Big Island Snorkeling Guide

Snorkeling at Pawai Bay, Kona

Snorkeling at Pawai Bay, Kona


Some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world happens off the coast of this archipelago. Whether you are a seasoned snorkeler or are taking the plunge for the first time, there are a lot of things to know about the where, when and how of enjoying your time under the sea. The Big Island of Hawaii is the southernmost island in the chain and offers the best conditions for coral reefs to grow and thrive.  In fact, the Big Island has the most vibrant and extensive coral reefs of all the major Hawaiian Islands and you can snorkel these wonderful reefs right from the beach or shoreline, from your kayak, from a charter boat or zodiac, or even within the protected confines of a tide pool.

Snorkeling HawaiiWe are going to show you our favorite snorkeling spots on the Big Island of Hawaii.  This is not a comprehensive list of all snorkeling locations on the Big Island, but merely a personal guide of our most frequented snorkeling sites.  We have divided our Snorkeling Guide between the two sides of the Big Island:Hilo and Kona.  Click below to view our favorite Hawaii snorkeling spots.

Kona Snorkeling

Visibility is typically better on the Kona (western) side of the Big Island than the Hilo (eastern) side.  The snorkel sites on the Kona side range from the sandy Kohala Coast with shallow waters and sea turtles all the way down to South Kona with magnificent water clarity and thriving coral reefs.  Check out our Kona Snorkeling Guide.

Hilo Snorkeling

There are a few snorkeling sites on the Hilo (eastern) side of the Big Island - all close by to Hilo town.  Although the visibility is not as good as in Kona, there is still a lot of underwater life to see and unique places to go.  If you are on the windward side of the island, we recommend taking the time to snorkel.  Check out our Hilo Snorkeling Guide.

Take a Virtual Tour of a Hawaiian Coral Reef.

See more information and photos of the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle.

Green Sea Turtle at Honaunau Bay

Green Sea Turtle at Honaunau Bay

Snorkeling Tours of the Big Island
We offer a variety of guided snorkel tours for all ages and abilities.  Designed for beginners and adventurers alike, you’ll paddle along the scenic Kohala Coast and enjoy excellent snorkeling in warm, clear Hawaiian waters.  Discover the Big Islands most remote snorkeling spots along the pristine Kohala Coast, Pawai Bay, Kealakekua Bay, and more.  Check out our large sail and snorkel tours and our exciting zodiac tours for smaller groups.

Body Glove Snorkel Dolphin Sail
Body Glove SnorkelGo sailing with Body Glove Cruises - see playful Hawaii dolphins, and snorkel with brilliantly colored tropical fish and sea turtles on a snorkeling adventure at Pawai Bay, near Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii!  The whole family will love the 15-foot waterslide, and the high-dive platform makes a big “splash” with the kids, as well as those who are kids at heart.

Fair Wind Kealakekua Bay Snorkel
Captain Cook Snorkel Slide down the Fair Wind II’s water slide into the pristine waters of Kealakekua Bay, a marine sanctuary, and enjoy snorkeling or diving with 80-100 feet visibility! Everything you’ll need for snorkeling is provided – masks, snorkels, fins, etc.


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Related Posts:

  1. Hawaii Snorkeling Guide - Hilo
  2. Hawaii Snorkeling Guide - Kona
  3. Hawaii Snorkeling Tips
  4. Snorkeling at Pawai Bay
  5. Question - Snorkeling near Hilo

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