The Best Captain Cook Snorkeling Tour on the Big Island

Oh, the wonders of Kealakekua Bay in Captain Cook! If you’re anything like me and my boyfriend, snorkeling in this underwater paradise is an absolute must when visiting Hawaii’s Big Island. The vibrant colors of the coral and countless marine critters will leave you breathless and craving more.

Trust me, I know how overwhelming it can be to choose the perfect snorkeling tour among so many options. But fear not! Through our own adventures – and maybe a few mishaps along the way – we’ve narrowed down the top tours for you, whether you’re after adrenaline-pumping action or a relaxed family day out.

With years of experience exploring Captain Cook’s finest snorkel spots under my belt (or should I say fins?), I’m confident that this list has something for everyone. So sit back, relax, and prepare to dive into an unforgettable aquatic journey tailored just for you!

Warning: You may find yourself daydreaming about swimming alongside Hawaiian green sea turtles long after your visit has ended… but hey, who could blame you?

So grab your snorkel gear and let’s embark on this life-changing adventure together in Captain Cook!

Captain Cook and Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling with Hang Loose Tours

Experience snorkeling from Kealakekua Bay on this four-hour trip with the Hang Loose Boat Tours, which sails passengers past Kona’s volcanic coast to the coveted snorkeling site. On this tour, you’ll learn about the bay’s historical significance from your experienced guides and enjoy a delicious lunch on the boat. 

The tour takes off from Kona toward the bay, where passengers can look for spinner dolphins on the shore and even humpback whales during winter. As you reach the snorkeling site, dive into the pristine blue waters and scour the red for corals and tropical fish. 

After snorkeling, you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by the crew on the ship’s deck and take in stunning views of the bay. 

My boyfriend and I loved snorkeling on this relaxed trip with the Hang Loose Boat Tours. Here’s why it’s the best Captain Cook snorkeling tour:

  • The tour provides high-quality snorkeling equipment, plus snacks and refreshments. 
  • You’ll explore sea caves and pass spots on the shore where ancient Hawaiians made history.
  • The crew is terrific and keeps you entertained with stories and facts about Captain Cook.

Morning Kealakekua Snorkel Tour With Fair Wind Cruises

The best snorkeling starts in the morning, and you can experience it with the Fair Wind Cruises tour on Kealakekua Bay. The 4.5-hour tour takes place aboard a comfortable cruise ship with an experienced captain and crew who sail to marine life hubs on the bay. 

The tour begins with a continental breakfast served on deck as you take in stunning views of Kona’s volcanic coastline. When your boat reaches the turquoise waters of Kealakekua Bay, you’ll don snorkeling equipment and jump in to swim with colorful fish species, sea turtles, and even the manta rays common to Big Island.  

After snorkeling, feast on a complimentary lunch and take in views of volcanic rock formations passing by as you sail back to Keauhou Bay, where the trip began. 

We loved taking this early morning snorkeling trip with the Fair Wind Cruises and their excellent crew. Here’s why it’s the best Captain Cook snorkeling tour:

  • The tour provides reef-safe sunscreen, floatation devices, and underwater view boxes.
  • You can enter the water with style from the boat’s slide or jump from the high dive.
  • The trip is family-friendly and good for beginners. 

Ehu and Kai Outrigger Canoe Tour in Kealakekua Bay 

Experience snorkeling on Captain Cook’s historic bay from traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoes, a welcome break from large cruise ships. This 2.5-hour trip by Ehu and Kai is a locally-run snorkeling tour led by guides whose families are connected to the area.

Passengers will enjoy the Hawaiian-style kayak adventure on this tour from riding on the double-hulled canoes, which offer stable and smooth rides with minimal exertion. You’ll sail to the Captain Cook Monument, snorkel alongside active marine life and coral reefs, and even swim with dolphins. 

In addition, the guides narrate the histories and legends of Captain Cook and the Kealakekua Bay, which make the experience super fun. 

My boyfriend and I had an incredible time with the Ehu and Kai outrigger canoe tour and learning about their history. Here’s why it’s the best Captain Cook snorkel tour:

  • The guides are terrific and keep everyone entertained throughout the trip.
  • You’ll pass by the bay’s mysterious caves and hear eerie stories about them. 
  • This trip lets you learn how to paddle an outrigger canoe the traditional way.

Captain Cook Sightseeing & Snorkeling with Sea Quest

Set sail on a terrific snorkeling trip with Sea Quest, including snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay, a trip to the Captain Cook Monument, and exploring ancient sea caves and lava tubes. The three-hour trip takes place on an eco-friendly vessel with insightful commentary from your captain and crew about the island’s history and native marine life.

This trip is ideal for snorkelers of all skill levels owing to Kealakekua Bay’s calm waters. You’ll swim alongside coral gardens with reef fishes and marine wildlife over a relaxed hour before heading to the Captain Cook monument. On the remaining journey, keep your eyes peeled for spinner dolphins, hear the town’s history from your crew, and enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages. 

In addition, the tour navigates through wondrous sea caves on the base of the Hualalai volcano, which hugs the coast. 

My boyfriend and I loved sightseeing and snorkeling with the Sea Quest cruise and their crew. Here’s why it’s the best Captain Cook snorkeling tour:

  • You’ll spot spinner dolphins, turtles, humpback whales, and even herds of goats from the shore. 
  • The crew narrates legends and stories surrounding the bay for generations.
  • You’ll explore remote coves formed on Kona’s volcanic coast. 

Deluxe Sail & Snorkel to Captain Cook Monument with Sea Paradise

Enjoy sailing from two snorkeling locations, Kealakekua Bay and Red Hill, on this half-day tour with Sea Paradise. On this tour, you’ll enjoy Hawaii’s best snorkeling conditions and a continental breakfast on a 50-foot catamaran. 

You’ll begin the journey by setting sail along the Kona coastline towards the Captain Cook Monument. Once there, jump into the clear waters and explore Kealakekua Bay’s marine sanctuary, home to vibrant reefs, schools of colorful fish, and pods of spinner dolphins. 

Afterward, feast on a continental breakfast on the ship’s deck, and if the weather permits, sail to Red Hill for your second snorkeling adventure.

We had a terrific time with Sea Paradise on this extended snorkel trip and enjoyed their comfortable cruise. Here’s why it’s the best Captain Cook snorkeling tour:

  • Your experienced captain takes you to the best snorkeling sites on the bay.
  • There’s a deli-style lunch and refreshments included in the tour. 
  • You’ll get fish identification cards and insights on marine life from the crew.

Afternoon Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument

All the late risers can rejoice as this Captain Cook snorkeling tour departs in the late afternoon when the bay is less crowded with boats. This 3-hour trip sails to the Captain Cook Monument for snorkeling and passes stunning sights on the Kona coast.

Enjoy a smooth sailing experience with your expert captain and crew, who maneuver the ship to the best snorkeling spots, where you can spot vibrant coral gardens, various fish species and swim with dolphins and turtles. 

In addition, you’ll learn about the underwater flora, fauna, and ecosystem of Kealakekua Bay through guided commentary.

We had an incredible time on this snorkel excursion and considered it one of the best Captain Cook snorkeling tours. Here’s why you will too:

  • You’ll take in views of ancient lava flows and verdant cliffs from the scenic Kona coastline.
  • The tour provides snorkel gear, boogie boards, and flotation devices. 
  • There are complimentary snacks and refreshments included in the tour.


Is Captain Cook worth visiting?

The small town of Captain Cook is worth a visit if you’re on the Big Island, as it’s home to the historic Kealakekua Bay and the Kona Coffee Farms. Both areas are steeped in history and can be explored through guided tours.

Can you snorkel Captain Cook without a tour?

Yes, you can snorkel the Captain Cook waters without a tour by renting a kayak or canoe and sailing to the Captain Cook Monument. However, a guided tour is led by experienced crews who know the best snorkeling spots and conditions, so it’s ideal to take one.

Is Captain Cook snorkeling worth it?

The waters of Captain Cook offer some of the best snorkeling conditions in the world and are worth a visit if you’re on the Big Island. Here, you can snorkel alongside colorful corals and reef fishes from the bay’s clear waters and pristine conditions. 

Winding Up The Best Captain Cook Snorkeling Tour

If you’re on the Big Island, don’t miss a snorkeling trip to Captain Cook, home to the pristine waters of Kealakekua Bay. Marine life enthusiasts worldwide come to this small town for its historical significance and the terrific snorkeling conditions available year-round. 

You’ll get to explore underwater coral gardens and various reefs and swim with hundreds of tropical fish through guided snorkeling tours in Captain Cook. 

Looking for a comfortable snorkeling tour on Captain Cook? Take a trip with Hang Loose Boat Tours and Sea Paradise.

Want to try a traditional Hawaiian sailing and snorkeling tour? Take the Ehu and Kai outrigger canoe snorkel tour. 

Need a family-friendly snorkeling tour in Captain Cook? Don’t miss the Fair Wind Cruise snorkeling trip. 

The best snorkeling tours on Captain Cook are an unmissable adventure!

Last Updated on March 31, 2023 by Brigitte