Big Island is the largest island in Hawaii, which means there are lots to do. From visiting the Volcano National Park, driving through the clouds of Mauna Kea, going to a black sand beach, or swimming with the Manta Rays, and more. For us, every Big Island trip seems to include an activity of swimming with the Manta Rays! This is a must thing to do for sure the whole family will enjoy.
Not to be mistaken by StingRays (RIP Steve Irwin), Manta Rays are the angels of the sea and graceful in every way. Manta Rays spin around, loop-de-loop in summersault like action to eat planktons, similar to the bioluminescence as we kayaked through in Costa Rica.
We went on an enchanting Manta Ray Night Snorkel with Sea Paradise in Kona, Big Island. They offer other tours on the Big Island such as morning snorkel tour, afternoon snorkel tour, sunset manta ray snorkel, and manta ray night snorkel.
Check-in: Sea Paradise in the Keauhou Shopping Center located at 78-6831 Alii Drive Suite 144 Kailua Kona, Hi 96740
Tip: Sign the waiver form online (link will be emailed to you upon booking the tour). Then, you can head straight to the boat harbor instead of checking-in at their store.
SUNSET MANTA RAY SNORKEL
Arriving about 30 minutes early, we hung out in the car and took some photos. As crowds began to gather and offload from the previous sail, we headed straight to the boat harbor (toward the end of the road, keep going down to the right) since we signed the waiver online. Once we saw the Sea Paradise van, we were fitted for a wet suit and headed on board.
Then, we sailed for sunset.
“Enjoy a breathtaking, Hawaiian sunset aboard our spacious trimaran, the Hokulani. As the sun sets, we coast to the world famous, Manta Ray Village. Manta rays are gentle giants of the sea, with many residing along the Kona Coast. Harmless to humans, they are drawn to the spotlights that light up the night to eat plankton. These mesmerizing creatures sometimes gracefully glide within inches of awe-struck snorkelers. Swimming with manta rays is often the highlight of visitors’ trips to Hawaii. Sea Paradise is an original manta ray tour expert in Hawaii, helping its guests get up close and personal with these majestic creatures since 1985.” – Sea Paradise
In our case, we sailed out, watched a standard Hawaiian sunset, and sailed back to the harbor as the waves were a bit rough and windy in the regular area to anchor. The calmer waters of the Harbor brought the Mantas inward for a nice night swim. As advertised however, these graceful creatures really do come within inches of your face and is sometimes a shock at how fast and smooth they seem to do it.
When we anchored the boat, we were given snorkels and a noodle, to help stay afloat. They positioned underwater lights next to the boat to attract the Manta Ray food, plankton. In about 15 minutes, a Manta Ray was spotted, and we were all-hands-off-deck. We went into the water one by one with our noodle and floated to a position on the light, where we held to stay in one spot, just above the feeding ground. The noodle was used for our feet so we don’t kick our feet and make to many splashes or accidentally kicking one while in the water. We held on to the light handle since we are not allowed to touch the sea creatures.
Swimming with the Manta Rays and seeing them up close is a magical sight. It’s listed as one of the best things to do in the world and I can agree. It really is amazing to see how close they get to us and how educational tours like this can be. We would definitely do this activity whenever we get a chance. It’s truly an experience you will not forget and it a good activity with the entire family! You don’t have to be a great swimmer and if you’re so inclined to stay on board, the Manta Rays are so huge you can definitely eye them out compared to us clumsy humans. Beautiful night to witness the angels of the sea.
78-6831 Alii Drive Suite 144
Kailua Kona, Hawaii 96740
Disclosure: Wanderlustyle was hosted by Sea Paradise. All of our opinions are honest. Mahalo!
WHERE TO STAY ON THE BIG ISLAND
Airbnb: This is similar to staying at a friends house but instead, you have to pay. Although, it may be cheaper than most hotels in an area. It’s a great and convenient alternative to booking at hostels or luxury hotels. If this is your first time booking with Airbnb, use this link to get you a FREE $40 credit for your first stay!
Hotels: We recommend staying at The Mauna Kea Hotel or The Westin Hapuna. We stayed at both of these hotels during our stay and would recommend simply off the service. The facilities are absolutely breathtaking. If you’re looking for other hotels on the Big Island, use the map below to check out what other hotels is around the area!
MORE BIG ISLAND
10 MUST-SEE PLACES ON THE BIG ISLAND
HOW TO SPEND 12 HOURS ON THE BIG ISLAND
MAUNA KEA HOTEL
THE WESTIN HAPUNA