We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Manta Ray night snorkel question

Los Angeles
Level Contributor
69 posts
5 reviews
Save Topic
Manta Ray night snorkel question

So, everyone says this is a "must do", and I've made a reservation with Jack's Diving Locker which seems to be highly recommended from these boards, but I am staying at the Mauna Lani and they indicated I should allow 45-60 minutes drive to get there, and then we drive 25 minutes in the boat to get to the location.

Does anyone have recommendations for good companies based closer to my hotel for doing this, or is this particular company worth the drive?

Are there other ways of seeing the rays without snorkeling (eg: can you get an "almost" as good experience by watching on shore anywhere)?


Boston, MA
Level Contributor
4,669 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Manta Ray night snorkel question

If you check in with Jack's during the day, to sign wavers and get fitted for wet suit, then you can meet the boat at the harbor, which is between the Mauna Lani and Jack's shop in Kailua/Kona. That will save you 15 to 20 minutes, which is nice for the drive back, after the trip.

Portland, Tennessee
Destination Expert
for Waikoloa
Level Contributor
899 posts
121 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Manta Ray night snorkel question

We signed up with Big Island Divers for the 2-tank twilight & Manta Ray Night Dive:


We met at the Honokohau Marina. We were staying at Waikoloa Village Area - not to be confused with the Waikoloa Beach Resort Area. We left 1 hr before we were supposed to meet, just to give us time to get there and get settled. 19 is a very busy highway so it really depends on traffic. 1 hr does not sound unreasonable.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
26,212 posts
77 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Manta Ray night snorkel question

No, there's no other way to do it other than to get wet :-) Sure, you might be able to see a couple of mantas from shore under the lights at the Mauna Kea beach hotel, but nothing is like having a dozen huge rays coming inches away from you scooping up plankton. You won't regret it!

There is a manta ray night snorkel and dive that actually goes to a manta ray cleaning station within the Mauna Lani resort but they don't get nearly the numbers of rays that the airport location does. However it's much less chaotic as there's usually just one boat. I would call Kohala Divers and Mauna Lani Sea Adventures, ask them if they're doing those snorkel/dive tours (I think it's Kohala Divers that goes but might be both) and if so ask them what their success rate is and what numbers of rays they're seeing.

But really it's no big deal to drive into Kailua Kona once. In fact, I would just combine it with something else, like a drive down to see Puuhonua O Honaunau historical park in South Kona. Allow an hour and a half from your hotel to there, an hour in the Park, and another hour (just in case you run into traffic) to get back into town.

Alternatively, you could spend the morning at Kukio/Kikaua Point, halfway between the Mauna Lani and Kailua Kona, where there's turtles and beautiful fish ponds, a nice lagoon wth good snorkeling past the sea arch, and you can stroll the adjacent grounds at the Four Seasons and have a nice oceanfront lunch before heading into town for check in.

Edited: 12 June 2013, 20:32
Level Contributor
647 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Manta Ray night snorkel question

I called AdventureXRafting recently for info. They said that they see 1 to 4 mantas and the success rate is 80% in the Mauna Lani area. Here's the link:


5. Re: Manta Ray night snorkel question

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 14 June 2014, 06:18