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places to go snorkeling near me

Water makes up the majority of the Earth’s surface, with the oceans remaining one of the world’s greatest mysteries. With so much about marine life undiscovered, this draws many to want to explore all that they can– one great way to do this is through snorkeling. Snorkeling allows you to get an uninterrupted view of different aquatic ecosystems, most notably coral and the reef fish, animals, and plants who call it home.

While there are coral reefs all over the world, few can rival those scattered around the Hawaiian Islands, particularly Kona Coast on the Big Island. If you are looking to plan your tropical vacation and discover the magic of the underwater tropics, then keep reading as we’ll break down what you can expect on a snorkel tour around Kona and the places you need to make sure you visit!

Why Kona, Hawaii is an Amazing Snorkeling Destination

It is no secret that the Hawaiian Islands are some of the most beautiful places in the world. Sunny year-round, makes for almost perfect snorkeling conditions no matter what time of year you visit. What makes Kona an amazing snorkeling destination is some of the best reefs across the state are just a short trip away from the town center! Not renting a car– don’t worry! The best way to experience Kona’s reefs is through a trusted local tour company. All you have to do is shuttle, drive, or uber to the marina where the tour leaves from and everything ranging from snorkeling gear, to juices and water will be included as you venture to one or more of the popular reefs.

Beyond the amazing customer service of the top local tour companies on snorkel tours of Kona Coast, the experience you have will expose you to a wide variety of tropical marine life. From sea turtles to reef fish, even sea urchins! There is hardly a limit to what you may explore on this adventure.

How Far Outside of Kona are the Best Snorkeling Spots?

As mentioned, one of the best parts of snorkeling while staying in Kona is the convenience of having some of the most amazing reefs in the world, a mere stone’s throw away from where you are staying. You can find the popular spots, that we will get to later in the article, scattered around South Kona.

If you are staying on the East Side of the Big Island or generally in the Hilo area, there are less reefs accessible due to a multitude of factors including a more treacherous ocean, harsher weather, and less tropical reefs to explore in general. If you happen to be staying or living on the Hilo-side of the island, the drive to Kona is in and of itself, a great experience!

Where are the Best Snorkeling Destinations Near Me?

The answer you’ve probably been waiting for. Here are our choices for the top three places on the Big Island, and arguably Hawaii as a whole, that we recommend you visit and explore on a snorkeling adventure!

  1. Captain Cook Monument

    known for its stunning coral reef filled to the brim with tropical fish and a variety of oceanic creatures– this is usually the main feature to many Big Island snorkel tours. Despite its popularity, when you book with a local boat, you can ensure that you will be dropped at the best part of the reef on that day

  1. Place of Refuge

    Neighboring Captain Cook Monument, the Place of Refuge is not only renowned for its great coral reef but for the historical and cultural significance of the state park in the context of native Hawaiian history. This is another popular destination for local snorkel tours to visit– at least those who are permitted.

  1. Manta Village

    Contrary to the other two spots listed, manta village does not have a stunning coral reef, rather, it is home to robust populations of manta rays who feed on the plethora of microscopic phytoplankton found in the bay.

Overall, you can’t go wrong when planning your snorkel adventure for the tropical waters and reefs of Kona’s Coast! You can read more about preparing for your trip and what you will see on a guided snorkel tour on our blog!