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snorkeling on the big island of hawaii

When planning your trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, snorkeling is most likely at the top of your list of activities to do; and if it isn’t, it should be! There is a wide array of tropical fish, large and small marine mammals, as well as giant manta rays– all just off of Kona’s shores.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed as you go through all the different guided snorkeling experiences offered juxtaposed with lists of the top reefs to snorkel on the Big Island. With so much choice, here’s how you can sift through and make the best decision to book a snorkel on the Big Island that best fits your goals and skill level!

Why Booking a Snorkeling Tour on the Big Island is the Best Plan

While experienced snorkelers and swimmers may believe that they have what it takes to plan a near perfect day on the water, there is so much to see that is only available through booking a snorkel trip aboard an accredited boat.

While spots like Captain Cook monument allow for snorkelers, who just rented their gear, to drop in– you only will gain access to the nearest reefs. When you book a snorkel trip, like the Kona Snorkel offered by Dolphin Discoveries, you not only will be anchored at the most active reefs within the bay but you will get to drop into the water at multiple offshore reefs along the Kona Coast. You are able to explore those reefs that you have read about online; all while capping off the day relaxing aboard the boat. You’ll also get the chance to speak with a knowledgeable captain and crew who can educate you on what you’re seeing underwater and the ecological significance of each creature.

What to Pack for a Day of Snorkeling on the Big Island

What to pack for snorkeling on the Big Island of Hawaii, depends on what experience you are planning to take part in. For example, if you are booking a manta ray night snorkel aboard a tour boat, be sure to pack a change of clothes for after you get out of the wetsuit. This can be contrasted with a daytime snorkel tour where you may get a chance to dry off aboard the boat under the sun, in that case however, a reef safe sunscreen is a must!

If you plan to forego any type of guided experience, you’ll need to do your research and talk with a trusted dive shop or gear rental in order to determine what you need to rent based on where you are going and your experience level.

The Underwater World Available When Snorkeling on the Big Island

From hundreds of tropical fish to manta rays and spinner dolphins, snorkeling of the Big Island of Hawaii is filled with magic. Many visitors try to plan their underwater experience around different popular seasons on the island; for example, during the winter months you may hear whales singing underwater as they spend their time here before returning to Alaska. While planning around certain times of the year may increase your chance of having these intimate experiences with marine life, nothing is guaranteed. Factors like weather, time of day, as well as the general movement patterns of Hawaiian sealife, can all affect what you will see while snorkeling in Hawaii.

The best way to plan a snorkel on the Big Island is to weigh the pros and cons of a guided tour versus renting your own gear, the different snorkel trips offered, and which company and experience best aligns with your experience and goals for the day!