The City of Refuge is one of the top snorkeling spots on the Big Island. The waters are usually clear and it averages about 20ft in depth. Often you will see pods of dolphins swimming close to shore as I did when I went there. The waters are usually calm with small waves and a very easy place to go in called 2 Step. It is at the end of a finger of lava and easy to see because you will see lots of people getting in there. If you snorkel off the the left, you will see lots of underwater coral and lava structures. In the middle, you will see a sandy patch about 40 ft deep with the word ALOHA spelled out on the bottom and to the right, you will see it quickly drop down to over 100 ft. Where the vegetation ends and sand begins is just about 100ft deep.
The other main attraction there is the actual City of Refuge, which is a sacred site for the Hawaiians. You can tour inside and there are lots of signs to explain what everything means, plus rangers at the front to give more info.
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