Where to spot turtles in Hawaii?

If you ask my husband, he sticks with Hawaii as being his favourite holiday so far. There’s of course a lot to love about Hawaii and one of the reasons is its fauna and flora, with sea turtles being one of them…

Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Snorkelling is the most popular activity on Hanauma Bay, filled with coral rocks and a wide variety of species in the bay. Turtles, of course, but also other types of fish. In view of protecting its natural wildlife, since the 90’s there’s a limitation on tourists in the bay. After an instruction video, making you aware of the vulnerability of this natural habitat, we took our snorkelling gear and made it down to the beach.

Navigating in the water is a bit tricky with the coral sticking out – at some places the water is really low, so you have to be careful. I got some scratches here and there (nothing bad), but got rewarded with a turtle swimming just in front of use. Magical… As we didn’t have our Go Pro yet at the time however, we weren’t able to catch it on camera as evidence, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

Kealakekua Bay, Big Island


We took another shot at a turtle encounter at Kealakekua Bay, which is translated as “the pathway of the god”… Sounds pretty neat, doesn’t it? It’s indeed a great natural beauty as well as a place of historical significance, as it includes the site where sea explorer Captain James Cook made the first recorded European contact with the Hawaiian islands.

A hiking trail of 3,8 miles takes you to the Captain Cook monument – a great spot to go snorkel. No sea turtle, unfortunately, but we did see our first eel!

Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Big Island


But the best turtle encounter took place at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, only about a 15 minute drive from Kealakekua Bay. It contains a wealth of ancient Hawaiian history and is a great place to hike. Also this area is known for sea turtles coming ashore and that’s an even better reason for us to check this out.

We were walking on the wet sand of the beach and I saw something a few tens of metres ahead of us, just out of the water, in the wet sand. I really thought it was a rock, as it was pretty big from so far away. As we were approaching, we actually realised it was a turtle who had just made it ashore. We tried to keep our distance, as is advised, in order not to frighten it.

While we were getting pictures of the turtle all by itself, my husband with the turtle, me with the turtle, both of us with the turtle (you get the picture… we were taking our time), we saw another one – a smaller one – making his way through the waves, trying to get on the beach. Wooow – really? So we kept filming and taking pictures of the little fella giving all its best. He nearly made it, but then lost grip and the waves took him back into the water. The poor guy… After about at least half an hour with our friends in a half shell, we continued our walk, hoping for the baby turtle to find his way onto the beach eventually…

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