Kahaluu beach park is a great place to go snorkeling.  Actually, the best spot on the whole island in my opinion. Located about 4.5 miles south of Kailua Kona on Alii Dr.

 You’ll See Lots of Tropical Fish When You Snorkel Here.

Tropical Fish Wana Tropical Fish

Alii Dr. runs north and south along the coast from Kailua Kona to Keauhou which is about 5 miles. Kahaluu Beach Park is right next door to the Keauhou Beach Hotel.

The reason I think this is the best place for snorkeling is because the bay is protected by a rock jetty which keeps waves from breaking in the bay and makes it a pretty safe place for new snorkelers.

Another good thing about the rock jetty is underwater visibility is very good because the sand on the bottom isn’t getting all churned up from the surf like at an unprotected beach.

This bay is very shallow, about 10 feet deep at the most. If you’re into scuba shore diving then you might want to go here instead.


You can usually see at least one or two on any given day. I’ve seen as many as 5 turtles during one snorkel. They tend to hang out at the north end of the bay. But if you don’t want to get wet, you should check out Kaloko Honokohau National Park to see turtles sunning themselves along the shoreline.


photo credit: Peter Liu Photography via photopin cc

Be careful when snorkeling at that end of the bay, in the winter there is a nasty rip current that runs south to north and you’ll wind up half way to town if you’re not careful or worse, banged up on the rocks.

The picture below is looking south across the bay. As you can see it has a nice little beach you can enter the bay from.

 Kahaluu looking southThe bay is filled with thousands of tropical fish. There are many different varieties of reef fish here, as far as I know practically every type of reef fish known to Hawaii lives in this bay. Truly some of the best snorkeling on the Kona coast.

On the north shore of the bay sits St. Peters Church.

Believe it or not mass is held here on a monthly basis and people get married there all the time. I know because I lived across the street for 2 years and would see the weddings all the time.

St. Peter's Church

This picture shows the only surf heiau in the whole state overlooking the break at the north end of Kahaluu bay. This heiau is a stone platform. Heiau’s are or were
religious temples.
 Surf Heiau

Speaking of surfing, you can take surfing lessons here too. It’s a perfect beginners learning spot.

Kahaluu is also rich with history in the surrounding area. I definitely think it’s one of the best places in Hawaii to see tropical fish in their natural setting.



  1. Gary Johnson says:

    Hi , I am an avid snorkeler and like to look a seashells in South Maui (Kihei) I have been living here for 2.5 years. Are there fairly abundant seashells close to Kona ? If so I might be moving there (maui is $$) We have granulated, reticulated, Leviathin , snake head, humble back, tiger (too many tiger sharks!!) occasion hairy triton .very large triton
    etc. Thank you


    • Joe Trent says:

      Hi Gary,
      It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been snorkeling, but I don’t really remember seeing much in the way of seashells off the Kona coast.

  2. When is the best time for snorkeling and diving? We are planning to go early next year but we’re afraid that we won’t be able to enjoy it because January-February is not the best season for us travelers.

  3. I am going to Kona in November, I am looking forward to snorkeling there. What is the weather like in November? Can't wait!

  4. We will be going in January. How warm is the water at that time of the year? Snorkilng is one of the most wonderful activites in the world.

  5. Casey Braunger says:

    Just a heads up- you are NOT supposed to feed the fish. It's advised that you also not give business to shops who sell fish food. We're in Kona now, rented snorkeling gear from "Snorkel Bobs," thankfully they inform people about this issue and are activists for coral reefs throughout the world.

  6. This is my favorite place to go snorkeling.

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