Big Island Snorkeling, Diving & Watersports

Play in the crystal blue waters and explore

The Kona coast of Hawaii's Big Island is rich with snorkeling areas. Considered one of Hawaii's finest snorkeling spots, Kealakekua Bay is a secluded marine sanctuary abundant with marine life, coral reefs, calm water and 100-ft visibility. To get there, travel south on Queen Kaahumanu Highway (HI-11). Turn right on Napoopoo Road. Turn right on Puuhonua Road to Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park. About 40 minutes south of Kailua-Kona.


Kahalu’u Beach Park is one of the best snorkeling spots on the Big Island. It is fed by a fresh water spring, up to 10 million gallons per day. These waters are almost always calm, with colorful corals, rock formations, and 100+ species of fish. Swim with huge schools of colorful fish and green sea turtles in these protected waters; don't forget your underwater camera! The north end of the beach is where the waves break and is best for body boarding and surfing. Check the water conditions; when ocean swells are present, the water can be murky.


There are many, many spots with incredible visibility—up to 100 feet—along the Kona Coast (even right off the Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea resorts). There are also two incredible swimming and snorkeling spots on the southeast side. The first, Champagne Pond, is a calm ocean cove heated by the volcano. The water is also slightly effervescent, but that doesn't seem to bother the abundant fish and turtles. It's accessed from a dirt road off Highway 132 (heading toward Kapoho from Hilo). At Kapoho "Wai Opae" Tide Pools, a collection of spring-fed brackish pools, beginners will feel safe and even the most jaded snorkelers will be impressed by the coral and fish. To reach it, drive to Kapoho at the end of Highway 132, then south on Highway 137 to Kapoho Kai Road.


Or take a snorkeling tour with one of several dive and snorkeling companies and explore the waters of Hawaii's Big Island with an experienced guide. The possibilities are endless.

Kayak, Stand up paddleboard, surfboard Rentals & Ocean Tours - The Original Rafting company in Hawaii! - Parasailing, Fishing charters and Water sport rentals. - Explore the underwater world of Kona in a submarine! - All of your boat rental and charter needs. - Cruise over the water with a fun jet-ski! - Cruise tours, Dinner cruises, fishing charters, kayaking and snorkeling tours.

Big Island Dive Locations & Dive Info

MAHUKONA  15' - 30' (5 - 9m)   Beg. - Int. Snorkel or scuba  off cement dock just north of Lapakahi Historical Park.  Ship & barge wreckage.  Friendly brown spotted moray.  Huge yellow-margin moray.  Many reef fishes.  Invertebrates inhabit wreckage.


BLACK POINT N & S  55' - 100' (17 - 30m)  Adv. Boat dive.  Sheer wall drops-off to 100' (30m) just west of mooring.  Fragile corals along wall.  Lots of reef fish.  Large pelagics cruise by.  aka MALA'E PT.


KEI KEI CAVERNS (HORSESHOE)  30' - 70' (9 - 21m)  Int. .Boat dive.  Huge horseshoe-shaped coral reef.  Sand patches and corals on bottom.   Very clear water.  Caverns inshore.  All kinds of reef fishes.   Urchins.  Lobsters.


ULUA CAVERNS   15' - 100'+ (5 - 30m+) Beg. - Adv. Boat dive.  Big swim-through cave.  Rock ledges.  Corals.  Lots of butterflyfish.   Puffers.  Deep drop off west of mooring.  Caution:  Currents can be strong.


FROG ROCK  10' - 65' (3 - 20m)  Beg. - Adv.  Boat dive.  Lots of interconnecting caverns shallow.  Porcupine puffers.  Sand patches.  Octopuses.  Lots of invertebrates.  Caution:  Currents can be strong.


LAVA DOME ROCK (THE DOME)  30' - 100'  (12 - 30m)  Beg. - Adv. Shore or boat dive.  Giant head of "Porites Rus" coral.  Valleys of coral formations & sand patches.  Reef sharks common.


CRYSTAL COVE  30' - 75' (9 - 22m)  Beg. - Adv.Boat dive.  Protected from wind.  Clear water.  Black sandy bottom.  Lots of sea shells.  Invertebrates.  Green sea turtles.  All kinds of reef fish.  Spinner dolphins.   Garden eels.


KAUANOA BEACH ("MAUNA KEA BEACH")  Best Beach on the Big Island.   Great swimming beach.  Superb body-boarding when surf is up.  Limited parking at hotel.


PUAKO  10' - 30' (3 - 9m)  Beg. – Adv. terrain & sealife.  Urchins.  Stinging anemones.  Colorful coral.   Small sandy cove entry.  Lava shelf.  Holes.  Tunnels.  Diverse Squirrelfish.  Trumpetfish.  Huge jacks.   Eels everywhere.


MAKAIWA BAY   25' - 40' (8 - 12m)  Beg. - Int. Boat dive.  Shallow.  Lots of colorful corals cover bottom.  Rock ledges,ridges, archways & caverns.  Numerous reef fish.  Green sea turtles.


HAUNTED CAVERN (FINGERS)  20' - 50' (6 - 15m)  Beg. - Int. Boat dive.  Called "FINGERS" because of long lava finger ridges extending seaward.   Arches.  Caverns.  Valleys.  Unicornfish.  Surgeon Fishes.  Many kinds of corals.  Green sea turtles.


PENTAGON  10' - 35' (6 - 12m)  Beg. Boat dive.  Excellent shallow dive.  Excellent snorkeling.  Superb cavern network.  Best fish variety in region.  Can be snorkeled from beach.


ROBERT'S REEF  20' - 60'+ (6 - 18m)  Beg. - Adv.Boat dive.  Lava shelf.  Colorful coral heads.  Pyramid butterflies.   Sergeant majors.   Octopuses.  Spinner dolphins.  Caution: deep drop-off.  Currents can be strong.


GARDEN EEL COVE  30' -80' (21 - 24m)  Beg. - Int. Beach or boat dive at Kona International. Airport.  Rocky & sandy bottom with garden eels.  Surrounding reef.  Great boat dive at night to see manta rays. 


GOLDEN ARCHES  30' -50' (9 - 15m)  Beg. - Adv. Boat dive.  Archways & bridges in lava rock.  White sand.  Corals.  Various Butterflyfish.  Potter's angelfish.  Blueline snapper.  Photogenic staghorn coral on south side.


PYRAMID PINNACLE  65' - 100'+' (20 - 20m+) Int. - Adv. Boat dive.  Rapid drop-off into clear, deep water.  Scattered boulders.   Scattered coral heads.  All kinds of reef fish in large numbers.  Note: Kona Coast fisheries management area zone - no collecting or fish feeding.


SUCK-EM-UP CAVERN  30' - 60' (9 - 18m)  Beg. - Adv. Boat dive.  100' (30m) long lava tube with skylights.  Corals.  Moorish idols.  Puffers.   Threadfin butterflies.  Trumpetfish.  Eels.  Lobsters.  Shells.   Good cave for beginners.


TURTLE HAVEN.  TURTLE PINNACLE to 60' (18m)  Beg. - Int. Beach or boat dives.  Both areas are haven to green sea turtles.   Cleaning station for turtles with rainbow cleaner wrasse.   Parrotfish.  Octopuses.  Eels.  Scorpionfish.


KAIWI POINT (FISH ROCK)  15' - 60'  (5 - 18m)  Beg. - Int.Rocky shore dive.  Large boulders.  Finger coral.  All kinds of tropical reef rish.  Huge schools of black durgon & milletseed butterflies.  Reef triggerfish.  Whitetip reef sharks.  Manta rays.  Whale sharks.


OLD AIRPORT  20' - 30' (6 - 9m)  Beg. - Int. Entry on sand & paho'oehoe (smooth) lava 300' (90m) north of parking lot.  2nd entry 750 further north on paho'oehoe shelf into 20' (6m) deep water.  Small caves & holes.   Lionfish.  Cleaner wrasse servicing fishes.  On south side is lava archway.  Moray eels.   Eagle rays.  Manta rays.  Lots of shellfish.


MAGIC SANDS  Kona's best bodyboarding at White Sands Beach – site of annual Magic Sands Bodysurfing Contest.  Good surfing at "The Banyan" just north of beach.  Site of ancient surfing.


MANTA RAYS  20' - 40' (6 - 12m)  Beg. - Int. Boat night dive.  Favorite Kona Coast dive to view manta rays at night.  Mantas to 14' (5m) wingspan.  Excellent for scuba or snorkeling.  Divemagazine rates this amongst top 10 dives in the world.


FANTASEA REEF  12' - 50'  (4 - 15m)  Beg. - Int. Boat dive.  Whitetip reef shark give site alternate name, "MANO POINT".  Large Christmas tree coral.  Large skylit cavern to south.


LONG LAVA TUBE (AMPHITHEATER)  25' - 40' (8 - 12m)  Int. - Adv. Boat dive off "RED HILL" area.  Entrance to 120' (36m) long cave at 35' (11m) depth.  Cave has sunlit holes.  Lots of fish.  Corals.  Nudibranchs.   Cowries.   Pipefish.    walls with nooks  & crannies.  Yellowmargin eels.


KEALAKEKUA BAY  5' - 100'+  (2 - 30m+)  Beg. - Int. Easy sandy beach entry.  Fabulously diverse dive area for snorkeling or scuba.  Huge sandy area to right.  Barracuda.  Ulua.  Reef area to right.  All kinds of reef fish.   Eels.  Lobsters.  Octopuses.  Freshwater springs.  Turtles.


KE'EI  15' - 100' (3 - 30m)  Beg. - Adv. Lava shelf entry just S of underwater park.  Clear water.  Colorful Corals.  Many tropical reef fishes.  Whitetip reef sharks.  Turtles.  Seastars.  Morays.  Garden eels in sand at 90' (27m).  Stonefish.


PLACE OF REFUGE  0' - 100' (0 - 30m)  Beg. - Adv. Most diverse, accessible, excellent shore dive site on Hawaii.  Easy beach entry.   Many reef fish.  Yellow tang.  Moorish idols.  Achilles tang.  Green sea turtles.   Crown of thorns seastar.  Sandy flats at 80'+ (24m+) Depth.  Caution:  This area is sacred - please be respectful 


Note: Please be aware of a few guidelines when you’re in the ocean: 

  • Approaching dolphins or sea turtles is illegal and subject to fines. 
  • Be considerate of the coral – stepping on it or touching it kills it.
  • Never pick up a shell underwater. There may be someone living in it – and some sea life is poisonous!



Stay safe – be aware of what’s going on around you, and never turn your back on the ocean. You don’t want to be knocked down by a wave onto sharp coral or lava rocks when entering or exiting the water.