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swim with the manta rays the big island

The Big Island of Hawaii offers a rare and captivating opportunity to swim with the gentle giant of the ocean: manta rays. 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 Snorkel Tour?

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.

How to Book a Tour to Swim With the Manta Rays on the Big Island

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.