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The Original Kona Manta Night Dive

Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Rated by travel and dive magazines as one of the world’s best night dives, the manta dive is great for divers of all skill levels.

1 Tank Manta Night Dive

The World's Best Night Dive

This is the real deal- the Manta Ray Night Dive is the best night dive on the planet. This one-tank manta charter launches right before sunset and heads to Garden Eel Cove, our preferred manta dive site. We’ll brief you on the manta ecology and dive procedures, then gear up and jump in. Your divemaster will seat you around the underwater ‘campfire’ as the mantas somersault above you, sometimes inches away! After the dive we provide dry towels and hot coco while you share stories on the ride back to harbor. The one-tank charter allows SCUBA divers and snorkelers on the same boat. We also have other manta experiences: the two-tank twilight manta dive, the manta ray snorkel, the late manta snorkel, and our manta & blackwater combo.

Prerequisites

Open Water Diver certification, ability to speak and understand English for safety reasons.

Scheduled

4:30PM Check In, 5:30PM Start Time or 9:00PM Start Time (Snorkelers Only)

Included

Mask, fins, snacks, refreshments, towels, dive tanks, weights, a dive light, and manta ray education.

Please Bring

BCD, regulator, wetsuit, and dive computer.

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$139*

Terms & Cancellation Policy

* Not inclusive of tax or gear.

About Manta Rays

Female manta ray feeding over the 'campfire'- a milk crate full of dive lights. If you look carefully you'll see a plankton snowstorm right above the dive lights.

Manta rays are large cartilaginous fish, part of the same family as sharks and other rays (elasmobranchii, subclass of chondrichthyes or cartilaginous fish). There are two primary species, Manta birostris and Manta alfredi, both of which are found in temperate subtropical and tropical waters. M. alfredi is the species making regular appearances on our Manta Ray Night Dive. Their name comes from the Portuguese and Spanish word for “mantle”, a blanket-shaped trap used traditionally to catch these fish. They are also known as ‘devilfish’ or ‘devil rays’ because of their horn-shaped cephalic fins- a colorful name from imaginative sailors with fear of the unknown.

Though they are closely related to sharks and stingrays, manta rays are completely harmless. They don’t have stingers, barbs, or teeth- they are truly gentle giants. As filter feeders, mantas consume a massive amount of zooplankton in the form of shrimp, krill, and planktonic crabs (around 10-15% of their body weight each week). Can you imagine having to survive by eating a diet of sprinkles? Mantas forage for zooplankton along the sunny surface during daytime. We often see feeding rays somersault through especially plankton-rich water.

You can see the gill rakers inside this open manta's mouth.

Kona is home to a population of around 250 rays, identifiable by unique spot patterns on their bellies. Manta rays have a long lifespan, and are quite intelligent species that learn over time and have distinct personalities. Part of the success of Kona’s famous night dive can be attributed to the unique relationship we’ve made with these animals over the last 40-50 years. Bright dive lights attract plankton in the water at night, and the swarming plankton makes an excellent free meal for these hungry rays. They’ll come close -very close- and somersault over and over while feeding inches away from snorkelers and divers. On good nights we’ll see 5+ rays, and sometimes it gets truly insane with 20-30 feeding mantas at the same dive site! The manta ray night dive has earned a reputation as the best night dive in the world- it’s truly phenomenal.

In Hawaii, manta rays are protected species, and it is illegal to hunt or fish for them. They are an aumakua, a Hawaiian family god, often a deified ancestor that has left earth and returned from the heavens in a different form. Hawaiian lore says manta rays had the important task of catching the setting sun in their large mouths and swimming it to the other side of the island for sunrise. While they are threatened in other parts of the world from overfishing and ocean pollution, they are revered here in Hawaii. The Manta Ray Advocates and the Manta Pacific Research Foundation are local nonprofits dedicated to the protection of these animals.

What's the dive like?

Our manta ray night dive is one of the top rated dives in the world- a bucket list item for any SCUBA diver! There is so much ambient light in the water it's almost like diving during the day.

We arrive at the manta site just before sunset, and spend time briefing about the animals and the dive while enjoying sunset. Our divemasters place a crate of dive lights on the sandy bottom that we refer to as the “campfire”. Divers drop to the bottom and sit around the “fire” and wait for plankton & mantas. Snorkelers have a very similar experience about 30’ above hanging on a floating raft with bright lights. The rays somersault above divers & below snorkelers until the last boats head back to harbor & the lights go out.

It is very important that divers stay on the bottom and snorkers stay as flat as possible on the surface, leaving the water column to the mantas. We can’t touch the animals! They have a protective mucus coating their bodies and human touch interferes with this protective layer, causing lesions and sick mantas. The manta dive works so well because we’ve learned to interact with these animals in a responsible, safe way.

If this is your first night dive, awesome! The manta ray night dive is a super-easy night dive and perfect for your first. We'll make sure you're well taken care of and your divemaster will brief you on the boat regarding entry, dive profile, and exit.

The dive lasts between 45-60 minutes. Divers wear small white LED tank lights for safety. We typically give divers an additional few pounds of weight for this dive, but if you have trouble sticking to the bottom your divemaster can give you a rock to set in your lap. You'll be equipped with a high-lumen LED dive light, which we'll instruct to aim above your head to gather plankton- but be careful not to blind other divers or your divemaster!

All Trips Include

Professional snorkel & dive guides, dive lights (for night dives only), snacks, drinks, dry towels, tanks, soft weights, and the best customer service in Hawaii!

Please remember to bring dry clothes and a jacket or sweatshirt for night charters, as the ride home can be chilly.

Cancellation Policy

All reservations cancelled with at least 48 hours notice will not be charged.

Reservations cancelled with less than 48 hours notice will be charged the full cost of the charter, unless Big Island Divers is able to fill the seat(s) on the boat.

Lastly, all Charters require a minimum of 3 participants to go. While charters are rarely cancelled due to a lack of participants, Big Island Divers will make every effort to reschedule customers to another day or with another company.

Fitness Medical Considerations

SCUBA Diving and snorkeling are physical activities that require you to be able to swim and be in good physical health.

If you consider yourself overweight, or have any medical conditions, please consult with your doctor and complete the PADI Medical Waiver. Your doctor can advise you on the safety of these activities given your health.

If you are not an avid snorkeler, we suggest you first work on those skills before snorkeling at night on our manta charter, or on our more advanced morning dolphin charter. You will be in the ocean, and divers will be in water up to 40ft of depth. Our dolphin charter is in the open ocean and requires swimming skills.

If you are incapable of completing the charter, or we determine that in your and our best interest you do not go or allowed on the charter, we have the right to refuse services and still make applicable charges for the booking, at our discretion.

English Language

We require that all participants be able to understand and communicate in English for the safety of our other guests and crew. Please be advised that should we feel that we are unable to effectively communicate with a guest, we may not permit the guest to continue on the charter.

About Marine Life & The No Manta Guarantee

Manta rays, dolphins, whales, and other marine life are wild creatures and their presence is affected by surf conditions, seasonal changes and the quantity of food in the water. They are wild animals and we cannot guarantee their presence.

If you get ‘skunked’ and do not see manta rays, dolphins, or whales on your charter, our ‘No Manta Guarantee’ policy gives you a 50% discount on your next charter with us. We do not offer refunds for charters that do not see manta rays, dolphins, or whales.

SCUBA Refreshers

Divers that have not dove within the last 2 years are strongly encouraged to take a refresher course, however we do not require a refresher to dive with us. Regardless of dive history or experience, we have a 10 minute time limit on your first decent – if you are unable to comfortably descend, we’ll ask you to sit the dive out and consider a refresher. Pricing for refresher courses is the same as adding a private divemaster to your charter – $200 plus the cost of your dives.

All Other Policies

Our charters can be enjoyed by anyone age 10 and up who feels comfortable with mask, snorkel and the following guidelines (any exceptions require management approval).

Snorkeling and ride along participants that are under 18 years of age must be under the direct supervision of their parent or guardian on all charters, at all times.

Any scuba participant under 18 years of age, must be accompanied while on the vessel by their parent or guardian OR a minimum of 2 BID employees.

Our “minor divers” policy is that any diver 10-11 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and have a private divemaster on the charter ($200 per charter). Any Jr. Open Water Divers 10-14 years of age must be accompanied on the charter by their parent or guardian at all times and require a private divemaster or instructor ($100 per charter) at a ratio of no more than 2 divers to 1 divemaster. Any minor under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.

For private charters, we can accommodate guests under the age of 10. Please contact us for more information.

Open Water Divers 15-17 years of age require accompaniment by a parent and guardian, or private divemaster or instructor at a ratio of no more than 2 to 1 for the duration of the charter. If they are accompanied by a parent or guardian they may join the regular dive group. If the minor has to leave the regular dive group for any reason, they must be accompanied by their parent or guardian at all times.

Gear Rental And More

Waivers

Sign your dive waivers online and make check-in quick and easy.

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Nitrox

Increase your no-decompression limits with enriched air.

More Info

GoPros

Add-on a GoPro and record photo and video of your dive.

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Boat Gear Rentals

Traveling light? Our rental locker has everything you'll need.

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what is nitrox?

Breathing Nitrox, or enriched air, allows you longer no-decompression limits.

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already certified?

Nitrox is $12 per tank, available when booking your dive online.

gopro hero5

Enjoy more control and stabilized footage with the new GoPro Hero 5. Divers can take this camera to 130'. 32GB SD card and float handle included. $49/day

gopro hero5 dive

Hero 5 paired with two 2,000 lumen video lights. The ideal setup for divers, and an excellent option to film the manta night dive. 32GB SD card, dive lights and tray included. $99/day

More Info

need gear?

Mask/Snorkel/Fins - $5

BCD - $10

Reg w/ Computer - $20

Wetsuit - $10

Premium Regulator - $25

Premium BCD - $15

All Shore Rentals

Similar Charters You May Enjoy

Want to book multiple activites? Snorkeling Packages SCUBA Packages

Twilight Reef + Manta 2 Tank

SCUBA Divers Boat Only

Pair our twilight reef dive with the manta night dive for an excellent evening two tank.

More Info

Manta Dive + Blackwater Dive

Two Tank Night Charter

Looking for Kona nightlife? This is your charter. Start by swimming with the mantas, then head offshore for epic blackwater action.

More Info

1 Tank Night Reef Dive

Hawaii Night SCUBA Charter

The local's favorite, and Kona's best kept secret. Our night reef dives are outstanding and often overlooked. Don't make that mistake!

More Info

General FAQs

Yes! Please use any of the ‘Book Now’ buttons to book online. To book minors, SCUBA instruction, the blackwater charter and our dive packages please give us a call at 808-329-6068.

During busy season you'll want to make your reservation as early as possible. Thanksgiving and Christmas bookings usually happen 1-2 months in advance. Busy season is December-Jan and May-August. Our availabilities are visible in real-time on our website - just hit Book Now, or give us a call if you have questions.

All year round! We have excellent wildlife and warm water twelve months of the year. Humpback whales are present in the wintertime. Mantas are visible year-round and are unaffected by season.

We're on the west side of the Big Island, so you'll want to fly into Kona International Airport (KOA), not Hilo! We have lots of resorts up and down the coast. You can pick from options in Kona (10-15 minutes away from our shop) or up in Waikoloa (60-90 minutes away from our shop). We like the Kona Sheraton and the Hilton Waikoloa.

Our Morning and Advanced Morning dive charters launch at 8:30am and return to harbor at about 1pm. Our long range charter launches at 7:30am and returns around 2pm. Our Dolphin charter launch at 8am and return around noon. The Manta charter launch time varies seasonally between 4 and 6pm, and returns between 8:30 and 10pm. Blackwater launches between 9 and 10pm and returns around 11:30pm.

For day charters, we recommend sun protection and whatever personal items you need. For night charters, we recommend bringing something warm for the ride home, as it gets chilly when dark. There are dry storage areas on each of our boats. If you’re bringing your own dive gear, our crew will set it up, but we recommend a mesh gear bag to keep everything organized. Cameras are allowed (and encouraged!) and we have freshwater rinse buckets. We ask that you only bring what you need on the boat, as space can be limited.

We have several boats. Our largest three, the Honu Iki, Kahanuola, and Moana’olapa are each 36’ dive boats that can accommodate up to 18 guests. The Moana’luu is a 28’ dive boat, and the Nai’a is a 27’ RIB for snorkel and whale watch charters. The Iki has a marine head (bathroom).

All of our vessels have marine ladders that you climb to get back on the boat. If you are diving, you may remove your gear in the water and our crew will bring it aboard. On some of our boats, it is required that you remove your gear in the water.

Yup! Our shop is open from 8am to 6pm, every day. You can stop by anytime before your charter to check-in. For some morning charters, it is required that you check-in the day before. If you do check in between 10am-1pm, we offer a 10% discount on any merchandise in our retail shop.

If you’re staying up north, the drive takes 60-90 minutes, depending on traffic. Certain times of day have particularly bad traffic, and the road to Kona is currently under construction. Please call us if you’re curious what drive time is like from other parts of the island - but note that staying anywhere north of Waikoloa or south of Captain Cook involves driving to elevation that becomes dangerous after SCUBA diving. Plan your dives and lodging accordingly!

Depending on which manta dive site we visit, the boat ride ranges from 20-45 minutes. For daytime charters, it depends on the dive site, but usually no more than 45 minutes one-way.

We require guests check-in at our shop for gear fitting, waivers, directions, etc.

We do! Ask us about GoPro rentals when making your booking. We include a 32GB SD card.

You are welcome to bring and use your own camera on any of our charters. We ask that when using pole mounts with your underwater camera that you be respectful of sea life and do not touch, harass, or damage any animals or other marine life with your camera equipment.

Yes! Let us know if you're interested in having one of our professional photographers join you.

Gratuities are greatly appreciated! Most guests leave $25-40 for their hard-working crew.

Unfortunately, we are not able to offer any transportation services between local hotels, our shop, or the harbor. Guests are required to come to the shop to check-in for their charters, we will provide a map to the harbor, and guests will drive themselves up to the road to the harbor for boat launch. The harbor is about 3 miles away from our shop. There are several taxi services in the Kona area, and we recommend Kona Taxicab at (808) 324-4444. The island also has Uber and Lyft, but there are a limited number of drivers.

On average our diving takes place no more than a 25 minute boat ride from the harbor and dive sites are no more than ¼ mile from shore. *This does not apply to the Long Range Morning Charter and Black Water Night Dive, which go further away from the harbor.*

Ocean conditions are unpredictable and can change quickly. Summer months tend bring warmer and calmer waters, while winter months can bring large northerly swells. If your charter is cancelled due to unsafe ocean conditions our staff will make our best efforts to reschedule you. You will not be charged for any charters cancelled by Big Island Divers due to weather. We do not cancel for rain.

During the summer months the water warms up to about 80-83 degrees F (26-28C). In the winter months the ocean temperature cools down to 75-77 degrees F (23.5-25C). Most of our guests are comfortable in a 3mm full wetsuit while diving, but we also offer 5mm full suits as well as 3mm springsuits in our rental locker.

Even when ocean conditions are flat and calm you may still be susceptible to feelings of seasickness. Being on the water at night tends to make seasickness worse, so we recommend taking anti-motion-sickness meds like Bonine or non-drowsy Dramamine before your charter. We sell Bonine in our shop and have it available on our boats.

Manta FAQs

Nope! Snorkelers stay flat on the surface, and divers hug the bottom. We leave the middle of the water column to the manta rays. Freediving with these large animals is prohibited as it interferes with feeding and is potentially harmful to the manta rays.

On average, we see manta rays about 80% of the time. They are wild creatures and no guarantees can be made for their presence. Mantas are not affected by the full moon. If you join us on a night where we don’t see any manta rays, we are happy to offer you a 50% discount off of your next manta ray charter.

Mantas do not have stingers or barbs. They cannot bite you and they are not poisonous. They are generally harmless creatures who use speed and agility as their primary defense mechanisms. That said, mantas are very large fish (sometimes weighing over 1000 pounds!) and can swim quite fast, so we encourage giving mantas as much space and respect as possible. We absolutely do not allow any touching, chasing, or harassing of the manta rays or any other sea life.

For the safety and enjoyment of all participants we do not allow any non-certified guests to dive SCUBA for the manta ray night dive. No tour operator in the Kona area allows non-certified individuals to dive with mantas, unless they are breaking dive agency standards. Non-certified guests are welcome to enjoy our manta ray night snorkel experience or to try a discover SCUBA dive on our two tank local morning charter.

Both SCUBA divers and snorkelers will spend about 45 minutes in the water.

Manta rays are a protected species in Hawaii and we absolutely do not allow any touching, chasing, or harassing of the manta rays.

Dolphins and whales are guarded under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and we only allow passive interaction. This means no chasing, harassing, touching, riding, etc.

When in the ocean, it's always best to look but not touch.

SCUBA FAQs

The in-water portion of the certification process takes 2-3 days. The PADI e-Learning can be done online and may take several days to a few weeks to complete. If you are planning on getting SCUBA certified with us, we recommend having your PADI e-Learning completed prior to being on-island. Please call regarding continuing education classes, as these have different schedules.

If you've been certified with PADI, SSI, SDI, NAUI, or any other valid agency, we can take you diving. However, we can only look up PADI and SSI certifications if you do not have your certification card. Please, bring your card!

You must be 10 years or older to get SCUBA certified.

PADI’s recommendation for flying or driving to altitude after diving within the No-Decompression Limits (regular recreational diving) are as follows:

Single dives - A minimum pre-flight surface interval of 12 hours is suggested.

Repetitive dives and/or multiple day dives - A minimum pre-flight surface interval of 18 hours is suggested.

Please note that staying further north than Waikoloa or further south than Captain Cook involves driving to elevation that is not safe after SCUBA diving. Returning to Hilo after a manta ray night dive is NOT possible the same night. Please plan your dives and lodging accordingly!

Diving on the Kona coast offers clear water, with 80 to 100 feet of visibility not uncommon. We have a variety of healthy hard corals, as well as many endemic fish that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The volcanic nature of the island results in unique underwater structures such as walls, pinnacles, archways, and steep ledges. Our Divemasters love to look for eels, nudibranchs, octopus, frogfish, and other varieties of marine life.

We have over 48 dive sites to choose from along the Kona Coast. The captain and boat crew will choose the dive site choices in the morning based on ocean conditions (current, swell, wind, visibility). The Manta Ray Night Charter and Twilight / Manta Ray Night Charter takes place at Garden Eel Cove (northern Airport site) unless ocean conditions or manta sightings dictate otherwise. If you are diving with us for multiple days, we try to rotate through different dive sites so you can see new things on each dive as long as the conditions of the water are desirable.

Proof of certification is required for all SCUBA dives - no exceptions. If you cannot find your dive card, we may be able to look up your certification in your dive agency's online database. Please call our shop directly to verify that we are able to locate your certification prior to your arrival. If you do not have your certification card, a photo ID will be required upon check-in or we are not able to allow you to dive.

We do not end the dive with the quickest breather, guests will be allowed to dive their tank until they reach 700psi or a dive time of 70 minutes, whichever comes first. The Manta Ray Night Dive and Black Water Night Dive spend 50 minutes underwater.

We group snorkelers and divers together on our manta ray charters, so your group can stick together even if some aren't certified to SCUBA dive.

We recommend against ride-along or snorkeler passengers on our morning dive charters, as guests tend to get seasick and bored waiting for SCUBA divers to complete their dives. We offer a variety of morning snorkel charters and can set up a private charter for mixed SCUBA and snorkeler groups.

Rental gear is extra, and a full set of gear costs $45 per day, plus tax. Wetsuit rentals for snorkelers are $10 per day, plus tax. Mask, snorkel, and fins are included for snorkel charters only. Dive tanks and weights are included for SCUBA activities.

We have no rule against bringing a dive knife. Knives are used for entanglement situations - we do not have kelp forests in Hawaii, but you may want a knife for fishing line. Knives cannot be used to touch marine life and are not a self-defense tool.

Yep! As long as they meet the dive prerequisites (e.g. 25 logged dives).

No SCUBA

Snorkeling FAQs

For your safety, we don't take guests out on the open ocean for our snorkel charters without prior snorkeling and swimming experience. We rent full snorkel packages for you to practice, and there are many places within 15-30 minutes of our dive shop that are ideal for snorkeling practice. Just stop by the shop and we’ll get you set up!

We take snorkelers aged 10 and up! We offer private charters for families with younger children. Give us a call to discuss options.

2018's #1 Dive Operator in Hawaii

with a 5 star reputation

“I've wanted to do this for years and it was as amazing as I had hoped. We were in the water for 45-60 minutes, with mantas right beneath us nearly the whole time, gracefully looping and over and over, often coming within a foot (or closer!)”

Read our reviews