Oahu is not so much a destination as it is an attack on your senses. Stepping off the plane you are instantly hit with tropical aromas and balmy temperatures. The crystal-clear water is the perfect backdrop for a kaleidoscope of vibrant fish. Lush rainforests reach for azure skies while palm fronds sway above. While there are many exciting things to do on your trip to Hawaii, swimming with wild spinner dolphins in Oahu, Hawaii should be on top of your list. Off the coast of Oahu, wild spinner dolphins can be seen on an almost daily basis. But you don’t have to stand on shore, squinting out to sea to get a good glimpse, you can get up-close-and-personal.
There is a company that uses specific catamaran boats that do not harass dolphins or whales in any way. This allows people to get very close and observe these majestic animals in their natural habitat. Spinners are small dolphins famous for their acrobatic displays in which they spin longitudinally along their axis as they leap through the air.
Once you board the Ko Olina Cat Sailboat and depart the harbor, your captain, James Moody, will head toward the Leeward coast where you will soon spot pods of dolphins jumping and playing. This particular company guarantees you’ll see dolphins or your money back! After your dolphin adventure, you’ll head toward a snorkeling reef where you can spend some time in the crystal-clear water being mesmerized by other amazing sea life. And, if you get lucky, maybe some dolphins will choose to come and swim near you. That is truly an amazing experience.
If you definitely want to swim with trained dolphins, you should absolutely check out Sea Life Park in Waimanalo, which is only one hour away by car. They have different swim programs that for people of all ages and swim abilities. Plus, they have a great Sea Lion encounter which is a must see.
Getting around Oahu is pretty simple and you have a few different options. Of course,you can rent a car upon your arrival at the airport or at various locations downtown.
Though driving in unfamiliar places can be a bit tricky, having a car at your disposal is great for taking day trips. Oahu also has a fairly decent bus system that runs between most towns and the main tourist areas. Fare is $2.50 for adults and $1.25 for kids between the ages of five and 17. Just be aware that exact change is required. Your other option is to get a 4-day bus pass. These are available at most ABC stores (convenience stores like 7/11s). Bus route guides can also be purchased at these stores.
There is also a cool trolley system that runs several different routes and a full day’s pass can be purchased for $34. This will include all lines.
Where to Stay
Oahu has numerous accommodations that are perfect for couples and families. Here are a couple of my personal favorites:
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
When it comes to offering guests world-class hospitality mixed with enchantment and all-out fun, Disney has it going on hands down. At Aulani, you’ll experience Disney’s legendary service in a tropical paradise that has more than a touch of magic. Aulani also offers a wide range of complimentary experiences. Within this breathtaking setting you and your family can partake in many all-inclusive vacation activities and amenities at your disposal.
Marriott’s Ko’Olina Beach Club
If the idea of staying near your own private lagoon appeals to you, then you might want to make a reservation at Mariiott’s Ko’Olina Beach Club. This secluded hideaway is lush and beautifully landscaped and just a half hour away from exciting Honolulu.
Guestrooms are well-appointed with contemporary amenities like free-wifi and flat screen TVs. Guests have access to pristine beaches and mountain views.
There are luxury villas that offer fully-equipped kitchens and also washers and dryers. This is incredibly convenient for families on holiday. There is a fitness center, and on-site spa, and three outdoor pools to splash around in.
If you’re wondering about what’s to eat, wonder no more: the resort has multiple restaurants all with a delicious menu. It’s no wonder Hawaii has been called a tropical paradise. With so much to see and experience, you may never want to go home.