Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

An Epic Day of Kona Snorkeling Tours

An Epic Day Begins With the Captain Cook Snorkel tour & Ends with the Best Manta Ray Night Snorkel Kona Has

Do you love the ocean? Is the sea calling you? Imagine immersing yourself in turquoise tropical waters, floating inches above a gorgeous reef with fish dancing below. This is an everyday occurrence on the Captain Cook snorkel tour made possible by Kona snorkel trips.


Check out this video by one of our guests of an epic day of Kona snorkeling. The Captain Cook Snorkeling Tour & Manta Ray Night Snorkel are available together in a package.


It begins with a Morning Cruise

There are many Kona snorkel tours visiting Kealakekua Bay on a daily basis and for good reason! Captain Cook snorkeling is possibly the best snorkeling in all of the Hawaiian Islands. The confluence of dramatic scenery along the coast, beautiful reefs peppered with multicolored fish, and history of Polynesian culture combine to make a magnificent Kona snorkeling opportunity.


Can you remember your favorite thing you’ve seen underwater? We are often encountering new things underwater daily. Even on a typical day some of the scenes are simply mesmerizing. What if you could have the absolute most perfect day snorkeling in Hawaii? At Kona Snorkel Trips we make dreams happen.


Part 1: The Captain Cook Snorkeling Experience

The day begins at 9 a.m. meeting other snorkelers at Honokohau Marina. The sun is shining and the warm tropical air is beginning to heat up. We outfit you in your snorkel gear and everyone gathers around for the briefing about the day. Do you have your reef-safe sunscreen on? Is your GoPro fully charged? These are a few things to consider before setting off for the day. The groups of friends and families board the Orca and she pulls away from the dock and the calm waters of Honokohau Marina.  Often, you’ll see turtles floating lazily on the surface of the water as the boat pulls away toward the mouth of the harbor and the most epic snorkeling day begins!


As the boat heads down the coast the air pushes through the boat cooling everyone aboard. The sun glints off the calm blue waters of the Kona Coast. The fields of lava-rock fly by as the boat motors south toward the Captain Cook Monument. You are well on your way to snorkel in front of the Captain Cook Monument, one of Kona’s most popular snorkeling experiences. Keep your eyes peeled along the way because you never know what you might see in the sea.


It is common to spot dolphins and whales while motoring on your way down south. On other occasions, we may even see hammerhead sharks or whale sharks. You just never know what the ocean might deliver.  Rounding the point at Kealakekua Bay you’ll first notice a dramatic cliff line that rises high above the sea with a sheer face made of craggy lava rock. A small white Obelisk sits near the coast. This is the Captain Cook Monument, home to some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. The Captain Cook snorkel tour begins with a briefing on snorkeling.  It’s time to get your snorkel gear on because some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii awaits. Now you slip into the water and swim towards the monument. You’ll notice the reef and colorful fish below with coral heads of different colors and schools of yellow tang, which are a common sight here. Did you know the Kona Coast was once called the gold coast because of the yellow tang seen from the air?  Our snorkel guide will accompany you and on occasion may even point out a white tip reef shark hiding under the reef. It’s just another day of snorkeling in Hawaii!


If you wish to see the Captain Cook Monument up close you can swim to shore and climb out via the steps. The small white oblique marks the final resting place of Captain James Cook. After you get your fill of snorkeling head back to the Orca where we will provide you with snacks and drinks and fill you with stories of Captain Cook and the area. Then when everyone is ready we had up north along the coast to a few special spots with some fascinating stories.  


Eventually, we reach Honokohau  Marina in Kona. Where you’ll depart the boat just in time for lunch. After lunch, you can take a break and hang out on the beach. or maybe just take a nap. It’s important to rest up for what’s ahead. The best manta ray night snorkel Kona snorkel trips offers is the sunset manta ray snorkel. 


Part 2: The Manta Ray Night Snorkel

After your nap, join us back at the harbor where we get geared up for the best manta ray night snorkel Kona has. We will provide you with a mask, snorkel, and wetsuit as well as a flotation belt. This is the gear needed to enjoy the manta ray snorkel to its full potential. Our friendly guide will give you a briefing talking about the manta rays and discussing everything from safety, biology, and natural history. Now it’s time to board the boat and head off to the Manta site. As you cruise along the coast watch the sun setting and if you’re lucky you may even observe a green flash!

a manta ray swims directly at you mouth agape


Upon arrival at the manta ray snorkel site, everybody gets their gear on and slips into the water. Our experienced snorkel guide will provide a surfboard with handles. This is for everyone to hang onto so we can all experience the mantas together as a group. This surfboard also has lights inserted in it. The lights bring plankton near the surface of the board and the mantas who love to feed on the plankton will come up to feed. Sometimes the manta rays we’ll come very close. Other times, they may even come a little bit too close! Keep those elbows up and feet on the surface. 


Are Manta Rays Dangerous?

We are often asked by our guests if manta rays are dangerous. They do not have stingers like other rays, but they are massive and their size can be daunting. Manta rays eat plankton, which are tiny little creatures that live in the reefs during the day and come out at night. Think of the tiniest shrimps you’ll ever see. In their efforts to get plankton sometimes the manta rays will come very close. It’s important not to touch the manta rays but the manta rays may make this a challenge. They do however have the best of intentions and they only want to try to get an easy meal! Other than their very close presence they are possibly one of the most harmless animals in the ocean. 


Kona Snorkel Trips is Hawaii’s top-rated and most reviewed snorkel company. We take thousands of snorkelers out to see the wonders of the ocean every year. We offer 4 trips daily beginning with the Deluxe AM Kona Snorkeling Tour. The afternoon snorkel tour is great for a quick outing. Finally, the Best manta ray night snorkel Kona has is available at sunset or later in the evening. you can combine any two of these tours to get the ultimate Kona snorkeling experience. check out our tours page where you can book a package combining two of these tours on the same or different days. This is by far the best way to experience the best snorkeling on Big Island.


If you’re looking for more snorkeling opportunities check out our top 15 best snorkeling spots on the big island guide.