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


manta ray night snorkeling kona

A manta ray night snorkel in Kona is quickly becoming the most popular thing to do when visiting the Big Island. A curated close encounter with these giant creatures is a memory that is sure to last a lifetime.

Because this style of snorkeling adventure is relatively new to some people, especially the aspect of snorkeling at night, we wanted to let you in on some of the most common questions and important things to know when looking to book your evening on the water.

Prior Experience is Required for Manta Ray Night Snorkeling in Kona

Unlike many snorkeling tours across Hawaii, a manta ray night snorkeling trip in Kona is something that requires previous experience. Strong swimming is definitely suggested, however, you will most likely be floating the entire time; the most important prior experience is using a snorkel and mask.

Most, if not all trusted Kona snorkeling tour companies, will require you to be familiar with using and breathing with a snorkel and mask. The entire manta ray night dive experience involves hanging out and the surface with your face underwater– these creatures will come extremely close to you, so it is important to know how to regulate and calm your breathing.

How Can You See During a Manta Ray Night Snorkel?

As mentioned, the majority of your manta ray night snorkeling in Kona will be at the surface of the water, floating. This is because, in order to attract the manta rays to you, we first have to attract the ray’s favorite food– phytoplankton. These plankton are attracted to light so the flotation device that your entire group and guide is holding onto is equipped with this light to drive the manta’s prey. As the manta rays feed on these microscopic creatures, they will be doing barrel rolls under you at the bay’s floor and water’s surface.

The light serves a dual purpose, it not only attracts the plankton and rays, but it will illuminate the water down to the sand bottom where some mantas may choose to hang out during your hour in the ocean.

You Will Come Face to Gills with Manta Rays, Snorkeling in Kona

Unlike other rays that live in the ocean, manta rays do not have stingers. Nor do they have teeth like other large sea creatures. Mantas are truly Hawaii’s gentle giants, which makes them perfect for an exciting close encounter. Arguably the greatest risk when snorkeling with manta rays is inexperience or comfortability in the ocean. Staying calm, breathing regularly out of the snorkel, and listening to your captain and guide in the water are all key steps in making a manta ray night snorkeling tour a huge success!

Bring your underwater go pro or camera and capture the magic. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, the memories created will last you a lifetime!