Big Island, Hawaii
Culinary & Nightlife

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Our most recommended Big Island, Hawaii Culinary & Nightlife

Big Island: Eco-Friendly Twilight Manta Ray Adventure

1. Big Island: Eco-Friendly Twilight Manta Ray Adventure

Experience an exciting 75-minute nighttime snorkeling expedition. Get up close and personal with stunning manta rays as they gracefully soar through the water. Your underwater adventure will take place in clear warm waters near protected reefs abundant with marine life.   After the sun sets, head off into the nighttime waters to see a fascinating "manta ray ballet" along the Kona coast near the mouth of Keauhou Bay. This point of departure is one of the island’s most successful and consistent manta ray viewing locations. Your snorkeling guide will outfit you with all the necessary gear needed to embark on your experience including snorkel gear, wetsuits, and flotation devices. After a quick safety briefing, plunge into the dark waters and be captivated by these graceful creatures as they feast on plankton. Grip onto the flotation swim ring with high-illumination blue water lights that attract the plankton on which the mantas feed. Soon afterward, rays will glide through the water almost at arm's length opening their enormous mouths to feast. After your remarkable underwater adventure, return to your boat and warm up with a nighttime snack of hot chocolate and cookies

Big Island: Voyagers of the Pacific Luau with Buffet

2. Big Island: Voyagers of the Pacific Luau with Buffet

Visit the Royal Kona Resort to experience an interactive luau show celebrating the rich cultural history of Hawaii with seating on the glimmering shores of Kailua Bay. Start the evening with an aloha shell lei greeting, and craft demonstrations. Soon after, feast on a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet with traditional Hawaiian dishes made with local ingredients. Savor authentic island entrees such as honey soy braised beef, and fresh-catch fish. Be treated to Big Island flavors with sides like Hawaiian sweet potatoes, coconut rolls, macaroni, and Lomi Lomi salmon salad. Enjoy stir friend vegetables and kalua style pork and cabbage. Finish off your culinary experiences with tasty favorites like Hawaiian haupia pudding and coconut cake. Sip Mai Tais, wine, beer, and soft drinks as you embrace the local culture and radiant sunset. Then, as drumbeats build, the sensational Voyagers of the Pacific Luau show unfolds on stage. Be captivated by a dramatic show inspired by Polynesian stories told through live music, song, and dance, culminating in the exciting Samoan fire knife dance finale.

Big Island: 3 Hour Waikoloa Snorkeling & Sailing Adventure

3. Big Island: 3 Hour Waikoloa Snorkeling & Sailing Adventure

The iconic Spirit of Aloha provides the ultimate in sailing comfort and snorkeling fun. Choose from morning or afternoon excursions, where you are likely to see dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life unique to the warm waters of Hawaii. Explore parts of the Big Island Kona coast on the Waikoloa and Kohala-Kona coastline aboard a 54-foot sailing catamaran. Dolphins, green sea turtles and seasonal whales are some of the creatures that can be seen. Board from Anaehoomalu Bay to snorkel, sail, enjoy and relax. The custom-designed sunset-orange and maile lei sail is a stunning contrast to the azure Pacific as it sails along the blue Pacific ocean. Itineraries include morning and afternoon snorkel sails, and sunset cruises. The beautiful 53-foot (16-m), custom-built catamaran offers a smooth, comfortable, and relaxing ride. There is onboard bar, plenty of shade, 2 restrooms, ample seating both indoors and outside, fresh-water shower rinse, and a sound system. Lifeguard-certified, in-water guides are there for your service and comfort. During whale season December through April, majestic humpbacks are likely to be spotted. Snacks and beverages served aboard.

Big Island: Captain Cook Historical Dinner Cruise

4. Big Island: Captain Cook Historical Dinner Cruise

Step aboard and step back in time… Join for an enchanting Hawaiian history lesson from the experts on Kona’s one and only Historical Sunset Dinner Cruise. This 3-hour family adventure departing from the Kailua Pier is narrated by a local historian tour guide, who will reveal secrets, tell stories, and share legends related to the numerous landmarks along the 12 miles of magnificent Kona coastline. Unwind to Captain Cook’s Monument at Historical Kealakekua Bay (only accessible by boat or hiking) with a complimentary cocktail from a fully stocked, premium bar. Begin your delicious dinner starting with Mauna Loa Big Island Macadamia Nuts (Vegan/GF) appetizer. Enjoy a salad starter of Kealaola Farm mixed salad greens, Waimea grape tomatoes, Japanese cucumber, and red onion (Vegan/GF), served with house-made Maui Onionvinaigrette dressing (Vegan/GF). Choose your main course from a selection of Thai coconut curry with Hamakua sweet potatoes, Hawaiian breadfruit, carrots, and bell peppers (Vegan/GF), or steamed jasmine rice (Vegan/GF) with Kiawe mango barbecue pork short ribs served with a papaya salsa (GF) and island baked coconut dinner rolls served with butter (Vegetarian). Your dessert is a cheesecake with a local Lilikoi glaze (Vegetarian). Keep an eye out for dolphins, turtles, manta rays, and seasonal humpback whales throughout the evening. Enjoy live music from some of the Big Island's best entertainers performing slack key Hawaiian Style music. Catch the sunset on the water and make sure to look for the famous Green Flash, a fleeting glimmer of intense emerald light that appears on the horizon just after sunset. Other highlights include the Ahu’ena Heiau, the Holua Slide, and the famous Kuamo’o Battlefield, just to name a few.

Big Island: Captain Cook Sightseeing & Snorkel Expedition

5. Big Island: Captain Cook Sightseeing & Snorkel Expedition

Discover the natural beauty and history of Kealakekua Bay on this eco-friendly snorkeling adventure. This stunning 315-acre marine sanctuary boasts protected waters, making it the best place in Hawaii for snorkelers of all levels of experience. Jump in the turquoise waters and marvel at the tropical fish, colorful coral, and marine life. Keep your eyes peeled—you might even catch a glimpse of playful Hawaiian spinner dolphins. After a full hour of snorkeling, let your friendly captain and crew transport you and your small group to the historic Captain Cook's Monument. Hear about the dramatic history of this location as you gaze toward the cove where the white stone monument stands.  On your way back, enjoy snacks and beverages while you ride up the coast learning about local legends and history.   Maneuver into the sea caves at the base of Hualalai, hugging the coast and detailing the culturally significant and geologically fascinating features along the way. Watch for dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and even herds of thousands of goats. Afterwards, you’ll head back to the dock, having seen some of the most stunning natural beauty that Hawaii has to offer.

Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon and Black Sand Beach Snorkel

6. Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon and Black Sand Beach Snorkel

This is your opportunity to swim in a lagoon full of abundant sea life. Join your hosts on a fully guided and narrated beach snorkel tour along the pristine Hilo coastline. Make 2 snorkeling stops and also enjoy island snacks and juices. The volcanic beaches are renowned for their abundant sea turtle population, and the brackish water bays and lagoons are home to a wealth of sea life including octopus, eagle and manta rays, eels, corals, and tropical reef fish. Your experienced snorkel guide will teach you about the beautiful and lush surroundings, how the beaches and volcanic islands are made, and about the abundant marine world which lies below. Newcomers to snorkeling and children are welcome. Your trained guide will teach you the basics and be with you every step of the way to make sure you feel safe and comfortable. Children will be introduced to nature in a spectacular way.

Big Island: Eco-Friendly Snorkeling Expereince and BBQ

7. Big Island: Eco-Friendly Snorkeling Expereince and BBQ

You will need to arrive at 7:30 AM for your 8 AM departure and cruise through protected marine sanctuaries. Cruise ten miles down the Kona Coast to the snorkel destination, a protected marine sanctuary. Relax, you will have over two hours of water time to enjoy the marine life, underwater topography, and coral reef. Cruise in comfort! The boat’s main lower deck features a large shaded cabin with cushioned seating, tables, a premium bar, three restrooms, and freshwater showers. You won’t go hungry. Enjoy a light breakfast of tropical fruits, assorted pastries, bagels, juices, teas, and Kona coffee. While you're taking in the fun, the crew prepares lunch. After snorkeling, belly up to a full-service premium cash bar, featuring a large selection of liquors, mixes, and local brews. This boat hosts one of the only blenders on the Kona Coast. Your mask, fins, snorkel, and prescription masks will be provided to you. For beginners, a friendly “Snorkel 101 Class” is available from the lifeguard-trained crew. A host of flotation toys, including noodles, vests, inner tubes, and even “Sea View Boards” for those who don’t want to get their face wet. They even include the use of stand-up paddleboards and an array of other flotation devices at no additional cost. Kids of all ages love the 20’ waterslide and high dive platform. If you want to kick back and do nothing, check out the floating “relaxation station”, the crew will swim you out refreshments. More adventurous guests can rent a GoPro or wetsuit.

Hawaii: Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook's Monument

8. Hawaii: Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook's Monument

Set sail along the beautiful Kona coast on a 3-hour snorkeling trip. At historic Kealakekua Bay, you’ll see the Captain Cook Monument. Snorkel in pristine waters along the reef in the marine sanctuary. With your marine camera, take photos of the colorful fish, pods of spinner dolphins, and the landscaped ledges of ancient lava flows. Enjoy site briefings and snorkeling tips from the crew members. Life jackets, floatation noodles, viewfinder boards, masks, fins, and snorkels are all provided. The crew will help you enter and exit the water if needed and will provide fish identification cards. They will even take you on a guided snorkeling tour.

Big Island: South Kona Snorkeling and Coastline Exploration

9. Big Island: South Kona Snorkeling and Coastline Exploration

Prepare for a thrilling day exploring 3 unique snorkeling locations in South Kona with time to take a break from swimming for lunch with breathtaking views. Begin your snorkeling adventure by heading to the turquoise waters and vibrant reef of the 315-acre marine sanctuary of Kealakekua Bay, with your crew members highlighting interesting sights along the way. Once there, experience a vibrant reef filled with coral and schools of tropical fish. On occasion, even catch glimpses of spinner dolphins swimming nearby. After snorkeling, savor a gourmet deli lunch in the shade of the canopy with the monument to Captain Cook as a backdrop and the cliffs of the bay soaring above you. Next, jet off to a new location with visually spectacular snorkeling opportunities and cultural significance, Pu’uhonua O Honaunau, the “Place of Refuge.” Beautiful Honaunau Bay is fronted by large, smooth, and lava rock flats and fascinating gardens of coral.  For your third snorkeling stop, let your expert captain transport you a location that even island locals have yet to see. At this remote location, snorkel at a remote black sand beach, marvel at a stone arch, or maybe admire a spectacular lava rock formation created thousands of years ago. Explore sea caves and lava tubes in a safe, exciting, and maneuverable vessel designed to get you up close and personal with the coast. Rest assured that the local operator is proudly part of the Hawaii Ecotourism Association and seeks to create a culture protecting and promoting healthy oceans through many sustainability efforts.

From Kona and Waikoloa: Intimate Volcano Discovery Tour

10. From Kona and Waikoloa: Intimate Volcano Discovery Tour

Begin your adventure with a scenic drive over the stark and beautiful saddle road to set the stage for the day overlooking mesmerizing views including a stop to view the famous Rainbow Falls. If the Twilight option is selected, you will stay in the Park past sunset to view the eruption's glow. From there your first stop will be the Hawaii Volcanoes, National Park. Discover all the “must-see” spots within the Park including the dramatically changed Halemaumau Crater. After immersing yourself in the magnanimous history and culture of Volcanoes National Park and enjoying your picnic lunch, you will be driven to Hawaii Forest and Trail's private lava tube, Kauhi Cavern. Explore this unique cave with ceilings as high as 35 feet, expansive rooms, bright golden walls, and an “upside-down” forest of roots hanging from the cave ceiling. Upon returning to the surface from the lava tube exploration, enjoy a light afternoon snack with your fellow travelers and guide while reflecting on your in-depth volcano experience.

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What people are saying about Big Island, Hawaii

A very different experience from being on the big boats. We were a small group of friendly strangers. Two of the snorkeling spots we had to ourselves rather than being in people soup. The small boat can go where the big ones cannot. We were very well taken care of, and really enjoyed the whole experience. As a bonus we got to hang out and watch (at a proper distance) a pod of pilot whales, and later dolphins. Don't even think of doing this if you get seasick though, or if you can't manage getting up a swim ladder.

Our guides were amazing it was such a fun crowd. Our guides Kurtis and Damon were very knowledgeable, kind and made sure we felt safe and secure in the height of the trees. The views were phenomenal and thanks to Damon the photographer/guide he really captured the fun we had. I am so thankful I had this fun adventure with such great people.

Loved the captain Elliot. Johnny did a great job teaching us how to snorkel. Li’i was fun to be around and helpful in the water. The chef made great burgers. More than enough food for everyone. Great experience!!

Totally chill, fun day excursion. Staff was super attentive and snorkeling was good at our location. We had a blast and met new friends. Highly recommend.

This was a lot of fun, and our tour guide did everything he could to show us some stars even on a cloudy night. Dinner was good, too. Highly recommend.