Big Island Manta Ray Tours
Night Snorkeling with Manta Rays!
Manta Ray Night Snorkeling on the Big Island: What to Expect
How does it work?
You will be taken by boat to a location where manta rays are known to feed. Everyone on the tour holds onto a paddleboard, forming a circle, floating on top of the water looking down. LED lights attached to the paddleboard attract schools of plankton. The plankton then attracts the manta rays. The manta rays swoop in to collect the plankton, which looks like they are doing somersaults beneath you.
Can we touch the manta rays?
No. Manta rays have a protective outer layer of mucous. If this mucous is disturbed it leaves them vulnerable to infection. If you attempt to touch a manta ray you will be immediately sent back to the boat. Some tour companies provide life preservers and pool noodles to help prevent accidental touching as well.
Where do we go? How long are the tours?
Reliable manta ray sightings only occur on the leeward side of the Big Island (Kona and Kohala coasts). Tours leave from the Kona and Waikoloa areas. Departure times vary with the season. The length of the tour and boat ride will vary as well.
Is it safe?
It is not without risk, but not especially dangerous. The Manta Rays themselves have no teeth or barbs and use sonar to avoid contact with humans. They are quite large though (with 12-18 feet wingspans), and sometimes get very close. Being in the water in the dark is very disorienting too, so don’t attempt to do this on your own. Using a reputable Big Island manta ray tour company will ensure your safety and increase the likelihood of sightings.