4.5 star rating: Recommended 291 Reviews

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  • Address: Kuakini Highway, Kailua Kona 96740, USA
  • Admission: Free

Big Island of Hawaii ATTRACTIONS See all

Kona (Kailua-Kona) Tours

Kailua-Kona, the largest town on the Big Island of Hawaii, is the epicenter of activities and tours on the Kona Coast—part of the island’s western (leeward) side. The antithesis to the lush, often rainy jungles of Hilo on the island’s eastern (windward) side, dry and sunny Kona’s activities put a huge emphasis on long days in the outdoors. Kailua-Kona is the jumping-off point for the Big Island’s best coffee-farm tours, superb reef snorkeling, all levels of hiking, and experiencing ancient Hawaiian culture, while downtown’s seaside shops and dining come with spectacular sunset views.
 
The Basics
Many Big Island sightseeing tours originating in Kona include stops to take in roadside lava tubes, the former royal summer residence at Hulihee Palace, the Captain Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay, ancient Hawaiian heiau (temples) at the Place of Refuge National Historical Park, and coffee-tasting excursions. Some also visit points north and south of town—for example, to stargaze atop Mauna Kea or stroll along striking black- and green-sand beaches. Popular activities include submarine tours of local reefs, night snorkeling with manta rays, fishing charters, luaus, helicopter tours, and surfing and stand-up paddleboarding lessons.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Kailua-Kona serves as an ideal starting point for first-time visitors to the Big Island.
  • Hawaii does not recognize daylight saving time like the rest of the US (nor does the majority of the state of Arizona).
  • Dozens of hotels line the water in Kona, with a match for every budget.
  • Kona typically serves as a home base for couples and families with kids looking for a beach vacation, but is also a convenient starting point for outdoor adventurers and culture buffs looking to explore the rest of the Big Island.
 
How to Get There
Downtown Kailua-Kona, opposite Kailua Bay, is eight miles south of Kona International Airport. A coastal road, Route 19 (Queen Kaahumanu Highway), connects the town to points north, while Route 11 (Mamalahoa Highway) connects it to points south. Highway 190 runs up through the mountains and links the town via Saddle Road to Hilo and the island’s windward side.
 
When to Get There
Though Kona enjoys balmy beach weather year-round, winter (November through March) does bring slight temperature dips and occasional afternoon rains. These months, however, also coincide with some popular annual visitors: migrating humpback whales, visible on boat tours departing from the downtown pier and harbor. The annual Ironman World Championship triathlon draws huge crowds and fills hotels throughout the region for weeks leading up to the October event.
 
Visiting Volcanoes from Kona
The Big Island is home to five volcanoes, and you’d be remiss not to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes to see the active lava flows. Though closer to Hilo on the island’s eastern side, a number of land-based and helicopter tours depart from Kona daily. If driving, plan to spend at least two hours getting to the national park. There are two routes: the high, central Saddle Road and the slow and winding southern coastal roads. Closer to Kona, Mauna Kea offers visitors 13 telescopes and incredible stargazing with nightly programs illustrating constellations.

Tours & Tickets

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Kealakekua Bay Deluxe Snorkel Cruise, Big Island of Hawaii, null
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Kealakekua Bay Deluxe Snorkel Cruise

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 34 Reviews

Cruise the Kona Coast and enjoy a morning frolicking in the warm Hawaiian waters. Snorkel equipment is available for use and expert instruction makes the ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $159.74
Atlantis Kona Submarine Adventure, Big Island of Hawaii, Snorkeling
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Atlantis Kona Submarine Adventure

4.5 star rating: Recommended 47 Reviews

Dive beneath the sea on Kona Submarine tours! An Atlantis Kona adventure in a Big Island submarine is the best way to experience Hawaii's magical ocean world.

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $127.52
Zodiac Raft and Snorkel Adventure, Big Island of Hawaii, Submarine Tours
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Zodiac Raft and Snorkel Adventure

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 47 Reviews

Skim across the waves on an exciting Big Island Zodiac tour to Kealakekua Bay, site of the Captain Cook monument and Hawaii's finest marine sanctuary. Snorkel ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: Flexible

From USD $115.00
Kealakekua Bay Snorkel Cruise, Big Island of Hawaii, Day Cruises
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Kealakekua Bay Snorkel Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 16 Reviews

Experience the beauty of the Kona Coast at picturesque Kealakekua Bay on an afternoon snorkel cruise. With equipment onboard and expert instruction available, ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $98.05
Kona Submarine Adventure and Royal Kona Resort Luau, Big Island of Hawaii, Snorkeling
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Kona Submarine Adventure and Royal Kona Resort Luau

4.5 star rating: Recommended 36 Reviews

Discover two of Kona's most popular attractions at one great price! Explore Hawaii's ocean world aboard a Big Island submarine, then experience Hawaiian ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $213.26
Kona Submarine Adventure and Island Breeze Luau, Big Island of Hawaii, Submarine Tours
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Kona Submarine Adventure and Island Breeze Luau

4 star rating: Recommended 14 Reviews

Combine two of Kona's most popular attractions at one great price! Explore Hawaii's ocean world on a Kona submarine tour, then experience Hawaiian culture at ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $213.26
Lava Legends and Legacies Luau on the Big Island, Big Island of Hawaii, Submarine Tours
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Lava Legends and Legacies Luau on the Big Island

4 star rating: Recommended 90 Reviews

Take a journey through the South Pacific's legends and legacies, and enjoy an evening of Big Island luau feasting, music and dance. The Kona Coast's ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $95.00
Kona Submarine Adventure and Snorkel Dolphin Cruise, Big Island of Hawaii, Dinner Packages
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Kona Submarine Adventure and Snorkel Dolphin Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 4 Reviews

Combine two amazing Big Island experiences with this submarine adventure and snorkel cruise in Kona. On your submarine tour, discover Hawaii's tropical ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $250.76
Stand-Up Paddleboard Lesson on the Big Island, Big Island of Hawaii, Submarine Tours
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Stand-Up Paddleboard Lesson on the Big Island

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Enhance your Hawaiian vacation with a stand-up paddleboard lesson in Kona! Stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP) originated in Hawaii and is a great way to enjoy ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $103.13

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