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manta dive big island

There is nothing that can compare to experiencing a close encounter with Manta Rays on the Big Island of Hawaii. Once the sun sets and you glide into the water off the side of your tour boat, you are instantly immersed in an aquatic world of discovery. Your in water guide will be there to not only help illuminate the water and attract the manta rays, but to facilitate the close encounter with the rays.

While manta rays are known to frequent various areas along Kona Coast, there are a few inlets and bays where these creatures prefer to hang out and feed on their favorite food: phytoplankton. With the rise in popularity of these tours on the Big Island, local companies have become experts at safely placing you in the water alongside the mantas on a nighttime snorkel.

How to Choose the Best Manta Ray Night Dive on the Big Island

As mentioned, these tours have become increasingly popular over the years, meaning that there is a chance to get paralyzed by choice due to the vast amount of snorkel experiences offered. Our biggest recommendation to sift through everything and book with a company that you have complete confidence in the experience: is to read reviews and the scope of what is offered through that local company.

On a smaller boat and in a smaller-sized group you will get a greater chance of being able to heed all guidance from your captain and in-water guide, as well as have a better seat to watch the manta rays dance below.

Where Can You Snorkel With Manta Rays on the Big Island?

There are a few popular spots where you can go to snorkel with manta rays on the Big Island. However, it is important to note that while these places are open to the public, a night time manta ray dive is limited to those who book with an accredited tour company in Kona. If you are looking to book your adventure, make sure to read about the tours and see if they are planning on venturing to one of these two manta ray destinations.

  1. Manta Village (Keauhou Bay)
  2. Manta Heaven

One (Manta Village) is located in South Kona whereas Manta Heaven is located in North Kona. Both of these popular destinations will yield a great adventure with these graceful marine giants. They both are luckily situated close to Kona Town making the trip out quick and easy for anyone staying on the West Side of the Big Island!

Where do Big Island’s Manta Ray Dive Tours Go?

While you can arguably snorkel with manta rays anywhere on Kona Coast, as they have been spotted sporadically during the day over the years around popular bays like Kealakekua or the Place of Refuge; most tours will stick to Manta Village and Manta Heaven.

The reason that the manta ray dives on the Big Island only venture to these two popular spots is they have the highest concentration of manta rays across the islands. The reason for this being that manta rays feed on phytoplankton– which is found exclusively in areas with a lot of light. The Sheraton in South Kona, located along Keauhou Bay, is a large light producer. The concentration of phytoplankton attracted to the light, in turn, attracts the rays. The goal is to make sure that you get the greatest chance of a close encounter with at least one manta ray, which is why local tour companies will go to these locations over anywhere else on island.

Manta Village and Manta Heaven are also incredibly safe when it comes to the water conditions as they are sheltered from the wider ocean by the bay.