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.

Tour Option - Snorkelling or Mauna Kea?

Which Kailua-Kona hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Calgary, Canada
8 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Tour Option - Snorkelling or Mauna Kea?

I am travelling with my two late teen sons and two of their friends. We are staying in Waikoloa area. Wanted to take a tour up Mauna Kea to see the sunset and the stars. The condo owner indicated we could do this on our own, and not to spend the money on a tour. Instead I though I would take them on a snorkel tour - such as Fairwinds. Reading the forums it seems that snorkeling is easily done from many beaches and maybe the tour isn't necessary?

Any comments are greatly appreciated...which activity should we do with a tour and which on our own. My condo owner did say not to go up Mauna Kea if it is cloudy...but if you book a tour I would say you risk the chance of cloud.

Thanks!

Anne

FL, USA
Level Contributor
20 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
11. Re: Tour Option - Snorkelling or Mauna Kea?

I would also like to second previous recommenders advice. With teenage boys you could most definitely do the kayak paddle across Kealakua bay to Captain Cooks, do a guided tour like Jack's for manga ray and drive yourself in a regular rental car to the visitors center of Moana Kea. You can couple the Moana Kea day with a day spent on the Hilo side of the island, the place with the highest rainfall in the US, so it is lush and very different to Iona side. Go see downtown on a Farmer's Market day the best FM on the island, check out Akaka Falls, possibly the botanical gardens north of town if you have time and then set the mood with the Hilo Observatory in the afternoon before you head up Moana Kea.

FL, USA
Level Contributor
20 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
12. Re: Tour Option - Snorkelling or Mauna Kea?

I would also like to second previous recommenders advice. With teenage boys you could most definitely do the kayak paddle across Kealakua bay to Captain Cooks, do a guided tour like Jack's for manga ray and drive yourself in a regular rental car to the visitors center of Moana Kea. You can couple the Moana Kea day with a day spent on the Hilo side of the island, the place with the highest rainfall in the US, so it is lush and very different to Iona side. Go see downtown on a Farmer's Market day the best FM on the island, check out Akaka Falls, possibly the botanical gardens north of town if you have time and then set the mood with the Hilo Observatory in the afternoon before you head up Moana Kea.

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
3,568 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
13. Re: Tour Option - Snorkelling or Mauna Kea?

My understanding is that there are only a few operators who have licenses to land kayaks near Capt. Cook's Monument, and that individuals can't legally put kayaks ashore there unless they're with one of those licensed tour operators.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
25,807 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
14. Re: Tour Option - Snorkelling or Mauna Kea?

Please read the Top Questions on snorkeling and kayaking for information on legally touring Kealakekua Bay. You can do so in your own rental, however there are only a few permitted rental outfits.

I personally recommend and wish people would stay out of the Bay altogether, but if you are going to go, use a permitted guide who follows the rules.

Calgary, Canada
8 posts
1 review
Save Reply
15. Re: Tour Option - Snorkelling or Mauna Kea?

Let me be clear, we followed all of the rules. Because we were doing this last minute, we were too late to apply for a landing permit, so we stayed off the shore. One of us stayed with the kayaks, on the water, while the others snorkelled and we took turns doing this. I checked all of the rules out on the state website ahead of time. Protecting the environment is important to us.

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
37,781 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
16. Re: Tour Option - Snorkelling or Mauna Kea?

Anne,

thanks for letting people know that the rules were important to you, and thanks for updating your topic when you got home. So often we do not hear any resolution to these topics.

Reply to thrumylens --

There are guided tour permits (now only one I believe as one is revoked due to the fallout of the tragic drowning).

There are also a limited number of individual permits per day, and these are available to those renting through two kayak companies, Kona Boys and I believe the other is Aloha Kayaks, both on the upper highway. The companies will help with them or one can do it alone, but as Anne mentioned there is some lead time involved.

Those who do not land can go legally if they keep the kayak in the water.

For those who do go, if you will check the snorkeling article that is linked in the Top Question on snorkeling -- the advice is to kayak at least half a mile out to avoid passing through the dolphin resting zone and disturbing them during their resting period.

The Bay is overused, but the rules do allow people to go.

The general feeling amongst those interested in conserving the bay is that the permit system has done little. There are still kayak scrapings all over and problems continue. As there are NO bathroom facilities, the inevitable happens when people kayak over, which can be avoided if you go on a boat with a lavatory. I guess people don't expect that necessity to strike but it does.

Edited: 2:04 am, September 26, 2012
17. Re: Tour Option - Snorkelling or Mauna Kea?

-:- 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: 5:15 am, September 28, 2013