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“What a great trip!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Wild Side Specialty Tours

Wild Side Specialty Tours
Ranked #1 of 15 Tours in Waianae
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: #1 Best whale watching, swimming with dolphins and snorkeling tour on Oahu, and deemed one of the top 5 whale-watching tours in America! Bucket-list marine wildlife encounters since 1996. More than just seeing amazing and indigenous creatures, deep connections and a true sense of place are gained. Six to ten passenger charters (two boats) with published marine-biologist, guest adventures are maximized to blend with wildlife conservation. Whale watching and swimming with wild dolphins year-round, charters include guided snorkeling tours over sea turtle reefs on Oahu's wild west side. Awarded Hawaii Ecotourism Associations' Sustainable Tourism Certificate, Wild Side is an internationally recognized marine tours company conducting environmentally responsible marine interactions. They aggressively participate in environmental protection through education and action, and promote sustainable travel and donate part of its revenue to the Wild Dolphin Foundation dedicated to marine conservation and education, regulatory reform, and research.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Albany, New York
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“What a great trip!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 15, 2012 via mobile

We booked the family morning tour for our family of three. The trip from Honolulu to Wainiea took just over 1.5 hours so make sure you give yourself plenty of time. The marina was not in a rough area of town as some of the other reviews stated. The boat itself was an older catamaran that was very clean and in very good shape. The crew size was Three and we had another family of three for a total of nine people on our boat. If for no other reason book this tour as they limit the size of the group. There was no crowding, no hassle and plenty of room to enjoy the scenery and the ride out to the sealife.

The crew was friendly, two younger women and a male captain (Downing). They helped us with fitting our snorkel gear and talking to us about what we were going to see. After about a 45 minute ride out to the dolphins we put our gear on and quickly saw a pod of spinner dolphins. They moved quickly past us so we re boarded and went looking for more. We were rewarded with another smaller pod that we viewed for a longer time. Two of the dolphins came within about a foot from my son. He happily exclaimed that the dolphins were checking HIM out. What a memory! After getting back on the boat the crew prepared us a lunch of pulled pork, fruit and snacks. The last dive was to a reef where we got to a sea turtle and lots of fish. The crew was always willing to take pictures of us, both inboard and on the water. You could tell that they loved what they did. It showed. My family had an experience they will never forget. Thank you for that. Highly recommended!!!!!

Thank kjlars2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,105 reviews from our community

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English first
Orange County, California
Level Contributor
27 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Must Go with the Wild Side”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2012

Despite some initial scheduling snafu, we embarked on our 3+ hour family cruise on the morning of August 31. Elizabeth was wonderful in her communicating and the follow up with our reservations. Their website is certainly one of the most informative and denotive we have come across while researching our island actitivities. Our family of 3 set out with 2 couples and a 3 member crew on board a catamaran. The crew members immediately made us feel at ease and checked our comfort level with being in the ocean. They told us exactly what to expect and were just as excited if not more when we spotted pods and pods of Spinner Dolphins and Bottled-nose Dolphins. Being able to see these gregarious sea creatures in their natural habitat is simply spell-binding. Under the watchful eye of Captain Downing, the finesse guidance of Lynn, and enthuse escort of Malori, we swam, at our guides’ best discretion, with these spirited sea dwellers who reside in the west side of Oahu waters. It was an exhilarating experience. We counted as many as 9 Spinner dolphins at the first encounter. Then we were snorkeling above as many as 17 Bottled-nose dolphins below on our second encounter. Our final encounter was with probably 5 green sea turtles over the turtle cleaning station. With our guides’ encouragement and attention, our 7 y/o daughter had no qualms about jumping into the open sea with us to check out the green sea turtles up close on the boogie board provided. We have been on many ocean excursions on our many trips to the Hawaiian Islands and Wild Side is the most low-profile tour operator we've encountered. Their small tour group approach enables their personal attention to their customers. Lyn and Malori were responsive and adapted to their patron’s swimming skills and comfort with being in the ocean. We had thoroughly enjoyed going out to sea with a knowledgeable and eco-conscious team who has everyone's safety on their priority, including that of the amazing marine life. This excursion was the highlight of our Hawaiian vacations to-date.

Visited August 2012
Thank lilchickadeesmommy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dana Point, California
Level Contributor
110 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Awesome experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 10, 2012

My 19 year old daughter and i signed up for this activity and let me tell you, we were not disappointed. I saw the other boats going out this morning and they were packed with people. I was a little nervous until we found our boat. The boat is super clean and the crew very friendly and super knowledgable. The boat ride was comfortable with 8 people total including crew. when we got to the dolphin grounds it was unbelievable as we must have seen 100 and we actually were able to swim with them and within a couple of feet. This was a bucket list adventure for my daughter and something we will always remember.

Visited September 2012
2 Thank Amy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Princeton, NJ
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Swim with Wild Side”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 9, 2012

Why fly all the way to Hawaii just to swim with animals in a pool? Why not see them in their natural habitat swimming with sea turtles? And while you're at it, why bother with competing with 20 other people for the same view?

If you want to swim with dolphins, sea turtles and hawaiian coral life, with good food (our trip: chicken salad sandwich, with grapes, walnuts on wheat, mango salsa and nachos, and macadamia shortbread cookies), and the eastern Oahu coastline for a backdrop, ride with Wild Side.

- The Pacia's

1 Thank shopvp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Slow and steady sees the dolphins”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 7, 2012

If you look at the trip as a relaxing boat trip around the beautiful island of Oahu, take in all of the scenery, watch the birds and the jumping fish, relax and soak up the sun, then by the time you get to see the dolphins, it becomes all too worth while. The captain and his crew have a true passion for what they do, cruise around the bay searching for dolphins! The crew makes sure you are ready for the dolphins when they are found. And we found them! It took a while, but hey, you're in paradise, sit back relax and soak it up!

When the action was on, you're safely near the boat, your guides (Ashely & Boatie) do a great job of keeping tabs on everyone. And you get to see the dolphins up close and personal!

We highly reccomend these guys for first time to avid snorkelers!


-The Hills 09/07/2012

Thank vahill374
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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