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Scuba Diving in Waikiki – Complete Guide

by Max
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Scuba Diving in Waikiki - Complete Guide

Are you looking for an adventure while on vacation in Waikiki? Scuba diving might be the perfect activity for you! In this guide, we will give you all the information you need to know about scuba diving in Waikiki, from beginner tips to the best dive sites. Let’s start!

Also check out our guides on scuba diving in Honolulu, Kona, Maui and Kauai.

What You Need to Know Before Scuba Diving in Waikiki

The first thing to know is that the water temperature in Waikiki can vary depending on the time of year. In the summer, the water temperature is usually around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius), while in the winter, it can drop to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). It’s important to dress accordingly, so you’re comfortable during your dive.

Another thing to remember is that Waikiki is a popular place for scuba diving, so there may be many people in the water. Be aware of your surroundings and be respectful of other divers.

Finally, although scuba diving is generally safe, it’s important to remember that you’re breathing underwater in an unfamiliar environment. Be sure to listen to your instructor or dive master and follow all safety procedures. By following these tips, you’ll surely have a safe and enjoyable diving experience in Waikiki.

The Best Places to Go Scuba Diving in Waikiki

Sea Tiger

The Sea Tiger wreck is a massive cargo ship that was seized by the United States Coast Guard from the Chinese (for participating in unlawful operations) and sunk approximately ten minutes from Kewalo Boat Basin in Waikiki. The Sea Tiger is a famous dive destination for experienced divers looking to explore a mystery due to its large size, quantity of cargo compartments and tunnels, and the unique marine life attracted to it.

For the most part, divers should expect depths of 80 feet to 120 feet at this location. Numerous cargo bays, a sizable bridge, and other explorable areas remain intact throughout the vessel. Eels, schools of fish, eagle rays, and even tigers and whitetip sharks are possible sights at any time.


The Yo-257 was purposely sunk by the Atlantis Submarine Company off the shore of Diamond Head in 1989 to create an artificial reef and is now one of the most popular dive sites on Oahu (accessible from the Kewalo Boat Basin).

While the Sea Tiger offers more options for penetration, the stern of this ship is completely open and has spectacular octocorallia growth on its ceilings. Experienced and certified wreck divers may dive through the wreck; several openings have been created throughout the wreck.

San Pedro

As with the Yo-257, the San Pedro was sunk on purpose by the Atlantis Submarine Company to create an artificial reef. By now, it has become one of the best dive sites in Waikiki.

In the past, the San Pedro was used to catch tuna and swordfish. Afterwards, it was converted into an inter-island freight ship before it was scuttled. The San Pedro is now a fantastic small wreck that divers of intermediate to advanced experience levels can easily explore. Roughly 60 feet of water depth may be found on the main decks, and the whole ship is about 90 feet long.

It’s not a huge shipwreck, but there are plenty of tunnels and cargo rooms to explore (and the occasional white-tip reef shark). The San Pedro also makes for an excellent photographic opportunity. Like the Sea Tiger, there are lots of rough areas and sharp edges , so watch out when diving.


The Mahi shipwreck is one of the most distant attractions from Waikiki. Despite its remote location, this wreck is a favorite destination for divers on the western side of Oahu. It has excellent visibility, mild currents, and an opportunity to see fascinating marine life such as eagle sea rays and puffer fish.

The Mahi was a minelayer ship for the United States Navy that was destroyed in 1986 to create an artificial reef. The Mahi, which is over 150 feet in length, has sunk to a depth of 90 feet (its main deck is at a depth of around 65 feet).

This vessel now has a collapsed bridge but is still riddled with swim-through hatches and holes. As well as being covered in several types of coral, the ship serves as a magnet for indigenous reef fish, octopuses, and whitetip reef sharks.

Best Dive Shops in Waikiki

There are many great dive shops in Waikiki. Here is a selection of dive shops we recommend:

Waikiki Diving Center

Waikiki Diving Center has a prime location near the International Marketplace and provides free round-trip transportation inside Waikiki.

For over 41 years, Waikiki Diving Center has provided nothing but top-notch service to their visitors on board their US Coast Guard-approved boats. Since 1979, they have been Waikiki’s sole full-service diving shop, as well as a PADI Five-Star Instructor Development Center and an authorized servicing center for gear.

Kaimana Divers (Also Called Waikiki Scuba)

Kaimana Divers is a great option for novice divers, seasoned divers looking to ease back into the water, and experienced divers who want a more relaxed dive.

Aloha Scuba Diving Company LLC

The Honolulu (Oahu) store of Aloha Scuba Diving Company may be found between the Aloha Tower and Waikiki, close to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. The top hotels in Waikiki are within easy walking distance of the shop, and that’s where their diving boats leave from. Aloha Scuba Diving Company provides access to some of the best dive locations in Hawaii, including Honolulu. Because of its commitment to environmental protection, the Aloha Scuba Diving Company is a 100% Aware PADI Dive Shop that offers a wide range of Aware Dive Courses and certifications. 

The Best Time to Scuba Dive in Waikiki

The best time to go diving in Waikiki is between mid-April to end of June and again from October to September. This has to do with several factors: first of all, when it’s summer in Hawaii, temperatures are generally higher. Meanwhile, rainfall is less. While July and August would be the best climate of all months, Waikiki is full of tourists, which is why planning a little bit around those months makes for a better experience.

Some Interesting Facts About Waikiki

Here are some interesting facts about Waikiki that you may not know:

  1. Waikiki was originally a swampy area full of marshland and freshwater ponds.
  2. The first hotel in Waikiki was built in 1901, and it was only 3 stories tall.
  3. Waikiki Beach wasn’t always the sandy paradise it is today – in the early 1900s, the beach was actually made up of large boulders.
  4. The famous Diamond Head crater was originally named Leʻahi by the native Hawaiians, which means “brow of the ahi (tuna)”.
  5. In Hawaiian culture, it is considered good luck to swim or skin dive with dolphins, and Waikiki is one of the best places in the world to do just that!
  6. Every year on New Year’s Eve, thousands of people gather on Waikiki Beach to watch the spectacular fireworks display over Diamond Head crater.

Where Should You NOT Dive in Waikiki?

There are a few areas where you should avoid diving in Waikiki. These areas generally have strong currents and waves, which can make diving conditions unsafe.

Some of the areas to avoid include:

  • The outer reefs (especially during high surf)
  • The channel between Diamond Head and Koko Head
  • The area around the Hilton Hawaiian Village pier
  • The Ala Wai Yacht Harbor entrance

What To Do When Not Scuba Diving in Waikiki?

When you’re not diving in Waikiki, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy. Here are a few ideas:

  • Take a surfing lesson. Waikiki is famous for its waves, so why not try your hand at surfing? Lessons are widely available and relatively inexpensive.
  • Visit Diamond Head State Monument. This iconic volcanic crater is a must-see when visiting Waikiki. Hike to the top for stunning views of the city and coastline.
  • Shop at Ala Moana Center. This massive open-air shopping mall is one of the largest in the world. You’ll find everything from high-end designer stores to local Hawaiian boutiques.
  • Watch the sunset from Waikiki Beach. Every evening, locals and visitors alike flock to Waikiki Beach to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. It’s a truly magical experience.


What is the best time of year to go scuba diving in Waikiki?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on a number of factors, including your own preferences and the weather conditions at the time of year you plan to visit. In general, the best time to go diving in Waikiki is probably between mid-April to end of June and again from October to September. 

During these months, you have great weather conditions while Waikiki is not too crowded. When it’s summer in Hawaii, temperatures are generally higher. Meanwhile, rainfall is less. While July and August would be the best climate of all months, Waikiki is full of tourists, which is why planning a little bit around those months makes for a better experience.

What do I need to bring with me on a scuba diving trip in Waikiki?

When packing for your Waikiki scuba diving trip, be sure to bring along all the necessary gear. This includes a BCD, regulator, fins, mask, snorkel, and wet suit. You will also want to bring any accessories you want to take on your dives, such as a dive knife and a dive flag. Finally, don’t forget to pack a rash guard, a cap and sunscreen!

Of course, you can also rent gear at one of the dive shops mentioned above.

How deep will I be able to dive in Waikiki?

The average depth of the water in Waikiki is about 30 feet, but you can easily go deeper if you want. The maximum depth is around 90 feet, but most dives are done between 40 and 60 feet. Of course, the depth can vary depending on the tide and other conditions.

What kind of fish will I see while scuba diving in Waikiki?

While scuba diving in Waikiki, you will have the chance to see a variety of fish, including:

  • Hawaiian triggerfish
  • Yellow tang
  • Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Hawaii’s state fish)
  • Reef triggerfish
  • Ornate butterflyfish
  • Milletseed butterflyfish
  • Raccoon butterflyfish
  • Blue-green chromis
  • Saddle wrasse
  • Anthias (various species)

Where is Waikiki Located?

Waikiki is situated on the south shore of Oahu in Hawaii. It’s about 2.5 miles from downtown Honolulu and approximately a 30-minute drive from the airport. Waikiki Beach is world-famous for its sandy shores, crystal-clear water, and stunning sunsets.

Is scuba diving in Waikiki good?

Yes, scuba diving in Waikiki is good! The water is clear and there are plenty of fish to see. Plus, the beaches are beautiful and the weather is usually perfect for diving.

How much does scuba diving in Waikiki cost?

Scuba diving in Waikiki can cost as little as $50 for a single tank dive, or as much as $150+ for a day of diving with multiple tanks. The average price for a scuba diving trip in Waikiki is around $120 per person. This includes the cost of equipment rental, boat charter, and guides.

What type of climate does Waikiki have?

Waikiki is located in Honolulu, Hawaii and has a tropical climate. The average temperature in Waikiki is 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The water temperature in Waikiki is usually around 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the water temperature in Waikiki?

The water temperature in Waikiki generally ranges from 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is warm enough to dive without a wet suit, but you may want to consider one if you are diving during the winter months.

Do I need a diving certificate to scuba dive in Waikiki?

In short, no. You do not need a diving certificate to scuba dive in Waikiki. First time scuba divers above the age of 12 can go on shallow (up to 40 feet) Discover Scuba dives.

While a diving certificate may be required if you want to dive at certain dive sites around the world, there are many scuba diving operators in Waikiki that cater to first-time divers and do not require certification. However, we always recommend getting certified before your trip so that you can get the most out of your scuba diving experience.

Are there sharks in Waikiki?

Yes, there are sharks in Waikiki. While most of these sharks are harmless reef sharks, there have been occasional sightings of tiger sharks and hammerhead sharks.

However, these sightings are very rare and there has never been a reported attack on a human by a shark in Waikiki. So while you should always be aware of the possibility of encountering a shark while scuba diving in Waikiki, it is not something that you need to be overly concerned about.

What are the pros and cons of scuba diving in Waikiki?

Here are some pros and cons of scuba diving in Waikiki:


  • Diving in Waikiki is a great way to see some amazing underwater creatures, even if visibility isn’t always perfect. Turtles, eels, sharks, and other fish are all common sightings.
  • The water temperature is usually warm (around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit), which makes for a very comfortable dive.
  • There are many different dive sites to choose from, so you can always find one that suits your skill level and interests.


  • Visibility can be poor at times, making it difficult to see some of the smaller creatures or anything further than a few feet away.
  • The waves can be strong at certain times of the year, which can make diving conditions more difficult.

Which is better scuba diving destination, Waikiki or Cancun?

Let’s start with Waikiki. This famous beach in Hawaii is known for its crystal-clear water and abundant marine life. There are over 30 dive sites to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that suits your skill level. In addition, the average water temperature is a comfortable 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now let’s take a look at Cancun. This Mexican resort town is located on the Yucatan Peninsula, which is home to some of the best scuba diving in the world. The waters here are filled with colorful coral reefs and an abundance of fish. You can also find several wrecks to explore. And like Waikiki, the average water temperature is a comfortable 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, which destination is better for scuba diving – Waikiki or Cancun? It’s really a matter of personal preference. Both destinations offer great diving conditions and an abundance of marine life to explore.

Final Thoughts

After reading this guide, we hope you feel confident and excited to go scuba diving in Waikiki! This activity is truly a must-do while in Hawaii, and with the right preparation it can be an incredibly fun and safe experience.

Before your dive, make sure to review the safety guidelines with your instructor and ask any questions you may have. Once you’re in the water, remember to equalize often to avoid ear pain, and don’t forget to have your log book signed when you’re finished! Most importantly, relax and enjoy yourself! Scuba diving is an amazing way to explore the underwater world and get up close and personal with Hawaii’s incredible marine life. And when you’re not scuba diving, there are plenty of other things to do. Whether you’re snorkeling off the beach or taking a guided tour, we hope you have a fantastic time enjoying all that Waikiki has to offer.

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