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“Oahu... My Way (with help from Clay)”

Custom Island Tours
Ranked #5 of 347 Tours in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Custom Island Tours provides customizable private tours of the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Our 8 hour tour of the island usually includes Hawaiian cultural sites and history, and geological history of the island. A favorite activity on our tour is snorkeling with turtles. We have 2 other tours, the Honolulu City Lights Tour, and an Astronomy Tour.
Reviewed April 4, 2018 via mobile

Following some fastidious research we settled on Custom Island Tours based on Trip Advisor ratings and the agility of the itinerary. We wanted our trip to be perfect and our way.

Clay picked us up on time and spent a little bit of time to better understand our preferences and gave us a range of options. We were keen not to do typical tourist traps and see the best of this beautiful island and some activities.

We saw seals, dolphins and turtles close up, hiking at Hanauma Bay, beautiful secluded beaches, snorkelling at Turtle beach, great sight seeing and swimming at Waimea Valley to name a few. We had shrimp for lunch at Fumi's which was absolutely delicious.

Clay was an absolute champion. He loves life, Hawaii and his job with passion. He was really engaging with all my family and went the extra mile to make sure we all felt special. He provided informative commentary that's was interesting and entertaining and took us to places off the beaten track and only locals would know. We never were rushed and was keen for us to tick off all our "to do" items.

I don't understand why people would pay so much for those large tourist buses when you can have your own private tour customised to meet your own preferences.

I recommend Custom Island Tours and suggest you ask for Clay. You won't be disappointed.

Thank i8donuts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"brie"
in 63 reviews
"north shore"
in 92 reviews
"shrimp"
in 46 reviews
"private tour"
in 49 reviews
"dole plantation"
in 43 reviews
"day tour"
in 41 reviews
"turtle bay"
in 16 reviews
"memory card"
in 7 reviews
"great tour"
in 38 reviews
"waimea falls"
in 10 reviews
"his knowledge"
in 19 reviews
"macadamia farm"
in 7 reviews
"byodo in temple"
in 8 reviews
"took pictures"
in 9 reviews
"oahu island"
in 7 reviews
"highly recommend this company"
in 8 reviews
"shaved ice"
in 10 reviews
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152 - 156 of 670 reviews

Reviewed April 3, 2018

We were a group of 14 travelers, and did the Grand circle of the island in 2 véhicules.
We had a great tour of the Island with Ajay and Che, 2 great guys, with a terrific attitude. Kind, always going the extra mile to make sure we had the best day of our life. They showed us the best place, and adjust with our preference of places to see.

Thank Sylvie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 1, 2018

(or: Our Awesome North Shore Tour with Tyco)

We had been eyeing this tour since before we left on our week and a half long trip to O'ahu, but weren't sure we'd know what to do, and so decided to book our trip after a few days there.

We decided to visit the North Shore, based on multiple suggestions from locals. Custom Island Tours seemed the best way to do so without the hassle of the hour long drive there and back during Spring Break on the island.

We booked our Wednesday trip on a Tuesday afternoon, and described on the form that we wanted to see a few points along the shoreline, grab a bite of food, and snorkle at Turtle Bay. Maybe check out Dole plantation for an hour.

Our guide arrived about 25 minutes late, and took us first to Dole. He wasn't the most talkative guide, and Dole wasn't our top choice, but we hopped out and the kids (12 and 15) enjoyed the maze and we checked out the seriously touristy (but not without its charms) stores and grounds. (recommend: Dole's Pineapple gummy bears!)

Then the trouble happened. Our driver was feeling extremely unwell and told us he was unable to complete the day. Stranded at Dole, we wondered what would happen, after a disappointing start. Surprisingly, what happened next made the rest of our tour the best day we had on our vacation.

Within 20 minutes of hearing our driver was 'out of commission', Custom Island Tours called up and sent over its top folks - who were on their day off. Ajay arrived first and bought the kids ice cream and got us coffees. Then Tyco arrived and continued our tour as our guide. Carey, the owner of Custom Island Tours also joined us from across the island to make sure everything was taken care of for us. All told we lost about an hour, and Tyco more than made up for it.

Tyco quickly caught up with our plans, and as he got to know us, added a ton of small stops he knew we'd really like and helped us make great decisions on how to spend our time. We headed to gorgeous Waimea Beach Park, but we opted not to hike in all the way to the waterfall as we wanted more snorkle time. We stopped to see HUGE turtles feasting on seaweed at Three Tables, and also stopped to enjoy the most gorgeous beach we've ever seen at Banzai Pipeline, which the kids absolutely loved. (If we decide to learn to surf, we're coming back here - the waves are incredible!). Tyco gave us fun and interesting background on the small North Shore town, and showed us the hotspot hangouts of O'ahu luminaries and surfers.

We headed past Kawela Bay on our way to Turtle Bay, and went to Fumi's Kahuku Shrimp - which was hands down the best shrimp I've ever had! My fussy kids had the Chicken Katsu and the Cod, but couldn't resist trying my garlic shrimp and are now willing to eat shrimp! (YES!) Highly recommend.

We returned to Turtle Bay for snorkeling and had a lovely time. The gear was in good condition and we had exactly the right amount of time - never felt rushed. After, we continued our tour along the shoreline to a beautiful photo spot at Kaneohe Bay, and finished our day by driving up the extinct volcano to Nu'uanu Lookout for a knockout sunset view.

We felt really well taken care of, and appreciated that Tyco was happy to make up the extra time we had lost early in the day, and also that he really did customize the tour for us as a family - this was not an 'out of the box' experience. Whether it was Hawaii-5-0 film locations, famous surfer's elementary schools, secret hotspots, historical lore, or dream theory - we had great rapport with Tyco! He's very engaging and has a great laid-back attitude - even on what was supposed to be his 'day off'. We also really appreciated the follow up offer of a personal lunch with Carey, which we didn't take up since we had other plans. Great customer service!

Good to know before you go: My main suggestions are quite minor - I suggest you describe flipper sizes for your group. Mine were too large, as my 12 yr old daughter has big feet and used the only 7/8s. Turtle Bay was very mild, so it made no real difference. Bring cash for Fumi's, if you get to go. Their ATM didn't work when we arrived. Turtle Bay didn't have many fish or turtles to see while snorkeling, but was a good spot for beginners and pleasant for a few hours. Definitely talk about your interests with your guide - they have great advice and know how to help you make the most of your time.

Thank Rebeccah M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
quarkcsj, Owner at Custom Island Tours, responded to this reviewResponded April 4, 2018

Thank you for the nice review. Nainoa used to drive for us but took time off when his course load at University of Hawaii got too heavy. However he let us know that he could work during Spring Break. This Summer he is off to Officer Candidacy School for the Marines. This tour was toward the end of the month of what turned out to be record breaking month for us. We gave 122 private tours in March. So by luck, one of them were bound to go South, this was the one. I'm glad to hear that Tyco took good care of you; I knew he would, he's one of the best. Again thank you for the kind review.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 31, 2018 via mobile

My mom and I were so happy with our tour around Oahu with Jake today. He was super knowledgeable on the history of Hawaii in Oahu and beyond. We learned about interesting landmarks that we would have other not been aware of otherwise. Jake showed us so many beautiful spots for some great photos and some tasty spots to grab a bite/snack.

It was a rainy day, but we had such a good time the rain didn’t get on the way of our enjoyment. I would definitely recommend asking for Jake as he went above and beyond to make our day exploring special.

Thank Barbara P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed March 30, 2018

If anyone is booking a tour of Honolulu. I would highly recommend using this company. It's hard to figure out what company to go with because there are plenty of companies in this high traffic tourist location. I'm so glad my friends and I had booked Custom Island Tours. They had sent the best driver out to us named BRIE. She was definitely so knowledgeable about the local spots and history of the island.

She went above and beyond to make sure our rainy day was so much better Brie had taken us to the Dole pineapple plantation, Pearl harbor, Byodo-in Temple, etc.. But those are the tourist attraction places.

She had went out her way to make sure we had experienced the best of both worlds. She took us to the local food places to find the best poke, FUMAS to the best shrimp platters you could get, and even Desserts at Teds (my my that coconut pie was to die for) Wish we had one here on the east coast. If you’re a big foodie like us! she is definitely the one person that knows the good spots.

The best part was she was very attentive to how and what we wanted to see. Brie decided to make the tour more personal and wanted our take on what we wanted to see. She made sure we try to hit all the spots on that list. It’s hard to please everyone but she was definitely good at making sure we was all satisfied with the places we chose to see.

She offer her input for how to save time and what was needed to make sure the places wasn't close prior to us visiting. She made sure we had the best route and time management.

As for the company: They had our driver picked us up promptly at the hotel and also didn't really limit her to a set time to be back. The company was very lenient on the freedom our driver had to show us around. no rush and definitely not pushy.

Payment: very quick and easily booked though the hotel we stayed at.

Overall: The trip was amazing. Great friends, great service, and amazing experiences.

~Mohalo~ Custom Island tour and Brie for everything. We couldn't have asked for anyone better as a guide for this trip.

3  Thank Tony L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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