The sole outpost of tourism on Oahu's Leeward shore is this lovely little marina and resort district. It is the site of a ... More
Ko Olina Marina
The sole outpost of tourism on Oahu's Leeward shore is this lovely little marina and resort district. It is the site of a golf course and the lovely JW Marriott Ihilani. Shops and restaurants are also located at the marina, and the Ihilani spa is world class. Visitors can enjoy a number of activities and water sports, including fishing, sailing and diving excursions. People who want a more active scene can take the 30-minute drive to Honolulu's metropolitan center.
So after reading a few reviews on here I was hesitant to book the snorkeling trip but decided to go on the 6AM trip since it I read that it is easier to find the dolphins early in the morning. We went to 2 locations where we were able to see over a hundred fish and also a few turtles. The fish will go crazy for the food. We were also able to find a pod of 40-50 dolphins and got to see them swim past us in the water. I was lucky enough to have two of them swim right by me within arms reach. It was so cool.
We went on the Ko' Olina Ocean Adventures and Paradise Cove Luau combo. Save your money, not worth the cost. After the Ocean Adventure, you shower on the public beach, no soap, no shampoo and you're supposed to get ready for a Luau? And everything we brought to wear to the luau was soaked from the Ocean Adventure. (Where were the cubbies to stow your gear that we were promised.) I don't know when Hawaiians first started eating pasta and macaroni salads or fried chicken, which was almost inedible, but the food is not Hawaiian and not good. All in all, we felt that the whole thing was a waste of time and money. The show and dancers were good, but not worth what we paid.
This tour was hands down the best thing we did while in Hawaii! I took my two daughters ages 14 and 9 for the early morning snorkel tour. I wasn't sure if it would be worth getting up and out the door at 5:15 a.m. but we are sooo glad we didn't miss it! The tour was a small group of 5 or 6 families which Captain Justin and First Mate Eric entertained the entire time. They were knowlegable and made sure to interact with each individual so it was personalized. I was honestly impressed with how comfortable they made everyone. At the first stop a group of 12 or so dolphins splashed in and out of the waves to delight us! I haven't had an experience that compares to witnessing them swim below me as I floated in the water! At our second stop there were a ton of sea turtles that were willing to let us get close. I was glad they weren't as big as I had imagined! The fish here were beautiful but I have to mention that I have a phobia of fish touching me that I was hoping to overcome on this trip. I tried not to, but I did have a little panic attack. Justin was there to calm me down and with a little reassurance I was able to get back in and enjoy myself. The third stop was nothing but the beautiful fish so I stayed on the boat and took the opportunity to snap some pictures of the kids. I figured the crew would think I was a nut, but they were understanding. For the final touch to a wonderful memory, after we were done with the tour we stopped in the bay where they were filming "Pirates of the Caribbean". My girls about died when Johnny Depp passed by in a speed boat to get to the set! How many kids can say they got to see Johnny Depp and the Black Pearl on their snorkel trip? Being able to experience this adventure with my daughters was priceless. Thank You!!!
The Ko Olina staff was professional, fun and dedicated to us having a great snorkeling experience. We were able to see wild spinner dolphins on two different stops, plus beautiful coral reef and fish. A bigger (unaffiliated) tour boat scared away the sea turtles before we got to them, but Captain Mark made up for it by finding two giant manta rays and letting us in the water to swim with them. Lunch was wonderful and included a vegetarian option, and the entire experience--from the crew to the snorkeling to the scenery to the pictures to other people on our tour--was unforgettable. We had a blast!
It is rare that a trip will deliver on all that it promises, but that is exactly what happened on this trip. We swam with the dolphins, saw sea turtles, and snorkeled at a reef with tons of fish. There were pods of dolphins swimming all around the boat and we were given the opportunity to jump in and float while they swam around us. The turtles were at a section of the reef and we got to swim around them. The reef was equally impressive. The lunch they served was impressive, and the boat captain even took us on a ride up and down the coast a bit to see some of the scenery, it was a great day. The entire afternoon was fantastic, and the best thing I did on my trip to Hawaii. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who enjoys snorkeling.
I reviewed several snorkeling tours in Hawaii before leaving for my trip. I chose Ko Olina Ocean Adventures because they advertise three different stops in the ocean to view tropical fish, turtles, and dolphins. My wife and I agreed this was a good strategy to get the best value. However, the excursion turned out to be three stops in the same area. They simply run you in circles to try to confuse you and wind up in nearly the same spot each time. We saw some fish at the first stop at a coral reef but that was it. We did not see any turtles or dolphins. In fact, we saw absolutely nothing on the second and third stops. Even worse, the lunch we were served consisted of sandwiches that tasted like prison food. Ultimately, we felt ripped off. I would not recommend this trip.
This was the worst experience while in Hawaii. We took a 90 min shuttle to launch site, then were told it was too cold and needed a wet suit. However they ran out of wet suits stating this has never happened before. The less than professional girl behind the table was not pleasant and when asked- well what do we do now she looked at us and said I don't know and continued to ignore us. Fish food was out and they packed soooooo many people on the boat that how could it be high quality. We ended up back on bus and returning to hotel without going on the tour. 3 hours spent on bus w/ no time in water. I would stay very clear of this establishment. Spend your money on something else. Recommend glass bottom boat tours in Honolulu- that was quality at a fraction of the price. Thank god the rest of the Hawaii activities do not run like this!!!!
We researched dolphin encounters available on this coastline ("famous" for such) and choose to go out with Ko Olina Ocean Adventures which is the best company on the West side of Oahu, as they advertised passive, sensitive, in water encounters in which they follow consistently- and especially since they were walking distance near our Ko Olina timeshare.
Ko Olina Marina is not was gorgeous, Ko Olina Marina is GORGEOUS especially the boats Ko Olina Ocean Adventures use! It was much nicer then the passable state boat harbor we previously used on a dolphin encounter with Wild Side Tours who we had the worst experience and would never ever use them again. My family were treated horrible and the harbor they use to depart out of was horrible...BEWARE OF THEM THEY ARE IMPOSTERS!!!!!
The delight with Ko Olina Ocean Adventures continued while boarding the Pacific Passion boat. This excellent company's tour was geared to accomodate all passengers from across the world.
We departed the harbor, The snorkeling area was beautiful. We saw so much unbelieveable underwater life. The Underwater portion of the Ko Olina Ocean Adventures tour was great..we saw turtles, reef fish and coral. I don't know what the other review meant by fumes off of the power plant. I think that other reviewer was probably smoking fumes because Ko Olina Ocean Adventures is about the underwater snorkeling experience, they aren't focused on whatever smells they thought they smelled.. We were definetly not concentrating on the smell around us on our tour with Ko Olina OCan Adventures. By the way WILD SIDE TOURS anchors at the POWER PLANT!!!!!! In case you forgot!!!!
Our biggest and greatest experience was the "in water" portion with the dolphins. Ko Olina adventures had two boats working the 100-300 dolphin pod. What a special moment in time that Ko Olina Ocean Adentures gave to us. We observed while we passively flotated on top of the water dolphin's beautifuly interacting underwater. We took so many pictures... Ko Olina Ocean Adventures IS AWESOME!!!
We felt that the BOAT behavior was ethical and very sensitive to the dolphins. Great Job guys!!!
Ko Olina Marina is a beautiful harbor which Ko Olina Ocean Adventures works out of, we gained new appreciation for operators out of Ko Olina Marina expecially Ko Olina Ocean Adventures because they really cared about the marine life way more that the tour boat operators out of the state boat harbor which is alot farther down the road, and by the way alot of the slips out of the state harbor which is 15 miles further west from Ko Olina Marina has slips that are condemed. There marine tour operators are do not care about its marine life outside of there state harbor.
We drove to the site because the shuttle was booked and left before we decided to attend the tour. We arrived earlier than the tour bus and had some complimentary snacks. We were given quick info on the trip. The life jacket, snorkels, etc were better quality than ones we rented at shark's cove. We first went looking for dolphins. Not a bad siting. We did swim with the dolphins but we had to float in groups without moving too much so not to scare the dolphins. The site was pretty cool. We then went to snorkel with some fish. With fish food we purchased from the tour, we were able to lure hundreds of fish around us, just like the pics you see online. Pretty awesome. Howevere, sharks cove had more fish surrounding you without fish food. The downside to shark's cove was all the rocks that made it so difficult to snorkel. My family got cuts everywhere. Well, back to the snorkel part of the tour. We got to see turtles so that was cool. Saw sting rays and some more turtles at the turtle cleaning station. Turtles was limited and no cleaning of turtles were available. Overall, the trip was an 8. I thought it wasn't bad and people were nice. I would suggest this trip.
We researched dolphin encounters available on this coastline ("famous" for such) and choose to go out with Ko Olina Ocean Adventures, as they advertised passive, sensitive, in water encounters - and especially since they were walking distance near our Ko Olina timeshare.
Ko Olina Marina was gorgeous! It was much nicer then the passable state boat harbor we previously used on a dolphin encounter with Wild Side Tours (who we greatly enjoyed).
However, the delight stopped while boarding the Ko Olina boat. We were put on a tour boat with about 30 other passengers, mostly Japanese, and found this tour was geared to accomodate them, rather than the few Americans.
We departed the harbor, bordered by Oahu's eyesore industrial area on one side and a huge landfill on the other! The snorkeling area was adjacent to a power plant, spewing chlorine smelling fumes, while sirens went by on the bordering highway. Underwater was great, turtles, reef fish and coral cover, but we were somewhat mindlful of the fumes channeled through our snorkels, from both the power plant and the upwind landfill.
Our biggest disappoint was the "in water" portion with the dolphins. Ko Olina adventures had two boats working the 5 -10 (!)wild dolphins, with a total of something like 50 passengers. While it was true that we were not given fins and were instructed to lie passively on the water top with our group, I couldnt help feeling vulnerable, not only because we didnt have fins if an emergency (shark?) should arise - but because the boat also left us to drop and pick up other group members in the dolphins path.
We did not at all feel the BOAT behavior was ethical or sensitive, the boat/s circling and dropping swimmers in the dolphins path, especially as the dolphins travel was clearly disrupted by the engine noise of the two boats.
The boat/s engines could be heard under the water as they manuvered picking up and dropping of passengers - shifting gears and speeding from one swimmer group to other, and irritating not only to us, but to the dolphin school.
While we were passive in the water, our tour boats were anything but. Swimmers who were avoided by dolphins were given "another chance" while the boat circled and dropped them again -until they at least caught a glimpse.
What didnt make sense (besides the "sensitivity" claims) was that I'm sure all passengers on the boats could have seen the dolphins much longer and closer if they had stayed onboard! We spent roughly 45 minutes circling, chasing, dropping off and picking up people, for a brief underwater water glimpse. We spent most of the in water time waiting for the boat to return from chasing the dolphins.
While the Ko Olina Marina was beautiful, we gained new appreciation for the state boat harbor further down the road, and its marine tours who cared.
When Coral Creek opened, Golf Digest named it one of Americas best new courses. Located on the Ewa Plain, it
showcases some of Hawaii's most breathtaking natural wonders. Take a moment to notice the coral rock formations which are ...
All kinds of excursions can be arranged through this company. Almost every excursion operates as a charter. Dolphin swims, whale
watches, sailing charters and snorkel adventures are all available. The company allows a maximum of six passengers on each ...
This, the largest outdoor stadium in Hawai'i, is the site of all major football and baseball events on Oahu including
the Aloha Bowl and the Pro Bowl . The world's largest superstars, from The Rolling Stones to Prince, perform ...