Seafari & Discover Pawai Afternoon Snorkel

Seafari & Discover Pawai Afternoon Snorkel

Per Person $99

Duration: 2.5 hours

Trip Time: 1:30

Ages: 3+ years

Not Suitable For: Expectant mothers or those with back or neck issues


Enjoy Kona’s most beautiful, local snorkeling spot. Our afternoon snorkeling trip takes place in Pawai Bay (pronounced Pa-vai) – ocean permitting – and is only accessible to guests by boat. This beautiful lava rock coastline is set aside for the use of native Hawaiian children, inaccessible to non-natives.

We are fortunate to be able to moor in the bay and share the beautiful shallow reef wildlife and educational briefings with guests about the wildlife we encounter. This secluded location is a true local gem, and known as the most beautiful local spot in Kona.

Just after boarding, we depart Kona’s harbor, keeping a watchful eye out for Hawaiian spinner dolphins in their natural habitat. Jump in the water to snorkel Kona’s most beautiful local snorkel spot at Pawai, where massive schools of fish, lava rock arches and gorgeous reefs await discovery.

A few small details:
We have limited space to stow personal belongings and no dry area.
Gratuity is not included in the price of the tour but tips are greatly appreciated.

What to Bring
Swimsuit (please arrive in it), sunglasses, hat, sun protective cover-up, reef-safe sunscreen, and camera! A dry bag is recommended.

This is not a suitable activity for expectant mothers or those with back or neck issues.

Depart from Honokohau boat harbor aboard our comfy pontoon boat heading south around Kaiwi point. The coastline is rugged with no access from the shore. This means only boats can get to this unique area. It’s a short 15 minute cruise to reach the magical spot that is Pawai Bay. Pawai is a marine reserve which means it’s teeming with marine life. The fish are not shy in Pawai! The reef begins at a vertical lava wall that drops the the coral covered bottom in 15 feet of water. It gently slopes to about 40 feet before descending more steeply into the blue. The types of animals you can see are plenty. Colorful reef fish are abundant here but there are also eels, sea stars and the occasional large animal including turtles, manta rays, and spotted eagle rays. The protection offered by the Bay means calm waters most of the year around. The colors of the reef allow many different critters to hide among it. Occasionally you will spot an eel head or a shy octopus poking out from under the reef. Our guides will be happy to take you to the select spots and show you the unique marine life. Kona is home to the highest rate of endemic (found only in Hawaii) fish in the world. There are colorful long-nose butterfly fish like the Wili wili nuku nuku oi oi. And large puffer fish like the Kokala.

Our guides are also full of information about the history and culture of the island. The advantage of this quick afternoon Kona snorkel tour is the fast turnaround time means you will be able to get in the water and get back home in time for dinner. If you’re looking for a quick, convenient Kona snorkel tour this is the one.

We provide all of the snorkeling gear so you can focus on the fun. Been a while since you have snorkeled? We’d be happy to show you how to use your snorkel gear in a quick tutorial. Our experienced captain and crew love showing off our beautiful island, that’s why Kona snorkel trips is the #1 rated snorkel tour company on the Big Island. Our snorkel tours are designed to delight. You’re looking for an easy way to enjoy the Hawaiian waters and we are happy to give you a way to do it in a small and personalized setting. Our boat allows a more intimate setting for you and your family with only a captain and crew to oversee your trip.

Looking to go with just your family? The private tour option is economical and allows you to enjoy the boat all to yourselves. Not all snorkel tours are created equal.

Kona has some of the best ocean reefs in Hawaii. The colorful variety of hard corals mixed with our calm lear water and abundance of fish means you’re going to love your time out on the water with us. This is because of the shelter offered by the other islands. We are also a very steep volcanic island that has little sand. The combination of calm water and little sand means visibility is superior. We also have more places for coral to grow which in turn attracts reef fish. Snorkel tours can vary in quality and duration. This Kona snorkel tour is designed to give the maximum amount of water time for the minimum amount of total time spent out on the water.
Pawai Bay has some beautiful rock arches and pinnacles. The unique lava features mean for some spectacular underwater scenery is just a fin kick away from the boat. If your looking for other Kona snorkel tour opportunities check out our Kealakekua bay snorkel tour or our manta ray snorkel tour. After you return to the harbor you can go to the turtle beach to the north in Kaloko National Park. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see honu or turtles resting on the shore.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need any swimming or snorkeling experience?

No experience is necessary, but basic swimming skills are required. We provide snorkeling gear, floatation devices (wetsuits, float belts, and pool noodles all help you float) and basic instruction for snorkeling, including some tips for having the best experience possible. You may be surprised by how buoyant you are in salt water compared to freshwater pools or lakes.


What should I bring with me on the boat?

  • For day trips: hat, sun protective clothing, reef safe sunscreen, towel, camera
  • For evening trips: jacket, towel, camera
  • A small dry bag is recommended as we have limited dry storage onboard and seaspray is normal
  • Kindly leave any extra items in your car or in our storage locker on the dock. Key storage is provided as well, so those don’t get lost!


Where do I check in?

We depart from the Honokohau Small Boat Harbor. The easiest way to get there is to follow the Google Maps link in your confirmation email or type Kona Snorkel Trips into Google Maps and follow the directions. If you know where the harbor is just turn in and follow the road until you come two the store building with a red roof with a gas station. Park and meet us at the covered picnic tables. If you arrive at check-in and our boat is not there or no one is present to check you in we are either bringing the boat around or coming back from our previous trip. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to check your confirmation email for the correct date.
The address for GPS or smartphone maps is: 74-381 Kealakehe Pkwy, Kailua, HI 96740 or you can put Kona Snorkel Trips in Google Maps


Do you provide snorkeling gear, wetsuits and floatation devices?

Yes! We provide good quality snorkeling gear including masks, snorkels, and fins for our day snorkel trips. Wetsuits are provided for all trips, and we strongly encourage you to use them on our night snorkel trips for buoyancy and warmth! Floatation devices are offered for all of our guests – we provide either a pool noodle or float belt (these are great if swimming is a challenge for you, you’re a first-time snorkeler, or you just want to relax).

Should I bring swimwear and a rashguard?

Absolutely! With the exception of our season whale-watching tours, you’re gonna get wet. Arrive at check-in wearing your swimwear, ready to go! We highly recommend a rashguard with sun protection instead of sunscreen. If you do bring sunscreen – kindly make sure it’s reef safe.

Do you provide prescription masks?

We do have a limited selection of prescription masks available. If you plan to snorkel more than just once, it may be worth your while to purchase a mask with your correct prescription.


Can I bring my own gear?

Yes! We want you to be comfortable and have an enjoyable experience. We welcome you to bring your own snorkel gear or use ours – whatever is more comfortable for you.

What is your cancellation policy?

Reservations cancelled with at least 48 hours notice will be refunded. Reservations cancelled with less than 48 hours notice will be charged the full price. KST will refund customers if KST needs to cancel the trip due to weather, ocean conditions or mechanical issues.

Please note that the Manta Rays are wild animals and we cannot guarantee their presence. 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 nontransferable 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 for us to offer you a refund.

Does the boat have a restroom?

At check-in there is an opportunity to use the facilities on land, however, we do not have a restroom on board.


What if we don’t see manta rays?

Since manta rays are wild animals their presence is affected by a variety of factors, and we don’t have control over whether or not they grace us with their presence. Because your enjoyment on the trip is a high priority to us (second only to safety), we do everything we can to find mantas for you including making informed decisions on where to go to have the best opportunity to see them. On the rare occasion, we don’t see any mantas, you can come back out with us on a standby seat for free.


Is it customary to tip?

As awkward of a subject as it can be, it’s a question that we get multiple times per day. While it is fairly common to leave 15-20% on a restaurant ticket, you can bet our crew delivers a lot more on your excursions. Tips are never expected but always appreciated.


How does the weather affect the trip?

Thanks to our location on the island and protection from Hualalai, the majestic mountain behind our town, we typically have great weather, calm seas, and few rain days per year. Some days cloud over then clear up quickly, or the mountain looks cloudy and we have gorgeous weather on the Kona coast. On the rare occasion the weather is questionable, our team will make a determination whether or not the trip can go out safely. In the event we cancel we will do our very best to rebook you for another time. If we cannot accommodate you, we will give you a full refund.

How many people will be on the boat?

In most cases, the maximum number of people on board is 16 guests plus 3 crew members. Our coast guard allowed capacity is more, allowing up to 18 guests for a private charter.

Where do I park?

Parking is free and convenient. When you arrive at check-in, you’ll see gravel spaces for parking nearby. Park, lock, and come over to start your adventure!


Our pilots are skillful in selecting a flight path that affords passengers on both sides of the aircraft the same amazing views.

Can my friend/family members ride along if they aren’t snorkeling?

The seats are available for guests whether they’d like to snorkel or ride along for the boat trip, the cost per seat is the same.


Can my kids snorkel without me?

Kids are welcome on all of our charters (the minimum ages vary) and must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.


Do you provide transportation?

Our insurance doesn’t allow the transportation of guests. It’s your responsibility to get to and from the check-in location. Kona does have Uber, Lyft, and taxi services.


What kind of boat will we be on?

Our boat, Orca, is a 27’ rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) with twin Yamaha 200 outboard motors, allowing us to move quickly down the coastline.