This Manta Ray Night Dive in Kona, Hawaii review is from a diving trip with Kona Diving Company. The Kona Manta Ray Night Dive is often considered among the top dives in the world, but even if you don't scuba dive, you can come along as a snorkeler. I'll detail my experience and provide a FAQ to help you decide if this dive or snorkel experience is for you.
Visiting Hawaii? This post is part of a trip report on the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui, including stays at the Four Seasons Hualalai and Four Seasons Maui at Wailea.
For prior posts in this trip report, please see:
Alaska Airlines First Class Review
Alaska Airlines Board Room Seattle Lounge Review
Alaska Airlines First Class to Hawaii
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach Review
Andaz Maui at Wailea Suite Review
Ka'ana Kitchen Review and Andaz Maui at Wailea Dining
Mama's Fish House Review in Paia, Maui
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea Review
Breakfast at DUO at Four Seasons Maui at Wailea
Hawaii Volcano Treehouse Review
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Review
Kilauea Lodge Restaurant Review
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Photo Tour
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Review: Best Luxury Hotel in Hawaii
‘ULU Ocean Grill Review and Four Seasons Hualalai Dining
Do You Have to Dive?
No–snorkelers as well as divers go on the Manta Ray Night Dive. Snorkelers float on top and look down at the Manta Rays, and divers stay on the bottom, looking up.
What is the Cost?
The cost for scuba divers is $140 for the 2 tank dive (one tank for diving the reef before sunset, and the other tank for the manta ray night dive) and the cost for snorkelers on the same trip is $115. If diving with Kona Diving Company, a shorter 1 tank dive is offered about once a week, for $120 per diver and $100 per snorkeler.
How Long is the Trip?
The 2 tank dive is about 5.5 hours, and the shorter dive is about 3.5 hours. Keep in mind that getting to and from the site is about 40 minutes each way.
Is the Water Choppy Enough for an Average Person to Need Anti-Nausea Medication?
While I'm more sensitive than the average person to motion sickness, I still highly recommend your favorite anti-nausea medication or, for those like me that prefer not to take a pill unless they have to, try the anti-nausea acupressure wrist bands.
Can You Touch the Manta Rays?
No–it's very important not to touch the mantas, not only because they don't like it, but just as importantly because it removes a protective film from them that helps keep them healthy and prevent disease.
Do You Need a Wet Suit?
Not really–it's usually pretty warm, around 76-81 degrees Farenheit. That said, most people wear them for the activity, and I at least recommend a dive skin, to protect your skin from scratches when on the ocean floor.
Will We Definitely See Manta Rays?
Most times that are suitable for diving, yes. We were told that over 90% of the time Manta Rays are there. On my dive there were 4 Manta Rays, although with all of their swooping and loops, it felt like more!
Do You Recommend Kona Diving Company?
Yes–I highly recommend Kona Diving Company, although I have no affiliation with them other than having dived with them. Top-notch operators who are very safety-minded and also have a great sense of humor. Even if you opt to dive with another operator, please at least check that they are a member of the Manta Ray Green List.
What Is the Manta Ray Green List?
The Manta Ray Green List was set up to help ensure better protection of the Manta Rays as well as divers and snorkelers. Operators must meet several criteria to be included:
- Operator does not allow touching of the Manta Rays
- Operator does not allow free diving onto the Manta Rays
- Operator does not use Hull Lighting
- Operator does not anchor on coral
- Operator participates in “campfire setup” avoiding fragmentation
- Operator uses professional in-water guides, with Emergency First Responder training
- Operator operates vessel(s) under US Coast Guard regulations with licensed captains
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Manta Ray Photos and Video: Ocean Wings Hawaii
Photo of Moray Eel: Kona Diving Company