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This large red volcanic cone is named for the type of cinder which it produced. Pu’u – meaning hill and hau, which is a special stone that was soft, porous, and once used for polishing canoes. Located North of Kealakekua Bay, it is situated between Nenue Point to the North and Keawakaheka Bay to the South marking the boundary between North and South Kona. The top of Pu’u Ohau is Kapu, or forbidden, as it is the ancient burial site of High Chiefess Kamaeokalani, grandmother of King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani.

Today, the Red Hill area has become known for its excellent snorkeling amongst the many reefs and abundant marine life it sustains. Here are a few of our favorites, which are sometimes visited during a Deluxe Kona Coast Snorkel Cruise aboard the Hula Kai vessel:

  • Coral Gardens – The reef we visit most frequently is called Coral Gardens. This beautiful coral reef features underwater coral archways and a small cove with a rock island.
  • Driftwoods – Named for the large piece of driftwood on the shoreline. Nice coral formations and underwater caves (down deep).
  • Nudibranch – There are some good examples of nudibranch (little sea slug) on this section of the reef. Underwater sea arches are also present here.
  • Ridges – Named for the lava rock and coral that create small ridges and canyons creating a unique reef structure.


Located approximately 10-miles South of Kealakekua Bay, our Deluxe South Kona Snorkel Cruise often visits the remote and serene Pali Kaholo region, consisting of Rob’s Reef and Turtle Rock.

  • Rob’s Reef – A definite favorite with its amazing underwater sea arches and sea caves in the Pali (cliff). Amidst the colorful array of fish and marine life located here, snorkelers may find a unique school of Pyramid Butterfly fish – which are usually only seen in deeper waters.
  • Turtle Rock- As the name suggests this area is frequented by Green Sea Turtles. The vibrant coral and black sand together in this area create a beautiful contrast. There are also several rock islands and ridges extending below and above the water. Nearby is Lepeamoa, a large rock formation resembling a rooster’s comb.
South Kona Snorkel - Pyramid Butterfly Fish
Pyramid Butterfly Fish

Book South Kona Coast Snorkel

Snorkel Adventure Tour Big Island Hawaii Tour Details

Deluxe Kona Coast
Snorkel & BBQ Cruise

Hula Kai Vessel | 5-hr Cruise | 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Skill Level: Experienced Learn more »


  • Hula Kai Vessel
  • Tropical breakfast buffet
  • Grilled BBQ lunch
  • Two unique snorkel destinations
  • Abundant marine life viewing
  • Spectacular shoreline scenery
  • Historical overview of sights while cruising
  • Snorkel Gear & Instruction
  • Various Flotation Gear & View Boxes
  • Stand-up Paddleboards

Additional Options:

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