To ensure you choose the right tour for you, this guide includes:
- What happens on a manta ray tour?
- Are manta rays dangerous?
- Can we touch the mantas?
- Are nighttime tours safe?
- What if I can’t swim?
- What’s included and what should I bring?
- How long is the tour?
- Who can go on a manta ray tour?
- Which type of tour is right for me?
The Big Island of Hawaii is one of the only places in the world where you can snorkel with Manta Rays on a consistent basis.
Reaching up to 18 feet wide, manta rays are the gentle giants of the ocean.
Beautiful, elegant, graceful, they are captivating to watch and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is not to be missed!
There are many manta tour operators and types of tours for you to choose from, and we always get lots of questions about the mantas and the safety of a night dive with mantas.
To help you navigate the waters and choose the best tour for you and your family, here’s everything you need to know about these unique Kona manta ray night dives.
WHY GO ON A MANTA RAY NIGHT DIVE or snorkel?
Kona manta ray dive is one of our favorite things to do in Kona.
It’s special for anyone, no matter their age or interests. There’s just enough adventure, romance and safety to appeal to a wide range of people, and you can choose a tour best suited to your tastes.
Remember, Kailua Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii is one of the only places in the world to witness these beautiful creatures feeding on plankton. This manta ray night dive is great for everyone.
- Exciting for kids
- Romantic for honeymooners
- Adventurous for explorers
And, you can choose a boat and tour that best suits your pocket and comfort level!
WHAT HAPPENS ON A MANTA RAY NIGHT DIVE or snorkel
Imagine floating in Hawaii’s waters off the coast of one of Kona’s sheltered bays. Cocooned in soothing salty water, with your snorkel and mask in place, you can hear hushed excitement as your friends and family join you in the water from your nearby boat.
Attracted by the light from the boat, thousands of plankton mill about in the waters. And all around, dozens of enchanting manta rays glide besides you as they feed.
On these unique manta ray snorkel trips you’ll be floating on the top of the water watching manta rays glide beneath you, feeding on plankton attracted by the boat’s lights.
Once you leave the waters you’ll be back aboard your boat offering a range of drinks and snacks. At all times, you’ll be in the presence of trained swim guides and crew members.
Are manta rays dangerous?
Absolutely not! Mantas rays are related to but are not stingrays. They do not have stingers or barbs.
The beauty of this tour is diving with manta rays in their natural habitat. Your tour operator doesn’t bring food for them to feed on. The lights from the boat attract the plankton which the mantas are naturally attracted to. They cannot and will not eat you!
This excursion is very safe and you will be assisted by trained swim guides and crew members at all times.
- Is it safe to swim with Manta rays?
- Are Manta Rays attracted to light?
- Are there Manta Rays in Hawaii?
Manta Rays thrive in warmer waters which makes all the islands that make up Hawaii a perfect place to call home.
How big are Manta Rays in Hawaii?
Manta Rays are huge and have been known to reach 25 feet and weigh a much as an elephant!
Are manta rays dangerous to humans?
No not at all. While they may look like stingrays and come from the same family, Manta Rays are harmless to humans and do not sting.
What is Manta Village?
Manta Village is a popular dive site in Hawaii that is a common place to swim with Mantas. You can swim with the Mantas at Manta Village or even in some cases watch them directly from the shore.
The reason Manta Village has been a popular place to swim with Mantas in Kona is due to the light emitted from the Sheraton hotel. Plankton are attracted to light which makes the Manta Village area a great and consistent feeding ground for these beautiful marine creatures.
Can we touch the mantas?
Please don’t touch Mantas during your night dive.
It is harmful to the manta rays for people to touch them. It’s possible they may gently bump into you during your dive, but for their sake please do not try to pet them.
WHY ARE MANTA RAY TOURS ONLY AT NIGHT?
Manta Ray feed on plankton which are drifting organisms in the ocean that cannot swim against a current.
Divers will dive and point lights toward the surface which illuminates the plankton for the Manta Rays. If you’re on a snorkel trip, you’ll be able to look down into the water from the surface and watch the Manta Rays feed on the schools of plankton.
Are manta night tours safe?
Yes, they are.
The water is very well lit and you will stay close to the boat. There will be swim guides in the water with you to help at all times.
Kokua Concierge only recommends tours where all crew members are experienced and qualified.
What if I can’t swim? What if I’ve never snorkeled?
No problem! If you can’t swim or have never been snorkeling you can still book a ticket on the manta tour as a “ride along passenger”. Ride along passengers will have the opportunity to view mantas from the boat, but won’t be allowed to enter the water.
The Ride along passenger option is available on the catamaran tour…It’s one of the most popular types of manta ray dive tours offered. Catamarans are often the best choice for those not comfortable in the water. These tours often focus not just on time in water, but overall experience and can certainly be enjoyable for those who can’t swim or are uncomfortable in the water.
What’s included and what should we bring?
Your guide will ensure that you’re all set for a great manta ray snorkel or dive and will provide the following:
- Snorkel masks
- Snorkel fins
- Flotation devices
- Warm drinks
You’ll need to bring:
- Warm clothes to change into as in can get chilly at night
- A towel
HOW LONG DOES MANTA RAY NIGHT DIVE or snorkel LAST?
Manta ray dives and snorkel excursions both last about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
It takes time to get to the various locations where the Mantas are located around the Hawaiian islands.
You’ll can expect to spend 45 minutes during your dive or snorkel with the mantas.
Who can go on a manta ray tour?
It depends which type of tour you choose to do. Please see the next section for more information.
WHAT TYPE OF BOAT IS USED FOR MANTA RAY TOURS?
All our manta ray night dives and snorkels are operated by trained swim guides and crew members.
Each of the manta ray dive companies serve light refreshments and put your safety and enjoyment first.
What distinguishes them from each other is the actual type of boat you’ll be on.
Adventure raft tours
An adventure raft is a more basic boat. These tours are great for those with a sense of adventure!
They’re budget-friendly and as interesting and informative as the more expensive tours. You’ll always be safe however, your level of comfort may be compromised (think wooden bench rather than cushioned seat). Children must be aged 7 and over to go on an adventure raft tour.
These catamaran tours are suitable for all ages with a focus on the overall experience not just your time in the water. Catamaran tours are great for…
- Those enjoying a luxury vacation
- Guests with reduced mobility
- Larger groups
- Children over 7
Dive boat tours are set up for certified SCUBA divers – those who are trained to dive, comfortable diving at night and would prefer to do this rather than snorkel.