Big Island, Hawaii
Snorkeling

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Popular Snorkeling in Big Island, Hawaii

Our most recommended Big Island, Hawaii Snorkeling

Big Island: Eco-Friendly Twilight Manta Ray Adventure

1. Big Island: Eco-Friendly Twilight Manta Ray Adventure

Experience an exciting 75-minute nighttime snorkeling expedition. Get up close and personal with stunning manta rays as they gracefully soar through the water. Your underwater adventure will take place in clear warm waters near protected reefs abundant with marine life.   After the sun sets, head off into the nighttime waters to see a fascinating "manta ray ballet" along the Kona coast near the mouth of Keauhou Bay. This point of departure is one of the island’s most successful and consistent manta ray viewing locations. Your snorkeling guide will outfit you with all the necessary gear needed to embark on your experience including snorkel gear, wetsuits, and flotation devices. After a quick safety briefing, plunge into the dark waters and be captivated by these graceful creatures as they feast on plankton. Grip onto the flotation swim ring with high-illumination blue water lights that attract the plankton on which the mantas feed. Soon afterward, rays will glide through the water almost at arm's length opening their enormous mouths to feast. After your remarkable underwater adventure, return to your boat and warm up with a nighttime snack of hot chocolate and cookies

Hawaii: Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook's Monument

2. Hawaii: Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook's Monument

Set sail along the beautiful Kona coast on a 3-hour snorkeling trip. At historic Kealakekua Bay, you’ll see the Captain Cook Monument. Snorkel in pristine waters along the reef in the marine sanctuary. With your marine camera, take photos of the colorful fish, pods of spinner dolphins, and the landscaped ledges of ancient lava flows. Enjoy site briefings and snorkeling tips from the crew members. Life jackets, floatation noodles, viewfinder boards, masks, fins, and snorkels are all provided. The crew will help you enter and exit the water if needed and will provide fish identification cards. They will even take you on a guided snorkeling tour.

Big Island: 3 Hour Waikoloa Snorkeling & Sailing Adventure

3. Big Island: 3 Hour Waikoloa Snorkeling & Sailing Adventure

The iconic Spirit of Aloha provides the ultimate in sailing comfort and snorkeling fun. Choose from morning or afternoon excursions, where you are likely to see dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life unique to the warm waters of Hawaii. Explore parts of the Big Island Kona coast on the Waikoloa and Kohala-Kona coastline aboard a 54-foot sailing catamaran. Dolphins, green sea turtles and seasonal whales are some of the creatures that can be seen. Board from Anaehoomalu Bay to snorkel, sail, enjoy and relax. The custom-designed sunset-orange and maile lei sail is a stunning contrast to the azure Pacific as it sails along the blue Pacific ocean. Itineraries include morning and afternoon snorkel sails, and sunset cruises. The beautiful 53-foot (16-m), custom-built catamaran offers a smooth, comfortable, and relaxing ride. There is onboard bar, plenty of shade, 2 restrooms, ample seating both indoors and outside, fresh-water shower rinse, and a sound system. Lifeguard-certified, in-water guides are there for your service and comfort. During whale season December through April, majestic humpbacks are likely to be spotted. Snacks and beverages served aboard.

Big Island: South Kona Snorkeling and Coastline Exploration

4. Big Island: South Kona Snorkeling and Coastline Exploration

Prepare for a thrilling day exploring 3 unique snorkeling locations in South Kona with time to take a break from swimming for lunch with breathtaking views. Begin your snorkeling adventure by heading to the turquoise waters and vibrant reef of the 315-acre marine sanctuary of Kealakekua Bay, with your crew members highlighting interesting sights along the way. Once there, experience a vibrant reef filled with coral and schools of tropical fish. On occasion, even catch glimpses of spinner dolphins swimming nearby. After snorkeling, savor a gourmet deli lunch in the shade of the canopy with the monument to Captain Cook as a backdrop and the cliffs of the bay soaring above you. Next, jet off to a new location with visually spectacular snorkeling opportunities and cultural significance, Pu’uhonua O Honaunau, the “Place of Refuge.” Beautiful Honaunau Bay is fronted by large, smooth, and lava rock flats and fascinating gardens of coral.  For your third snorkeling stop, let your expert captain transport you a location that even island locals have yet to see. At this remote location, snorkel at a remote black sand beach, marvel at a stone arch, or maybe admire a spectacular lava rock formation created thousands of years ago. Explore sea caves and lava tubes in a safe, exciting, and maneuverable vessel designed to get you up close and personal with the coast. Rest assured that the local operator is proudly part of the Hawaii Ecotourism Association and seeks to create a culture protecting and promoting healthy oceans through many sustainability efforts.

Big Island: Captain Cook Sightseeing & Snorkel Expedition

5. Big Island: Captain Cook Sightseeing & Snorkel Expedition

Discover the natural beauty and history of Kealakekua Bay on this eco-friendly snorkeling adventure. This stunning 315-acre marine sanctuary boasts protected waters, making it the best place in Hawaii for snorkelers of all levels of experience. Jump in the turquoise waters and marvel at the tropical fish, colorful coral, and marine life. Keep your eyes peeled—you might even catch a glimpse of playful Hawaiian spinner dolphins. After a full hour of snorkeling, let your friendly captain and crew transport you and your small group to the historic Captain Cook's Monument. Hear about the dramatic history of this location as you gaze toward the cove where the white stone monument stands.  On your way back, enjoy snacks and beverages while you ride up the coast learning about local legends and history.   Maneuver into the sea caves at the base of Hualalai, hugging the coast and detailing the culturally significant and geologically fascinating features along the way. Watch for dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and even herds of thousands of goats. Afterwards, you’ll head back to the dock, having seen some of the most stunning natural beauty that Hawaii has to offer.

Big Island: Eco-Friendly Snorkeling Expereince and BBQ

6. Big Island: Eco-Friendly Snorkeling Expereince and BBQ

You will need to arrive at 7:30 AM for your 8 AM departure and cruise through protected marine sanctuaries. Cruise ten miles down the Kona Coast to the snorkel destination, a protected marine sanctuary. Relax, you will have over two hours of water time to enjoy the marine life, underwater topography, and coral reef. Cruise in comfort! The boat’s main lower deck features a large shaded cabin with cushioned seating, tables, a premium bar, three restrooms, and freshwater showers. You won’t go hungry. Enjoy a light breakfast of tropical fruits, assorted pastries, bagels, juices, teas, and Kona coffee. While you're taking in the fun, the crew prepares lunch. After snorkeling, belly up to a full-service premium cash bar, featuring a large selection of liquors, mixes, and local brews. This boat hosts one of the only blenders on the Kona Coast. Your mask, fins, snorkel, and prescription masks will be provided to you. For beginners, a friendly “Snorkel 101 Class” is available from the lifeguard-trained crew. A host of flotation toys, including noodles, vests, inner tubes, and even “Sea View Boards” for those who don’t want to get their face wet. They even include the use of stand-up paddleboards and an array of other flotation devices at no additional cost. Kids of all ages love the 20’ waterslide and high dive platform. If you want to kick back and do nothing, check out the floating “relaxation station”, the crew will swim you out refreshments. More adventurous guests can rent a GoPro or wetsuit.

Hawaii: Pu'uhonua O Honaunau & Kealakekua Bay Snorkel Tour

7. Hawaii: Pu'uhonua O Honaunau & Kealakekua Bay Snorkel Tour

Embark on a unique snorkeling adventure along the Kona Coast on this 4-hour excursion. Take a boat to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau and Kealakekua Bay, where you will not only snorkel but also learn about the fascinating history of the places. Enjoy tasty tropical snacks and drinks along the way. Climb aboard a top-of-the-line, rigid-hull inflatable boat at the beautiful and historic Keauhou Bay and travel down the stunning Kona Coast. At the first stop, Pu’uhonua O Honaunau - the “Place of Refuge” - snorkel in pristine waters and see some of Hawaii's most beautiful reefs and sea life. Then, fuel up on tropical and local snacks on the way to your next destination: the marine sanctuary of Kealakekua Bay and home of the Captain Cook monument. Learn about the history of the bay before jumping into the crystal clear waters for another snorkel. On your way back to Keauhou Bay, your captain will ensure you get an up-close and personal experience with the sea caves, ancient lava tubes, and other unique features along the Kona Coast.

Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon and Black Sand Beach Snorkel

8. Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon and Black Sand Beach Snorkel

This is your opportunity to swim in a lagoon full of abundant sea life. Join your hosts on a fully guided and narrated beach snorkel tour along the pristine Hilo coastline. Make 2 snorkeling stops and also enjoy island snacks and juices. The volcanic beaches are renowned for their abundant sea turtle population, and the brackish water bays and lagoons are home to a wealth of sea life including octopus, eagle and manta rays, eels, corals, and tropical reef fish. Your experienced snorkel guide will teach you about the beautiful and lush surroundings, how the beaches and volcanic islands are made, and about the abundant marine world which lies below. Newcomers to snorkeling and children are welcome. Your trained guide will teach you the basics and be with you every step of the way to make sure you feel safe and comfortable. Children will be introduced to nature in a spectacular way.

Kona: Afternoon Catamaran Cruise with Snorkel and Snacks

9. Kona: Afternoon Catamaran Cruise with Snorkel and Snacks

Embark on a snorkeling adventure on a catamaran cruise out of Kona, Hawai'i. Marvel at the brilliant underwater world surrounding the coastline as you swim and snorkel in blue waters. Sit back and relax on the cruise, feeling the salty breeze and the sun on your skin. Head out from downtown Kailua Kona Pier on Hawai'i's west coast. Marvel at the coastline's diverse landscape, from black lava flows to lush mountain scenes. See pristine white sand beaches from the water and enjoy the vastness of the Pacific Ocean going on for miles. Once the catamaran has stopped, embark on your underwater snorkeling adventure. Use the wide steps to enter the water calmly, jump from the 15' high platform, or glide down the 20' waterslide for a more thrilling entry to the ocean. Once you've enjoyed snorkeling, try out a stand up paddle board or simply lounge onboard under the sun or in the shade, sipping on cool drinks and tucking into light snacks. Then head back to your starting point.

Honokohau: Kona Snorkel and Sail with Drinks and Snacks

10. Honokohau: Kona Snorkel and Sail with Drinks and Snacks

Head to the meeting point and step aboard a stunning 53-foot catamaran. Be greeted by the friendly captain and crew, then set off along the scenic Kona coastline.  Soak up stunning views of the shore and the ocean, and look out for dolphins, green sea turtles, and seasonal whales (December to April). Enjoy a stop to cool off in the crystal clear water, and go snorkeling in search of colorful fish and fascinating coral reef. Back onboard, enjoy a refreshing alcoholic drink and some tasty snacks. 

Frequently asked questions about Big Island, Hawaii Snorkeling

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Other Sightseeing Options in Big Island, Hawaii

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What people are saying about Big Island, Hawaii

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 101 reviews

The activity was so much fun! The boat was fast, making it fun to ride. Our guide was fantastic (Lauren, I believe). She was extremely knowledgeable about the history about the island and her enthusiasm was great! We weren’t able to snorkel at Captain Cook due to low visibility but it ended up being great because we went to an area without anyone else and were able to see plenty of fish and coral. We saw a ton of the island’s natural beauty and even saw manta rays on the ride back. Snacks were fruit, chips/cookies, and juice or water. I highly recommend this tour—you won’t regret it!

This was one of the highlights of our trip to the Big Island. Great crew, so friendly and helpful, and the boat was spacious and comfortable. The captain gave us some interesting history as we cruised along the coast. We saw dolphins, flying fish and had a great time snorkeling. They provided breakfast and a BBQ lunch, both were great! We would do it again in a heartbeat, and wish they had an all-day trip, 1/2 day was too short!

We did the afternoon tour so the snorkeling wasn’t awesome, but the experience was awesome. The crew was great, friendly, service-oriented and funny! I’d defiantly recommend this tour and crew. The slide and high jump into the ocean was an absolute hit with my kids (ages 7, 10, & 14). I would probably suggest the earlier tour for better snorkeling.

It blows your mind to be in the water surrounded by enormous manta ray. They bump into you and you can feel their enormous amount of power. Don’t miss it.

Our guide, Brooke, was friendly, helpful and patient. We enjoyed our experience!