One of the most important things to do when in Oahu is meet the locals—the sea turtles. Many people’s idea of Hawaii involves swimming with turtles, and it’s not completely wrong for a reason. In Oahu, there are many beaches you can go where you can see their breathtaking beauty in a close proximity.
Here are some beaches you need to include in your itinerary to spot Hawaii’s greatest treasure:
After a 30-minute drive from Waikiki, Electric beach is one of the best places to see a Hawaiian turtle. This beach attracts all kinds of marine life due to the slightly warmer water due to the electric plant nearby. Many locals and tourists have seen Hawaiian Sea Turtles in waist deep water, but they are also out in the depths of the ocean.
Waikiki Beach is one of the most popular and crowded beach in all of Hawaii. Is it possible to see a turtle in such a populous area? In Hawaii, yes. While it might not be the best snorkel spot on the island but if you are feeling lucky, put your snorkel on and swim out just past the pack of tourists and you just might be bump into a Hawaiian Sea Turtle.
Driving even further than Electric Beach, Makua Beach promises tourists not only a jaw dropping scenery, but also a chance to encounter sea turtles. Hawaiian Sea Turtles and schools of fish are very common within 100 yards of the shore. The backdrop of Makua Valley and the mountains are breathtaking if you take your eyes off the sea life and look back towards the beach.
Those who want a package of heart-stopping adventure and turtle watching, Cockroach Cove is perfect for you. It is great spot to hang out for half a day of swimming and rock jumping. The water is often a little wavy here but on some flat days it is quite still. From the lookout you can often spot the Hawaiian Sea Turtles, which are usually very close to the shore.
North Shore has no shortage of Hawaiian Sea Turtles, but Haleiwa beach definitely has a solid population. There they can often be found in the channel and the little coves along the coastline. Water clarity here is pretty good too. This beach is close to Old Haleiwa Town, which is convenient for a post beach session smoothie or acai bowls.
There are often turtles resting on the sand which is amazing to see them out of the water. But, be warned that this place is also swarming of tourists. Most of the tourists are getting out of the car or bus to check out the Hawaiian Sea Turtles on the sand and then head off. In my experience if there are turtles on the sand, their friends are probably swimming in the small bay.
Reminders before swimming with turtles:
Stay 2 yards away from them.
If you are too close currents can sometimes sweep you into the turtle even if you don’t mean to, so give them extra space in case of the unexpected.
Never touch sea turtles.
It is illegal and invasive. Consider yourself lucky enough that these creatures allow us to swim with them, don’t push your luck.
Don’t chase sea turtles.
There is no need to scare a turtle if it isn’t trying to hang out with you. Most of the time if you are chill around a turtle it will hang around you for a long time. If you begin to try and get too close and intimate, they often swim away. The calmer you and your group are, the longer you will get to spend floating nearby as the turtle does it’s thing. As soon as you start chasing it, your potential to hang out with a turtle is probably over.