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


kailua kona snorkeling

If you are in the midst of planning your vacation to this tropical historic town on the Big Island then you most likely are looking into venturing out on an accredited Kailua-Kona snorkeling tours. The good news? When booking with a trusted local tour company, you will likely be outfitted with everything you need, taken to the best snorkeling spots, and even given some water and drinks!

However, there is still some preparation that you need to take either in case your tour is not outfitted with it, or to be sure that you are setting the entire day up for success! Here are our 5 biggest tips on how to prepare for your Kailua-Kona snorkeling tour.

1. Selecting the Right Kailua-Kona Snorkeling Tour

One important thing you need to keep in mind is researching and choosing a snorkeling tour that aligns with your preference and experience/skill. These play into important considerations such as the snorkel tour’s duration, the destinations, and the equipment provided aboard.

2. The Importance of Booking Your Kona Snorkel Tour in Advance

When looking into planning your Kailua-Kona snorkeling adventure, you will want to ensure availability and secure your spot. It is advised to book your snorkeling tour in advance, especially during peak travel times (which is usually during the summer and winter). A lot of reputable tour companies will make sure to streamline their snorkeling booking and availability, especially through their websites or partnered with tour sites like TripAdvisor or Viator. If you are unable to find a company’s online booking software on their website- contacting the phone number on their pages or through their online booking form, and speaking with the tour operators directly is an option.

3. Gathering the Essentials for a Kailua-Kona Snorkeling Excursion

  • Swimwear and Rash Guard:

    We highly suggest wearing comfortable swimwear as you will likely be in and out of the water as well as on board the boat for a long amount of time. If you are someone who burns easy– we highly recommend getting a rash guard!

  • Sun Protection:

    Many snorkel tour boats out of Kailua-Kona provide reef safe sunscreen aboard but it is super important that you apply some as well before getting on the boat– allowing it time to soak in. If you are wondering what is considered reef safe, avoid any sunscreen that either doesn’t have the reef safe sticker or only has a “reef friendly” sticker. All in all, the reef safe sunscreens will have ingredients that you can pronounce.

  • Towel and Dry Bag:

    Many snorkeling tour boats will not have towels on board, so it is always a good idea to bring a towel as well as a dry bag (if in desperate need you can use a zip lock) for all your valuable items. We don’t encourage packing heavy so only bring what you absolutely need (phone (for pictures), wallet, and keys if applicable).

4. Learning Basic Snorkeling Techniques Before Leaving on a Kailua-Kona Tour

Rest assured– the most popular snorkeling destinations that you will see while on a Kailua-Kona snorkeling tour, you will be venturing to the less wavy bays of the coast. It is important to know how to swim, even if your tour boat has swimming aids. If you’re new to snorkeling, take some time to familiarize yourself with the mask and practice breathing through the snorkel.

5. Staying Hydrated and Nourished While Snorkeling in Kailua-Kona

This is arguably the most important thing to keep in mind, other than making sure to breath through your snorkel and stay calm while swimming. Many tours will provide water and drinks aboard the boat, but you can always bring a water bottle with you– just make sure to drink it! Stay hydrated as the sun and salt water are sure to take it out of you.

If you choose to follow this guide, you’ll surely be prepared for the excitement that is a Kailua-Kona snorkeling tour.

BONUS: What You Can Expect to See on a Kailua-Kona Snorkeling Excursion!

Now that we’ve gone over the most important things that you need to know so that you can ensure that you have the best day out on the water as possible– let’s dive into what makes these experiences so special!

The Amazing Tropical Fish of Kailua-Kona Hawaii

When venturing out with one of the Kailua-Kona snorkeling boats, you are likely to visit the coral reefs inside Kealakekua Bay as well as some other shore reefs down the coast. This coral is home to some of the wildest and unique fish found anywhere in the world. Hundreds of tropical fish ranging from parrotfish to triggerfish– even tiny octopi, will call the coral home, and make themselves available for your viewing pleasure during your snorkel.

Pods of Kailua’s Spinner Dolphins May Appear Aside the Snorkel Boat

Kailua-Kona snorkeling tours are the best way to view Hawaiian spinner dolphins up close. Due to recent legislation, the traditional “swim with dolphin” tours offered across the state have now been rendered illegal. This effort was to protect the native species and create more environmentally responsible tourism practices. While this may come as a disappointment to many travelers to the islands, there are still ways in which you can experience these animals closer than most anyone else in the world.

Kailua-Kona’s native spinner dolphins are known to frequent the deeper areas in the most popular snorkel bays, and if you book a Kona snorkeling tour, you have the rare chance to see them on either your trip out or back– they may play alongside the boat or put on a show from a distance!

Cruise Alongside the Illusive Honu (Hawaiian Sea Turtles)

One of the most exciting experiences when participating in a Kailua- Kona snorkeling tour, is coming face to face with one of the large Hawaiian sea turtles in the area. These Honu can grow to be 4-5 feet long on average and can weigh up to 250lbs! These laid back animals are extremely beloved by both the Hawaiian residents and the marine life around them, which is why there is a mandated 10 feet rule if you see one; either on land or in the water, keep a 10 foot distance at all times.

There is so much to explore when it comes to a Kailua snorkeling adventure, and because of that, these tours are extremely popular! Be sure to secure your spot aboard and book you Big Island tour now before everything fills up!