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Waikiki Turtle Canyon Snorkeling Trip

a bird flying over a body of water

In a tropical country like Hawaii, there is undoubtedly an abundance of diverse plants and animals. While the tropics are filled with vibrant animals (such as parrots and monkeys) and teeming with food plants (like coffee and vanilla), many other species are still waiting to be discovered. And one of them is Honu, more commonly known as Hawaii’s Green Sea Turtles.


Honu is the largest hard-shelled sea turtle in the world, reaching lengths of four feet and weighing over 300 pounds. Their carapace or upper shell typically ranges from brown with yellow and light brown streaks to black. Meanwhile, their plastron or their bottom shell appears to be light yellow in color. Adult honu eats algae and seagrasses. These turn their fat layer green, giving them their common name. The Green sea Turtles are believed to have the capacity to stay underwater for many hours. The longest recorded downtime for these creatures lasted five hours.


Why is Honu important in Hawaiian culture?

brown turtle _ HONUDIVING

It is common knowledge that turtles live long. According to the Turtle Conservation Society, the majority of the turtle species can live from ten to eighty years. But sea turtles and large land tortoises can live much longer as their lifespan can go on until 150 years or even more. 


Because of this, the Honu is a symbol of longevity and safety in Hawaiian culture. Furthermore, they are also a mark of mana or spiritual energy. Their presence alone is believed to bring good luck and peace. In addition, Green Sea Turtles are also considered a form of ‘aumakua or ancestral spirit in Hawaiian mythology. The ‘aumakua offers lifelong protection, wisdom, and guidance. The Honu is also depicted in ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs and artwork, and they represent the eternal link between man, land, and sea. 


Another story in old Hawaii shows that the Green Sea Turtles were thought to be properties of the ali’i or chiefs. These marine creatures are sometimes raised in loko i’a, or what is known to be fishponds. Back then, the turtle meat would be eaten, while its bones would be used for ornaments or fishhooks. Their shells would also serve their purpose by being containers. 


Today, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are under the protection of the Hawaii Revised Statutes and Hawaii Administrative Rules. While the federal and state wildlife conservation laws have some differences, they prohibit actions that can harm, injure, kill, or disturb the Green Sea Turtles. Failure to comply with these regulations is subjected to hefty fines from $1000 to $10,500 or even jail time. 


Snorkeling with the Green Sea Turtles

man in blue shorts diving on water

Oahu, or The Gathering Place, is one of the eight major islands in Hawaii. This island may not be the largest, but it welcomes the most number of tourists every year, and it is clear why. Oahu is known for its numerous travel spots that any visitor would want to see. Moreover, Oahu is the home of the famous Waikiki.


Waikiki is a district located in Hawaii’s capital state, Honolulu. This district is known for the great tourist spots inside and near its vicinity. Furthermore, Waikiki is surrounded by countless beaches where travelers can be one with the waters. Because of this, many travel operators offer Waikiki snorkeling tours. But among all those excursions, you might want to check out Go Tours Hawaii’s Waikiki Turtle Canyon Snorkeling and Swim Tour.


This tour will bring you to Waikiki’s Turtle Canyon, located on Oahu’s south shore in front of the Waikiki Skyline. Guests can have the opportunity to swim with the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles and other species of reef fish. You might also get the chance to play along and be surrounded by dolphins. If you visit from November through May, you may also be able to witness Humpback Whales breaching from a distance.


Here are some of the important things you need to note when you book a Turtle Snorkeling Tour with us:

  • Fee:  $141.31 after taxes and fees

$118.50 after taxes and fees 

  • Schedule
  • Tours are open every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.
  • The tour will last for 2 hours and 30 minutes (2:00 PM to 4:30 PM)
  • Pick up/drop-off location time
  • Pick Up: Guests must arrive at Pier B at Kewalos Harbor, 1123 Ala Moana Blvd Honolulu Hi 96814, 15 minutes prior to tour departure time
  • Drop-Off: Guests must be at the dock 15 minutes prior to the start time of the tour. 
  • Inclusions
  • Snorkel
  • Fins
  • Free Water
  • Exclusions
  • Alcoholic beverages (they are available for purchase)
  • Transportation to and from the boat
  • Restrictions: If you have infants with you, please note that they should be accompanied by a guest at all times. 

If you have any more questions, you can check and email Go Tours Hawaii’s website at


On the other hand, if you do not wish to dip yourself into the waters and just want to witness the beauty of Green Sea Turtles, you may completely do so. Go Tours Hawaii also offers an Oahu tour that includes Turtle Spotting. Their Byodo-In Temple Tour offers a stop on Oahu’s North Shore where guests can see the Green Sea Turtles lying on the sand as they bask in the sun’s warmth.


You can check this link for more information about their Byodo-In Temple Tour.


Tips and guides while snorkeling with the Turtles

If it is your first time doing a turtle snorkeling tour on Oahu, it is only understandable if you are excited and thrilled to do it. However, you must remember that the Green Sea Turtles are considered endangered. Thus, the state of Hawaii has set specific rules when you are dealing with these marine creatures. Disobedience to these laws is punishable by various monetary and non-monetary penalties.


To help you understand these policies, here are some of the things you should bear in mind while turtle snorkeling:


  1. Wear biodegradable and reef-safe sunscreen. While it is essential to keep yourself safe from the sun’s harsh rays, you must also remember to take care of marine life. Most chemicals used in regular sunscreens bleach the reefs and therefore cause damage to marine life.
  2. Keep distance. Although it is tempting to play with the sea turtles, remember that they are endangered and should be protected at all costs. You should never touch or chase these animals. Hawaii’s DNLR recommends a 6 to 10-foot buffer, but it would not harm to keep a more considerable distance. 
  3. Swim from their side. You are a foreigner to these creatures. Therefore, when you snorkel and swim with them, you must approach them with caution. Swimming or coming unto them from the side is the most recommended position to avoid scaring and eventually stressing them out.
  4. Never give them food. While this act may seem kind, this can actually bring more harm than good. Despite the Green Sea Turtles engaging with humans, they are still considered wild animals. Thus, feeding them can disrupt their instincts to provide for themselves, which would be very harmful to their survival in the wild. 


Besides the things to remember, you should also be aware if the Green Sea Turtles are getting uneasy or stressed. While this may seem unfortunate, you should never force interaction with them if they are uncomfortable with you, as this may harm you and the creature. 


Here are some signs that the turtle is becoming uneasy or stressed by your presence:

  • The turtle uses its flippers to cover the front of its face.
  • If they yawn with an open mouth
  • They increase their swimming speed
  • If they dive toward deeper water. 


Swimming away from the Green Sea Turtles is a much better choice if you notice these behaviors.

Have fun in Hawaii with Go Tours Hawaii

Going on a Hawaiian vacation should be fun and exciting, not filled with anxieties and hassles. So if you are looking for a way to achieve a relaxing getaway, try checking out Go Tours Hawaii.

We are a local Hawaii tour operator specializing in Oahu Tours. Let us take you on an unforgettable Oahu vacation you will remember for a lifetime. For more information about us, what we do, and the list of our tours, you can visit our website at