Turtle Tours: My very first one
I was just standing outside a cafe in Haleiwa, a town on the north shore of Oahu Hawaii – one of the best surfing beaches in the world – when a man struck up a conversation with me. I told him how I’d just gone hang gliding in exchange for a review… that’s when he said he actually owned a tour company – Hawaii Turtle Tours. Half jokingly I asked, “Want a review for a free Hawaii tour?” Right away he was down.
While totally a family style tour, we were going to have a ton of fun. Score. I booked in with my friend Kiana and off we went! Yeah, we were ready to snorkel with turtles in Hawaii! Little did we know everything else that was in store for us, for this was no ordinary tour. Nope, it had way more to offer than just that. To boot, it also had way more than just a normal circle island tour of Oahu. Basically this was going to be awesome, and all because of the coincidence of running into the owner after doing my hang gliding tour. Life was good.
Circle Island Tour
What we didn’t realize is that it was going to be an entire circle island tour. It was an all day long adventure seeing the top sights of Oahu, including the Dole Plantation and a macadamia nut farm! It was great as we had enough time to stop here and there, but one could also spot places they want to go back to for more time. It’s a great way to explore the island before going to snorkel. You stop at so many great spots along the way.
Some of the places we stopped my friend had been to a million times, being a Hawaii local. Some, however, were places she just never got to. I guess you don’t usually act as a tourist in your own backyard, right? So this was a treat for us both, as I saw new places – the tourist – and she fully immersed herself in her own culture. The guide was so informative that even she learned things she didn’t know before about Oahu and Hawaii in general. He had answers to any question presented. I honestly wondered how he rattled away so much. How could someone retain so much information?! But he did, and he did it well.
Our guide, Jake, was super friendly and approachable. He gave us a ton of information as we cruised around the island, stopping for photos and finding out cool places we passed by to stop in at another time. Instead of a dry, boring explanation, he was very intriguing and fun in his way of explaining everything. This really made the whole tour even more awesome. We had a delicious lunch stop and off we went again. As I mentioned, he had the answer for any question asked, but just did everything in a super fun way. Seriously, if you do this tour, I highly recommend asking for Jake as your guide. If you request him, you’ll probably get him. And you’ll have a way better time this way.
I actually wound up doing the tour a second time to take more pictures for the owner and get to know what they do a little better. The second time I was in a bigger bus, though still not one of those huge tourist buses. I specifically requested Jake, and was fortunate enough to get him. Hell, we even became friends because of it all, and hung out on my last night in Hawaii. Have I raved about Jake enough? Yeah, he’s the one you want.
Finally, we reached the highlight of the day: the Hawaiian green sea turtles. After all it was a company called Hawaii Turtle Tours. The tour includes snorkeling, with all clean gear provided. While I only saw one Hawaiian green sea turtle on this slow day, it was absolutely amazing and mesmerizing to swim with him in his natural habitat. Words cannot even express how awesome his was. We had 60 minutes of snorkeling before it was time to get back on the road.
Finally we headed back to Honolulu after a long day of fun and the sun. We were exhausted but ever so content. What an amazing day it was thanks to this amazing company – that I found by chance and all! I very much hope to join them again! (See below – I totally did it a second time to grab some more photos. I saw a few different things the second time, too, as Jake is great at finding the best things to sneak in as well as what’s on the schedule!)
If this video doesn’t convince you, what on earth will?! I actually wound up doing the tour a second time, this time in a bigger bus, but still not one of those massive tour busses with way too many people. I got to bring a different friend the second time, to take wonderful photos as we went. As I’d just gotten a new tattoo, I couldn’t swim, leaving her to do that. While the waters were very murky, making it near impossible to see the wildlife clearly, usually when it is murky like that turtles rest on shore. So rest assured – you’ll get to see your them one way or another! I highly recommend bringing a GoPro or similar underwater camera (though not all of them like salt water – I have lost a camera that way before!) to capture these amazing creatures in action.
Ask for Jake!
If you’re lucky you’ll get the small bus with Jake as your tour guide for the turtle eco adventure. He can sort of stop where he wants as well as the marked spots he must stop at when he’s doing the small bus tour. If there’s time, he might show you some secret beaches in addition to everything else you’ve signed up to see. We got to see an animal – the name of which I can’t recall – sitting on the sand just chilling. It was awesome.
The Best Tour on the Island
So forget about your ordinary snorkeling or a Oahu circle island sightseeing Hawaii Turtle Tours prides themselves on being the best of all the eco tours around. Why do just a circle island tour when you can see turtles as well? You’ll see everything from Chinaman’s Hat to the Halona blow hole to the Dole Plantation, and, of course, the turtles, on this full day tour. Enjoy the North Shore beaches, have fun, and indulge in all the beautiful things that Oahu has to offer on this amazing tour that reaches all the way to Oahu’s north shore.
And don’t forget! There are tons of other awesome things as well to do on Oahu, like skydiving, hang gliding, zip lining, and even helicopter rides! Of course there’s also the obvious, like surfing and stand up paddle boarding, which are just as great.