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big island hawaii snorkeling tours

Snorkeling on the Big Island of Hawaii is something that everyone should experience when visiting the tropics. With so much to see from vibrant fish and coral to playful spinner dolphins, every trip to the reef yields something different.

While you can’t guarantee any specific experience on a Big Island Hawaii snorkeling tour, a guided experience with a trusted tour company can increase your chances of seeing something great as they know exactly where to go at different times of the year, as well as prepare you for what you may see.

Here are our top tips and recommendations when it comes to booking your Big Island Snorkeling Tour.

Research Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Companies Before Booking

As mentioned, nothing about your snorkeling tour on the Big Island of Hawaii can be guaranteed other than your safety and quality of experience that the crew can craft in their hours with you. If you booked a Big Island, Hawaii snorkeling tour but the water was opaque, the marine life seemed to be hiding, and it wasn’t whale season– on a quality tour boat you will still have a good time swimming in the water and learning more about the ocean from the crew. That is the goal at least.

There are almost as many corporate companies, franchised on the Kona Coast as there are local tour boats. This means it can be confusing and sometimes misleading when you are looking to book. We recommend booking with a locally owned and operated snorkel tour company on the Big Island as they will go above and beyond the reefs and explore secret sea caves and lava tubes as well as the popular reefs.

Consider Your Skill Level When Booking Certain Hawaii Snorkeling Tours

Some snorkel tours on the Big Island, Hawaii are vastly different from others. What comes to mind for most is a day snorkel of Kealakekua Bay versus a nighttime manta ray snorkel tour. The day snorkel of the popular reefs of Captain Cook Monument and Place of Refuge can, in ideal conditions, accommodate beginners who may never have snorkeled in the ocean before. This is because it is shallow and the bay is relatively sheltered from the open ocean. This is juxtaposed to the manta ray night snorkel where experience is required due to the conditions, the proximity to the rays, time in the water, and limited visibility.

A trusted local snorkel tour company will have these recommendations readily available and will work to make sure that you are choosing an experience best aligned with your skills and goals. You can read more about how to find the perfect snorkeling experience for you: here.

Check Your Availability and Consider the Time of Year When Embarking on a Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Tour

The biggest thing to consider when booking your Big Island Hawaii snorkeling tour is the time of year. The weather and waves all are dictated by the time of year in Hawaii. Most notably, the South and North swells switching from the summer to winter accompanied by the influx of the rainy season. While Kona Coast is highly regarded as the best place to snorkel on the Big Island, as it contains the calm waters of the West Side– you should still take into consideration your skill level alongside the projected weather and wave patterns of the time you are planning to venture to the islands.

If you are feeling iffy on getting in the water during the rainy season which occurs in the winter towards early Spring, you can always book a whale watching tour as that is the season that humpbacks come and visit the islands. You can read more about that in our article here.