies in the state, Captain Zodiac offers spectacular personalized and adventurous snorkel and wildlife tours along the coast of Kona on the Big Island. A variety of daily snorkel tours will take you to Kealakekua Bay on speedy 24' Zodiac Rafts and outstanding whale watches are offered during the winter season.
More Info / Buy Now


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(3 Reviews, 4.3 Stars)

Sunlight On Water

1 Activity Option

Snorkeling Tours

Sunlight on Water is the name of an amazing boat that takes you out for a 'dolphin swim' off the coast of Kona on the Big Island. This very stable and smooth riding 40' vessel with quiet engines, comfortable seating, restroom and warm shower accommodates as many as 25 passengers. You will be in search of the dolphins and swimming with them in the open ocean. Manta Ray snorkels are also available in the evenings.
More Info / Buy Now


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(3 Reviews, 4 Stars)

Splashers Ocean Adventures

1 Activity Option

30' RIGID Hull Inflatable Raft

Splasher's Ocean Adventures is an eco-friendly adventure rafting company which operates out of Honokohau Harbor on the Kona Coast of the Big Island. It's 19 passenger, 30' rigid hull inflatable raft offers snorkel and dolphin tours down the coast to Kealakekua Bay, whale watches in season and two exciting evening Manta Ray snorkel tours.
More Info / Buy Now


Adventure X Rafting

1 Activity Option

Raft Whale Watching, Dolphin Watch and Snorkeling Tour

Enjoy speeds of over 40 MPH on the upgraded zodiac raft used by Adventure X Rafting while touring the areas along the coastline of the beautiful Kona region of the Big Island. Individual tours will include day trips to swim with the dolphins, spectacular evening Manta Ray snorkels and whale watching tours during the migration season.
More Info / Buy Now


Adventures In Paradise

1 Activity Option

Snorkel,Kayak, and Hiking

Why not consider a kayak snorkeling tour into the famous Kealakekua Bay with Adventures in Paradise? Kayaks are among the most eco-friendly marine vessels available and are a wonderful way to experience the marine environment. You can also choose to take a night-time kayak tour out to see the giant Manta Rays and jump overboard for a 'once in a lifetime' swimming experience.
More Info / Buy Now


Hawaii Oceanic

2 Activity Options

Private Charters, Swim with Dolphins, Kealakekua Bay Tour, Whale Watching

Personalization is the key word describing the ocean adventures offered by Hawaii Oceanic on the Big Island. Six passengers is the maximum number that will be on board so you will have all the personal attention you will need on these adventurous tours on a comfortable 30' power catamaran. Tours will include snorkels to Kealakekua Bay, swim with the dolphin adventures, swim with Manta Ray trips and whale watches.
More Info / Buy Now


Iruka Hawaii

1 Activity Option

Dolphin Snorkel Tours, Manta Tour, Whale Watch

Iruka Hawaii offers snorkel and dolphin watch tours off the coasts of the two islands in Hawaii that provide the very best venue for observing dolphins, the Waianae Coast of Oahu and the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.
More Info / Buy Now


Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii

1 Activity Option

28' Orca with Twin Diesel engines

One of the most popular dive shops in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii is 'Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii'. Also known as Neptune Charlies, they specialize in fabulous night dives with the Manta Rays. Being a dive shop however they also have available a wide selection of dives and have dolphin and whale watches as well as snorkel tours.
More Info / Buy Now


Wahine Charters

1 Activity Option

Dolphin Excursions, Whale Watch Tour - Wahine Charters, Snorkeling and Manta Ray trips from Honokoha

Wicked Wahine Charters operates a series of boat tours out of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Their 29' custom power vessel can easily traverse the 12 miles of coastline between Honokohau Harbor and the Captain Cook Monument while snorkeling and dolphin watching on the way, or it can take you out on a night time Manta Ray adventure or whale watching.
More Info / Buy Now


Aloha Dolphin Tours

3 Activity Options

Aloha Dolphin Tours - 25 Foot Power Catamaran, Group and Private Cruises

Aloha Dolphin Tours offers a variety of sea tour choices for exciting ocean adventures. Ideal for small group or intimate private charters this power catamaran makes Kealakekua Bay accessible to enjoy with your family and friends.
More Info / Buy Now


Hawaiian Boating Adventures

1 Activity Option

Grady White, 30', Power Cat, catamaran design, twin 200 hp Yamaha engines

Design your own customized ocean adventures on the Big Island of Hawaii and choose both how long you want to go out and what ocean activities you want to do on your special tour.
More Info / Buy Now




Recent Reviews


Top Activities
Customer Favorite Tours Based on Reviews

Okay, so here's the scenario. You're coming to the Big Island and you want to see some dolphins. You have hit the jackpot. This is one of the best places in all of Hawaii and probably other places around the world too that you can actually get up close and see the dolphins, but more than that, in certain locations that we have on the Big Island, you can actually get in and swim with the wild dolphins. This is unbelievable. It's an experience that people they come away with, they are in awe of the experience. It is so amazing, and it happens so so often.

Let me show you the island here. The coastline we're talking about having this happen on is the Kona coast. This is kind of where the majority of marine sightings and so on are for us on the Big Island. Things are a little bit rougher on the other side. This is, generally speaking, going to be an area that is a little bit calmer, a little bit more boat friendly, but what happens is, there's a number of boats that do this, but this is the scenario, the way it works.

You'll go out, usually in the morning, leave from one of the harbors that we have here, and we'll go out in search of the dolphins. This is where the dolphins live, the spinner dolphins, the bottlenose dolphins. You're going to find them all along here. It is rare when we do not see the dolphins in this area. The captains are real familiar with where they can be found, and they'll cruise to the areas where they were last located and just try to get close to where we think that they're going to be.

But the way they do this that's pretty amazing, and the captains are pretty incredible that they can pull this off on a regular basis, and I'm talking really high percentage, like seeing dolphins well over 90% of the time. Of that amount of time actually being in the water swimming with them, about 75% of the time. So what actually happens is you're going to be going out. You're going to be getting in a place where the dolphins are kind of cruising down the coastline. The captains will figure this out. They know what's going on, and they'll put the boat in a place where they believe the dolphins are going to cruise through, and once they get positioned in that spot, they're going to have you as snorkelers just grab your snorkel gear and jump out off board and just be there.

Now everything about seeing the dolphins is got to do with great reverence for them and respect, and it's not a matter of interfering with their lives. It's just not pono is the word that's used in Hawaiian. It's not the right thing to do, but the dolphins, if they have an interest, they can come over and they can hang out with you, and so it's a matter of that. When we get close enough to dolphins, we never try to touch them, never try to reach out or grab them, it's just really a matter of just observing them, and this has happened for many years, they obviously seem to appreciate the way we do things, and they do it time and time again. I think that they're very curious about people as well.

But in any event what's happening is you're all now in the ocean, you're sitting there assuming that maybe dolphins are going to show up on the horizon, and sure enough, what's going to happen is all of a sudden a pod of dolphins that are maybe, I don't know how many, the times that I've done it, I'm going to say 30, and they just all come where you're, as a group of snorkelers in the water, here they're coming and they're just all between all you guys, and they're just coming right through, and you're getting incredibly close. So close you can't even believe it. In many occasions, you got the small, the babies, you got the big ones, the mothers, all of them. They're coming through and they're just so cute and it's just such an amazing thing to see. The photographs you get, you won't even believe. So that'll happen. They'll cruise through.

Then you might want to get up and get on the boat again, the captain, get in the boat, and he'll cruise around, find another location, and actually have it happen again. The last time that I was on this, I think we probably did this exercise about five times, and got so close to the dolphins during this period of time, and got such incredible photographs, the photographs that you just saw before I put up the map was one that we took that day, but it is really a super experience that we have that really doesn't happen to any extent on any of the other islands. Can't make that kind of guarantee or probable guarantee of getting close to dolphins and actually swimming with them. On Oahu, we have a similar area that that can happen in, but other than that, it's just not going to be occurring.

The other thing that we always mention in relation to dolphins, because people that are interested in dolphins are also interested in seeing manta rays, we have that off the coast of Kona as well. That's something that'll happen in the evening time. A couple hours, you'll go out and they have big spotlights that they're drawn to, and you'll have these giant giant manta rays that'll come swimming by you as you're snorkeling at night. Really kind of surreal experience, something you're not going to experience in many places in the world. So that, including the dolphin trips, are really kind of an amazing thing that we have off the Kona side of the Big Island, and the dolphin trips are also often involved with the snorkeling as well, so you'll get some additional snorkeling to see the reefs and whatever else is involved. The dolphin trips on the Big Island. These are great.

So if you have any questions about tours or activities in Hawaii, just give us a call or check out TomBarefoot.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.

More Info / Buy Now

Four species of dolphins are regularly found in the waters around Kauai. They are the Pacific bottlenose dolphin, the Rough-Toothed dolphin, the Spotted dolphin and the Spinner dolphin.

More Info / Buy Now

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.

More Info / Buy Now

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.

More Info / Buy Now