Power Raft Snorkel Tours to Kealakekua Bay Plus a Kona Coast Cruise

Since we love snorkeling and exploring Kealakekua Bay, we wanted to provide more snorkel options. 

Summary: Looking for world-class snorkeling? Join Captain Zodiac for an award-winning snorkeling adventure! Your destination is Kealakekua Bay, which is a National Marine Park and the site of the Captain Cook Monument. Hop into a Zodiac raft for their 5-hour Beat the Crowds Tour to Kealakekua Bay or choose their 4-hour morning or afternoon tours. Only the Zodiacs can get close to the many lava tubes, sea caves, sea grottos, and wave-powered blowholes that this tour also includes.

We have two tours for you to choose from for your snorkeling trip – 5-Hour Beat the Crowd and 4-Hour Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Tour. Both go to the legendary snorkel spot in front of the Captain Cook Monument, inside of Kealakekua Bay. Both are on the famous Zodiac rafts. The rafts are small, fast, and get you places the other tour boats can’t. We love the experience of the rafts and the crew that will be with you. Captain Zodiac is Hawaii’s original rafting company and they have been doing this for 45 years. Their reviews are impeccable.

If a power rafting snorkel tour isn’t your thing, try a guided or DIY kayak and snorkeling tour of Kealakekua Bay.

Kona Snorkeling – Beat the Crowd Tour

This is the same great tour as the award-winning four-hour AM or PM adventure, but it is timed to allow you to snorkel with fewer people at the bay! Kealakekua Bay is the best place to snorkel on the Big Island of Hawaii. With its crystal-clear, calm waters, guests to the Big Island naturally gravitate there.

Given the number of people in the bay in the early morning or late afternoon, Captain Zodiac has designed this Kona snorkel tour to fall between those times, hence “beating the crowd.”

Beat the Crowd Tour Details


Upon arrival at the Kona Marina, guests will be briefed on the bay and snorkeling. They can stay in the water for as long as they like. The crew of the raft will have lunch ready for them when they get out of the water.

While eating lunch, the captain will talk about the history of Kealakekua Bay and why the Captain Cook monument was erected here. After, there will be additional time to jump back into the water for a little more snorkeling.

Once everyone is done snorkeling, the same, award-winning, coastal tour will begin. Sea caves, lava tubes, and blowholes! Spinner dolphins, manta rays, turtles, oh my!

Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Tour – Morning and Afternoon Tour

This tour also takes you to Kealakekua Bay for snorkeling at the Captain Cook Monument like Beat the Crowd but leaves at 8:00 am and again at 12:45 (two tours a day). It is also a 4-hour tour compared to 5-hours.

Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Details

Captain Zodiac Kona Coast seacave

Private Charter with Captain Zodiac

If you’d like to create an adventure with just your family and friends – their private charters will take you wherever you’d like to go and when.

Do you want to avoid crowds? Do you want to experience Kealakekua Bay, the best place to snorkel on the Big Island, with no one around? Or try a totally new and secluded and remote snorkel area? Then come and join Captain Zodiac for an exclusive tour only offered to VIP guests!

You’ll start our adventure when you want with flexible departure times. We’ll take our time to get to one of the chosen snorkel spots stopping along the way if we see any marine life.

Included in the Private Charter

  • Private charter to Kealakekua Bay Marine Preserve during non-peak times
  • Secluded and remote alternative snorkel spots
  • Encounter dolphins
  • Tropical fruit platter, sandwich lunch, and soft drinks
  • Jr. Pirate awards for all the keiki (children)
  • All snorkel gear
  • High-quality silicone masks
  • Rx masks
  • Fins
  • Float boards or vests

We love snorkeling at this spot so much, it earned the #1 spot on our Where to Snorkel on the Big Island video:

FAQs for Captain Zodiac Tours

Please note that due to the bouncy nature of our ride, they do not allow any persons with back or neck problems or ladies that are pregnant on the tour.

What is your cancellation policy?

Captain Zodiac has a strict 48-hour cancellation policy. For parties of 6 or more, they have a 72-hour cancellation policy. No refunds within that time frame.

What is included in the snorkeling tours?

All snorkel gear, high-quality silicone masks, Rx masks, fins, float boards, and detailed instruction will be provided.

They also provide a light deli lunch sandwich (dietary restrictions upon request), chips, cookies, fresh local pineapple, bottled water and soft drinks.

What is the difference between the 4-hour and 5-hour tours?

They are virtually the same great tour, but the 5-hour is a little longer and lunch is included. We do leave a little later on the 5-hour so we get to Kealakekua Bay when there are fewer people.

Is the snorkeling better in the morning or the afternoon?

Because Kona has some of the calmest waters in the state year-round, the waters are beautiful all day. What they typically see in the morning, they also see in the afternoon. The mornings do typically have more blue skies than in the afternoon, but sometimes the clouds are welcomed extra protection from sunburn.

Do you provide transport from my hotel or condo?

While staying on the island, you will probably find it cheaper and more convenient to rent a car. Otherwise, there are a number of taxi companies that can assist you.

How does the weather affect the trip?

We are fortunate to be on the Kona Coast of the Big Island. Our side of the island is protected from wind and weather by three volcanoes so we are rarely affected by bad weather. If it does happen you may cancel or reschedule without penalty.

Can we go on land to see the Captain Cook Monument up close?

No. The coral reefs are so beautiful in Kealakekua Bay and in order to protect them, we don’t allow anyone onshore. You will use your boat as your beach for the day.

Will I get seasick?

These small, fast-moving boats have a tendency to cause less seasickness than other types of boats. However, as a precaution, motion sickness medicine should be taken the night before the tour to solve all worries.

Are the boats covered?

No, because that takes away from the raft experience. Wear sunscreen and a hat and you will be loving it! We are also able to get under the sea caves because they do not have covered rafts.

About Captain Zodiac

Captain Zodiac will take you to explore some of Hawaii’s most amazing sights along the Kona Coast! Their snorkel destination is Kealakekua Bay where you will find some of the best snorkeling in the state of Hawaii. This remote marine preserve features hundreds of colorful fish and beautiful coral. A key place in Hawaiian history and site of the Captain Cook Monument, we “talk story” about these cultural and historic events.

Up-close encounters with marine life are an opportunity not to be missed on our Zodiac rafts. We often see pods of Hawaiian spinner dolphins, humpback whales (seasonal), pilot whales, sea turtles, and other rare species. The small-group atmosphere of our adventure allows for a personal and intimate tour.

Their captain and crew are well versed in marine science, animal behavior, the geology of the island’s lava flows, Hawaiian history, culture, and folklore. This makes our tours informative as well as fun! The captains are part-entertainer and all pirates.

Only Captain Zodiac’s highly maneuverable 24-foot Zodiac Hurricane RHIB can get you in close to the sea caves, lava tubes, rock archways, blowholes, and amazing scenery along the coastline. With only a maximum of 16 passengers per raft, everyone has a great seat.

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