ONE of THE MOST POPULAR BIG ISLAND SNORKELING TOURS!
Join Kona’s top-rated and most reviewed snorkel company, Kona Snorkel Trips, for the manta ray snorkel experience of a lifetime! They are our sister company and focus on snorkel tours in Kona, Hawaii. This tour is suitable for the whole family. The manta ray snorkel is one of Kona’s top attractions as there is nothing else quite like it in the world! Float on the surface while these massive rays fly by only inches below!
WHO SHOULD GO ON THE MANTA RAY SWIM
The Manta Ray Night Snorkel is open to anyone with a spirit of adventure, who can swim, and is comfortable in the ocean. Adults and children (ages 5+) are welcome. All guests should be able to swim 50 yards without assistance and consider themselves intermediate to advanced snorkelers. Non-swimmers are not permitted on this charter for their safety, our crew’s safety, and courtesy to other guests onboard. (Children (under 18) must be at least five years of age, demonstrate strong swimming ability, and be accompanied by an adult at all times.)
This adventurous retired Navy Seal boat will have you off to see the mantas in no time. This is an exciting, and sometimes bouncy time out on the water depending on ocean conditions. Sometimes the ocean is like glass and sometimes has a bit more oomph to it, especially during the winter. Those that are pregnant or have back and neck issues should sit this tour out. Your helpful Lifeguard Certified guide will provide all the necessary equipment (including Rx masks) and keep you safe and happy on your adventure.
- For safety, swimming skills are required for all guests – this is a nighttime open ocean activity
- Can you swim 50 yards without additional floatation?
- You should have prior snorkeling experience and consider yourself an intermediate to advanced snorkeler
- Non-swimmers or riders are not permitted on this tour
- Expectant mothers or those with regular back or neck issues are not permitted on this tour due to the adventurous nature of our retired Navy SEAL boat
- Those with reoccurring shoulder issues are not permitted on this tour – you must be able to have their arms outstretched for 30-40 minutes
- An adult must accompany those under 18 years of age, but 5 or older at all times
- For safety, you must be able to converse in English
- Mask (some Rx available)
- Shorty wetsuit
- Additional flotation (float belt)
How do you view the mantas?
You will be wearing a mask, snorkel, wetsuit, and floatation belt. There is a modified surfboard that has rope “handles” going around the perimeter of the board. You’ll lightly hold onto the rope handle superman style (arms outstretched over your head). This is why it’s important not to have any shoulder issues! In the middle of the board, holes were cut out high-powered lights were inserted that attract plankton – which is what the mantas love to eat! There are 9-10 guests per board. Your guide will “tow” you around to the best spots to view the mantas for 30-40 minutes.
Please note that the Manta Rays are wild animals and their presence is not guaranteed. If you do not see a manta on your night out, you can go again on another night on a space-available standby basis. Keep in mind that standby spaces may be extremely limited, especially during the busiest times of the year. This offer never expires, but is non-transferable and has no refund or cash value. We are typically very successful in finding mantas for you; however, if they are not around, the costs involved with setting up the charter and getting all our guests to the location will not allow us to offer you a refund.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO ON THE MANTA RAY SWIM
If you’re looking for things to do in Kona at night the manta ray snorkel is easily the top attraction. Every night hundreds of people get in the water with these majestic creatures. One of the most amazing parts about viewing manta rays in their natural habitat is just how large they can be compared to us. The largest rays are many times larger than even the biggest person. Combine the manta ray’s size with their grace and it makes for one impressive show!
Kona can be relatively sleepy at night with many restaurants closing early and a lack of general nightlife options. That’s okay because there are still so many great things to see at night in the ocean! The manta ray snorkel is one of those few things you can do at night that is unlike anything else. Forget the bar, the action is in the ocean!
Manta rays are found in many parts of the tropics and even on the other Hawaiian Islands. But unlike in Kona, they can be difficult to spot. We are so fortunate in Kona to have a coast that drops off quickly and brings deep nutrient-rich water to the shore. The water feeds plankton which the manta rays love. This means if you want to swim with manta rays this is your chance! The manta ray snorkel is so convenient and accessible it’s one of the few large animal encounters with a consistent chance to see large wild animals up close and personal. It’s also safe for the rays and safe for the participants! So don’t miss out on this opportunity to see one of the oceans largest rays.
Other animals you may see when going on a manta ray snorkel are monk seals, dolphins, and loads of fish! Floating on the surface makes it easy to view the show down below. The rays look like they are performing but really they are just eating all of the yummy plankton down below. The plankton are attracted to the lights we use to light up the ocean. There’s often so much light in the water it almost doesn’t feel like night anymore. It’s like an underwater club show. The only thing lacking is the dance music.
Swimming with Manta Rays Kona Nightlife
The manta ray swim is Kona’s #1 nighttime activity. Kona town is pretty sleepy at night, but the ocean is plenty active. Our manta rays love to come and visit us at night because our mantas love the plankton we attract for them. It’s a beautiful relationship where mantas eat and we get to watch a beautiful show unlike anything else you’ve ever seen.
There are over 200 different known manta rays on the Big Island. Each manta ray is identified by it’s distinct markings on it’s underside. Our guides can help to identify and tally how many rays were there on any given night. Sometimes it can be challenging to know just how many mantas you saw! Occasionally we will discover a new manta ray. It’s a great joy to name your own manta ray! What would you name your manta ray? Typically new mantas won’t be spotted until they reach around 100lbs in size spending their younger years in the depths.
Kona is unique in the world for having this special experience. You may not get this opportunity ever again so join us on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I snorkel with manta rays in Kona?
There are 3 manta ray snorkeling sites. One up north in Mauna Kea is accessible from shore but often has poor visibility. Manta Heaven is just off shore from the Kona airport and is only accessible by boat. Manta Village is in Keahou and is located just outside the mouth of the boat harbor. This is the most popular (and crowded spot) to see the mantas.
Is the Manta Ray Snorkel worth it?
If you value being up close and personal with something that looks like a dancing alien creature that is easily several times bigger than you then yes! People scream, cry, curse, and laugh when they see these magnificent beings cruise by sometimes inches from their face.
How much is Manta Ray snorkel Kona?
Typically between $119 – $150 depending on the operator. Some of the larger boats can offer the best budget pricing whiley sacrificing personal service and the ability to maneuver to where the mantas are due to fewer crew per guest and larger groups in the water.
What is the best time to see manta rays in Kona?
The best time of day is after the sun goes down as that is when mantas begin to feed until they are full.
The best time of the year to see manta rays is in the summer when the water is warmer and the seas are calmer.
Is manta ray night snorkel safe?
The only hazard that is different from a normal daytime reef snorkel is the amount of boat traffic driving around at night. This is why it’s important to go with a top tier operator like Kona Snorkel Trips as they will keep you safe from potential harm by carrying proper lighting, floatation, and medical equipment on board including life guard certified staff and AED’s etc.
Do you need wetsuit for Manta Ray Snorkel?
It’s not necessary but Kona Snorkel Trips provides all guests with wetsuits because they will allow you to float on the surface more easily without any effort. A wetsuit will also protect you from potential jellyfish stings. While they are very uncommon they can be known to come out at night.
How much do you tip a manta ray snorkel?
While it is not expected and always appreciated, it is common to tip a manta ray tour guide between $20 – $40 per snorkeler if they do a great job and up to $100 if they do an outstanding job.
What time is best for manta ray night snorkel?
It has to be dark since that’s when the manta rays come in close to feed. There are typically 2 time slots for the manta ray night snorkel. One in just sat the suns setting with the boat leaving the harbor while it is still light. The second time
Is it better to snorkel or dive with manta rays?
The only big advantage diving has over snorkeling is the night reef dive leading to and from the campfire where the manta show happens. Otherwise it’s simply a matter of perspective. Divers see the mantas from below and the snorkelers see the mantas from above.
One advantage the snorkelers have over divers is they can move around more easily so if the mantas move to a different part of the dive site snorkelers can move with them. This makes seeing mantas easier and more likely for snorkelers versus divers on nights where there are fewer mantas around. If no mantas show that night then diving gives you a nice night reef dive.
How long is the Manta Ray Night Snorkel?
It can last up to 45 minutes while some guests will opt to head back to the boat sooner.