Underwater Adventures on the Big Island of Hawaii
Fringed by a rainbow of coral reefs and teeming with tropical fish and marine life, Hawaii’s Big Island has no shortage of underwater wonders. Whether you opt to cruise along the coast, learn to scuba dive, or take part in water sports—there are ample options for underwater adventures on the Big Island. Here are some ideas.
Swim with Wild Dolphins
Swimming in the ocean close to pods of wild dolphins is a quintessential Hawaii experience. The Kona and Kohala coasts are two top places to spot dolphins—most commonly spinner dolphins and Pacific bottlenose dolphins. Tours offer the chance to swim and snorkel in areas known for wild dolphin sightings, giving you the opportunity to observe the creatures in their natural environment.
Snorkel at Night with Manta Rays
Thrill-seekers can brave a nighttime swim in the ocean and enjoy a rare opportunity to watch nocturnal marine life in action. Holding onto a light board that's designed to attract plankton, you’ll soon be surrounded by manta rays, swooping in to feast on the plankton.
Venture Deep into the Ocean on a Guided Scuba Dive
The Big Island is home to some of Hawaii’s most impressive dive sites, and there are opportunities for both certified divers and first-timers. Head to the east coast around Hilo to scuba dive in an area known for its green sea turtles, explore the reefs along Kailua coast, and look out for octopus, Whitley's boxfish, and whale sharks.
Raft, Kayak, and Snorkel in Kealakekua Bay
The clear waters of Kealakekua Bay are a prime spot for snorkeling, and the entire bay is protected as a marine life conservation area. Paddle around the bay on a raft, sea kayak, or canoe; look out for spinner dolphins and humpback whales; and then dive underwater to snorkel amid live coral, sea urchins, and parrotfish.
Take in Views from a Stand-up Paddleboard
If you don’t fancy submerging yourself in the water, mount a paddle board instead for underwater views as you float along the surface. Rent a paddle board and head out on your own, combine it with kayaking and a glass-bottom boat ride in Anaehoomalu Bay, or even take a nighttime tour using a special light-up paddle board that allows you to observe underwater marine life.
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