Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling

The MOST popular snorkel dive spot in Big Island.

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South of Kona on the Big Island, the snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay is considered the best on the island by many divers. Kealakekua Bay is an underwater marine sanctuary in an isolated location at the base of lava cliffs. When snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay, watch out for yellow tangs, blue tangs, wrasse, parrotfish, green sea turtles and spinner dolphins among the large lobe coral and mound coral formations. The water clarity at this snorkeling spot is typically above 50 feet.

To access Kealakekua Bay State Park from Kona by car, head south on SR11 for 17 miles. From the roadside parking, there is a 2.5 mike hike down to Kealakekua Bay. Keep in mind it's a tough hike back up. If it happens to be super calm or you arrive by boat, there are hammerhead sharks known to frequent the waters outside of the protected cove.

Alternately, you could sea kayak up to Kealakekua Bay 2.5 miles from the south.

The only commercial boat permitted in Kealakekua Bay is the Fairwind Snorkel Cruise, which is a 1 hour catamaran cruise.

To reach the snorkeling on the Big Island by air, you will need to fly into either Kona International Airport (KOA) on the south side of the Big Island and Hilo International Airport (ITO) on the northeast side of the Big Island. From either airport, the best bet is to rent a car since the dive sites are pretty far off the main roads. When planning a trip to the Hawaiian islands, be aware that the State Of Hawaii has banned all sunscreens that oxybenzone, which has been proven to kill coral reefs.

The best Big Islands snorkeling dive sites are spread around the island. The conditions at each dive site vary throughout the year depending upon winds and currents. Since many of the Big Island snorkeling destinations are open water and unprotected, make sure to check the current surf reports before heading to any of these dive sites. Luckily, there are excellent up-to-date surf reports that can provide guidance on these adverse conditions. With the usually rolling surf, it is strongly discouraged to use open-tube snorkels which are common at snorkel rental locations -- only use snorkels with a dry-top splash-guard and a sump purge-valve in the mouth piece.

Overall, Kealakekua Bay is the 1st most popular snorkel dive spot of all 10 snorkeling dives in Big Island. Several of the better snorkeling spots are nearby Kealakekua Bay including Kahalu'u Beach Park, Honaunau Bay, Pebbles Beach and Kamakahonu Beach.


Local Contact(s):  Hawaii Visitors (808) 245-3971; Big Island Weather (808) 961-5582; Fairwind Snorkel Cruise (800) 677-9467.

Recommended Book:  "Big Island Snorkeling" from Judy Malinowski

Recommended Map:  "Big Island Dive Map" from Franko Maps

Best Season:  Any

Average Difficulty:  Moderate

Base Camp:  Pineapple Park Hostel, Kona; Kohanaiki Beach Park Campground

Luxury Loding:  Holualua Inn, Kona; Four Seasons Hualalai Resort

Breakfast Restaurant:  Island Lava Java, Kona

Reference Source:  click here

Article Source:   Best Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Review

GPS:  19.478801, -155.933375

Date Published:  3/3/2012

Date Updated:  3/21/2019

ID:  22995

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Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Map


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