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“Kayaking in Kealakekua was fabulous”
Review of Kealakekua Bay

Kealakekua Bay
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US$69.66*
and up
Dolphin Encounter and Kealakekua Bay Reef Snorkel
Reviewed 16 August 2009

We had an absolute blast kayaking across the bay to the captain cook monument and back. Once we got to the other side, the snorkeling was very good - though be careful getting in and out of the water - the rocks are slick with many sea urchins. You MUST wear reef shoes or watershoes, etc. Also, be sure to lift your kayak in and out - no sliding on the rough volcanic rocks as it scrapes the kayak and leaves plastic in the water which is bad for the fish and reef. There were quite a few tour boats there, but it did not detract from our snorkeling.

For me, the highlight of the whole trip though was the dolphins. They rest in the bay during the day and circle around. Now please don't be one of the clod tourists and go off chasing the dolphins in your kayak...for one, they are 5 times faster than you and you won't succeed and secondly its considered harrassment of them. Heres what we did... we went out in to an area near where they seemed to circle (in big circles) and just jumped in off our kayak....there wasnt a dolphin within a 100' at that point... and then we just waited patiently and eventually they circle around and come back around you, under you, etc. I could have floated out there for hours just watching them swim every so often. We got some great pics with our underwater camera. You can also just float out there in your kayak - they will occassionally jump and flip out of the water, putting on quite a show. Many times they did it right near someones kayak... it was truly an amazing experience!

I had to think to myself that people spend two or three hundred bucks at dolphin encounters to swim with a captured trained dolphin. I think being in the bay around wild ones was way more thrilling personally - and it only cost me $25.

As far as renting kayaks, there were guys renting them right there at the end of napoopoo road for $25 a person. I don't know who they were - locals for sure, but it was very convenient and they had everything you needed (life jackets, drybags, etc). I know theres a lot of discussion about using kona boys as they are the official company allowed to rent in the bay - but I can't imagine having to deal with loading kayaks on your car when you can just park at the launch point and get one right there.

7  Thank Seven7Costanza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"fish"
in 179 reviews
"spinner dolphins"
in 71 reviews
"captain cook monument"
in 121 reviews
"the big island"
in 68 reviews
"rent a kayak"
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"kona boys"
in 26 reviews
"great snorkeling"
in 29 reviews
"marine life"
in 22 reviews
"fair winds"
in 13 reviews
"rocky beach"
in 8 reviews
"crystal clear waters"
in 8 reviews
"hawaiian islands"
in 13 reviews
"tour boats"
in 25 reviews
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in 12 reviews
"sea turtles"
in 10 reviews
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in 7 reviews
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Reviewed 6 December 2008

Have been there 5 years ago but this peaceful pristine bay turned into a circus, there are more people than fish now. Sure, the reef is still gorgeous, but probably not for long any more. Despite conflicting information about accessiblity, you can still rent a kayak, park at Napoopoo and paddle over there. It was really crowded by 10 am, lots of kayaks but even more boat tours with hundreds of snorkelers. You get lots of rules to follow from the kayak people, the state park rangers and various brochures. They even put a ranger on Napoopoo pier where you may sign in before starting out. Once in the water lots of people behave badly, they harass the dolphins, they drag their kayaks over the lava rocks, they stand on the corals, litter, pooping in the bushes and so on. It is a state park they should put a ranger over there next to the monument enforcing the rules to preserve the bay. Why the State of Hawai'i shows so much disrespect for their rich natural wonders, there is hardly any state park not showing serious neglect. So fellow snorkelers, you too must show respect: If you cannot lift up your kayak go someplace else. If you think this is good spot to learn snorkeling, it is not, I have seen flimsy tourists adjusting their masks while standing on the corals. Shame on them.

9  Thank Berkeley100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2008

Words can't describe the underwater beauty of this place. This is a guarantee WOW, even for the most well traveled snorkeler. Now there's 3 ways to get here, 2 most of you know of but I'll share a 3rd that you can do at your own risk... Most folks take a boat tour (Fair Wind, Seaquest, Captain Zodiac , etc...). Seaquest 's AM trip gets high marks for bring you here and to Palace of Refuge afterwards (2 best snorkel spots in a 4 hr trip, discount if book online). The 2nd way to get here is to drive down to the village of Napoopoo off of the main highway, rent a kayak at shore and paddle a mile to the snorkeling site near the monument. The 3rd, and the most mentally and physically demanding is to hike down the STEEP path of rolling rocks overgrown with vegetation that's as tall as yourself, snorkel and hike BACK UP. Most guide books won't even tell you that this is possible. They'll say there use to be an unpaved road.... well guess what, the road is still there, it's just now covered with jungle like growth. You'll need to find specific instructions on finding this road from a book cuz it's about counting coconut trees to find the trailhead. The locals discourage this method as well. Noone that I asked wanted us to do this hike. Just remember that you can not bring enough water and snacks for this trip. Discuss this trip thouroughly with your travel buddies and plan for the event that someone is too tired/disoriented to walk back up. Take first aid, cell phone (coverage?), and treat this like a wilderness experience rather than a juant in the park. I ran trails with elevation frequently and this adventure kicked my butt! Having to look down at my feet as I managed not to fall down the steep trail of rolling wet rocks in high heat kept my mind and my legs on high alert. One of the hikers in our group seemed "out of it" near the end of the journey. The physically inactive should not attempt this.

1  Thank suraimcfly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2008

If you want to snorkel or kayak on the Big Island, this is probably the place to do it. Go early to avoid the heat and the rough afternoon tides. Also, going earlier seems to increase your chances of having an encounter with a spinner dolphin while kayaking. We were only able to see one from a distance. This was our first time kayaking and snorkeling, so we found it a little tricky getting in/out of the kayaks, and in/out of the bay for snorkeling. Going earlier probably would have made that a lot easier with a lower tide. All in all, a unique experience: kayak across an ocean bay to a cove for the purpose of snorkeling, which just happens to be the place where the famous Captain James Cook was killed in a fight with native Hawaiians.

Thank DonaldInDallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 November 2006

Kealakekua Bay is a definitely a magical place. South of the hustle and bustle of the downtown areas, Kealakekua Bay is a few miles south making it a quiet area to relax. The bay offers kayaking, where the kayaks can be rented at numerous places nearby. If you're into snorkeling, you can kayak to Cook Monument, park your kayak, and walk down to the monument where you can hop in the water. The underwater world is absolutely amazing with literally 100s of various fish, many of which are indemic to Hawaii. You can spend hours here and then kayak the 1 mile trip back to the pier. You're also in the heart of the old Kona countryside where there are numerous coffee bean shops, don't go home without some Kona coffee to take back. If you continue south about 5-7 miles on the small road, it will take you to the state park, where there is an old village, and another great spot to snorkel. We've been to Japan, Australia, and many other places, and this is our favorite place of them all.

13  Thank spihuntr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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