Snorkeling the Big Island

Let’s not miss talking about Hawaii’s spectacular water. We love to snorkel- the Big Island did not disappoint. It can be quite deceiving when you’re on a lava rock beach and you look out at the water. It’s not the blue green lagoon you see from other tropical places because of all the volcanic activity. The water however, is extremely clear and teeming with life! Our favorite snorkeling beach is Kahalu’u Beach. Kahalu’u is near Kona and easily accessible. The cove is perfect for families because the water is clear, calm and shallow. What’s nice about this beach is that there are bathrooms and lifeguards onsite. Reef breaks were built with large volcanic rocks long ago, so the cove is easy to swim around in. Bring your water shoes, underwater camera and snorkel gear! If you forget something, there is a rental shack where you can hire gear for the day.

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Of course you will see the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a fish (the Hawaiian state fish)! You will see fish of every color and species- even in the shallow areas. A swim out to deeper waters will show you a great population of sea life congregating around abundant coral gardens.  Honu, Hawaii’s green sea turtle love to hang out here, we saw several turtles in the water feeding in the shallow rocky areas. Be careful because they blend right into the lava rock. Don’t trip over a sleeping turtle!

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Another great place to snorkel is Two Step beach. This beach is located right next to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau Historical Park. The beach gets its name from the “two steps” carved into the volcanic rock, that lead into the ocean. It’s a bit deeper here, so if you’re not a strong swimmer, you can still snorkel around in the shallow sandy beach area (that borders the historical park). It’s a great way to round out the day after visiting the place of refuge. There are many turtles here as well, and we’ve heard that you can also see dolpins playing close to shore. We didn’t see them on this trip, but maybe next time!

Travel tip:
On any tropical vacation, I always have everyone either wear their swimsuits under their clothing, or pack them in the car. We also keep sunblock, water shoes. and snorkel gear in the trunk. You just never know when you might come across an irresistible body of water, and you always want to be ready for a swim!

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