Kealakekua Bay Snorkel Tours

Kealakekua Bay Snorkel Tours at the site of the Captain Cook Monument in Hawaii.
Kealakekua Bay in Captain Cook, on The Big Island of Hawaii

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Kealakekua Bay Snorkel Tour Details

3 Hours

We’ll head south from Keauhou Harbor to the world famous Kealakekua Bay, for a snorkeling adventure.

Snorkel Gear Included

We provide a snorkel, mask, and fins. We recommend you arrive with your swimsuit on and bring a towel.


Enjoy complimentary nonalcoholic refreshments, including water and Hawaiian juices.

Small Groups

Our US Coast Guard certified vessel delivers a small group experience with a maximum of 12 passengers.

Kealakekua Bay Snorkel Tour Availability


We meet our guests near the boat ramp at the Keauhou Harbor, located at 78-7130 Kaleiopapa St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740.

Click Here to view the location on a map.

Please arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled time of departure for The Kealakekua Bay snorkel tour. We will check you in, and bring you to the boat at the time of departure.

Daytime tours: we recommend you bring a towel, reef safe sunscreen (applied before entering the boat), and sunglasses.

Evening tours: we recommend you bring a towel and light coverup or jacket for the boat ride back to the harbor.

We have a minimum age of 5. Children 5 and older are welcome on the tour if they can comfortably swim 25 yards in the ocean.

Every person on the boat needs a ticket, regardless of age or size. Our boat is certified by the US Coast Guard for 12 passengers, and we can not exceed this limit.

Yes, you may purchase a ticket and ride along.

Every person on the boat needs a ticket, regardless of whether they are getting in the water. Our boat is certified by the US Coast Guard for 12 passengers, and we can not exceed this limit.

If you can comfortably swim 25 yards in the ocean, you will be able to safely enjoy our snorkel tours.

For safety purposes, if you can not comfortably swim 25 yards in the ocean, we ask that you purchase a ticket to ride along on the boat, but not enter the water.

You may cancel your trip up until 24 hours before your departure time, for a full refund.

Yes, we require a minimum of 6 guests to run each tour. If your tour has less than 6 total confirmed guests, you will be rebooked to a different tour or issued a refund. You may also have the opportunity to pay for 6 total seats and get a private charter at a significant discount.
Additional Information

Check In

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time of departure.

When you arrive at Keauhou Harbor, look for the boat ramp where boats are trailered in and out of the water. Our boat will arrive at the ramp, and our boat crew will check you in. If you do not immediately see us, please call 808-326-2682.

Hawaii Oceanic boat Pueo Kai 2 provides manta ray night snorkel tours, dolphin tours, and Kealakekua Bay tours
The Captain Cook monument at Kealakekua Bay in Hawaii.

Kealakekua Bay Snorkel Tours

We cruise from Keahou Harbor into the crystal clear blue waters along the Kona coast, while enjoying fresh fruit, snacks, and beverages.

While the boat is underway, the crew will point out interesting features along the Kona coastline, which is rich in Hawaiian history. The Kealakekua Bay snorkel tour will last approximately 3 hours.

South Kona has a bevy of historically significant Hawaiian Heritage sites, full of mana (spiritual power).

Staying close to the Kona coast as we travel south towards Kealakekua Bay, we watch closely for any interesting marine life.

Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins

We may stop the boat to enjoy the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris) putting on a show.

Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins rest close to shore during the day, and will sometimes interact with our boat. We may see them riding our bow or playing in our wake, and we may see them spinning through the air as they jump out of the water.

Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins
Humpback whale in Kona, Hawaii

Humpback Whale Watching

December through April is the Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) season in Hawaii. We will look for humpback whales, whose annual arrival to Hawaii and lengthy stay make for the very best whale watching.

Seeing a breaching humpback whale is an experience like no other!

After a brief show from the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins, humpback whales, and whatever else of interest is found along our way, we will arrive at the world famous Kealakekua Bay, the site of the Captain James Cook monument.

Kealakekua Bay

Your crew will share information about the fascinating history and legend surrounding Kealakekua Bay State Historical District.

“Kealakekua” roughly translates to “Pathway to the Gods.” The impressive Pali Kapu O Keōua (the sheer cliff face) in the Kealakekua Bay once served as a burial ground for the Hawaiian Ali’i (royalty).

Large fishing villages flourished on both the north and south ends of the bay in the 1700s, with several thousand Hawaiians inhabiting the area. Many Ali’i chose to live in this area because it was believed to be the burial site of Keōua Nui (considered to be the Father of Kings).

Kealakekua Bay protected marine life
Captain James Cook

Captain James Cook

Captain James Cook and his men made landfall in the HMS Discovery and Resolution in January of 1779. The villages were celebrating Makahiki, a festival to honor Lono, the god of fertility. Makahiki was a time of peace and aloha.

Because of the coincidental timing of their arrival, Cook and his men were viewed as demigods and accepted as guests, allowed to stay in the village for several weeks. Cook’s men traded goods with the Hawaiians, who were fascinated with the white man’s use of iron.

It is suspected that Cook and his men exploited the Hawaiians generosity and over-stayed their welcome. One of Cook’s men died and the first documented Christian service was performed in Hawaii for his funeral. This exposed Cook and his men as mere mortals, and tensions began to rise. Cook and his men decided to leave after Makahiki.

Two weeks out to sea, the foremast of the Resolution was damaged during a storm. Cook and his men were forced to return to the safe harbor of Kealakekua Bay. This time they were met with hostility and animosity. Cook tried to find the supplies to repair his ship, but received no assistance from the Hawaiians.

It is rumored that a band of natives stole a small cutter ship and Cook, in retaliation, attempted to kidnap King Kalaniopu’u (the ruling king of Hawaii island). Cook was killed in the skirmish that ensued and eventually a monument was erected by Captain Cook’s countrymen in 1874 on the spot of his untimely demise.

Captain Cook’s monument in Kealakekua Bay is only accessible by water or a lengthy hike along steep, rocky trails.

The Best Snorkeling On Hawaii Island

Kealakekua Bay became a Marine Life Conservation District in 1969 and is a federally protected park. Entry into this natural Marine Life Conservation reserve is limited to only boats with permits to operate within the Kealakekua bay.

Hawaii Oceanic is pleased to be included among the boats that offer our guests the unparalleled experience of snorkeling in this pristine marine reserve.

Because it is a protected park, the coral reef and abundant marine life is second to none for snorkeling.

Your crew will guide you through the calm waters, pointing out several varieties of colorful marine life you might encounter.

Some exciting finds may include the color-changing trumpetfish (Aulostomus chinensi), the schools of cheerful yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens), the fearless black triggerfish (Melichthys niger), the brightly colored parrotfish (Scarus rubroviolaceus), the shy white mouth moray eels (Gymnothorax meleagris), the elusive octopus (Octopus cyanea), and many more!

Keep your eyes peeled for the state fish of Hawaii, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Reef triggerfish, Rinecanthus rectangulus) who is only found in Hawaiian waters and a rare endemic inhabitant, the lauwiliwilinukunuku’oi’oi’ele’ele (Black long-nosed butterflyfish, Forcipiger longirostris) who is only found in Kona waters.

Because of the protected nature of the bay, winter storms and swell do not disturb the fragile corals growing within Kealakekua Bay.

You will see some incredible varieties of corals dotting the reef, such as rice, lobe, or finger corals, all displaying some spectacular colors. The different textures of the coral provide safe havens for all manner of marine life. Please keep in mind that coral, despite looking very much like a rock, is very much alive. Coral is very sensitive to even the slightest disturbance, from a fin kick to fingers.

We will do our best not to touch the coral so that future visitors to the bay can enjoy the same vivid seascape.

After snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay for about an hour and a half, we start heading back to the harbor while keeping an eye out for more exciting marine life on the way home.

After all, you never know what you might see out there! You are assured a first-rate Hawaii Oceanic adventure on Pueo Kai 2 – our goal is to make your day exceptional on the Kona coast!

Kealakekua Bay in Captain Cook, on The Big Island of Hawaii
Kealakekua coral reef snorkeling
Kealakekua Bay snorkeling on The Big Island of Hawaii
Captain Cook monument, Captain Cook Hawaiii
Snorkeling tours in Kona Hawaii

Snorkel Gear Is Provided

All snorkel gear is provided, (fins, mask, snorkel), as well as snacks and beverages.

We will return to the Harbor after about 3.5 hours.

This tour is the ultimate snorkel adventure in the Kealakekua Bay!

All tours have a 6 person minimum to run.

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