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kona snorkeling tour

Undoubtedly almost everyone who visits Kona Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii has the wish to go on a snorkel tour of the area’s best reefs. It is the best possible way to not only spend your day in and on the tropical waters, but it mixes relaxation with adventure. With the popularity that this activity holds it is no surprise that there are many different tours and boats to choose from.

Here are our recommendations on the best Kona snorkeling tours offered on the Big Island of Hawaii and what you can expect from them.

Where Does a Kona Snorkeling Tour Go?

Most Kona snorkeling tours stick to a few main reefs along the coastline; and that is for good reason. The most popular snorkeling spot in Kona is undoubtedly Kealakekua Bay. Home to two of the most popular reefs on the island, Captain Cook Monument and Place of Refuge, this bay is perfect for beginner to advanced snorkelers. Even greater, pods of Hawaiian spinner dolphins are known to hang out in the deeper waters of the inlet, so if you are looking to venture out on a snorkel tour boat then you may get to see these amazing creatures on your trip out!

Beyond Kealakekua Bay, if you book with a trusted local snorkel tour company you may get the chance to explore the underwater sea caves and lava tubes that are scattered just off of Kona’s shores. The world is your oyster and the captain is your guide when it comes to your snorkel experience on the Big Island. Here’s a tip: if you are looking to completely customize your boat trip for the day, look into booking a private boat charter of Kona, you will get the chance to not only venture to the most popular reefs but can speak with the captain and crew and see if there are any other hidden gems that could be discovered during your time aboard. It allows for more flexibility and more time both in the water and traveling the coastline.

The Best Boat for a Kona Snorkeling Tour

The best boat for your snorkeling adventure in Kona is dependent on what you want to do and see while out on the water. Our recommendation for the best snorkeling tour is booking with a locally owned and operated small boat. The smaller group size as well as the resident captain and crew will increase your chances of seeing and doing more during your time in and on the ocean.

If you are looking to book a Kona snorkeling tour but on a tight budget, there are a few options that are available. However, you may get less time in the water and that time will be more crowded as these boats accommodate for large crowds. Largely crowded boats won’t be able to travel to some of the shallower reefs that have a lush tropical fish population as well. So, just weigh the options and see what you are willing to sacrifice in terms of booking a tour: spending more for more or less for less.

The Where, What, and When of a Kona Snorkeling Tour

Now that we have covered the basics of the different boat tours offered and where they may be going, the last step is to consider the “when”. Different times of years yield different weather and tide conditions as well as different marine species. During the winter the water tends to be more opaque due to rain and there is a stronger North Swell, however, this is also the time that whales from Alaska are migrating to the islands so you may get a chance to see a humpback breach from aboard the boat.

Adversely, the summer is known for south swells and sweltering temperatures, making for a much more satisfying dip into the ocean in order to beat the heat. 

No matter what time of year you choose, booking a Kona snorkeling tour is sure to be an amazing adventure. If you’d like to read more about booking your small group snorkeling tour of the coast, be sure to check out our other articles.