Hawaii - Manta Dive and Snorkel

Hawaii - Manta Dive and Snorkel

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Travel Update: Most places are open. Still, check the official websites and read our crucial BEST TIME tips below to help you AVOID THE CROWDS or secure tickets | Book Tip: 50 U.S. States - 5000 Ideas

When Is the Best Time

When Is the Best Time

This trip is offered year-round. Sometimes ocean conditions can spoil the trip, especially in the winter (November/December until March/April). It's a popular tour and likely to be sold out days before, particularly on weekends. 


The popular manta tour is mostly sold out even in the shoulder season. Up to 150 people watch this awesome "dinner show" in the sea each evening. Therefore advanced booking is recommended.  Book your Manta tour hereShoulder seasons are: During spring between mid-April to mid-June and in fall from September to November. It's busier during the "Golden Week" in Japan end of April until the beginning of May. It gets very crowded when the Ironman takes place in October. Increasing rates in summer, during Christmas, New Year's Eve and on Independence Day. 

Manta feeding in Kona, Big Island

Weather and Ocean Conditions

In summer the ocean is calmer which is better for snorkeling. In the winter the surf can be higher. The island is drier from May to October. Kona is often cloudy during the summer. Rain can always occur in Hawaii especially late afternoon and in the nights. The reason that the islands have a lush and green vegetation, especially in the east and north on Big Island. The north and east coast gets more rain than south and west which is the leeward side. 

Diving in Winter
  • Hammerhead Sharks can be spotted year-round most probable encounters are in January and February.
  • Whale sharks are more likely to spot between mid-December to mid-January. 
Seasonal Hotel Booking (Save Money)

Tip: Bookmark the link after clicking your preferred hotel or the results page. These are usually the best deals. Check them regularly. 


Where and Tips

Hawaii - Big Island
United States

How do the manta rays get attracted?
Close to the airport is a cleaning station where manta rays often get to. The tour operators bring lights to the surface and the bottom of the sea. They call it campfire. The plankton gets attracted by the lights, and the manta rays by the plankton. Snorkelers hold themselves at floating devices which are also equipped with lights that shine down. Divers are on the ocean floor and watch the spectacle. While the manta rays feed they swim elegant, turn around and often come close to the surface.

Manta Dive in Kona Eels Cove

We even spotted 6 manta rays at the same time. It’s a memorable experience where Kona is one of the best places in the world for it. Anyhow, the manta rays are in the wild, and it can happen that you don’t spot any on your trip. Plan ahead that you may have another evening available for this outstanding experience. The location is north of Kona close to the airport. The spot is called Manta Heaven, and it is also very popular during the day for diving; known as “Golden Eel Cove”. We came here for diving the next day and spotted a rare monk seal.

Monk Seal in the Golden Eel Cove which is also a manta cleaning station.

Facts About the Hawaiian Manta Rays
  • The Hawaiian manta ray species belongs to the Manta Alfredi. 
  • Big Island - Kona has the highest population density of all Hawaiian Islands with more than 270 individuums which can be found in the vicinity of around 40 miles.
  • These manta rays don't migrate.
  • Usually, they reach 10 to 12 feet in width but there is one here over 14 feet.
  • Names were given to all of them identified by the pattern on their bellies.
  • They have the largest brains amongst all species of fish.
  • A female gives birth after 13 months. The young one is feeding independently immediately after it was born.
  • Since 2008 they are protected around Hawaii. 

Kona Manta Dive

Where to Stay in Kona

Finally, our very personal three accommodation tips. Tip: Bookmark the link if you like one and are not booking right now. 




The dive site Kona is good during the day. You can spot goat fish, jacks, moray eels and frogfishes. During the night the spot gets awesome as mantas are visiting the place to feed. You can spot up to 30 rays during the dive. Plankton gets attracted by the lights in the night, and the mantas come close to divers and snorkelers. It is one of the best night dives on earth.


Diving gives you another great perspective. I already did it a couple of times and it's always a breathtaking experience.

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