Whether you’re looking for a heart-stopping activity or a family-friendly excursion, there is a wealth of activities to choose from on the Big Island. From night swims with manta rays to hikes through active volcanoes, here are some of the best things to do on the Big Island.
Best Kona Helicopter Tours
As one of the top vacation destinations globally, countless activities on the Big Island claim to be “must-dos.” And while it’s true, beach days and luaus are must-dos as part of the quintessential Hawaiian experience, no activity comes close to the magic of a Kona helicopter tour above the Big Island.
When you look at the Big Island on Google Maps, you can see the island’s dramatic change in climate, from the blanket of green rainforest covering the island’s Hamakua coast to the arid deserts that reach up to the towering peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. However, while the difference in climate is easily discernible on the drive from Kona to Hilo, nothing shows the extent to how different each corner of the island is more than via helicopter. Here are our picks for the top Kona helicopter tours.
|Magic Waterfalls Tour||Untouched Terrain||KOA - Kona Airport||BOOK NOW|
|Big Island Experience||Longest Tour||KOA - Kona Airport||BOOK NOW|
|Kona Coast Helicopter Tour||Private Tour||KOA - Kona Airport||BOOK NOW|
|Kona Sunset Experience||Most Affordable||KOA - Kona Airport|
|Kohala Hamakua Coast Helicopter Tour||VIP Seating||KOA - Kona Airport|
Top 5 Kona Fishing Tours
Wahoos, Marlins, and Mahis- oh my! There is a bounty of game fish lurking in the calm waters off Kona. So much, in fact, that Kona has been dubbed the “Mecca” for sport fishing in Hawaii. This is due to a steep ocean dropoff that descends thousands of feet just offshore- which means you don’t have to venture miles away from the coast to catch large pelagics. With year-round calm conditions on top of that, Kona is nothing short of an angler’s paradise.
This sleepy Big Island town is home to an abundance of fishing charters and captains happy to share their expertise with eager visitors. We’ve shuffled through the best of the best to help guide you on your fishing charter search.
- Half-Day Kona Fishing Charter – Knowledgeable Captain
- Ultimate Kona Sport Fishing Experience – Great For Beginners
- Full-Day Shared Fishing Charter – Most Affordable
- Marlin Fishing Charter – Blue Marlin Hunt
- Family Fish And Snorkel Custom Charter – Family Friendly
Best Kona Manta Ray Tours
The seas around Hawaii are typically known for their abundance of dolphins, sea turtles, and whales. However, another creature is so intriguing that it compels our land-dwelling species to slip into the ocean after dark. That creature? Manta Rays. Manta rays can grow to colossal sizes, and unlike their stingray cousins, manta rays don’t have barbs or stingers on their tails. Harmless and graceful, manta rays can be found in excess off the coast of Kona. In fact, Kona is the only place in Hawaii that hosts manta ray tours.
Swimming with manta rays in Hawaii is obviously amazing, but narrowing down which tour company to go with can be difficult. We have made it easy for you by sharing our favorite manta ray tour companies on the Big Island. Here are our top five picks:
Top 5 Kona Snorkel Tours
The Kona coast is home to what is potentially the best snorkeling in the state of Hawaii. And in a state famous for its coral reefs and marine life, that’s really saying something!
Kona’s unique topography has created a paradise for marine animals and snorkelers alike. The island’s massive mountains act as a wind block and create consistent, calm conditions on the island’s leeward side. Pair that with countless sheltered volcanic coves and thriving reefs, and you’ll get a snorkeling utopia.
Not sure where to go snorkeling in Kona? It is a big island, after all… Consider taking a snorkel tour with one of Hawaii’s most reputable snorkel companies. Here are our top five picks:
The Top Mauna Kea Tours
The Big Island’s Maunakea has been a hot topic in recent times, undergoing everything from fierce protests to torrential rains to blankets of snow. But take away the commotion and what remains is the mountain Native Hawaiians deem the most sacred site in their North Pacific archipelago.
Understandably so. Soaring 13,769 feet above sea level, it’s not only the highest peak in the Hawaiian Islands but when measured from its underwater base, is also the tallest mountain on Earth. Physical attributes aside, it was and continues to be a sacrosanct place, and home to a number of Hawaiian deities. Its more common, contemporary spelling, Mauna Kea, translates to “White Mountain”—for the seasonal snow it sees—while “Maunakea,” as suggested by the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s School of Hawaiian Language, indicates the mountain of the Hawaiian deity, Wakea. Its majesty, its height, its remoteness, its dry air, and the clear, luminous sky that cradles it has rendered the dormant volcano one of the leading astronomical observation sites in the world. In addition to serving as the designated place of the proposed Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT)—the cause of those aforementioned protests—it houses thirteen telescopes operated by astronomers from eleven different countries. In other words? The summit is the place to see the sky.
As such, tours to its peak abound across the Big Island, offering budding astronomers, avid stargazers, and early risers a chance to get this close to heaven. Here are the top Maunakea Tours we’d recommend—and why you should toss a sweater into your suitcase now: