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Captain Cook Snorkel Cruises

a boat sits just offshore in the ocean. There is a white obelisk monument on shore and two snorkelers in the water next to the boat. There is a woman driving the boat and one watching the snorkelers in the water

Top 3 Captain Cook Snorkel Cruise Options

Imagine floating over a colorful reef in warm, calm, clear waters with schools of bright tropical fish surrounding you. You raise your head above the water to see a massive cliff face and a white obelisk where the famous Captain James Cook, world famous captain, is memorialized. The Captain Cook Monument, located in gorgeous Kealakekua Bay, is not only one of the most popular spots to visit on the Big Island, it also has fantastic snorkeling, amazing views, and a sordid history. Weather you’re looking for an excursion to take you to someplace special, a snorkel tour in one of the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii, or something to do in Kona, a Captain Cook snorkel Cruise is one of the most popular water activities in Hawaii for a reason. It’s fantastic.

underwater view of a body of water


In this guide we chose the top 3 captain cook snorkeling options by time of day. As the day presses on the boat size gets larger as ocean conditions become less favorable.

Top 3 Captain Cook Snorkel Cruise Options

  1. The Best Morning Cruise
  2. The Best Afternoon Cruise
  3. The Best Sunset Cruise


Choose Your Time of Day

Weather you choose to go early or late in the day there are great options for the adventurous sightseer. Kealakekua Bay is easily on of the most popular destinations on the Big Island. Most tourists visiting on the Kona side will visit this special place. The scenery, and history make for a potent, and hard-to-reach spot.


1. The Best Captain Cook Snorkel Cruise in The Early & Late Morning

Morning is the best time to get out on the water in Hawaii. The sea is calmest and gets progressively choppier as the wind picks up in the afternoon. While Kealakekua Bay offers a decent amount of protection from swell it’s best to go early. That being said going on a smaller boat is better early in the day so we’ve chosen Hawaii’s highest rated and most reviewed snorkeling company Kona Snorkel Trips. Their smaller passenger count means you’ll get a more personalized experience with more attention from the staff and the ability to maneuver in close where the action is.


Late Morning Tour

They recently added a tour that goes later in the morning that is popular with snorkelers that don’t want to get up early on their vacation. This optoin is nice because it’s usually much less crowded at the site during that time of day.




This Captain Cook snorkel cruise is suitable for ages 3+ and can be private chartered to take a group of friends, family, or just you and your significant other for a proposal cruise etc. Kona Snorkel Trips provides snacks drinks, snorkel gear and floatation. All you need is a towel and swimsuit. Don’t forget the reef safe sunscreen or a sun shirt to wear in the water.



You’ll depart Honokohau Marina in the morning and cruise along the coast in search of marine life. Along the way you’ll stop to check out some historical sights and some geologic features unique to the Kona coastline.


2. The Best Afternoon Captain Cook Snorkel Cruise

As the day presses on and the wind picks up you’ll appreciate the size and stability of this large sailing catamaran. With its wide hull and spacious deck you can lounge in style while sailing the ocean blue, skipping across the small wind chop in style. Sit forward over the water lounging in the sun with a cocktail in hand. Upon arrival at the Captain cook monument you can hop in the water to cool off. It’s the typical Captain cook snorkeling experience. That is to say it’s gorgeous above and below the surface. Dramatic sea cliffs rise above and the Captain Cook Monument sits front a center on shore. The colorful coral and reef fish are an abundant and welcoming sight. If you’re lucky you’ll spot an eel or Hawaiian day octopus hugging the reef.

The Hoku Nui can accommodate up to 40 passengers so it’s great for large groups.





3. The Best Sunset Captain Cook Snorkel Cruise

While you won’t have a chance to get in the water as this is a dinner cruise, this tour is all about hanging out, relaxing, drinking, eating, music, and history. Great for the whole family if you’re going to go out for dinner why not do it on the water? Kona’s largest boat can accomodate 80 passengers comfortably. Its large size means it’s stable and roomy. Dance, drink, and watch for the green flash on this one-of-a-kind Captain cook snorkel cruise with good music and good food.





Frequently Asked Questions

What’s so special about Captain Cook Monument/Kealakekua Bay?

Kealakekua bay itself is one of the most epic scenic spots on the Big Island’s west side. Not only is there dramatic scenery above water, below the surface is some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. Add to the beauty, the fact that it has some of the most sordid, history in all of Hawaii, this makes for one of the most epic spots on the big island of Hawaii and in the entire state of Hawaii. Read more about Kealakekua Bay’s history here. By Taking a Captain Cook snorkel cruise you are able to see the bay and learn about it’s history in comfort while getting up-close and personal with Hawaii’s majestic Kealakukua Bay.

What is Captain Cook Snorkeling like?

Captain cook snorkeling is some of the best on the ilsandThe bay that surrounds the monument is large with a point that goes west toward the open ocean. This protects the bay from the northwest swells that are common in the winter months making this a great spot to snorkel most of the year. The water near the monument is shallow sloping gently from a few feet near shore to about 20-25 feet near the reef drop-off. The shallow portions have vibrant and colorful coral and typically clear visibility allowing snorkelers to see fish and other marine life such as eels and octopus below.

two snorkelers in tropical waters. One is diving underwater while the other watches from the surface. Coral and reef fish are around.