Laurels

Best Local Tour Guides
2022

The Best Local Tour Guides
Here Are The Top Local Tour Guides
Dolphins and You

Dolphins and You

Dolphins and You is a tour company in Honolulu, Hawaii. For more than 30 years the firm has shared Hawaiian culture and natural marine adventures with tourists, becoming the first Hawaiian state-permitted wild dolphin swimming tour. Tours begin by reciting a chant to the gods of the sea for a safe trip with plentiful dolphins. Visitors then swim with dolphins, snorkel with tropical fish, kayak and paddleboard. Trips end with the crew's hula show and group dancing.

Honolulu, HI 96815

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Website
Wild Side Specialty Tours

Wild Side Specialty Tours

Wild Side Hawaii is a boat tour agency offering educational, environmentally conscious marine tours in the Honolulu area. Tours are led by marine biologists who are passionate about wildlife and eager to share their knowledge. Services range from the Best Of The West tour, where guests swim with dolphins and snorkel through reefs, to whale-watching tours. Guests are provided with snorkeling gear, drinks, and lunch, and they're encouraged to assist the crew in documenting wildlife for conservation purposes.

Waianae, HI 96792

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Website
Segway of Hawaii-Kailua

Segway of Hawaii-Kailua

Segway of Hawaii-Kailua has been a local tour company in Kailua for over five years. The family-run group aims to provide an eco-friendly alternative to car and bus tours with fun, safe, and green Segway tours. Guides speak both English and Japanese and take visitors on the Kailua Bay & Lanikai Beach Tour, the Kailua Aloha Tour, the Kailua Historical & Nature Tour, and the VIP Segway Tour, which offers a combo package of different key spots. Tourists can also opt for the Private Segway Glide Tour, which can be fully customized per the client's desires and can include scavenger hunts, obstacle courses, and Segway polo. Segway of Hawaii-Kailua can also make special arrangements for business parties, birthdays, and family outings, and those interested can also purchase a Segway from the company as well. Segway of Hawaii-Kailua won a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor in 2014, and all guests must complete an orientation training before heading out on a tour.

Kailua, HI 96734

Website

Website
The Surf Bus

The Surf Bus

The Surf Bus handles local tours for visitors to the area of Haleiwa. The family-run team offers a taste of genuine North Shore living on the beaches of Oahu with local guides who live the life every day. Visitors can take a sightseeing/history tour along the coast, stop at famous beaches including Pipeline and Sunset Beach as well as the town of Haleiwa and can then decide to bike ride, snorkel, surf, bodyboard, kayak, paddleboard, or just relax on the beach. Customers can also opt for a surfing or stand up paddle lesson with a licensed instructor, take a nature walk to a waterfall for a swim, or even take a shark dive. All activities are self-guided, but equipment, locations, and safety briefings are provided, and pricing is available on The Surf Bus' website along with a gallery of photos. The Surf Bus is a Member of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as well.

Haleiwa, HI 96712

Website

Website
Royal Star Hawaii

Royal Star Hawaii

Royal Star Hawaii has been offering local tours in Honolulu for over 20 years. The “Aloha on Wheels®” group provides motorcoach tours and destination services via a first-rate fleet including Deluxe Royal Gold Motorcoaches, Deluxe Royal Gold Temsa Mini Coaches, Royal Silver Motorcoaches, and an Executive Car Division. The company makes driver safety a priority with ongoing quality control checks, and all mechanics complete programs such as ASE certification and MCI factory training. Royal Star Hawaii boasts being the first and only service to offer a fleet that is fully seat-belted along with an On-Time Guarantee® and also offers motorcoaches with on-board bathrooms as well as handicapped accommodations. Airport transports, charters for group outings and weddings, and Lei Greeting services are also available, and visitors can book an Arizona Memorial, City & USS Missouri Tour right on the company's site. Royal Star Hawaii is associated with the United Motorcoach Association and the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, and its parent company, Stars of Paradise Tours & Attractions, offers award-winning cruises, shows, and events as well.

Honolulu, HI 96819

Website

Website

Expert Answers To Common Questions:

  1. Introduction
  2. What is a tour guide?
  3. What is the difference between escorted and guided tours?
  4. What is a guided city tour?
  5. What happens on a guided tour?
  6. Why are guided tours good?
  7. What is a private tour guide?
  8. Can you hire a personal tour guide?
  9. Are self-guided tours worth it?
  10. Are guided tours worth it?
  11. How to find a local tour guide?
  12. How much do local tour guides cost?
  13. How much should we tip our tour guide?
  14. What is a ghost tour?
  15. What is an architectural tour?
  16. How do winery tours work?
  17. What has to be tackled during pre-tour?
  18. How much do tour guides make?
Q: Introduction
A:
If you're looking to get the most out of your vacation experience, then hiring a tour guide can be a smart choice. Learning about new places and seeing how the locals live are just a few of the reasons travelers hire tour guides. There are local tours catering to almost any interest, too, from browsing art galleries to adventuring in the great outdoors. Whether you'd like to tour with a group or prefer one-on-one guidance from your own private escort, you've got plenty of options to choose from. Here are answers to common questions about what to expect on different kinds of tours and how to choose the best local tour for your travel plans.
Q: What is a tour guide?
A:
Tour guides provide information that helps travelers learn more about the place they're visiting. Guides can give tours of museums, scenic locations, historical monuments, and many other points of interest. Some give walking tours, while others hold tours on a bus or boat.
Q: What is the difference between escorted and guided tours?
A:
Escorted tours are an all-inclusive experience led by a tour director who oversees the trip from beginning to end. They often include transportation, hotel stays, sightseeing activities, tickets to attractions, and meals. Guided tours are provided by various local representatives and don't typically escort travelers to each destination, allowing for more flexibility throughout the day.
Q: What is a guided city tour?
A:
Guided city tours are for travelers who want to professional guidance as they explore a city. They're often given by locals who are knowledgeable about the area and can help visitors find restaurants, shops, and other interesting places off the beaten path. These tours can also take travelers to the most popular attractions a city has to offer.
Q: What happens on a guided tour?
A:
On a tour, guides describe the location in detail, explain its importance, and answer questions visitors may have. Local guides may tell personal stories about what it's like to live there, giving travelers a unique perspective they can't get anywhere else. Guides also look out for the safety of guests and make sure the group stays organized so no one gets left behind or lost.
Q: Why are guided tours good?
A:
For many travelers, exploring a new place on their own can be a bit overwhelming. Guided tours remove the guesswork by showing visitors the top sights in a streamlined and efficient way. These tours can also steer people away from dangerous areas and help provide a sense of safety for visitors.
Q: What is a private tour guide?
A:
Private tour guides give tours to one party at a time, allowing for more customized service and flexible scheduling. Guests can choose which sites they'd like to see and how much time to spend at each destination. Private tours are often taken by families who need special accommodations for small children, the elderly, or the disabled.

Q: Can you hire a personal tour guide?
A:
Personal tour guides essentially offer the same services as a private tour guide. It's possible to hire a personal tour guide in many areas, particularly in places known as popular tourist destinations. Hiring a personal tour guide can be more expensive than a group tour, though, so it's not always ideal for travelers on a budget.
Q: Are self-guided tours worth it?
A:
Self-guided tours arrange an itinerary for travelers to follow, but don't usually include transportation between sites or a hired guide. They're best in places with well-established travel routes, such as set trails in national parks. This type of tour can be rewarding for the adventurous traveler who enjoys exploring an area independently.
Q: Are guided tours worth it?
A:
Guided tours can be worth it depending on the destination and your travel goals. They're  beneficial if you're not sure which places are worth visiting or if you'd like to check out a variety of destinations in the most efficient way. Guided tours also bring peace of mind by keeping you away from potentially dangerous areas.
Q: How to find a local tour guide?
A:
Local tour guides don't always advertise their services online, so many travelers may be unsure about how to hire one. Reputable tour guides can often be found by asking hotel staff, other travelers, or local tourist agencies for recommendations.
Q: How much do local tour guides cost?
A:
The price to hire a local tour guide varies widely depending on the destination, length of the trip, and whether the tour is given to a group or privately. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $100 per hour. There may be additional costs for transportation and baggage handling.
Q: How much should we tip our tour guide?
A:
It's generally a good practice to tip 10 to 20% of the cost of the tour. For bus tours, tip the driver a minimum of $1 per person per day. Tipping isn't normally expected for guides at government sites and national parks.
Q: What is a ghost tour?
A:
Ghost tours allow travelers to learn about locations with a history of hauntings and paranormal activity. Not all ghost tours are frightening; there are many options suitable for children. Tours often include access to ghost-hunting equipment, such as infrared cameras and dowsing rods. Popular destinations for ghost tours include graveyards, old hotels, parks, and historic downtowns.
Q: What is an architectural tour?
A:
An architectural tour can be an exciting way to learn about the most iconic and beautiful buildings in a city. These tours are available on foot, by bus, or by boat. Architectural boat tours are especially popular in waterfront cities such as Chicago, Miami, and San Diego.
Q: How do winery tours work?
A:
Winery tours include a tour of the vineyards and a demonstration of how the wine is made in the production area. Afterward, visitors are given samples of wine to taste, and meals may also be provided on some tours. Tours can last anywhere from two hours to two weeks depending on how many wineries travelers want to visit.
Q: What has to be tackled during pre-tour?
A:
Before the tour, guides should study the route and learn as much as possible about the location so they're prepared to answer questions guests might have. It's ideal to have backup destinations planned in case the original site happens to be closed or inaccessible. Before departing, go over the guest list and review the rules and regulations of any areas you plan to visit.
Q: How much do tour guides make?
A:
Wages for tour guides can vary depending on location and experience. On average, tour guides earn approximately $17 per hour, plus up to $75 per day in tips. Guides are typically paid more in areas where licensing is required.