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hawaii snorkeling

Best Snorkeling in Hawaii

Hawaii Snorkeling

Hawaii snorkeling is one of the most enjoyable activities that you can experience in the water while you’re visiting the Big Island on vacation.  It not only adds an entirely new level of adventure to your swimming near the beaches, but it can be done by individuals with almost any swimming skill level.

When you take part in Hawaii snorkeling, you have the opportunity to experience an entirely different world just off the coast of the island.  You’ll see a breathtaking array of colorful and enchanting sea life that you’d never witness with your head above the water.  There, you’ll come very close to underwater lava flows, colorful coral, over 700 different fish species (which you are not to feed), and even endangered green sea turtles, all within the clear, warm waters near the beaches.  The average water temperature is a comfortable 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the water around you has especially high visibility.

Even if you’ve never been Hawaii snorkeling before, it isn’t difficult to obtain everything you need while you’re there.  There are ample rental facilities around the Big Island, offering gear from $10 to $20 per day, so you can spend as much time as you want investigating the sights both above and below the water’s surface. Some resorts even offer the equipment to their guests for free during their stay.

When you’re Hawaii snorkeling on the big island, some of the best locations you’ll find will include Hapuna Beach, which is located in the state park with that name on the north west cost of the island.  You’ll also enjoy Kealakekua Bay, which is on the west side of the island, near the centre of that coastline.  While you’re in the Bay, don’t forget to glance up from the waters at least once to its north side, where you’ll be able to see the Captain James Cook monument, before heading back to your undersea adventure.

One thing is for certain, and that is no matter where your Hawaii snorkeling may be, you’ll quickly discover that the island truly does offer a great opportunity for the sport no matter which coast you choose.  The trick to making it truly perfect, though is to take the right safety precautions.  Snorkel only in safe waters, make sure that you snorkel with at least one other person, observe the warning and safety signage, and don’t try to snorkel in high surf. 

Kona Hawaii Snorkeling:

Kealakekua Bay Hawaii Snorkeling
Location - Approx. 20 miles South of Kailua-Kona.
Water Entry / Exit - Easy snorkeling via the steps at the end of the wharf next to the two boat platforms.
Snorkeling Route - Follow the shallow reef to the north to see lots of colorful fish. The surf kicks up silt in this area which lowers visibility on this side of the bay.

Captain Cook Monument Hawaii Snorkeling
Location - Approx. 20 miles South of Kailua-Kona.
Crystal clear water; shaded area for picnic; historic monument; abundance of sea life; possible sea turtle sightings; shallow reef offers excellent snorkeling conditions; free-diving excellent too.

Honaunau Place of Refuge Hawaii Snorkeling
Location - Approx. 20 miles South of Kailua-Kona.
Water Entry / Exit - The dive entry is one of the nicest lava-ledge entries you'll find on the island. Have your buddy help you step down to the water level, then gently slip into the water.

Kailua Bay, Kailua-Kona Hawaii Snorkeling
Location - Adjacent to the pier on Ali'i Drive in downtown Kailua-Kona. Water Entry / Exit - Easy snorkeling via the small beach between the pier and the King Kamehameha hotel. Snorkeling Route - Straight out from the beach at the King Kamehameha, then curve North around the Hawaiian ruins and follow the shallow reef. Keep an eye out for outriggers and kayakers. See fish galore in the clear, calm waters here.

Hilo Hawaii Snorkeling:

Leleiwi Beach Park Hawaii Snorkeling
Location - Approx. 4 miles East of Hilo on Keaukaha Coast.
Snorkeling Route - Start off to the left of the rock wall and follow the reef. Sea turtles are very common in this area. A visit to Leleiwi Beach Park without seeing turtles is very rare.

Richardson's Beach Park Hawaii Snorkeling
Location - Approx. 4.5 miles East of Hilo on Keaukaha Coast.
Water Entry / Exit - Easy via the black sand beach.
Snorkeling Route - for beginners, stay in the enclosed cove. Watch out for surfers. For the adventurous, swim out and around (South) the lava rock outcrops this will lead you to a nice reef and lots of fish and usually sea turtles too - be careful during high surf conditions.

Kapoho Tidal Pools Hawaii Snorkeling
Location - Approx. 25 miles Southeast of Hilo on Puna Coast.
Snorkeling Route - Enter any tidal pool, many are interconnected. Tidal pools closer to the ocean contain more sea life. Watch out for stronger current near the ocean.


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February 24, 2012 12:02 PM

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