Best time to visit Big Island (Hawai'i), HI

Manta Ray Night Dive in Big Island (Hawai'i), HI

Did you miss the feeling of winning in a lottery? Swimming with these fantastic animals will give you one!

Manta Ray Night Dive
Kona, Hawaii
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The renowned manta ray night dive is widely regarded as one of the most incredible dives on the planet. Swimming with these gorgeous animals is definitely one of the Big Island activities that you shouldn’t miss.

Manta rays are attracted by plankton, which they filter out of the water by swimming with their enormous mouths wide open. These beautiful animals gracefully swim, turn, and flip through the light beams, touching their spectators all the way. The reef manta rays in Hawaii are not migratory creatures and spend their lives in the islands' coastal waters year-round. So if you are a certified scuba diver, come to Big Island during a diving season between May and September to make swimming with mantas more comfortable.

Manta ray night dive usually starts at the harbor from which the boat departs. The boat takes you to one of the manta ray feeding areas. Before the boarding, the crew usually teaches you a couple of things about the manta rays and how to behave while in the water.

Once you arrive at the feeding grounds, you will douse and wait for the manta rays to appear. They come very close to the water surface while feeding. During the dive, you will spend most of your time chilling on the ocean floor while the manta rays flipping above you. The average time of staying in the water is 30 minutes. After the mantas are gone, you will come back to the harbor. The trip back can be freezing, so put on extra layers to keep yourself warm.

There are many places on Big Island that promise an unforgettable experience of manta Ray night dive. Manta Heaven on the north of Kona and Kohala Coast near Waikoloa are known as the best spots.

Practical info

When is the best time to swim with manta rays in Big Island?

Big Island allows visitors to swim with manta rays all year long, but swimming with them is most ideal between May and September due to calmer and clearer waters with better visibility. Local tour guides offer year-round booking for tourists interested in an underwater experience like no other. Show more

Where are the best spots to swim with manta rays in Big Island?

Manta Heaven and the Kohala Coast are the most popular areas for swimming with manta rays in Big Island. Manta Heaven, with 40-50 feet average depth, is the much-preferred location because of the high likelihood of observing the creatures. However, Kohala, which has fewer crowds, also provides great opportunities to see the creatures. Visitors can enjoy guided tours to these sites without worrying about finding the spots themselves. Show more

How long does a manta ray night dive usually take?

A manta ray night dive typically lasts around 60 to 90 minutes, including safety instructions given by the crew, gear set up, and observing the creatures for about 30 minutes. Night diving, usually conducted after sunset, draws manta rays towards the surface as they are attracted by the boat's lights. Tours to area diving locations are available through any of the guided tours company in Hawaii. Show more

What can I expect from the crew during a manta ray night dive?

Safety instructions prior to diving, guidance on how to approach the manta rays, and details about the dive spots are readily available from the dive crew. They supply the necessary gear, including suits, masks, and fins. Visitors can be assured that the captain, who knows the area well, will give them all the information they need to make their dive safe and memorable. In addition, snacks and drinks are also provided by most tour companies. Show more

What should I wear during a manta ray night dive?

The water temperature can drop to 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit in certain parts of the Pacific Ocean around Hawaii, so thermal insulation is required for divers. Wet suits that provide protection and warmth are common, with 5-7 mm varieties being the most popular. Visitors can get access to rented wet suits from tour operators. It is recommended that visitors bring some warm clothing for their trip back to the harbor. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva