Island Tours in Oahu

If you are one of the lucky ones who are going to spend their vacations in Hawaii, you can't miss any of its tours to get the most out of the island. Here are the ones you should not miss.

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

6 min read

Island Tours in Oahu

Sunset on Oahu | © KOJI FUTAMI

The dream of many travelers with an adventurous spirit is to see Hawaii. If you want to enjoy a memorable trip, I recommend you take a look at the best tours on the island of Oahu.

1. The best tours to visit the island's natural sites

Halona Blowhole Geyser| ©Lee
Halona Blowhole Geyser| ©Lee

There are many reasons to travel to Hawaii, but one of the most powerful is to contemplate the beautiful landscapes that have made this Pacific Ocean archipelago famous. An idyllic place with its tropical jungles, white sand beaches, mountains and breathtaking cliffs reminiscent of paradise.

Oahu is the most touristic island of Hawaii and the largest after Big Island and Maui. It may not be the one that preserves its most unspoiled nature but it has everything to live an unforgettable adventure exploring its landscapes full of waterfalls, dormant volcanoes, green valleys and beaches lapped by turquoise waters.

The best way to discover the diversity of Oahu's landscapes is to take a bus tour that will take you to spectacular sites such as Diamond Head Crater, Waimea Valley, Halona Blowhole Geyser, Hanauma Bay, Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, Sunset Beach and the island's popular North Shore, among many others.

The experience is even more fascinating if you choose a guided tour of Oahu's landscapes that combines Hawaiian history and culture with beautiful views. There are tours that make stops at Dole Plantation, the Byodo-In Buddhist Temple or the town of Haleiwa. After seeing it all, you'll want to stay and live there!

Book the best Circle Island tours

2. Snorkeling Tours

Enjoy snorkeling| ©Patrick Jansen
Enjoy snorkeling| ©Patrick Jansen

Not only does the surface of Oahu have some dreamlike landscapes, but under the waters surrounding the island there is a whole universe of coral reefs, craters and lava tubes waiting to be discovered.

Due to the characteristics of its underwater topography and the clarity of its waters, Oahu is the ideal place for expert and novice divers to spend an unforgettable day snorkeling.

You will have the opportunity to observe a unique ecosystem in the world where green sea turtles, manta rays, dolphins, whales and colorful fish coexist, as well as navigate the Pacific Ocean aboard a beautiful boat from which to take stunning photographs.

Some of these snorkeling tours include a small lunch, which always comes in handy to recover energy after exercising. It's the best way to end a fun-filled day on a high note.

Book the best snorkeling activities

3. Scuba diving and shark dive activities

Boat down the cage to be able to see the sharks close up| ©Clayton Cardinalli
Boat down the cage to be able to see the sharks close up| ©Clayton Cardinalli

Have you ever thought about swimming with sharks? It is true that with their size and fierceness they instill great respect but your trip to Hawaii can be a great moment to banish the prejudices fed by the movies and get to know these animals better in their natural habitat.

Take advantage of your stay in Oahu to live an exciting experience and get your adrenaline pumping by swimming with sharks. Normally you will depart by boat from the North Shore to go to the open sea shark watching area. During the trip you will enjoy excellent views of the coast and you will be able to observe surfers catching waves and even dolphins, turtles and other sea creatures.

But the highlight comes later, when you can look face to face with sharks either in a floating cage or swimming with them in the wild directly. It is the most authentic experience but also the most daring! There is no doubt that you will remember something like this for the rest of your life.

Shark diving reservation

4. Atlantis Submarine Tours

Tourists entering the Atlantis Submarine in Oahu| ©Brian Sterling
Tourists entering the Atlantis Submarine in Oahu| ©Brian Sterling

Most travelers get to know the underwater charms of Oahu by snorkeling but there is another very exciting and fun way to explore the Pacific waters... by riding the Atlantis submarine!

If you've never done this kind of excursion before, it's definitely something you have to do during your Oahu vacation.

It's not every day that you have the opportunity to get on one of these ships to explore the bottom of the sea 30 meters deep, spotting the rich underwater life that inhabits the island's waters: coral reefs, tropical fish, green turtles, eels, sharks, yellow tangs, manta rays and much more.

It is a truly amazing experience because, in addition, during the tour you will see airplanes and sunken ships on which the marine flora has grown and that seem to be wrapped in a ghostly halo of mystery.

You will feel like Captain Nemo from "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea"!

Book your visit to Atlantis

5. Waikiki sightseeing bus tour

Sightseeing Bus| ©boaski
Sightseeing Bus| ©boaski

The island of Oahu is the third largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago and has a large number of tourist attractions.

To know it inch by inch, a good idea is to ride a tourist bus that takes you to discover quickly the most iconic sites of Waikiki and Honolulu while you travel comfortably seated listening to the driver's narration about the places you are seeing.

The tour buses have several routes that cover different parts of the island. With the Hop-on Hop-off system you can get off at any time during the tour at the stop of your choice to explore a particular area at your own pace and later get back on the bus to continue the route until you complete it.

The best sightseeing bus tours

6. Pearl Harbor Sightseeing Tours

View from the deck of the USS Missouri| ©Bernard Spragg. NZ
View from the deck of the USS Missouri| ©Bernard Spragg. NZ

Pearl Harbor is one of Hawaii's most iconic tourist attractions. What happened on the morning of December 7, 1941, which changed the course of World War II, is well known in movies and literature, but there is something moving and fascinating about seeing this naval base in person that cannot be described in words - you have to go there to experience it!

The Pearl Harbor Naval Base is located about 14 kilometers from Honolulu and although you can get there by taking a cab or the City Bus, I recommend you to take an organized bus tour from Waikiki to there so you don't have to worry about the commute or waiting in line at the National Monument ticket office to get tickets for the same day.

There are many tours that offer this excursion to Pearl Harbor but I advise you to choose one that has a guide to give you the necessary context to understand Hawaii's role in the war and why it was targeted by Japanese aircraft.

Once there you will be able to see the USS Arizona, the USS Missouri or the USS Oklahoma Memorial, among other places of interest.

Compare the best Pearl Harbor tours

7. Helicopter Tours to fly over Oahu

Discover the wonderful views of Oahu from the helicopter| ©Eric Tessmer
Discover the wonderful views of Oahu from the helicopter| ©Eric Tessmer

Hawaii is a spectacle in itself and contemplating Oahu from a bird's eye view is a very special experience that you can not miss, even if you have a little vertigo, because the landscapes of the island are simply wonderful and there are some that can only be admired from the air because there are points of the geography that are difficult to access.

Helicopter tours are an unforgettable adventure, because in addition to the beautiful views of Oahu and the Pacific Ocean, there is the adrenaline of flying at more than 200 kilometers per hour.

In addition, during this excursion you will have the chance to take some of the best pictures of your trip to show off on social networks.

So don't hesitate and get on a helicopter to fly over Oahu, you've never seen anything like it!

Compare the best helicopter tours

8. Traditional Hawaiian activities and shows

Dancers at a traditional luau party| ©Andy L
Dancers at a traditional luau party| ©Andy L

One of the best ways to get to know the Polynesian culture and celebrate your trip to Hawaii in style is by attending a traditional luau party- you'll have a blast!

This type of celebration revolves around dance, music and food, although during the course of the luau festivities there are also fire shows, spear throwing and tiara making where you can participate.

When you arrive at the luau party, you will be welcomed with a flower lei necklace and cocktails to make you comfortable. From that moment on you will enjoy a spectacular feast of Hawaiian food while you have fun watching the different dance and music shows.

In Oahu there are several places where you can enjoy an authentic and unforgettable luau party so you know, put on your best clothes and enjoy!

Frequently asked questions

  • What will I see on a Circle Island tour?

    Circle Island tours explore the entire island of Oahu and all of its points of interest in a single day, including Dole Plantation, the North Shore beaches, Diamond Head, the dormant volcano, Hanauma Bay and Waimea Falls.

  • What does a snorkeling experience include?

    You will go on a private boat for up to 6 passengers and you will be given your snorkeling equipment for an underwater experience guided by an expert diver. You will dive for two hours, during which you will see giant green turtles and Hawaiian tropical fish.

  • What can I do with an Oahu Go card?

    You'll have unlimited access to the USS Bowfin submarine at Pearl Harbor, Makani Catamaran, Habauma Bay Snorkel, USS Arizona Memorial, Polynesian Cultural Center, Sea Life Park and various tours. In addition, you get to choose a premium experience between a sunset catamaran dinner, a surfing lesson, the Oahu Hidden Jewels Tour and snorkeling with turtles, and the Ka Moana and Ali'i Luau Dinner shows.