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Snorkeling on the Big Island

Have you ever been swimming or snorkeling on the Big Island and wondered, “What’s lurking below me? Is there anything that could cut my feet? How far beneath me is the ocean floor? What dark creatures lurk, waiting for the perfect opportunity to drag me below…

We don’t mean to be dramatic, but we’ve had to overcome our own ocean fears and we’ll let you in on a secret . . .  The Big Island has some of the best snorkeling in the world! Imagine schools of little fish in every color fathomable, swimming through the coral where bright red sea urchins are hiding. The water here is crystal clear, beautiful and blue. Every oceanic detail can be seen! Hawaii’s area of the Pacific Ocean has the perfect temperature to swim in thanks to the amazing climate. All you need to do is gear up and get ready to go!

In fact, snorkeling on the Big Island is a great way to face your fears and learn that the ocean is a magical and beautiful place!

Big Island Snorkel

Snorkeling on the Big Island – where to start?

If you’re eager to go snorkeling on the Big Island but don’t have the necessary equipment, there are many, well-stocked snorkeling gear rental shops all over the island. The Kailua-Kona area has some of the most budget friendly options, probably because they are located on the west side, which is where many popular snorkeling spots are due to the clear water and the colorful fish and other captivating creatures. It’s certainly worth exploring the ocean blue for an especially unique view. Most places offer either daily rentals which cost around $10 per day, and weekly rentals which can be as low as $22 or as high as $68.  However, if you decide to go on a snorkel boat tour, the gear is provided!

The island also carries many fine boating tour companies that offer the best snorkeling tours on the Big Island! Instructors are known to be very friendly, helpful, and attentive. They provide a nice variety of snorkeling trips such as: “Kaelakekua Bay” excursions and night time manta-ray swimming opportunities! These instructed tours are all around $100 for 3-4 hours, unless you prefer a private charter which goes up to $1200 for 3-5 hours! Each snorkeling cruise offers its own unique experience.

Where to go snorkeling on the Big Island?

You can find easily accessible snorkeling sites if you prefer an independent snorkeling adventure. Kahalu’u is one option. The water all around Hawaii is wonderful, and this area is no different. Kahalu’u waters are home to a plethora of sea life where you can spot little Yellow Tang fish, an assortment of the always interesting Triggerfish, and the striped Manini fish. If you head to Honaunau Bay, you have a very good chance of swimming with the sea turtles! If you’re lucky, there may even be some dolphins nearby.

Another important snorkeling area to investigate is Kaelakekua Bay, some of the best snorkeling on the Big Island and in Hawaii! Captain Cook actually died at this bay, so if you find his monument (difficult to miss), you can certainly find the most ideal place to begin your snorkel escapade. Marine mammals, turtles, plenty of fish, and some truly compelling coral life is just waiting to be discovered!  

Be careful as you go on your Big Island snorkeling adventure

A very important tip before you go! Try your hardest to avoid disturbing the sea coral and other underwater life. The oils from your skin can damage or kill coral with the slightest touch, so don’t try to handle it and pay attention to where you are standing!

The world on the ocean floor is fascinating no matter which side of the island you choose to explore. Hawaii has some wondrous clear and calm waters, and a vast variety of vivid marine life