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In terms of history, scenery, and marine life, there isn’t anywhere on the Big Island of Hawaii that compares to Kealakekua Bay. This protected cove on the island’s west shore is where Captain Cook met his end, and today a memorial stands at the bay to honor the famous explorer. On this guided Big Island kayaking tour, hear the history of Captain Cook as well as surrounding temples, and, after paddling past rugged sea cliffs and caves, you'll snorkel and swim in the clear waters of this Marine Life Conservation District. 

Highlights

  • Kayak and snorkeling tour in Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island
  • An unforgettable Hawaiian adventure!
  • Kayak through the bay to Captain Cook Monument with your local guide
  • Spot Hawaiian spinner dolphins and humpback whales
  • Snorkel in the clear blue water
  • 5-hour tour includes lunch; 3.5-hour tour includes snacks

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

I was blown away by how close the spinner dolphins got to my kayak on this tour! And it was awesome seeing colorful coral, sea anemones, turtles and eels while snorkeling near Captain Cook Monument.

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Snorkel, Kayak and Dolphin Experience in the Big Island’s Kealakekua Bay

Snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay

For this spectacular Big Island kayaking adventure, choose from either a 3.5-hour or 6-hour snorkeling tour, where you’ll explore the shoreline and experience the beauty of Kealakekua Bay. The trip begins at Napoopoo Landing, where you’ll meet your guide and learn kayaking safety, before setting out towards the Captain Cook Monument and Kealakekua Bay. 

As you paddle the clear, protected waters, keep an eye out for Hawaiian spinner dolphins as they splash and leap by the shore. In winter, it’s common to see humpback whales as they spout and breach in the distance. Throughout the paddle, your local guide will explain the features you see along the coast, from towering sea cliffs or Pali o Kapu o Keoua to Napo’opo’o Beach and the ancient remnants of Kawa’aloa village. 

When you eventually arrive at the Captain Cook monument, you’ll pull your kayak up on the shore and prepare for the scenic hike, and spend two hours snorkeling the waters of Kealakekua Bay. You’ll enjoy lunch by the monument, soaking in the views. If you opt for the shorter, 3.5-hour paddle, the snorkeling time is only one hour and lunch is swapped for a snack.

On both the 3.5- and 6-hour options, the tour ends with a guided paddle back to Napoopoo Landing. 

Customer Reviews

Dorothy F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

This was the most awesome part of our trip - both of the guides Brian and Jamal were exceptional. I felt a little hesitant and they were very patient and talked me through until I felt comfortable enough. I recommend this to everyone!

Clinton W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

We had a great time kayaking and snorkeling in the Kealakekua Bay! Our guides, Brian and Jamal, were very helpful in making the experience safe and enjoyable. The snorkeling area was great, clear water with beautiful coral and fish. We had freedom to explore the reef area. We were pleased with the lunch and were provided with plenty of water. We would recommend this tour to others.

Danielle T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

Wow this was amazing! We were told to go early in the morning, which was a great idea because it was sunny and the water was clear. By the time we left, it was cloudy and the water was rocky. Definitely recommend going on the early trips. We had Jamal, who lives in the area and gave us a fantastic history lesson about Kealakekua Bay. We saw dolphins, beautiful fish, and we were surrounded by magnificent culture. Loved this experience!

Isaac L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

This was a great experience. Our guide, Jamal, shared so much information on the history of the land, and on the marine life during our snorkeling. He also established a great comfortable environment for all of us.

Thomas C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

We loved this tour! We have snorkeled a lot in Hawaii and this was the BEST snorkeling we have ever experienced! Jamal was very knowledgeable about Big Island history and was very encouraging and patient with us novice kayakers. This tour has been the highlight of our trip!

LoriAnn N

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Great staff, very friendly, easy going and knowledgeable. We did the morning tour. Bay was beautiful and calm. Snorkeling sight was awesome until 5 other tour groups showed up. Our half day was up by the time it got really crowded.

Priti P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

It was an amazing experience. Tour was organized very nicely. Tour guide Jamhal was caring, helpful and awesome. Other staff was also good. We were lucky to see dolphins that day. ocean kayaking..must do thing..!!

Rose M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Such a fun time!! Iwa and Jamal were awesome! We were inexperienced kayakers and snorkelers and they walked us through step by step! We got to see spinner dolphins and the fish while snorkeling were just amazing!!! Loved hearing the history too! Just a great tour all around!! Would highly recommend this tour to EVERYONE!!!

Linda A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

We absolutely loved this tour. Kayaking was fun, snorkeling was great and Jamal is the very best guide. Highly recommend!!

louann t

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

This trip was fantastic. My husband and I were absolute beginners and Jamal helped us every step of the way. After you get to James Cook island, the Snorkling is some of the best we've ever experienced.

This is an absolute must for anyone on the big island!

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