Turtle Canyon is an underwater haven located off the coast of Waikiki in Honolulu, Hawaii. It’s a place where the ocean unveils its secrets, and visitors are treated to an awe-inspiring spectacle of marine life. A snorkeling and diving paradise, Turtle Canyon is famed for its resident population of Hawaiian green sea turtles and its vibrant coral reefs that thrive in the warm, clear waters of the Pacific.

The name Turtle Canyon reflects the underwater landscape characterized by canyons and crevices amidst the coral reefs, providing shelter for a plethora of marine species. With its rich biodiversity, stunning geology, and cultural significance, Turtle Canyon stands as a testament to the beauty and complexity of marine ecosystems.


Turtle Canyon is situated approximately 1.5 miles off the coast of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. Accessible only by boat, it’s a popular destination for day trips and excursions.

How to Get to Turtle Canyon

To get to Turtle Canyon, you will need to book a boat tour, as it is not accessible by swimming from the shore. Numerous tour operators in Waikiki offer snorkeling and diving trips to Turtle Canyon. It is advisable to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Map and Navigational Guide

For those who are piloting their own boats or wish to have a geographical perspective, an interactive map and navigational guide can be invaluable. Some tour operators provide maps as part of their package, or you can obtain maps and nautical charts from local marine supply stores.


The geology of Turtle Canyon is as captivating as its marine life. Formed through volcanic activity and natural erosion over millions of years, the area features unique underwater structures.

Formation of Turtle Canyon

Turtle Canyon was formed over millennia through volcanic activity, with subsequent erosion by ocean currents and waves creating the canyons and crevices. The natural depressions in the ocean floor allowed for the accumulation of sediments and the growth of coral reefs.

Coral Reefs and Marine Structures

Turtle Canyon’s coral reefs are a mosaic of colors and shapes. Comprised mainly of hard corals, they form intricate structures that offer shelter and feeding grounds for a multitude of marine species. The reefs are sensitive to environmental changes, and conservation efforts are in place to protect them.

Marine Life

The marine life in Turtle Canyon is diverse and abundant, thanks to the nourishing environment provided by the coral reefs and the geology of the canyons.

Green Sea Turtles

The Hawaiian green sea turtle, or honu, is the highlight of Turtle Canyon. These majestic creatures are often seen swimming gracefully amongst the reefs or resting on the sea bed. They are a protected species, and it is essential to observe them respectfully without touching or disturbing them.

Fish Species

Turtle Canyon is home to a myriad of fish species ranging from colorful reef fish such as butterflyfish and angelfish to larger species like manta rays and white-tip reef sharks. The variety and volume of fish in the area make it a vibrant and exciting place for underwater exploration.

Coral and Other Inhabitants

Besides corals and fish, Turtle Canyon’s reefs host an array of marine life including sea stars, crabs, octopuses, and mollusks. Each of these species plays a vital role in the ecosystem, contributing to the biodiversity and health of the reefs.

Turtle Canyon is more than just a diving spot; it’s an experience that brings you face to face with the wonders of the ocean. Its rich marine life, mesmerizing geology, and the tranquil presence of the green sea turtles make it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking to connect with the natural world.