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swim with the manta rays the big island

There is nothing that beats embarking on a manta ray night swim on the Big Island of Hawaii. Kona Coast specifically offers a rare and captivating opportunity to swim with these gentle giants of the ocean. Among the various locations around the island, the areas just outside of Kona town are renowned gathering places for these incredible creatures. One such sanctuary is Keauhou Bay, next to the Sheraton Kona, it serves as one of the most popular and reliable spots for manta ray encounters. As day turns into night, the ocean comes alive with the help of your tour’s lights attracting the manta’s favorite snack: phytoplankton. Keep reading and learn more about how you can embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to swim alongside these graceful creatures.

What is a Big Island Manta Ray Night Swim?

A Big Island Manta Ray Snorkel Tour is a captivating oceanic experience that allows you to get up close and personal with manta rays in their natural habitat; a close encounter that is not replicated with another large oceanic creature anywhere else in Hawaii. These tours begin in the early evening, just at sundown where the bay is facilitated in its transformation to an illuminated playground for the rays– and the tours that visit them.

You will be provided with snorkeling equipment and likely a wetsuit as while the waters of the Big Island are still warm, the heat from the sun is no longer available. Once you are at the center of the bay you will be accompanied by experienced guides who facilitate your entry into manta ray territory. Once in the water, you will float on the surface, supported by an in-water flotation device equipped with lights that attract plankton, the manta rays’ primary food source. As these gentle giants glide gracefully through the water, you can witness their mesmerizing dance beneath the waves. It’s an awe-inspiring experience that leaves a lasting impression.

What is the Best Manta Ray Night Swim on the Big Island?

In a place where there is a plethora of choice, oceanic experiences being offered by a wide array of local and corporate companies alike; what sets the best manta ray night swim on the Big Island apart from the rest? To begin with, it all starts with the location. One of the most popular locations (for manta rays and divers alike) is Manta Village (Keauhou Bay), a renowned gathering place for these gentle giants of the ocean.

But it’s not just about the location; it’s also about the expert Kona manta ray snorkel crew that makes it happen. The best manta ray night dive is led by experienced guides who are not only oceanic experts but also passionate about the marine life that you will come into contact with. Even greater, this dive is quickly becoming the most popular experience offered across the Hawaiian islands. The thrill of encountering manta rays in their natural habitat, illuminated by your tour’s lights, is an adventure like no other.

What You Can Expect During that Big Island Night Swim With Manta Rays

Now that you’ve done your research on what the best manta ray night swim on the Big Island involves– here’s what you can expect aboard that adventure. After being briefed by the captain and crew as well as being outfitted with the proper gear, you’ll board the boat that will take you to the heart of the bay, aka manta ray territory. Once in the dark waters, you’ll witness an underwater spectacle like no other. The gentle giants gracefully glide by and complete barrel rolls beneath you to feed on their favorite treat– phytoplankton. Expect a surreal experience as you watch these magnificent creatures perform their mesmerizing ballet beneath the waves.

How to Secure Your Spot Aboard a Big Island Tour to Swim With the Manta Rays at Night.

Booking your  tour to swim with the manta rays on the Big Island should be a straightforward process in order to ensure you secure your spot for this remarkable adventure. Most tour operators offer online booking through their websites, check out our quick and easy booking feature here. Over the years, the popularity of manta ray snorkel tours, especially during peak tourist seasons, has skyrocketed! You should definitely look to book well in advance.

A great way to find a reputable swim with manta ray experience on the Big Island is through Googling and scouring platforms like TripAdvisor and Viator to find highly rated local experiences that offer exactly what you have in mind!

Why You’d Rather Swim With the Manta Rays on the Big Island at Night

Swimming with manta rays on the Big Island at night is a unique and unparalleled experience, completely unique to any snorkeling adventure or marine life watch tour. The reason that the swim is held at night is so that the light produced by your tour guide will attract the phytoplankton and therefore the manta rays themselves! As the light shoots underwater it attracts the plankton, thus manta rays gracefully swoop in to feed, creating a surreal dance beneath the waves. 

Can You Swim With The Big Island’s Manta Rays During the Day?

The short, albeit complicated answer is: Maybe? Manta rays on the Big Island are largely nocturnal animals. Their favorite food, as stated, is the phytoplankton– which really only comes out when the bright lights from tour groups, the stars, or the bustling resorts shine on the Pacific. The light that attracts phytoplankton is not the same as the sun that beats down all day every day in Kona. However, people have reported seeing manta rays gliding along Kona Coast and through some of the most popular snorkel spots in Kona like Captain Cook Monument (Kealakekua Bay)! However, a more common sighting during the day across the Hawaiian isles (although still rather elusive) is the majestic eagle ray. These manta ray cousins are often seen soaring out of the water! If you see a manta ray or an eagle ray, at night or during the day, you are surely in for one of the world’s greatest treats!