Scuba Diving on The Big Island

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Shore Diving on the Kona and Kohala Coasts (map)

SCUBA Diving Tips

Here are some suggestions from dive guides.

  1. 1.Use two swimming speeds while diving - slow and stop. Approach fish slowly with as few hand and arm movements as possible. Try keeping your arms folded against your chest and use gentle fin stokes to keep in position. Try to control your buoyancy which will allow you to  hover in one spot for awhile to allow the critters to get used to your presence.

  2. 2.Marine critters are sensitive to sound. Rather than thrashing around and blowing like a rhinoceros, keep your fins still and breathe slowly and quietly through your regulator.

  3. 3.Try diving with a purpose. Buy a waterproof reef fish identification book and search for just one or two critters. Take time to observe their behavior.

  4. 4.Remember that coral is a living animal. Try to not fin the coral or touch it with a bare hand.

  1. 5.DAN-USA: American number for diving emergencies:1-919-684 8111. Don’t get bent. The nearest re-compression chamber is on Oahu (808-523-9155).

Theft Warning

Petty theft is common in any resort area and The Big Island is no exception. Don’t leave anything in your car that you cannot afford to lose. Leave purses and wallets in your room or condo. Take with you only your driver’s license, your ‘C’ card, a credit card (for tank and gear rental), and a small amount of cash for soft drinks or shave ice. Consider storing your money and cards in a Dry-Pak. or Dry-Bag that you can put in a BC pocket.


Diver’s Checklist

Essentials to pack up:

  1. Bulletsunscreen

  2. lightweight day-pack

  3. Bullethat

  4. Bulletpolarized sunglasses

  5. Bulletdive certificate

  6. BulletDAN card

  7. Bulletlog book

  8. Bulletswimming suit

  9. Bulletdive skin or wetsuit

  10. Bulletbeach towel

  11. Bulletsnacks

  12. Bulletunderwater camera

  13. Bulletpersonal dive gear

  14. Bulletfish ID card

  15. Bulletzip-top plastic bags

  16. Bulletplenty of drinking water.


There are several dive companies on The Big Island that are eager to fulfill your diving fantasies, including the ultimate - a night dive with Manta Rays. Click below to reserve your diving adventure.

  1. SCUBA

  2. SNUBA

  3. Snorkeling

Guided Shore Dives

Dive guide or dive buddies.

  1. Mara’s Dive

  2. Mara is PADI master diver trainer who leads shore dives.

  3. (808) 929-9751

  1. North Hawaii Dive Adventures

  2. Offers guided shore dives or just a trusted dive buddy.

  3. (808) 884-5550

  4. East Hawaii Divers

  5. Offers guided shore dives on the Hilo side of the island.

  6. (808) 965-7840

Gear Rental Locations

Bring your “C” card and ID


  1. Jack's Diving Locker

  2. Ali'i Drive, Kailua-Kona

  3. (808) 329-7585

  1. Kona Honu Divers
    74-5583 Luhia St # A12

  2. Kailua-Kona

  3. (808) 324-4668

  1. Kohala Divers
    61-3616 Kawaihae Road
    (Lower level of the Kawaihae Shopping Center)
    (808) 882-1544

  1. Sandwich Isle Divers

  2. Kailua-Kona.

  3. (808) 329-9188.


The waters around The Big Island feature lava tubes, arches, caves, tropical fish, turtles, sharks, eels, and an occasional manta ray. Although there are numerous sites, we opted to list only those sites that offer free parking and easy ocean access. The map shows our favorites. Click on the links below for complete descriptions.

Mahukona features convenient parking close to the entry, easy entry and exit, hot water shower.  The best diving is in the morning. This is also a good site for night diving.The dive area can be dangerous during a south swell.

Puako Church features free parking and a very easy shore entry. The area is a research site so you may see transect lines on the bottom. It is best to dive here in the morning. Hang something bright on a tree near the entry point so you can find your way out at the end of the dive. Go somewhere else if the surf is up.

Puako - South End of Village is a favorite site of the Kohala locals. The diving is excellent and entry is easy. The best water conditions are usually in the early morning. Go somewhere else if the surf is up. Thieves frequent this area. Take a non-diving buddy with you to guard the car or leave nothing valuable in your car and leave a window rolled down.

Old Airport Beach is close to Kailua-Kona and a favorite of locals. Park near the soccer field and follow other divers to the entry point. Wear gloves because sharp lava outcroppings can cut bare hands and black spiny sea urchins hide in every nook and cranny.

The Kona Pier is a great site for night diving. Entry and exit from the King Kamehameha Hotel beach is easy and showers and rest rooms are nearby. The best critters are attached to the pier pilings in shallow water. Watch out for boat traffic in the area.

Kahalu’u Beach Park is better known for snorkeling. You will have to work hard to get below 15 feet, which makes it a good place for an orientation dive or a shallow dive before flying home.

Place of Refuge is simply the best and easiest shore diving you will do on The Big Island.  Next door to Place of Refuge National Park, the entry and exit is simple and easy and the diving is spectacular. Take two tanks, you won’t be disappointed.

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