Swimming with Sea Turtles in Hawaii

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At least once in the course of your life, don’t you wish to tell tales to your future generation about an event you experienced when you were their age? Most people dream of undertaking something daring, but never get the chance to do so because they never take action on making the thought true. The hours, months, and years telling yourself “One day…,” are a waste of time.

Swimming with Sea Turtles
Swimming with Sea Turtles – Image source https://flic.kr/p/4NwtQy

You do not have to go straight into skydiving, bungee jumping, or any other daring sport for that matter, but start small, however, it still needs to have the label of “once in a lifetime experience.” YOLO, remember? Hmm… what about visiting Hawaii to swim with the sea turtles?

That sounds beautiful, not to mention the serene and tranquil feeling that will come over you when you swim alongside these gentle creatures of the sea. For now though, soak in the knowledge about how it feels to swim with them and what places in Hawaii you can find them floating.

Sea Turtles: Where Can You Find Them?

If you are looking to get intimate with the sea turtles, seeing and swimming with them on a one on one (or many) basis, you need to begin scouting out the following beaches in Hawaii:

1.     Carl Smith Beach

Carl Smith Beach has the friendliest turtles in all of Hawaii. Seriously, they do not care if you invade their space and you can admire them all day long. If you do not come to them, they will definitely make their way to you. However, according to Hawaiian law, you cannot touch them, but if they come to you, then hey, it is not illegal at all, as they approached you first.

Swimming with Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
Swimming with Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/r6TkMA

Oh, and do you want to know their special gathering space? It is to the right side of the park. The water there is extremely cold, but you will get to swim with the turtles and they may even come to you for a hug.

2.     Alahanui Hot Ponds

Even though you will not see as many sea turtles as you would on Carl Smith Beach, but you will still find a few of them lurking around. Sometimes, you can even see them surf the waves. Cool dude! Visit the Red Road situated in Puna to see a flock of them resting.

Swimming with Hawaiian Green Turtle
Swimming with Hawaiian Green Turtle – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/9yFmTL

3.     Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

The beach is situated on the South East shore and is one of the busiest beaches during holiday season. If you want to be one with the sea turtles without having a large crowd watching your interaction with them, visit them the beach on a weekday. As for the turtles, they are everywhere. You do not want to walk too far to encounter them. According to Hawaiian folklore, taking anything off the beach will result in years of bad luck and the only way to reverse it is to come back to Hawaii. Bad or good? You get an excuse to come again!

Sea Turtle Hawaii
Sea Turtle Hawaii – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/bwtGcc

4.     Kiholo Bay

When you are in the water snorkeling or swimming at Kiholo Bay, curious sea turtles will come up to you. Probably, wondering of what a weird looking species you are, but do not be frightened, they will not hurt you. At Kiholo Bay, there never will be a day where you do not see sea turtles frolicking on sand and water.

Scuba Diving in Hawaii
Scuba Diving in Hawaii – Image source: https://flic.kr/p/4GJa5C

5.     Kahalu’u Beach Park

The abundance of turtles at the beach is astonishing, as they are everywhere. Most people visit the beach to surf the waves, but if you go swimming, you are bound to run into a sea turtle that is just looking to say hi!

Swimming Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
Swimming Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle – Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/csdJXo

You do not have to stick with just watching the sea turtles from a distance or accidently bump into them when you go out for a swim, you can do all of that on purpose. Hawaii offers several snorkeling tours with a trained scuba diver who takes you to area where you will get to meet all the creatures of the sea, from fishes to sea turtles.

You along with your family can join the Holokai Catamaran Turtle Canyon Snorkel Sail to explore Turtle Canyon. You can swim along the reefs by joining the Hanauma Bay Beginner Snorkel Tour with an Expert Guide. A quick search will bring several tours that take you snorkeling and swimming with the tranquil creatures of Hawaii.

Green Sea Turtles at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Hawaii
Green Sea Turtles at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Hawaii Image source: https://flic.kr/p/62GsiY

Of course, you will run into other creatures while you are in the open water, but the peace you will feel watching all of them swim elegantly in the waters as if they are royal will make you wish you could freeze the moment in time.

Are You Ready?

Get your bags packed, your ticket book, and head out to Hawaii. The sea turtles are anxiously waiting for their swimming partner to come. Once you see them up close and personal, leaving their side will not be as easy. When you are there, do remember all of their names.

See, you have the Green, the Leatherback, and the Hawksbill with the Green turtle being the most common one you will see. Again, do not touch them, give them space to breathe, and stay out of the sea turtle’s way if it swims in your direction. If the sea turtle comes up to you, count yourself lucky.

Once you have all the rules of Hawaii down, you are all set to swim with the sea turtles. Do not chicken out and say you will think about it. Swimming with the sea turtles is not nearly as dangerous as swimming with sharks. After you have experience swimming next to the beautiful green creatures, perhaps, swimming with the sharks can be next on your agenda. Go with your family! Go with your friends! Go by yourself! But do go!

Hawaii Beach
Hawaii Beach – Image by: https://flic.kr/p/f7Ennj

What do you say? Are you ready to experience a thrill of a lifetime? Say YES! Remember, having a time of your life has no age limits so take the chance of doing something fun and different for once.

3 thoughts on “Swimming with Sea Turtles in Hawaii

  • September 12, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Please keep your distance from the turtles. The law is 8-10 feet away, Even if they come towards you, try and swim away. They are making a slow comeback from the endangered species list and need all the help they can get. Respect the wildlife.

  • February 4, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    “Seriously, they do not care if you invade their space . . . . . “

    “. . . .according to Hawaiian law, you cannot touch them, but if they come to you, then hey, it is not illegal at all, as they approached you first.”

    As an avid Hawaiian vacationer who has spent years learning the culture and language of Hawaii, making friends with native Hawaiians, and taking efforts to assist with the come-back of the Green Sea Turtles, I find these sentiments incredibly ignorant and offensive. To the author, Lukas Billas, EDUCATE YOURSELF ON TURTLES AND LEARN HAWAII’S ENDANGERED SPECIES LEGISLATION!

    The turtles on Carl Smith Beach are not any “more friendly” than turtles at other beaches – they’re all like that, regardless of location. Where there is coral or lava rock, you’ll find Green Sea Turtles. Carl Smith Beach just happens to be a natural habitat that the turtle love, hence, a plethora of them.

    For anyone interested in visiting Hawaii, this author is not a good source. Go to the Hawaii Tourism Authority at http://www.gohawaii.com. VERY friendly staff if you call them. I also suggest reading books from people who have visited Hawaii more than a few times as they can properly educate you on how to protect and respect all the Islands’ flora, fauna, wildlife, and endangered species (i.e don’t walk/stand on coral, stay several feet away from turtles, DO NOT TOUCH any wildlife, etc.).

  • November 16, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Swimming with sea turtles in Hawaii would have to go down as one of the most beautiful and incredible experiences we’ve had together as a family. Taking a swim with sea turtles was an almost surreal treat and one that I would encourage you to add to your Big Island itinerary.


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