The square of Big Island is almost equal to the square of all the rest Hawaiian islands together multiplied 2 meanwhile its population is just about 15% of Hawaii state. The remote and secluded shoreline of Big Island beckons those who dream to relax away from crowds. Snorkeling Big Island, Hawaii offers exuberance of tropical fish and turtles, lush healthy corals and great chances to meet dolphins and manta rays.
Best Snorkeling Big Island
Honaunau Bay, City Of Refuge
Begin snorkeling Big Island from Honaunau Bay called by locals the City Of Refuge and placed 22 miles South from Kona. This snorkeling beach is popular for calm and crystal clear waters almost all year round. Big flat black lava rocks are peppered on the beach. The average deep nearby the shore is about 10 feet. Sunshine easily reaches the seabed at such shallow waters and encourages the growth of lush corals, in turn, an abundance of corals attracts lots of tropical fish. One more highlight of Honaunau Bay is that Hawaiian spinner dolphins enjoy spending their time in its calm inshore waters during the daytime.
The two sides of Honaunau Bay have a different depth. The left (South) bay’s side is more shallow with deep range 10-25 feet. Plenty of turtles dwell at this side. The right (North) side is very shallow in the beginning then gradually gets to 30 feet and, later on, drops to over 100 feet. Dolphins like the North side.
A drive from Kona Airport to the City Of Refuge takes 45 minutes.
Continue snorkeling Big Island at Kealakekua Bay otherwise called Captain Cook and located about 17 miles South from Kona. This wonderful place is a marine sanctuary, home to lots of sea turtles and frequently visited by Hawaiian spinner dolphins. Dolphins usually hang out in deeper waters at the bay’s center.
Kealakekua Bay provides many nice places to snorkel, still the best is nearby the monument of Captain Cook. You can get there by kayak (check whether people who offer to rent a kayak have a due permit as it is illegal to land nearby the monument without such) or just hike there.
Kahaluu Beach Park, Kailua-Kona
Big Island snorkeling is not complete without visiting Kahaluu Beach Park at the Kailua-Kona town. Kahaluu Beach is made mostly of lava rocks with little sand patches here and there. This little sheltered cove is habitat to a plethora of tame fish. The bay is protected from big waves by rock walls, however, small ocean currents freely flow into the cove and bring nutrients which are food for marine life.
The cove is serene and shallow what is perfect for beginning snorkelers. The deep at most of the cove is just 3-5 feet and the deepest place is about 10 feet. Sunlight easily penetrates the shallow waters and contributes to the growth of exuberant live corals. The bay’s sea floor is made up of lava rocks and corals which are home to a big variety of marine creatures. Sea turtles like to spend their time in this cove, so be ready to meet many of them here.
The driving time from Kona Airport to Kahaluu Beach Park is about 20 minutes.
Mauna Kea Beach
Mauna Kea Beach or Kaunaoa Bay can not be omitted during Hawaii Big Island snorkeling. Kaunaoa cove offers chilling out on a recluse beach and relaxed shallow waters snorkeling among exuberant marine life. At night, Kaunaoa Bay is frequently visited by manta rays which like to feed on plankton attracted by floodlights of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.
Big Island Climate
All the above snorkeling spots are placed on Big Island leeward West Coast. Sunny and warm days are common here within the whole year. The warmest month is September with average temperature +27oC and the coolest one is February with average temperature +23.5oC.