When visiting the Big Island of Hawaii, Kealakekua Bay is a definite must see!! An experience like no other, the Bay is the site of the first extensive contact between Hawaiians and Westerners with the arrival of Captain Cook in 1779. It is also home to some of the best snorkeling on The Big Island.
Snorkeling in Hawaii offers an experience not available in the Western United States or Canada. The water here is warm, clear, and there is abundant life of all kinds. Beneath the surface of crystal blue is a world of tropical fish in every color, size and shape darting in and out of the intricate weaving's of a diverse coral life. Kealakekua Bay, the only underwater state park on Hawaii Island, and boasts 100 feet of visibility, pristine water conditions and a guaranteed exhilarating snorkeling experience year- round.
To access this underwater paradise, you have a few exciting points of entry, however, the state of Hawaii is constantly changing what options are available to you so we recommend checking out the Division of State Parks Site here. A few options you have available at the time of this post are to park and take a 60 minute hike down, use a snorkel tour boat company that will bring you right to the bay, or go with a guided commercial kayak tour. Whichever way you choose, they are all well worth the time and effort. If you choose to Hike just remember to bring excellent footwear along with your snorkel gear and plenty of water!!
The hike by way of (Ka’awaloa Trail) is a bit steep so we would suggest it only for those who are capable of handling such terrain. If you have small children or those unable to climb or hike long distances you may want to opt for a different option. Colin’s dad, Michael took us on the hiking tour a few years back and the hike down and snorkeling was one of the best experiences and adventures we have ever had. However the long and daunting 1 hour climb back up could prove very hard with little ones. (But many still do it successfully)!
If you choose to take a tour boat and enter the bay by water your afternoon snorkeling adventure would begin with a sail down the beautiful Kona Coast where you get a perfect shot of the coastline. You’ll stop in the pristine waters of the world-famous Kealakekua Bay and witness the marine sanctuary as one of the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii, with clear blue waters and a vibrant reef to explore.
If you decide to go the guided kayak tour route, you can expect a fun and ecological way to enjoy all nature has to offer. Guides offer local color and history on the trip, and guest ages can range anywhere from 5 to 75.
However you decide to get there, once there, you should expect to see Hawaiian spinner dolphins, humpback whales in the winter, and maybe an endangered green sea turtle. Just remember: Do not touch or engage the Dolphins or turtles in the water as you do not want to disturb their fragile ecosystem.
Many blessings - Enjoy and stay safe out there!!
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