Ask the Big Kahuna
“Answering the most common visitor questions”
Is there any place in Hawaii where we can swim with dolphins and other sea life in their natural surroundings? We heard that there may be places that have dolphins in captivity, but we’re not comfortable with that idea. Any suggestions?
You are right to be uncomfortable about dolphins in captivity – your instinct is telling you something important (more about this later).
However, swimming with dolphins and other sea life in their natural habitat can be dangerous for our friends in the sea and for you (and in some cases even illegal, if you get too close). Your best option for sea life contact in-the-wild is via a reputable, local snorkeling, diving, or boating company.
These local providers tend to attract owners and crews that share a sensitivity to wildlife and they know the “lay of the sea.” They can take you to places where safe sightings are known to occur regularly and can coach you on the best ways to observe and interact with dolphins, whales, turtles, monk seals, and other sea life.
If you wish to pursue your instinct against sea life in captivity, you may wish to contact organizations like takepart.com, savejapandolphins.org, and care2.com.
For swimming with the dolphins (and others) in Hawaii, check the “Activities” section for each island for a wide range of aquatic activities or click below to go directly to providers.
Oahu: Snorkeling/Snuba | Scuba and Diving | Whale and Dolphin Watching
Big Island: Snorkeling/Snuba | Scuba and Diving | Whale and Dolphin Watching
Kauai: Snorkeling/Snuba Providers | Scuba and Diving | Whale and Dolphin Watching Providers
Maui: Snorkeling/Snuba | Scuba and Diving | Whale and Dolphin Watching