The Second Day of National #PlanForVacation Day 2019: Swim with Spinner Dolphins in Waianae, O’ahu

oahuwestsideSwimming with Dolphins is highly popular, but also very controversial with many traditional Dolphinarium facilities shutting down in recent years. If a dolphin encounter is on your bucket list but you want to make sure the animals are happy, and in their natural surroundings, I have a fantastic suggestion!

On O’ahu’s West Side, Waianae Harbor to be exact, you will find a company called Wild Side Specialty Tours. Offering small group experiences (six people maximum, unless it is a charter tour), you become a guest on a ship operated by a crew deeply in love with the ocean and marine life.  There are many things to love about this company, but what I would like to highlight is how this woman-owned company is committed to the ocean, its inhabitants, and their preservation. While you get to experience swimming with dolphins, you can rest assured, that your team makes sure the animals remain safe and protected and that you are doing no harm.

Unlike swimming with dolphins in captivity, Wild Side Specialty Tours makes it possible for you to swim within a group of spinner dolphins in the wild – if you dare that is! The experience is beyond amazing. What might initially seem daunting becomes easy and natural, once you allow yourself to blend into the pod. Watch mothers teach their young dolphins how to swim. Try to keep up. Time flies as you share the ocean with these beautiful mammals!

 

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Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT 
stefanie pichonnat aavtravel
Stefanie Pichonnat is an O’ahu Master Agent and Hawaiian Travel Specialist at AAV Travel; a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

Visit Hawaii: Which Hawaiian Island should you go to?

Hawaii is unique. Especially for a malihini (newcomer) it can be hard to determine which island to visit.

The first thing to do is asking yourself: What do I imagine my Hawaiian vacation to be like? What kind of pictures do I see in my mind?

  • Have you always wanted to see a live volcano?
  • Do you picture hula dancers on the beach?
  • Have you always wanted to play on one of the many phenomenal golf courses?
  • Or, are you a history buff and Pearl Harbor is a must?big island hawaii, kohala coast, dining, oceanfront, beach, hawaii Image credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Once you have a good idea of what it is you are looking for, check out the grid we created. This check-list allows you to determine what experiences are available on which island. Check the ones you are looking for, see on which island/s they are available. The island that offers the highest amount of experiences you are looking for should be your top pick.
aavtravel, hawaii, which island to go to, where to travel toYou should leave enough time to properly experience an island. The Island of Hawaii for example does not only have a lot to offer but is also quite big. Travel times are longer and you need a couple of days, if you want to experience most of what the island has to offer. If you only have a week, I would suggest sticking to one island. If you have 10 days or more, a combination of 2 islands is a great option. If you have limited time but want to see them all, you might be interested in one of the cruises.

hana, waterfall, maui, hawaii, hikingImage credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Every island is distinct in what it offers (from urban to rural and private), which makes choosing the right one a little difficult. Hopefully our grid makes finding the one that suits you best a little easier. No matter which moku (island) you decide to visit (or if you choose to island hop!) you will have an experience of a lifetime.

Written by AAV Travel’s Hawaii Expert


stefanie pichonnat aavtravel
STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the Hawaii Specialist at AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. Having personally travelled to Hawaii she can help you create a wonderful experience. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

O’ahu: The Gathering Place – Honolulu, Waikiki & the North Shore

honlulu, aerial, oahu, waikiki, aavtravelHome of the state capital, Honolulu, Oahu is the third largest of the six islands. Known as the “Heart of Hawaii,” it is home to most of Hawaii’s population, and also a popular tourist destination. It is where you find the perfect blend of city and island experience, and one of the most famous beaches in the world – Waikiki Beach. It is the most urban of all the islands, with electric nightlife, endless shopping and contemporary dining. However, people oftentimes forget that they can also experience the rustic charm of old Hawai’i by venturing inland or with a trip to one of many quaint surf towns of the North Shore.

This is the best island if you want an energetic and activity-filled getaway!

O’ahu Attractions:

Waikiki – Once was a playground for Hawaiian royalty, but now serves as the island’s main hotel/resort area. It is famous for it’s beaches and is perfect for surfing! Here you can also find the Waikiki Aquarium.
oahu, waikiki, diamond head, beach, surfing, aavtravel‘Iolani Palace – The United States’ only royal palace.
iolani palace, honolulu, royal palace, hawaii, aavtravelNorth Shore – This surfing mecca’s winter waves attracts the best surfers from around the world. Though the waves in the summer are much smaller and more gentle, making it a great place to learn how to catch a wave for the first time. Here you will also find the Polynesian Cultural Center.

north shore, turtle bay, oahu, hawaii, aavtravelHaunama Bay – Famous for its spectacular snorkeling
Haunama bay, oahu, snorkeling, hawaii, aavtravelThe Pali Lookout
pali lookout, oahu, hawaii, aavtravel
Kualoa Ranch – home to many movies and shows like Jurassic Park, Lost, Hawaii 5-O. Many different adventure tour options await.
jurassic park, oahu, kualoa ranch, hawaii, aavtravelkualoa ranch, atv, hawaii, aavtravel, oahuWaimanalo Beach – stunning stretch of white sand beach with turquoise blue water. Perfect for that romantic pic-nic or a day of family swimming.
waimolo beach, oahu, hawaii, aavtravelThe Bishop Museum – A beautiful historical and cultural museum

and of course

Pearl HarborThis National Historical Landmark features five different sites that memorialises the December 7, 1941 attack. You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy this!

Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
stefanie pichonnat aavtravel
STEFANIE
PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is an O’ahu Master Agent and Hawaiian Travel Specialist at AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

 

in conjunstephanie jellett aavtravelction with

STEPHANIE JELLETTE

Stephanie Jellett is interning as a travel writer and social media manager at AAV Travel. You can contact her at stephanieljellett@gmail.com