The 7 Best Big Island Snorkel Tours – [2021 Reviews]

If you want to enjoy snorkeling in Hawaii, the Big Island is the place to go. Its long coastline features no less than 5 of the State of Hawaii’s 11 Marine Life Conservation Districts. The Island of Hawaii’s low population density and unique geology provide excellent habitats for a wide variety of fascinating marine creatures.

There are many Big Island snorkeling tours to choose from. We have selected the top-rated snorkeling excursions from the Island of Hawaii and review them below. Read our reviews to discover what makes each tour different from the others.

Some snorkeling tours in the Big Island are based on the east coast but most are on the west coast. Several tours offer unique features that make them stand out from the crowd. One of these Hawaii Island boat tours will be ideal for you and your family.

Best Big Island Snorkel Tours

 Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook's MonumentSnorkel with Manta Rays - Manta Guarantee3 Hour Waikoloa Snorkeling & Sailing Adventure
editors choice
Hawaii: Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook's MonumentBig Island: Snorkel with Manta Rays - Manta GuaranteeBig Island: 3 Hour Waikoloa Snorkeling & Sailing Adventure
Meeting Point:Keauhou Bay PierKeauhou Bay PierKu’uali’i Pl, Waikoloa Village
Starting Times:2:00 PM6:30 PM9:00 AM
Duration:3 hours2 hours3 hours
Includes:West coast boat cruise, snorkeling equipment, snorkeling instruction, guided snorkeling tour, snacks, soft drinks, and juiceWest coast boat cruise to Manta Village, snorkeling equipment, wet suit, expert tour guides, snacks, soft drinks, and hot cocoaWest coast boat cruise along the Kona coast, snorkeling equipment, expert lifeguard-certified guides, snacks, soft drinks, and beer or wine for adults

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Rated Big Island Snorkel Tours

  1. Hawaii: Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook’s Monument
  2. Big Island: Snorkel with Manta Rays – Manta Guarantee
  3. Big Island: 3 Hour Waikoloa Snorkeling & Sailing Adventure
  4. Big Island: Captain Cook Sightseeing & Snorkel Expedition
  5. Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon & Black Sand Beach Snorkel
  6. Big Island: South Kona Snorkeling & Coastline Exploration
  7. Hilo: Dolphin Adventure & Tropical Reef Snorkel Boat

Big Island Snorkel Tour Reviews

#1. Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook’s Monument

Hawaii: Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook's Monument

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Keauhou Bay Pier
  • Starting Times: 2:00 PM
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Includes: West coast boat cruise, snorkeling equipment, snorkeling instruction, guided snorkeling tour, snacks, soft drinks, and juice

This is the best Big Island snorkel tour for visitors who want guidance with their snorkeling. Your sailing adventure begins with a cruise along the breathtaking Kona coast, which takes you to the Kealakekua Bay Marine Sanctuary.

At the marine sanctuary, the experienced crew will assist you with your snorkeling equipment and help you enter and exit the water. Once you’re comfortable with your snorkeling technique, an experienced crew member will guide you on a tour of the extensive coral reef and unique lava rock formations.

You will be provided with fish identification cards to enable you to look up the names and information about the colorful fish you encounter. At each point of interest on your tour, there will be a site briefing and snorkeling tips to ensure you have the best snorkeling experience possible.

Kealakekua Bay is also the location of the Captain Cook Monument. This marks the believed location of Captain James Cook’s death. He was the first recorded European to visit the Hawaiian Archipelago.

The bay is an excellent place to encounter spinner dolphins that use the bay as a feeding ground and nursery. In winter, you may also see humpback whales. The shallow, crystal-clear waters offer the best snorkeling conditions in Hawaii.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



#2 Big Island: Snorkel with Manta Rays – Manta Guarantee

Big Island: Snorkel with Manta Rays - Manta Guarantee

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Keauhou Bay Pier
  • Starting Times: 6:30 PM
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Includes: West coast boat cruise to Manta Village, snorkeling equipment, wet suit, expert tour guides, snacks, soft drinks, and hot cocoa

This is the best Island of Hawaii snorkeling tour if you want to enjoy a truly unique experience. Your cruise will take you to Manta Village, a special location in the Pacific Ocean 7 miles south of Kona off the Keauhou coast.

You will cruise along the Kona coastline in a luxury 45-foot sailing trimaran. Snacks and hot cocoa will be provided aboard the vessel.

Before you enter the water, your expert tour guides will assist you with your snorkeling equipment and brief you on what to expect. You will also learn about the lifecycle and natural history of manta rays.

Manta Village if famous for the large number of manta rays found there. Using the special manta floatation devises provided, you will float in the water just above the manta rays. This gives you a unique opportunity to watch them dance through the water and feed on plankton.

The manta floatation devise incorporates a light that attracts the manta rays, ensuring they come to visit you. This tour is scheduled for the evening because that’s when plankton rise from the bottom of the ocean, luring the manta rays in their wake.

Swimming with manta rays is a liberating experience. This is probably the most unusual and special Big Island snorkeling adventure available.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



#3. Big Island: 3 Hour Waikoloa Snorkeling & Sailing Adventure

Big Island: 3 Hour Waikoloa Snorkeling & Sailing Adventure

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Ku’uali’i Pl, Waikoloa Village
  • Starting Times: 9:00 AM
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Includes: West coast boat cruise along the Kona coast, snorkeling equipment, expert lifeguard-certified guides, snacks, soft drinks, and beer or wine for adults

This is the ultimate luxury Big Island snorkeling cruise along the Waikoloa and Kohala-Kona coastline. Sip wine aboard a smooth-sailing 54-foot catamaran while you admire the wonderful scenery and watch out for marine wildlife.

The Spirit of Aloha features a surround sound system, freshwater showers, restrooms, comfortable seating, ample shade, and an onboard bar. The experienced crew are ready to answer all your questions about the sea creatures and the local geography.

The warm, turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean surrounding the Island of Hawaii are home to green sea turtles, dolphins, tropical fish, and other marine life. During the winter months, you are likely to spot humpback whales breaching the waves. At any time of the year, you may witness pods of spinner dolphins dancing around the boat.

Snorkeling equipment and in-water assistance is provided, so you can explore the coral reefs and swim alongside schools of colorful tropical fish. The crew are certified lifeguards, so your safety is assured.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#4. Big Island: Captain Cook Sightseeing & Snorkel Expedition

Big Island: Captain Cook Sightseeing & Snorkel Expedition

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Kaleiopapa St, Kailua-Kona
  • Starting Times: 9:00 AM, 12:45 PM
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Includes: West coast boat cruise, snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, snorkeling instruction, snacks, soft drinks, and juice

This is the best Hawaii Island snorkeling tour for visitors who are interested in the amazing rock formations found along the Kona coast. During this Big Island cruise, you will explore lava tunes and sea caves.

The small power boat used for this tour enables you to reach areas of the coastline other larger vessels cannot reach. This provides you with the opportunity to see and experience so much more.

This Big Island boat cruise takes you along the Kona Coast to the Kealakekua Bay Marine Sanctuary. There you can dive into the warm, clear waters and snorkel along the colorful coral reef. In this marine sanctuary, you may encounter green sea turtles, tropical fish, and spinner dolphins.

Your Island of Hawaii cruise also takes you to see the iconic Captain Cook’s Monument. This remote white stone memorial marks the place where Captain James Cooks is believed to have died. He was in charge of the first recorded European visit to the Hawaiian Archipelago.

The knowledgeable crew will entertain you with local legends and cultural facts related to the beautiful rock formations and caves you will see on this Hawaiian boat adventure. They can also answer any questions you may have about Hawaiian geology and the formation of the Big Island.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



#5. Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon and Black Sand Beach Snorkel

Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon and Black Sand Beach Snorkel

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Kamehameha Ave, Hilo
  • Starting Times: 9:30 AM, 1:30 PM
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Includes: East coast boat cruise, snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, snorkeling instruction, snacks, soft drinks, and juice

This is the premiere Big Island snorkel tour for visitors who want to swim with green sea turtles. You will be part of a small group tour, and your experienced local guide will lead you to a beautiful lagoon famous for its turtles.

This is a fully guided snorkel and beach tour of the Hilo coast. In the crystal-clear water you may encounter colorful tropical fish, verdant corals, eels, manta rays, octopi, and, of course, turtles.

Your knowledgeable guide will also teach you about the local geology. You’ll learn about the volcanoes that formed the Big Island and the wealth of marine life that has made its home along the Hilo coast.

You don’t need any prior snorkeling experience. All the necessary snorkeling equipment is provided, and your guide will teach you how to use it.

Swimming with turtles is an unforgettable experience. This Big Island snorkeling tour will prove to be the highlight of your Hawaiian vacation.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#6. Big Island: South Kona Snorkeling and Coastline Exploration

Big Island: South Kona Snorkeling and Coastline Exploration

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Kaleiopapa St, Kailua-Kona
  • Starting Times: 8:15 AM
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Includes: West coast boat cruise, snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, snorkeling instruction, lunch, snacks, soft drinks, and juice

This is the best Big Island snorkeling tour if you want to see more of the beautiful Kona Coast. On this longer Hawaii Island snorkeling adventure, you’ll visit no less than 3 coral reef snorkeling sites.

The rigid-hulled inflatable vessel is designed to rapidly reach relatively inaccessible locations. That means you will go places on this Big Island snorkeling tour that other tours cannot reach.

This Island of Hawaii snorkeling excursion begins with a cruise to the Kealakekua Bay Marine Sanctuary. This is the Big Island’s premiere snorkeling site where you will snorkel over a vibrant coral reef and swim alongside colorful tropical fish.

After your first swim, you’ll visit Captain Cook’s Monument. This memorial to the first European who visited the island will serve as the backdrop while you enjoy a gourmet lunch. If you’re lucky, spinner dolphins may visit while you’re dining, dancing through the waves around the boat.

Next, admire the passing scenery as you cruise to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau, which means “Place of Refuge”. Honaunau Bay is renowned for its coral gardens making it an ideal snorkeling site. Your knowledgeable crew will also tell you about its immense cultural significance to the people of Hawaii.

The final snorkeling location is the most interesting. It is a remote black sand beach that sees few visitors, making it ideal for spotting rarer marine creatures. IT is also an area rich in sea caves and lava tubes ripe for exploration.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



#7. Hilo: Dolphin Adventure and Tropical Reef Snorkel Boat Tour

Hilo: Dolphin Adventure and Tropical Reef Snorkel Boat Tour

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Wailoa Boat Harbor, Hilo
  • Starting Times: 9:30 AM, 2:00 PM
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Includes: East coast boat cruise, snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, snorkeling instruction, snacks, soft drinks, and juice

This is the best Big Island snorkeling trip for visitors who want to take in Hilo’s breathtaking coastal scenery. From your boat out in the ocean, you will enjoy fantastic views of the volcanoes that created the Island of Hawaii.

The hidden coves you’ll visit are home to spinner dolphins, green sea turtles, eels, octopi, colorful tropical fish, and many other marine species. During this Big Island cruise, you will stop in one of the more remote coves where you will have the opportunity to snorkel in the warm, turquoise waters.

This Hawaii Island snorkeling excursion also includes a guided tour of the coastline. Your knowledgeable captain will keep you entertained with facts about the local culture, the history of the island, and the abundant marine life.

This unique snorkeling adventure will be the highlight of your Big Island vacation. You are sure to make memories here that last you a lifetime.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



Big Island Travel Guide

The Big Island is the best Hawaiian island to visit by far. Why? Because it boasts active volcanoes, the world’s tallest mountain, 5 Marine Life Conservation Districts, and more wilderness and variety than any other island in the Hawaiian Archipelago.

Best Big Island Snorkel Tours

 

Given its name, you won’t be surprised to learn that the Big Island is the largest island in the State of Hawaii. But this isn’t its official name. The Big Island is really the Island of Hawaii. However, calling it the Big Island helps to distinguish it from the state and avoid confusion.

It really is a big island. In fact, it’s the 3rd largest island in Polynesia. Only the two main islands of New Zealand are larger. You may think the island gained its name from the name of the state. In fact, the state was named after this island.

Although the Big Island now has the lowest population density of the four main islands in the Hawaiian archipelago, historically it was the most powerful. In 1795, Kamehameha the Great from Hawaii untied most of the islands under his rule and named his extended kingdom after his home island.

Today the low population density and many fascinating natural attractions on and around the Island of Hawaii make it the premiere Hawaiian destination for anyone who wishes to experience the full scope of Mother Nature’s variety, beauty, and majesty.

Airports & Entry

Most visitors come to the Island of Hawaii by air. You can fly directly from the mainland US and Canada to Hilo International Airport (ITO) in the east or Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport (KOA) in the west.

Alternatively, you can fly to Daniel K. Inouye Honolulu International Airport (HNL) in Oahu and then take a short half-hour connecting flight to the Big Island. Most direct flights are from large cities on the western seaboard. However, there are also direct flights to KOA from Tokyo.

Although only 185,000 people live on the island, KOA saw 4 million and ITO 1.4 million passengers in the immediate each year pre-COVID. The vast majority of these are tourists.

If you intend to explore the whole island, it’s a good idea to arrange to arrive at one airport and depart at the other. This enables you to tour the whole island with no need to backtrack. However, many visitors stick to one of the main resorts, such as Kailua-Kona.

Before choosing your arrival airport, consider where you are going to stay. This will depend upon what you most want to see on the Big Island. It makes sense to arrive at the airport closest to your hotel.

KOA is a modern airport with 3 terminals, only 2 used for international travellers. ITO is much smaller with a single large terminal. Both airports offer a limited range of shops and restaurants focused on tourism. For example, there are gift shops, lei stands, and newsstands. Opening hours are arranged around flight arrival and departure times.

Eight major car rental companies operate out of both airports: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty. All the rental agencies have rental bases that are reached by a shuttle bus from the airports.
It is advisable to book vehicle rental in advance to save time and ensure you get the vehicle you want. If you plan to pick up at one airport and drop at the other, you must tell them in advance to avoid extra charges.

If you don’t want to hire a vehicle, you can take a taxi into Kailua for around $25. There is a much cheaper option — The Hele-On Bus operated by the Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency. However, they only operate a limited service.

Traveling in the time of Covid

Like many other destinations worldwide, tours and visitor attractions in the Island of Hawaii have adopted special procedures.

Wearing a mask in mandatory in many locations. You will be expected to supply your own mask and wear it when you enter public buildings.

Keep your distance from other visitors who are not in your family group or bubble. You will be expected to keep your distance inside minibuses and other vehicles and when seated in restaurants.

At the time of writing, the State of Hawaii welcomes visitors but requires pre-travel testing for Covid-19. You can obtain the most up-to-date information directly from the State of Hawaii Portal.

Eco-Tourism and Sustainability in the Big Island

The Hawaiian Archipelago offers many areas of outstanding natural beauty and protected wildlife areas you can explore. In order to maintain this wonderful place for future generations, many of the local tour companies operate eco-friendly tours.

When considering the tours we review on the World Travel Guides website, note that there are often eco-friendly options that empower you to become a more sustainable traveler. This is especially true around the islands of Hawaii. Take care of our world and it will take care of our children.

Planning Tips

It’s always best to be prepared. Here are 5 tips to help you make the most of your stay on the Big Island.

Tip #1: If you want to see whales, go in winter

During the summer, humpback whales feed and congregate around Alaska. In winter, they migrate south to mate and calve. From mid-December to mid-April, there are an abundance of whale sightings around the Big Island.

Between 10 and 12 thousand whales congregate in these tropical waters. Whales are often visible at a distance from the beaches and will circle any small boats that approach their pods. Winter is the best time to whale watch in Hawaii.

Tip #2: Take your time to appreciate all that the Island of Hawaii has to offer

Perhaps you only want to see the whales or surf in the sunshine, but there’s a lot more to see and do on the Big Island.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, experience a traditional luau, and visit Hulihe’e Royal Palace in historic Kailua-Kona. See the information on Nightlife and Attractions below.

Tip #3: Book Big Island tours in advance, especially during winter

The Big Island is a popular destination for tourists, so tours quickly sell out. Book in advance to avoid disappointment. You wouldn’t be able to forgive yourself if you went all that way only to miss your opportunity to whale watch because the tours were full.

Since many tours offer free refunds up to 24 hours before the activity begins, you’re not taking a risk if you book before you go. Just check the refund policy of each tour before you book.

Tip #4: Take summer clothes and raincoats

Because the Big Island is tropical, you need to pack summer clothes. However, don’t forget it also rains a lot on the island.

Light raincoats are an excellent idea. If you intend to visit the observatories on Mauna Kea, you will definitely need a jacket.

And if you plan to visit a plush Martini lounge or attend a luau, you should bring something a bit smarter for those special occasions.

Tip #5: Buy traditional local craft souvenirs

If you want to take home something unique, check out the Volcano Art Center inside Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

Over 200 local Hawaiian artists contribute to this store, so you can find and original arts and crafts that will make a unique souvenir of your visit to the Island of Hawai’i.

Restaurants & Eating Out

The Big Island not only has a unique ecosystem with plants not found in the other 49 States, but it also boasts an uninterrupted cultural history.

That means during your stay you have the unique opportunity to taste genuine Polynesian food untainted by European colonial influences.

Because the Big Island is surrounded by abundant marine life, it’s no surprise many restaurants feature seafood on their menus. A popular dish is Opakapaka, which is crimson snapper either steamed, baked or grilled.

Monchong is a deep-water fish marinaded and grilled. Raw tuna is a favorite with the locals and is found in traditional foods like Poke.

Poke is like Japanese Sashimi but with the raw fish served in hearty chunks rather than thin slices.

Something unique to the Hawaiian Islands is luau food cooked in an earth oven called an imu. A tasty example of luau food is Laulau, made with pork, chicken, or fish.

The selected meat is wrapped in taro leaves and then cooked inside the imu for hours until it grows soft with a smoky taste. Delicious!

While many North Americans might consider either bread or potato to be their staple food during meals, on Maui taro is the staple root crop.

Taro is most often consumed as Poi, a thick paste that is either baked or steamed. Poi is slightly sour due to fermentation during its preparation.

And for dessert, why not try some Banana-Apple Fruit, Breadfruit, or Kulolo. Banana-Apple is a common fruit eaten cold or hot. Breadfruit is melon-sized and is served boiled, deep-fried, baked, or steamed.

Kulolo is steamed taro pudding. Yes! Taro is a versatile root.

Nightlife & Entertainment

This Big Island can’t offer the same nightlife and entertainments as Honolulu, but the large quantity of tourists passing through ensure that there are plenty of night spots where you can let your hair down.

Much like the resorts and hotels, the nightlife tends to be clustered along short sections of the east coast and the west coast. On the eastern side, most of the nightlife is found in Hilo. There you will find low key establishments frequented by locals and visitors alike. This is the best area for a quiet night and meeting friends.

On the west coast, the nightlife focuses on Kailua-Kona. There you will find a much larger range of options, from relaxed bars to elegant cocktail bars and lively nightclubs. The beach bars on this side of the island are the best place to witness an amazing sunset while you’re sipping a delicious cocktail.

But while you are in Hawaii, you really should attend at least one traditional luau. That’s a special Hawaiian evening party where you can hear local songs, watch amazing traditional performances, and eat luau foods.

If you go to an organised luau, you can expect a lei greeting, watch the Imu Ceremony (cooking a pig in an earth oven), join in a Hula Dance, and maybe play some traditional games. The highlight is a show by Polynesian performers who re-enact traditional sagas to educate and entertain you about the mythical origins of the Hawaiian Islands.

One of the most popular luaus is the Island Breeze Luau held in an historically significant location — the grounds of King Kamehameha’s Palace in Kailua-Kona. This king was responsible for unifying most of the State of Hawaii into a single kingdom. This luau pulls out all the stops, with an outrigger boat landing, a royal procession, and a fire knife dance.

Getting Around

The easiest and simplest way to get around the Big Island is to rent a car. There are vehicle rental facilities at both international airports. With your own car, you can go where you want to go when you want to go there.

The Hele-On Bus operated by the Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency is an option. However, because of the Island of Hawaii’s relatively low population density and large area, the public bus services are relatively infrequent and don’t go everywhere.

When driving around the island, bear in mind that the speed limits are lower than in the mainland US. Typical speed limits between settlements are 45 mph or 55 mph. When planning your journey, take the lower speed limit and the winding roads into account.

Note there are some locations you cannot reach with a rental car. Your rental contract will most likely forbid you from taking your car to the Green Sand Beach or to the top of Mauna Kea.

If you choose not to hire a car, your best option is to take guided tours to visit the attractions you are interested in seeing. Many guided tours have the option of a hotel pick up, and some tours take you to those locations forbidden to rented vehicles.

Of course, you could also take taxis to visit attractions around the Big Island. This is the most expensive option and not a great choice. The relatively large size of the island and slow journey times means that you’ll pay much more than if you hired a car.

Accommodations

Most visitors to the Big Island stay in one of the resorts. Many of these are clustered on the east coast and the west coast near the international airports.

The accommodation on the east side is centered on Hilo. This is the best place to stay if you’re interested in the beautiful scenery around the Big Island. It is near River State Park, where you will find the famous Rainbow Falls, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, with active volcanoes and rainforests. It is also the best base camp for visiting the summit of Mauna Kea via Saddle Road.

On the west coast, most of the accommodation is found in Kailua-Kona. This is the best location for cultural attractions and beaches. Most of the boat tours, snorkeling tours, and whale-watching tours sail from Kailua-Kona.

If you plan to see everything interesting on the Island of Hawaii, it’s a good idea to split your time between Hilo and Kailua-Kona. I would recommend that you visit Hilo first, since visiting the waterfalls and the volcanoes involves a lot of walking. Then, when you go to the west coast, you can relax on the beaches and boat cruises.

Weather

Although the Big Island is small compared to a continent, you will still find several distinctly different climate zones due to the island’s unique geography. The two important factors are the side of the island and the elevation above sea level.

The island can be divided into two sides. The north and east coasts are relatively wet with higher levels of rainfall. The west and south are dry, with very little rainfall. This is because the prevailing wind hits the eastern coast, which is the windward side. As the air hits the island, it is forced up into the tall mountains. This upward movement causes the air to lose its moisture as precipitation.

At the top of the mountains, it’s much cooler than down below. On average, it is around 300F cooler at the top of the mountains than on the coast. You might need to wear shorts and a T-shirt on the beach but a heavy coat and sweater at the top of Mauna Kea.

There are two seasons called winter and summer. In reality, in winter the temperature doesn’t often fall below 650F, and in summer the temperature doesn’t usually rise above 900F. The water on the beaches has an even narrower temperature range between 770F and 830F. The real difference between the two seasons is the level of rainfall.

The dry season is between April and October. The wet season is between November and March, which is winter on the Big Island. However, the west coast sees little rain even during the rainy season. So, if you want to sunbathe, the west coast is best for you.

Attractions

The Big Island boasts both natural beauty and a rich cultural history. There are many fascinating attractions and activities to enjoy.

As mentioned above, the island is easily divided into an east and a west side. The major natural attractions are to the east. The major cultural attractions, boat tours, and best beaches to the west.

The East

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The Island of Hawaii is volcanic in origin. It was created by lava flows from five separate shield volcanoes, two of which are still active. And you can visit these active volcanoes inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The park covers an area of 21 square miles and growing. It’s growing because the volcanoes are spilling lava into the see and expanding the size of the island. The Halema’uma’u Crater is said to be home to Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire. Steam constantly rises from this crater, making it a popular attraction for visitors. One fascinating exhibit is the Thurston Lava Tube which is 20 feet high and 500 feet long.

Waipio Valley

There are many beautiful valleys on the east coast of the Big Island. Waipio Valley is a popular hiking spot. It is the site of Hiilawe Falls, which boasts a drop of 1,200 feet.

The valley is difficult to access because of steep cliffs inland and the proximity of the sea to the east. It can be reached by road, but this road is one of those the car hire companies do not allow rental vehicles to use. Most visitors get there on foot.

Mauna Kea

This dormant volcano is not only Hawaii’s tallest mountain, but it is also the world’s tallest. While Everest boasts a higher elevation at the summit, the height from the base of Everest to the top is less than the same distance at Mauna Kea.

This mountain is also where you will find the Mauna Kea Observatory. This is probably the best place in the world to go stargazing. The visitor’s Information Station sits at an altitude of 9,200 feet above sea level. If you reach the summit, that’s 13,800 feet above sea level.

Just like Waipio Valley, car hire companies often do not let their vehicles use the road that leads up Mauna Kea. Therefore, to visit this mountain it is easiest to take a stargazing tour.

The West

Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

This is a fantastic place to learn about ancient Hawaiian traditions. It features a palace complex and a restored temple complete with replica idols carved to replace those destroyed when the islands were converted to Christianity.

There are many things to see in this park, including the royal fishpond, the Keoua Stone, rock carvings, and the landing place of the royal canoes.

Ahu’ena Heiau

This is the best example of a traditional temple on the island. It was built by Kamehameha I in honor of the god Lona. The temple has been fully restored to its former glory so that visitors can appreciate the complexity and unique nature of the indigenous religion.

Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park

If you’re interested in Hawaii’s modern history, this is an essential spot to visit. It’s the location of Captain Cook’s landing and death in 1779. There you will find the Captain James Cook Monument.

This park also encloses Kealakekua Bay, which is one of the Island of Hawaii’s 5 Marine Life Conservation Districts. With its thriving coral and bright tropical fishes, this is a wonderful location for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.

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