With its natural wind protection, remote location and designations as an underwater state park, marine sanctuary and site of the Captain Cook Monument, Kealakekua Bay is earning a reputation as the best snorkeling destination in Hawaii.
According to Hawaii – The Big Island Revealed, The Ultimate Guidebook, “Snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay near the monument is perhaps the best you will find anywhere in the state.”
At Kealakekua Bay an endless rainbow of blue hues color the water. In the protective embrace of a dark lava shoreline, an underwater world of magic and mystery is revealed. Schools of colorful tropical fish play hide and seek among delicate filigree forests of pale purple, pink and white coral architecture and dark fingers of “pillow lava.” In fact, Hidden Hawaii describes Kealakekua Bay as an “outstanding snorkeling spot with technicolor coral reefs and an array of tropical fish species.” View Marine Life Photo Gallery.
Underwater Video of Kealakekua Bay
Provided by Fair Wind's on-board videographer, Bryce Groark / Living Ocean Productions
Marine Life at Kealakekua Bay.
As the only underwater state park on Hawaii’s Big Island, with no paved roads leading to its sparkling shore, this marine sanctuary boasts pristine water conditions. A dive into the calm water confirms its clarity, where snorkelers enjoy an underwater visibility up to 100 feet.
Kealakekua Bay also hosts unique marine life found nowhere else in Hawaii. While effortlessly gliding through the refreshing waters snorkelers often spot flame angelfish, butterfly fish, lizard fish and other rarities. It’s no wonder Rodale’s Scuba Diving magazine ranked Hawaii’s Big Island number one in the Indo-Pacific as the best place to snorkel.
Kealakekua Bay is located under the towering heights of a 100-foot lava cliff, where only gentle breezes make its way into this oasis. The result is a virtual swimming pool, offering the best snorkel conditions any time of day throughout the year.
Adding to the magic of Kealakekua Bay is its cultural and historical significance. Kealakekua means “the pathway of the gods” in Hawaiian. It was in this special place that thousands of ancient Hawaiians gathered for an annual celebration honoring their fertility god, Lono-i-ka-makahiki during what is referred to as the makahiki festival. Kealakekua Bay is also the site of the Captain Cook monument where a series of unfortunate events lead to his untimely death. More About Captain Cook
The best way to access the magic of Kealakekua Bay is aboard a Fair Wind Snorkel Cruise. Enjoy the luxuries of a custom-designed vessel with the convenience of onboard restrooms, freshwater showers, and a fully equipped galley for barbecue lunches and offering of exotic drinks, soft drinks and famous 100% Kona coffee. A Fair Wind Snorkel Cruise also provides snorkel gear and an assortment of floatation devices for unmatched intimate encounters with the bay’s abundant and unique marine life.