Manta Ray Night Snorkel in South Kona

Big Island

Manta Ray Night Snorkel in South Kona


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  • Observe manta rays as wide as 15 feet as they feed on plankton at night
  • Considered one of the top underwater adventures in the world
  • Very safe as manta rays are harmless creatures
  • Snorkeling is near shore, and you hold on to a floating platform for comfort
  • Convenient launch location only 5 minute boat ride to the site


Widely recognized as one of the top underwater adventures in the world, swimming with majestic manta rays in the night waters off of Kona is a thrilling and beautiful experience. These magnificent creatures, some reaching up to 15 feet in width, elegantly glide through the darkness, performing a mesmerizing "manta ray ballet" as they feed on the abundant plankton in the area. Unlike their stingray relatives, these harmless creatures have no stingers or sharp teeth, making the encounter safe and enjoyable.

Conveniently located just minutes away from the "Manta Ray Village" site and adjacent to the Outrigger Kona Resort (formerly Sheraton), this adventure departs from Keauhou Harbor aboard a spacious trimaran. Before entering the water at the site, the knowledgeable crew will provide you with a comprehensive briefing, ensuring you feel prepared and informed. Throughout the experience, you'll hold onto a specially designed manta ray flotation device near the boat, making it easy and comfortable. Equipped with snorkeling gear, you'll float effortlessly keeping your eyes peeled for the incredible sight of these gentle giants as they gracefully feed on the microscopic plankton drawn to the flotation lights, sometimes coming within inches of your face. After approximately 45 minutes, you'll come back onboard for some light snacks and hot cocoa & tea, and giddy from having the underwater experience of a lifetime! 

There are two options when booking: the Early version, which starts 6/6:30 pm depending on the time of year, is offered first on a date, and when that is sold out (or close to), then the Late version (which starts 8:30/9 pm) is also available to book. If booking well in advance, you'll likely only see the Early version, whereas if you are booking closer to the date, you may only see the Late version (although during peak season it can still sell out weeks in advance). They are essentially the same tour experience, with the small difference being the Early one is associated with sunset, whereas the Late one does not have sunset but tends to be less crowded (both on this boat, and in terms of the number of boats in the area). You can see the exact departure time during checkout, with check-in 30 minutes prior.

TravelShack's Choice


  • Closest departure location to site means only a 5-minute boat ride (versus ~30-45+ min each way for boats leaving North Kona / Honokōhau, often on choppy waters and with not much to see at night), and this also allows it to be one of the last to leave the site which can help for seeing the most mantas. This close location is particularly helpful for those prone to seasickness, or those who just don't want to be sitting in the dark while wet (and sometimes in chilly nighttime weather) for an extended period to get back to shore.
  • All the focus is on the snorkeling experience (no time spent waiting on divers)
  • Manta Ray Guarantee -- in the unlikely event mantas are not seen, return for free within 7 days (pending availability)
  • Comfortable and spacious 50' boat with plenty of seating, 2 restrooms, a fresh water hose to rinse off afterwards, and easy access to the water via wide steps and then ladder that goes deep into the water.
  • Tour size capped well below boat capacity for better comfort and safety.
  • Experienced tour operator who was one of the first to operate such a tour (since 1985)
  • One of only 4 Big Island tour operators recommended by Hawaii Ocean Watch for following the highest levels of standards for keeping people & marine life safe, conducting sustainable operations, and managing a marine-life friendly encounter. This famous manta ray experience has become quite popular, which has sometimes led to conditions that are unsafe, unsustainable, and harmful to the rays, and this operator is a leader in responsibly mitigating those concerns.

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