Captain Cook Monument Tours

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British explorer Captain James Cook met his death at Kealakekua Bay on February 14, 1779, after a skirmish with the king of Hawaii in a local village. Today, a white obelisk in Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park stands sentinel over the lush coast and its crystal clear waters, commemorating his death.

The Basics
Admission to the state historical park is free, and many visitors come to take advantage of the area’s black rock beaches and the excellent snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and dolphin-watching opportunities just off the Kona coast in Kealakekua Bay. Popular tour options include sailing the bay in Zodiac rafts, outrigger canoes, and on lunch or dinner cruises; the monument can be spotted from the water.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The Captain Cook Monument is a must-see for history buffs.
  • Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, especially if you’re planning to spend time out on the water.
  • Tours of Kealakekua Bay tend to last from three to five hours.
  • Historical lunch and dinner cruises are wheelchair accessible.

How to Get There
The monument and state historical park are situated 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of Kailua-Kona on the western coast of the Big Island. The easiest way to get there is by private car or on an organized tour.

When to Get There
The park is open during daylight hours. For the best snorkeling conditions just offshore from the monument, book a snorkel tour first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon when fewer people will be in the water.

The Life and Death of Captain Cook
Captain James Cook first landed in Hawaii in 1778 on the island of Kauai, marking the first contact between British explorers and Native Hawaiians. He returned to the islands late in 1778, landing at Kealakekua Bay, where he was welcomed and treated as a god. He set sail again in 1779, but was forced to return to repair a broken mast. After Hawaiians snatched one of Cook’s small boats, Cook attempted to capture the Hawaiian king and was stabbed and bludgeoned to death. His memorial is controversial, as some locals see it as a tribute to an invader and a historical moment that would forever change the character of Hawaii.
Location
Address: Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park, Kaawaloa Road, Kealakekua Bay 96750, USA
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Hours: Open daily
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Admission: Free
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10 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Historical Dinner or Lunch Cruise to Kealakekua Bay

Journey back in time — when ancient, powerful Kings ruled the rugged, fertile land of the Hawaiian Islands — on this 3-hour lunch or dinner cruise to Kealakekua Bay. Travel 12 miles down the Kona Coast to the Captain Cook monument. Learn the many secrets of the Big Island as a local historian points out more than 50 points of interest along the way. At Kealakekua Bay, enjoy a Hawaiian-style buffet dinner with live entertainment, then relax and experience a beautiful sunset on the return trip. One complimentary cocktail is included.
  • Duration: 3 hours
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USD116.37
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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USD116.37

Zodiac Raft and Snorkel Adventure

Splash into the crystal-clear waters of Kealakekua Bay on this Big Island snorkeling adventure! Dart in and out of sea caves and explore the gorgeous Kona coastline in an agile Zodiac raft. Snorkel among colorful tropical fish, and keep an eye out for other marine life like whales, dolphins and sea turtles. Along the way, learn about the island’s geologic history and local legends from your expert guide, and see the spot where Captain Cook first landed in Hawaii.
  • Duration: 5 hours
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USD115.00
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  • Duration: 5 hours
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USD115.00

Guided Outrigger Canoe Tour in Kealakekua Bay

Skip the usual boat tours and embark upon a Hawaiian style kayak adventure in a traditional outrigger canoe. These double-hull canoes are known for providing stability and smooth rides; all the better to experience Kealakekua Bay with minimal exertion. Learn about the history of the bay, one of the most sacred in Hawaii; its mysterious caves, and how people lived there, from guides whose families are connected to the area.
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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USD110.00
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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USD110.00

Dolphin Encounter and Kealakekua Bay Reef Snorkel

Enjoy two Hawaiian underwater adventures for the price of one with this 4-hour combination dolphin-swimming encounter and snorkeling trip. Start by exploring the 600+ species of marine life like sea turtles, coral and tropical fish that call the reefs of Kealakekua Bay home. Then meet up with a local pod of wild spinner dolphins for an optional swimming session. A trip choice without the dolphin swimming portion is also available.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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USD69.66
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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USD69.66

Luxury Dolphin Sail and Kona Snorkel

Take the ultimate snorkeling and sailing trip along the Kona Coast during this 4-hour luxury yacht trip with a small group. Explore the stunning beaches and bays of the Big Island aboard a high-end boat, stopping at top snorkel sites and spotting marine life like dolphins, turtles, and whales. Unlimited refreshments, plus snorkel gear and a tasty picnic- or bento-style lunch are also included.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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USD420.77
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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USD420.77

Hawaii Combo: Wild Dolphin Swim and Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling

On this Kealakekua Bay snorkeling adventure, experience the thrill of swimming with dolphins in the crystal-clear waters off Kona. You’ll head to one of Hawaii’s best snorkeling spots to swim with tropical fish above colorful corals in a protected turquoise cove. Later as you cruise along the volcanic shoreline, look for lava tubes and sea caves, turtles. Throughout the 5-hour excursion, expect to see wildlife splashing in the water — in the winter months, you could even spot breaching Humpback whales. Groups are limited to 14 people, ensuring a personalized experience. 
  • Duration: 5 hours
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USD158.61
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  • Duration: 5 hours
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USD158.61

Private Catamaran Charter

Cruise and snorkel along the South Kona Coast aboard a private catamaran during this 4-hour charter from Kona. Meet your local captain aboard the comfortable, spacious boat and set off in search of adventure. Don the provided mask, snorkel and flippers, then jump in and snorkel in the aquamarine waters of the Kealakekua Bay. Sail past The Grotto, Parrot's Cove and Red Hill, listening to tales of local history and culture from your captain. Perch on the ship's bow, searching for pilot whales and spinner dolphins in deeper waters. Enjoy personalized attention and a flexible itinerary on this private tour.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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USD926.99
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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USD926.99

Wild Dolphins and Reef Snorkel Kealakekua Bay

Snorkel in Kealakekua Bay and visit the sea caves during a 3.5-hour aqua adventure from Kailua-Kona. Board a boat in Honokohau Harbor to meet your local captain and crew. With a group of 18 people or fewer, travel to a marine life conservation area in Kealakekua Bay, stopping at a few local landmarks and listening to interesting commentary from your captain on the way. If conditions allow, enter the sea caves, unusual rock formations only accessible by water. Dive in wearing the provided snorkel equipment and look for pods of friendly spinner dolphins, sea turtles and native tropical fish. Lunch, refreshments and use of all snorkeling equipment are included.
  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
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USD129.00
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  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
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USD129.00

Ultimate Kona from Coffee to Culture Mercedes Tour

Tour the Big Island in style aboard a high-end Mercedes van during this 5-hour private VIP sightseeing trip covering the island’s history, wildlife and famous Kona coffee. Grab 11 friends, family or coworkers for a trip inside this luxury vehicle, making your first stop at Greenwell Farms, one of Hawaii’s oldest coffee plantations. You’ll also get a dose of Hawaiian history at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, learn about the Hawaiian voyages of Captain Cook and observe Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles at a nearby lagoon. Round-trip hotel transport is included.
  • Duration: 5 hours
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USD590.00
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  • Duration: 5 hours
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USD590.00

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Kealakekua Bay Snorkel

Enjoy a morning on the water on this small boat cruise as we cruise south down the Kona Coast to the pristine Kealakekua Ba keeping our eyes open for large pelagic animals. Enjoy snorkeling in this bay which is often a resting place for the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins and home to many of Hawaii's endemic fish. We will explore the sea caves and lava tubs from old lava flows on the way home.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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USD106.09
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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USD106.09


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