What is one Hawaii tourist activity you would not recommend?

What is one Hawaii tourist activity you would not recommend?

May 7, 2023 Caspian Montrose


As a seasoned traveler and blogger, I've had the pleasure of visiting Hawaii numerous times and experiencing the wide variety of activities the islands have to offer. While there are plenty of amazing experiences to be had, not everything is worth your time and money. In this article, I'll share one Hawaii tourist activity that I would not recommend and explore the reasons why. Along the way, I'll also offer some alternative activities that provide a better value and overall experience.

Swimming with Dolphins: A Controversial Attraction

Swimming with dolphins is a popular tourist activity that many people dream of experiencing when they visit Hawaii. While the concept of getting up close and personal with these intelligent creatures may seem magical, the reality is far less enchanting. There are several reasons why I would not recommend this activity, ranging from ethical concerns to practical considerations.

Animal Welfare and Ethical Concerns

Many facilities offering dolphin swims keep the animals in small, confined spaces that are a far cry from their natural ocean habitats. This can lead to stress, illness, and shortened lifespans for the dolphins. Additionally, constant interaction with humans can disrupt their natural behaviors and social structures. As a conscientious traveler, I believe it's essential to prioritize the well-being of the animals and choose activities that promote responsible wildlife tourism.

Pricey and Underwhelming Experiences

Swimming with dolphins can be quite expensive, often costing hundreds of dollars per person. Unfortunately, the actual experience can be underwhelming for many travelers. Participants may only get a few minutes of actual interaction with the dolphins, and the experience can feel rushed and impersonal. For the high price tag, there are far better ways to spend your vacation budget in Hawaii.

Alternative Activities for a More Authentic and Ethical Hawaiian Experience

Rather than swimming with dolphins, consider some of these alternative activities that showcase the beauty and culture of Hawaii while also promoting animal welfare and responsible tourism.

Whale Watching Tours

Hawaii is renowned for its humpback whale population, with thousands of these majestic creatures migrating to the area each year. Instead of swimming with captive dolphins, opt for a whale watching tour where you can witness these animals in their natural habitat. Not only is this a more ethical choice, but it's also a breathtaking experience that you'll remember for a lifetime.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

The pristine waters of Hawaii are teeming with colorful marine life, making snorkeling and scuba diving a must-do activity. There are countless spots around the islands where you can explore vibrant coral reefs and encounter a diverse array of fish, turtles, and other sea creatures. By choosing to snorkel or dive in the open ocean, you're ensuring that your interactions with marine life are on their terms and in their natural environment.

Visiting a Wildlife Sanctuary or Rehabilitation Center

If you're interested in learning more about Hawaii's native animals and supporting their conservation, consider visiting a wildlife sanctuary or rehabilitation center. Facilities like the Hawaiian Wildlife Center and the Maui Ocean Center work to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured and sick marine animals while also educating visitors about Hawaii's unique ecosystems. By choosing to visit these centers, you're supporting the welfare of Hawaii's wildlife and helping to promote responsible tourism.


While swimming with dolphins may be a popular tourist activity in Hawaii, it's one that I would not recommend for ethical and practical reasons. Instead, consider some of the alternative activities mentioned in this article, such as whale watching, snorkeling, or visiting a wildlife sanctuary. By making responsible choices as a traveler, you can have an unforgettable Hawaiian vacation while also supporting the well-being of the islands' incredible wildlife.