Drive to Keauhou Bay on your own to meet your professional guide, who will provide you with a safety briefing and help you aboard the boat. This inflatable raft has a rigid hull as well as a canvas sun shade, which makes the boat exceptionally maneuverable and keeps you out of the sun.
Once on the water you’ll search for pods of Spinner and Bottlenose dolphins, and when you locate a pod in the cobalt waters, your captain will cut the engine and allow you to jump on in for a swim. All the gear you’ll need is provided, and don’t be surprised if you hear whistles and clicks as the dolphins circle around you. If you’re lucky, there’s the chance that one could even jump up out of the water right by you—showing off for their newborn young and teaching them how to play.
After the thrilling dolphin encounter, continue on to Kealakekua Bay to snorkel the colorful reefs, which have been protected as a marine reserve for over 30 years. Thanks to the schools of tropical fish and crystal clear conditions, this spot is often considered as one of the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii.
Back in the boat your guide will point out the famous Captain Cook Monument, which stands where the village of Kaawaloa once stood in ancient times. This is the spot where Captain Cook first ventured ashore on the Big Island—and also the place where he met his eventual, untimely, and violent demise.
Over the course of this 5-hour tour, you’ll have the chance to buzz by sea caves that are formed by volcanic lava tubes, and you might even spot a Hawaiian green sea turtle as it comes to the surface for air. Your guide will explain the area’s history as well as discuss the marine life, and there are drinks, snacks, and a deli lunch to help you refuel on the water.
Finally, this Kona snorkeling tour comes to a close when you return to Keauhou Bay, having swam with dolphins, snorkeled with fish, and a scoured the volcanic coast.
Please note: Kealakekua Bay is the preferred destination for snorkeling, although an alternate site might have to be substituted depending on the location of the dolphins.