Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Big Island

The ‘youngest’ island in the chain, the ‘Big Island’ offers active volcanic evidence of its continuing growth, as well as sun-filled beaches with unique snorkeling and diving locations (for all levels of expertise and enjoyment!).

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Kona Shore Divers - Our goal is to give you the opportunity to share and explore the underwater world in and around the near shore waters of Kailua-Kona. We focus on small group sizes and strive to offer the best personalized service we can to our guests. From the first timer to the old timer come with us and see what the Kona Shore has to offer! Book Now
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Kahalu'u Beach Park

Kahaluu-Keauhou, Big Island, HI

beginner
(12)
Kahalu'u Beach Park is a wonderfully popular park for sunbathers, snorkelers, and beginner divers. The fish are plentiful, and the turtles are abundant. Facilities are excellent. Directions: You'll find Kahalu'u Beach Park at mile 4.8 on Ali'I Drive, just South of Kailua.
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Hookena State Beach Park

The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands

Not ranked yet
(2)
We will be "hooka" diving using an inflatable boat on the big island of Hawaii this Thanksgiving, so shore entry is very important too us. We are sure some of the dive sites you have described will be visited. One beach not mentioned on your site is Hookena state beach park south of Kona. Having snorkeled there I wonder how it compares with the other sites you've reviewed. Thanks for a very good web site.
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Mile Marker 4

Kailua-Kona, Big Island, HI

beginner
(35)
Mile Marker 4 is small beach with easy entry. Several lava tubes may be found a short swim to the left. Directions: Mile Marker 4 is, as the name implies, found right at the 4 mile marker of Ali'i Drive just south of Kailua.
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Garden Eel Cove / Manta Ray Heaven

Kailua-Kona

beginner
(12)
The dive site “Manta Heaven” is located in Makako Bay that is just around the corner of Keahole Point, the most western tip of the Big Island. It’s offshore of the Kona International Airport. During daylight hours, the dive site is called “Garden Eel Cove”. In the summer of 1999, the manta rays essentially abandoned the Kona Surf Hotel as a feeding area. There were no sightings for many weeks. James knew that he could find the manta rays somewhere along the coastline and had heard from local boat captains that manta rays were being seen during the day at Garden Eel Cove. His friends Mike Ho and Mike & Nicki Milligan had done night dives in the bay and a manta swam by.
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Mahukona Beach Park

Waimea, Big Island, HI

intermediate
(29)
Mahukona is an excellent dive for those who have a few dives under their belt. The entry is very easy, the parking is good, and there is a hot water shower to alleviate the chills of an hour long dive (the shower pipe runs over the lava, and is heated by the Sun -- very nice!). Since this is still used as a small boat harbor, a dive flag is recommended, as always. Directions: Located on the North West tip of Hawaii on the North Kohala Coast on Highway 270 about 13 miles from the junction of 270 and 19.
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Ke'ei Beach

Honaunau-Napoopoo, Big Island, HI

Not ranked yet
(19)
We never tire of visiting Ke'ei. The quiet village, the wonderful ocean views, and the excellent diving make for a pleasant afternoon. On this dive, you may be greeted by garden eels, and a rare daylight sighting of a manta ray. The people of Ke'ei have always been nice to us, so be respectful of their property and privacy so we may continue to be welcomed. Parking is the right, and the dive entry is from the small boat ramp on the left. Kick out until you're in about 20 feet of water, drop down, and continue out until you see the sandy bottom, home to the garden eels. Directions: Less than a quarter mile South from Kahauloa Bay, take your first right just before refuse transfer station to your left.
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Leleiwi Beach Park

Hilo, Big Island, HI

beginner
(16)
For the intermediate diver, Leleiwi will offer something new on every dive. Rugged coast line and wonderful underwater vistas await you! Directions: Beginning at the intersection of Kanoelehua Ave and Kalanianaole Ave at South Hilo Bay, heat East toward Leleiwi Point on Kalanianaole Ave. Travel 3.3 miles to the entrance below.
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Place of Refuge (Pu'uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park)

Hōnaunau, Big Island, HI

beginner
(97)
The Place of Refuge (also known as Two Steps) is a 'must-do' site. The drive to get there is wonderful, the entry is easy, and the diving is great. Turtles abound! The facilities are a little sparse. Take some water and a picnic lunch. There are porta-potties on the site. Directions: From Kealakekua Bay, you can continue to travel South on Highway 160 for 3.2 miles to find the turn off. If this is your first destination of the day, you can take a faster route: from Kailua, drive south on Highway 11 for about 19 miles, well past Captain Cook. Take a right on Highway 160, Ke Ala o Keawe Road, (about mile mark 104) to Kealakekua Bay, and wind your way about 3.5 miles down to the ocean.
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Pelagic Blackwater Night Dive

Kailua-Kona, Big Island, HI

advanced
(1)
Start the Pelagic Dive in Kona, Hawaii just after dusk, floating tethered offshore in the deep dark sea. Just wait to see what goes by, usually not descending any lower than 50 feet. The mesmerizing jellies put on a colorful display that can only be described as breathtaking. Some zooplankton, that only rises to the surface to feed when the lights go out, are now visible to us. Our lights are but small twinkles in the vast blackness of the sea.
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Puako Village End

Waimea, Big Island, Hi

beginner
(48)
Puako Village End is 3.0 miles from the turn off of Rt. 19. The diving is excellent and entry is easy. This is a favorite site of the Kohala locals. Directions: The turn off to Puako is on Highway19 about 3.4 miles South of the junction of 270 and 19. Continue down Puako Road for 3.0 miles.
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Kailua Bay

Kailua-Kona, Big Island, HI

Not ranked yet
(7)
Kailua Bay, although right on the main drag through the Kailua coast, is a much overlooked diving spot. Access is very easy, and the sights are worthwhile. Directions: You can't miss the harbor right in the heart of Kailua.
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'Alula Beach (Kona Dog Beach)

Kailua-Kona, Big Island, HI

Not ranked yet
(28)
Alua Beach is a pleasant little cove that has easy access to a popular boat diving site. Take water and a snack with you. There are facilities nearby (water, restrooms) in the harbor proper, but not at the beach. Watch for the boat traffic, as they may not be watching for you. It is not recommended to snorkel here for that reason. Directions: On Highway19, coming North from Kailua-Kona, the turn off will be 2.4 miles from the junction of 19 and 190
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Pahoehoe Beach Park

Kailua-Kona, Big Island, HI

beginner
(7)
Pahoehoe Beach Park is a well-groomed park with all the necessary facilities. Parking and dive entry are very convenient. Directions: You'll find Pahoehoe Beach Park at mile 3.7 on Ali'I Drive, just South of Kailua.
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Captain Cook (Kealakekua Bay)

Captain Cook, Big Island, HI

intermediate
(21)
Kealakedua Bay is a wonderful diving area also shared by kayakers. The bay has been designated a State Park, and you'll easily see why. The view is spectacular, the water is clear, and wildlife abundant. Don't miss diving this site. Directions: From Kailua, drive south on Highway 11 for about 13 miles to get to Captain Cook. Take a right on Highway 160 (mile mark 110.5) to Kealakekua Bay, and wind your way about 4 miles down to the ocean.
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The Blow Hole

The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands

Not ranked yet
(2)
The floor gradually drops off to 100 feet, lots of corals, fish, etc. Navigate carefully because immediately north of the blow hole is an another cove and it is easy to mistake this cove for the one you went into. It isn't a big deal to go back out of the old cove and enter the right one, but you can't always see the arch until you get all the way into the cove. WATCH YOUR AIR. As always the case when diving Hawaii watch the waves and wind. The visual effect of the arch, both in and out, is quite stunning. There are some little caves in and around the cove that are very interesting; a flashlight is good. On the Big Island, go North on Highway 19 from Kailua Kona about 7 miles to Natural Energy Road (Last road West before the Airport). Drive about 1 mile West to the point where the paved road turns north. Turn South on the Dirt road. Drive (VERY CAREFULLY) about 500 yards to a gate which should be open during the day. Go about 100 yards past the gate and look to the ocean. You will see 3 large lava heads along the ocean. Within the lava heads is a cove with an arch on the ocean side which is partially submerged. There is a nice exit on the South side of the hole right by a rusted piton which is there. Gear up and jump in to the cove. Drop down to the bottom, about 15 feet, and swim out under the arch.
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Keauhou Bay (Manta Village)

Kahaluu-Keauhou, Big Island, HI

Not ranked yet
(2)
The zone in front of the Kona Surf Hotel, in Keauhou on the west coast of the Big Island, was the first manta ray viewing site. The official name is Kaukalaelae Point, but most people know it as “Manta Village”. In May 2000, the Kona Surf Hotel was closed and the lights were turned off. As the plankton stopped accumulating, the manta rays stopped frequenting the area. It's not recommended to snorkel here as there is a lot of boat traffic because the channel drops off quickly. In October 2004, the resort reopened as the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. James teamed up with the resort re-creating a favorable manta ray venue. A short time later, manta rays returned and many new mantas have been identified and named since.
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Manini Beach

The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands

Not ranked yet
(2)
Easy sand entry. May see turtles, sharks, sea cucumbers, dolphin, and big critters in boat channel. Watch out for boats and leopard cone shells. Another good source is a diving club in Kona called Kona Reefers Dive Club. You can find them online. Also check Dick Dresie's website for shoreline diving in Kona: http://home.hawaii.rr.com/ddresie/ From Kona go south on Queen's Hwy. Turn west (toward water) on road to Kealakekua Bay to the dead end (boat launch straight ahead) (parking area to view Capt. Cook's monument to right) and turn left until road makes a sharp bend to the left. Look for a 2 story blue house. Entry to Manini beach is just behind this house. Continue past house for parking spot.
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Mile 6.3

The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands

Not ranked yet
(3)
Mile 6.3 is one of those dirt roads that heads from the main road toward the sea. The spot is unspoiled and very beautiful, mainly because it is so hard to get to. Don't try to head down the road unless you have a reliable 4 wheel drive. Take plenty of water with you, since it can get quite hot there. Found at Mile mark 6.3 North of the junction of 270 and 19.
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Miloli'i Bay

Milolii, Big Island, HI

Not ranked yet
(12)
Miloli'I Bay is a great dive for a day's outing. Take a couple of tanks, water and a lunch and be prepared to be overwhelmed with relaxation. The small village is fairly isolated and children abound, so be very careful and respectful when driving and parking in this area. Remember that you are guests in their community. Here, the entry is quite easy: just walk down the shore and ease your way into the water. You'll find the best diving around the point to your right. Be aware of small boat traffic. Directions: Miloli'I Bay can be found after mile mark 90 on Highway 11, about 30 miles South of Kailua. Now the adventure begins: take a right on the Miloli'I intersection and wind your way several miles of lava fields, through residential area (watch for kids!) to the bay. Drive slowly and carefully, as you will not want to make a mistake on this road.
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Kukio Bay

Holualoa, Big Island, HI

Not ranked yet
(4)
This site will involve a lengthy surface swim to the edge of the drop-off point where the reef can be accessed. The general slope of the bay becomes more shallow as you go north and deeper as you go south. I would consider this dive worth the surface swim to the drop-off point if the surf is not high, if it is I would abort your plan to dive this site as it will tucker you out. With surf there is also some current, so expect to fight some current on your way out to the drop-off point, once you reach the drop-off point the current is not bad. Directions: 1. Directions from Kailua-Kona. The dive-site is accessible via the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu. Pull up to the guard-station and ask for a beach pass for Kukio Beach, turn left immediately after the guard-station and drive to the end of the road. 2. The road leads behind the guard-station and ends at a partially shaded parking lot with nice rest-rooms and outdoor showers mounted on the outside of the restroom building. There is an obvious paved and boarded trail at the end of the road that takes you directly to the beach, it is not a difficult walk, even with heavy gear. Take the trail until you see an exit on your left that leads you directly onto the sand. 3. You can setup on a picnic table that is on the beach, located close to the trail. Once you are setup walk to the center of the Bay with your gear and there should be a less painful entry point over lava rocks and urchins. Otherwise enter to the right, as there is a deep break in the lava that allows for easy access to deeper water, but be prepared for the surface swim of your life. 4. The Reef and actual dive site starts far from shore, if you enter the water at the center of the bay then simply swim out in a WSW direction and eventually you will reach the dropoff to a beautiful reef. You can see the dropoff point on the map. If you entered near the picnic table then you have quite a long surface swim in the south-west direction to the dropoff point. The Topology of this bay is as follows: Towards the North side of the bay you will never get deeper than 12 feet and you will find a little bit of coral and fish and lots of golf balls. Towards the Center of the bay are concrete blocks with lots of coral and fish on them, depth gets to 15 to 18 feet deep. If you head towards the South end of the bay it drops off at a wall to about 40 feet and slopes deeper as you go further away from shore.
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Old Kona Airport Beach

Kailua-Kona, Big Island, HI

Not ranked yet
(19)
The Old Kona Airport beach is a popular weekend relaxation spot for the locals. But not to worry! There is plenty of parking on the old asphalt runway that stretches the length of the beach. Directions: The entrance is a very short drive, just North of Kailua. Drive to the North end of Kuakini Road just a mile or so out of town, take a left and follow the road toward the ocean until you reach the entrance.
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Puako Church

Waimea, Big Island, HI

advanced
(27)
Puako is considered by some to be the heaven of the Kohala Coast with lava tubes, garden eels, fish and turtles. What more could you ask for?! After making the turn off to Puako, travel 2.1 miles until you see the Church of Ascension on your left. Water shoes are highly recommended. Directions: The turn off to Puako is on Highway19 about 3.4 miles South of the junction of 270 and 19. Continue down Puako Road for 2.1 miles.
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Mile 4.9

The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands

Not ranked yet
(7)
Mile 4.9 is another excellent site just up the road from Mile 6.3. This is also a popular site for boat divers. The road is pretty much impossible to drive, so be prepared for a two hundred yard hike. Carry a bottle water in with you. Found at Mile mark 4.9 North of the junction of 270 and 19.
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Isaac Hale Beach Park (Pohoiki)

Pāhoa, Big Island, HI

Not ranked yet
(4)
Isaac Hale is boating, camping, sunning and diving all-in-one! You will find view of a rugged underwater environment here that you will never find on the West side of the Island. The boat ramp to the left offers a very easy entry. Only attempt this dive after talking to a dive shop about the local conditions. It is best to dive with a guide if you have never dived here before. Directions: Starting from Hilo Bay, head South on Highway 11 (Kanoelehua Ave) for 7.4 miles to Kea'au. Head South on Highway 130 for 7.5 miles. Make a left on Pahoa Pohoiki Road (132) and travel for 7.3 miles. You will enter the park at the end of the road.
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Kehena

Pahoa, Big Island, Hawaii

advanced
(6)
For Gorilla Diving only! When the weather is cooperating, this is a great site to explore the raw, underwater lava formations and the marine life within. Never dive this spot unless the surf is low. We recommend a guided dive to begin with, if you have never dived this side of the island. Directions: Starting from Hilo Bay, head South on Highway 11 (Kanoelehua Ave) for 7.4 miles to Kea'au. Head South on Highway 130 for 7.5 miles. Make a left on Pahoa Pohoiki Road (132) and travel for 7.3 miles, and turn right on Highway 137. Take this scenic road South for 8 miles until you see the parking below.
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Kahauloa Bay

Honaunau-Napoopoo, Big Island, HI

Not ranked yet
(2)
Kahauloa Bay is in the midst of a quiet residential area. Be respectful of the locals' privacy and parking areas. Directions: Less than a quarter mile South from Kealakekua Bay.
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Richardson Beach Park

Hilo, Big Island, HI

beginner
(8)
For a protected diving experience, try Richardson. This park is perfect for non-divers and kids. While you are exporing the underwater sights, you're companions can sun and stroll in some amazing beauty. Directions: Beginning at the intersection of Kanoelehua Ave and Kalanianaole Ave at South Hilo Bay, heat East toward Leleiwi Point on Kalanianaole Ave. Travel 3.6 miles to the entrance below.
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Pine Trees

The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands

Not ranked yet
(1)
Just south of the natural energy lab. It's not an easy entry/exit but the dive is well worth the tears in the wet suit!
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Honomalino Bay

The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands

Not ranked yet
(0)
The parking area is at Miloli'i County Park and you have to hike in from there. It's a great snorkel area.