Visitors to Hawaii have so much to discover on land, with the island chain’s rich cultural heritage, plethora of land activities and tours, historical sites and of course, beaches!
But Hawaii visitors also have entirely new destinations to discover ‘under the sea’ around the Islands of Aloha. Hawaii’s waters are heavily protected, and teeming with ocean life, making for some of the best underwater exploration in the world. For travellers with scuba diving and/or snorkeling in mind for their next Hawaii visit, here are some of the top scuba/snorkel tour operators around the islands.
Island of Hawaii
Big Island Divers in Kailua-Kona offers a wide range of scuba tours as well as PADI Certification for those itching to dive into the scuba world on Hawaii Island. The company also offers a PADI refresher course for scuba divers who need to brush up on their skills.
One of Big Island Divers’ longest-running scuba tours is its Kona Manta Ray Night Dive. During this once-in-a-lifetime experience Big Island Divers use large lights to attract plankton, which calls forth teams of mantas for a feast while divers watch and observe these graceful creatures enjoying a meal. Visit bigislanddivers.com.
For another option on Hawaii Island, Kona Boys offers snorkel tours around the Kona Coast, with its Morning Magic Kealakekua Bay Kayak & Snorkel or its Midday Meander Kealakekua Bay Kayak & Snorkel tours. For travellers booking a package with all the fixings, Kona Boys’ Day at the Beach Package: Kamakahonu Cove provides kayak, snorkel, stand-up paddle board gear as well as a guide for the day all from Kona Boys’ beach shack at Kamakahonu Beach in downtown Kona. Visit konaboys.com for more.
Kauai’s Seasport Divers provides a range of tours for scuba enthusiasts, including shore dives, first-time dives, dive boats and NITROX — which extends the No Decompression Limit (NDL) bottom times on dives. There are programs available for non-certified divers to experience the thrill of the underwater world with an instructor by their sides, keiki (children’s) classes and for experienced divers, small-group boat dives led by highly-trained guides. Seasport Divers’ shore dives, exploring interesting coral formations, have been voted one of the Best Shore Dives in the Pacific by Scuba Diving Magazine. Visit seasportdivers.com for more.
Sail Trilogy has the perfect option for underwater enthusiasts looking for something a little more in-depth than snorkelling without committing to an all-the-way scuba dive. The company’s Lahaina Picnic Snorkel and Sail includes snorkelling or an upgraded SNUBA option with lunch on a small group tour. This tour also includes personal instructions and whale watching during the Humpback winter migration (from December-April). Visit sailtrilogy.com for more.
AliʻI Nui’s numerous snorkelling activities range from The Turtle Point Snorkel Sail (five hours), Morning Snorkel Molokini 1-Stop Sail (five hours), Morning Snorkel Sail Deluxe (six hours) or the Afternoon Turtle Snorkel (three hours). Each activity gives you the opportunity to participate and discover the ocean. Huka diving, a surface supplied air system that allows the participant to go down under the water while breathing on a surface supplied air system is also available for those who aren’t scuba certified. Visit aliinuimaui.com.
Aboard the Pride of Maui, one of Hawaii’s ultimate scuba vessels, there is 2,500 feet of space on two sprawling decks. From the Pride of Maui guests can snorkel, SNUBA and scuba dive in some of the world’s most pristine waters. For visitors during whale-watching season, not only will they have the chance to observe humpback whales but they may also be able to hear humpbacks singing from under the sea. Visit prideofmaui.com.
Living Ocean Scuba offers an ideal scuba tour for first-timers – its Introductory Hanauma Bay Shore Dive. This tour is offered in small groups of four or less with one scuba instructor per group. Shore diving at Hanauma Bay is the only way scuba enthusiasts can explore this reef as state laws prohibit any boats from entering the bay. Other tours offered by Living Ocean Scuba include its Turtle/Reef Boat Dives and Wreck/Reef Boat dives. For more visit livingoceanscuba.com.
The Discover Scuba Diving option with Ocean Legends is another option for first-time scuba divers. This all-day experience starts with an academic briefing and video, followed by a two-tank afternoon boat charter to enjoy two scuba dives with a skilled PADI instructor. Visit oceanlegends.com.