Kealakekua Bay Tours

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The marine sanctuary of Kealakekua Bay ranks among Hawaii’s most scenic spots for snorkeling, swimming, and hiking. The beautiful bay, home to spinner dolphins and backed by green mountain slopes, was the site where Captain James Cook landed—and was later killed—on the Big Island in 1779, forever altering the history and culture of the archipelago.

The Basics
Kealakekua Bay is one of the most popular day trips from Kailua-Kona. Most visitors arrive by tour for snorkeling, kayaking, dolphin watching, or learning about the site’s historical significance over a Hawaiian-style meal. The protected waters are often ideal for swimming, often alongside dolphins, tropical fish, and a range of other marine life. Don’t overlook the Captain Cook Monument, a white obelisk commemorating Captain James Cook, who was killed in a skirmish with Native Hawaiians in February 1779.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Kealakekua Bay is a must-visit for history buffs and nature lovers alike.
  • A small park near the beach offers a picnic pavilion, restrooms, and a water fountain.
  • Don’t forget to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat.
  • No lifeguards are on duty in the bay, so swim at your own risk.
  • Most snorkeling tours include all necessary snorkel gear.

How to Get There
Kealakekua Bay sits on the Big Island’s western Kona Coast, within the protected Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park. If you don’t have a rental car to drive there yourself, the easiest way to visit is through an organized tour from Kailua-Kona.

When to Get There
Since much of the appeal of Kealakekua Bay lies in its turquoise waters, plan to visit on a warm, sunny day. For the best chance to spot spinner dolphins near the shore, opt for an evening cruise along the Kona Coast.

Kayaking to Kealakekua Bay
Due to the growing popularity of Kealakekua Bay (and the risk that popularity poses to the underwater ecosystem), kayakers wishing to land boats along the shoreline have to get a permit ahead of time. Most guided kayak tours and kayak rentals already include the necessary permits, but it’s a good idea to check.
Location
Address: Kaawaloa Road, Kealakekua Bay 96750, USA
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Admission: Free
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17 Tours & Activities to Experience

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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
From
USD69.66
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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USD69.66

COMBO: Kealakekua Bay and Wild Dolphin Snorkel with Lunch

There are few places in all of Hawaii more historic than Kealakekua Bay, as it's the spot where Captain Cook was killed in a skirmish with native Hawaiians, and the Hawaiian monarch, King Kamehameha III was born just a few miles away. The history aside, it's also one of the best places to snorkel on the Big Island of Hawaii, and you'll have the chance to experience the beauty on this snorkeling tour from Kona. Search for dolphins on the way to bay while admiring the volcanic coast, and after scouring the red for coral and fish, climb aboard for a lunch that's served by the friendly crew.
  • Duration: 4 hours
From
USD80.00
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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USD80.00

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
From
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
From
USD115.00
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  • Duration: 5 hours
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USD115.00

Kona Tour: Coffee Plantation, Kealakekua Bay, Kaloko-Honokohau Park, and Bee Farm

There’s much more to the Big Island of Hawaii than volcanoes, waterfalls and luaus, and on this informative tour of the South Kona region, you’ll learn the sacred history of this shoreline and sample the local honey and famous Kona coffee. With the help of a knowledgeable guide, you’ll visit petroglyphs, look for green sea turtles and visit sacred Hawaiian temples. Even better: you'll hear the legends, mythology and lore of ancient Hawaii through today. This tour is capped at 15 people, so you’re ensured a personalized experience.
  • Duration: 7 hours
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USD123.96
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  • Duration: 7 hours
From
USD123.96

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

Private Charter: Kealakekua Bay Snorkel and Wild Dolphin Swim

Spend a magical morning snorkeling and swimming near wild dolphins during this exceptional 4-hour Hawaiian wildlife experience aboard a private charter boat. See spinner dolphins in their natural environment before proceeding along the Kona Coast to Kealakekua Bay, one of the best snorkel spots in all of Hawaii. Swim among the area’s colorful reefs, tropical fish, and depending on the season, whales and turtles. A guide, snorkel gear, private boat, snacks, and light refreshments are included.
  • Duration: 4 hours
From
USD895.00
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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USD895.00

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
From
USD110.00
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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USD110.00

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
From
USD590.00
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  • Duration: 5 hours
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USD590.00

Small-Group Big Island in A Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History

The Big Island of Hawaii has a diverse ecosystem unlike anywhere else on the planet, and on this day-long nature tour, you’ll experience the beauty of its black-sand beaches, thundering waterfalls, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. If you’re lucky, you’ll find Hawaiian green sea turtles basking on the coast. Since the tour only requires a moderate amount of walking, it's an educational adventure for travelers of all ages, with snacks and refreshments included.
  • Duration: 11 hours
From
USD182.30
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  • Duration: 11 hours
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USD182.30

Big Island Grand Circle Island Tour

This Big Island circle tour hits all the highlights of the stunning Big Island of Hawaii.  While riding in a comfortable minibus, watch out the window as the landscape changes with every bend in the road, from tropical, misty valleys full of ferns to a barren, black lava coast. This Grand Circle island tour includes round-trip transport from Kona, with pickup and drop-off at your hotel.
  • Duration: 11 hours 30 minutes
From
USD122.95
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  • Duration: 11 hours 30 minutes
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USD122.95

Kealakekua Bay Snorkel and Wild Dolphin Swim

Swim in the area known for dolphins in the wild and snorkel Kealakekua Bay Reserve with a half-day experience on the Kona Coast. Search for spinner dolphins in Keauhou Bay, and slip into the water to see them in their natural environment. Explore the sea caves along the Kona Coast then experience one of Hawaii’s best snorkeling spots; float above brilliant reefs that shelter a thriving population of fish, turtles and rays. Enjoy the personal experience of a small-group tour with an environmental focus so you (and the dolphins) can spend the day hassle-free.
  • Duration: 4 hours
From
USD170.00
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  • Duration: 4 hours
From
USD170.00

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
From
USD158.61
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  • Duration: 5 hours
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USD158.61

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
From
USD420.77
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  • Duration: 4 hours
From
USD420.77

Viator VIP: The Sunset Experience Helicopter Tour from Kona

If ever there were a place to see by helicopter it’s the spectacular Big Island of Hawaii. Here on America’s largest island, the landscape ranges from snowcapped summits to crashing waves on the coast, and thundering falls through rich green rainforests to black-sand beaches and lava. On this VIP Big Island helicopter tour, which can only be booked on Viator, experience a whopping two full hours of jaw-dropping aerial views, and sip Champagne before soaring over the Big Island shoreline until sunset.
  • Duration: 2 hours
From
USD750.00
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  • Duration: 2 hours
From
USD750.00

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
From
USD129.00
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  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
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USD129.00

Kona Shore Excursion: Kona Historical Coast and Culture Tour with Coffee Plantation

Explore the Kailua-Kona coastline and learn about its history on this 4.5-hour tour with a guide who introduces you to the Big Island's scenery while telling you about ancient Hawaiian culture, the arrival of Captain Cook, and the development of modern-day Hawaii. Plus, visit a coffee plantation. Tour is limited to 14 people for a small-group experience.
  • Duration: 4 hours
From
USD114.58
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  • Duration: 4 hours
From
USD114.58


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