Big Island Snorkeling and Scuba

Big Island Snorkeling and Scuba

There are few places in the world that can top Big Island snorkeling and scuba diving experiences. With clear blue waters, dazzling fish, and a variety of exotic sea creatures, the island offers impeccable underwater viewing for beginners and experts alike.

For a complete listing of Big Island snorkeling tours:



Hilo’s Leleiwi Beach and Richardson Beach Park are two locations that offer calm, clear waters for diving and Big Island snorkeling. Also notable are Anaehoomalu Beach, Hapuna Beach, and Samuel Spencer Beach Park off of Kohala. Still more popular yet is Kona, due to its superior visibility, waters that are protected by Mauna Loa, and a matchless sunset. But wherever you scuba or snorkel, you’ll almost certainly be greeted by schools of colorful fish and harmless manta rays, as you join them in their natural habitat.

As always, scuba divers and more seasoned snorkelers may want to charter a boat or join a tour, and head to more remote, deeper waters. There are countless diving and snorkeling companies on the island, all of which will ensure you’re 100% comfortable in the water while they teach you new skills, take you to the best dive spots, and if so desired, help you work toward your scuba certification.


Big Island Snorkeling

With clear, temperate waters surrounding it, and miles upon miles of beach access, the Big Island is a great place to go snorkeling or scuba diving. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, looking for a lesson or a full-on excursion, where there’s a will, there’s a way. 

 snorkeling on the Big Island

Deluxe Black-Sand Snorkel Cruise

Starting At: $147.00

Feast your eyes on some rare black sand during this snorkeling cruise! You’ll enjoy three-and-a-half hours of snorkeling fun, which includes not only the underwater sights, but the black sand beach, as well.


On the western coast of the Big Island, an awesome place to snorkel is at Kaunaoa Bay. The water is excessively calm, the beach is rarely crowded, and the sights below are worth writing home about. You’ll see all sorts of rock and coral formations, as well as goat fish, parrot fish, and surgeon fish. Plus, there are special evening tours that will light up the water and allow you to snorkel among the manta rays, which feed on the water’s abundant supply of plankton. 

snorkel with manta rays

Snorkel with Hawaii’s Manta Rays

Starting At: $93.70

Do what the Travel Channel calls one of the top ten things to do at least once during your lifetime: snorkel or scuba with Manta Rays. Just off the Kona Coast, you’ll sail into clear waters and plunge in to join the smooth-gliding rays.


Meanwhile, to the south is Kahaluu Beach, which is especially good for first-timers to Big Island snorkeling due to its shallow, glassy waters. Due to an ample supply of seaweed, this site is famous for attracting Hawaiian sea turtles, called honu by locals. It’s quite a remarkable experience to swim alongside these aquatic reptiles, which often exceed five feet in length and 400 pounds in weight! Similarly, Honaunau Bay is tremendous, both because of its proximity to the Puuhonua O Honaunau city of refuge, and additionally because of its massive coral formation. Here, you’ll see many of the fish mentioned earlier, not to mention sea turtles and moray eels. 


Big Island Scuba Diving

big island scuba

Scuba the Big Island – Two Tank Dive

Starting At: $177/Person

Head off the Big Island and into the surrounding ocean for a shot at some of the best diving spots on the planet. These dives are intense, so they’re for certified divers only.


Furthermore, instead of Big Island snorkeling, you can go Big Island scuba diving and explore the Pacific Ocean’s amazing depths. Off the Kona Coast are the Kaloko Arches, which make for a unique scuba experience. Down here, you’ll check out jaw-dropping, underwater topography—arches and canyons are prevalent—plus the octopi that like to inhabit the rocky terrain. Turtle Mound and Turtle Pinnacle are both excellent spots, as well, from which you can watch fish eating the algae off of the honu that swim through these “cleaning stations.” 


Check out this video on night diving with Hawaii’s Manta Rays!

Meanwhile, in North Kohala, Crystal Cove and Lava Dome are superior dive sites. Beginners can head 20-to-40-ft. underwater while staying within the cove to check out coral reefs aplenty; while advanced divers can descend to depths up to 90 ft. just outside of the cove, where they’ll stand a good chance of spotting spinner dolphins, eagle rays, and manta rays. Not to be outdone is Lava Dome, a 30-ft.-high mound of lava rock covered in coral. Simply put, there’s nothing else like it on the island! 

Finally, there are a bunch of unique scuba opportunities a little further off the coast of the Big Island. Late at night, you can explore pitch-black waters of the Pacific Ocean, and marvel at the sight of glow-in-the-dark organisms such as pelagic fish and pyrosomes. Or, any time of day, you may prefer to head out to the underwater shipwrecks and caverns that lie in the Red Hill area in South Kona. Either way, you can’t loose! 

So come get your adventure on with a Big Island snorkeling or scuba diving excursion. It’s the experience of a lifetime, and with the help of a professional guide, there’s no telling what you might discover beneath the Pacific Ocean’s rolling waves.

For a complete listing of Big Island Tours, Click Here

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