Experience close encounters with these beautiful wild animals. Our in-water guides help find mantas feeding at the surface and ensure the safety and comfort of our guests. Our early evening trip allows the opportunity to watch the sunset from the boat and is the most popular manta snorkel. Our "late manta" is a night adventure with fewer people in the water. Late manta participants must check in at our shop before we close at 5:30pm.
Snorkelers must be confident enough to swim without a life jacket or flotation device, have previous snorkeling experience, and understand and speak English for safety reasons.
Guest safety is our top priority. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our captains routinely disinfect all touch surfaces on our boats. Hand sanitizer is available. Our dive groups are kept small & our charter capacities are in line with current Hawaii County rule. If you have any questions or concerns, please give our shop a call!
We don't allow life jackets on our manta charters. While this seems counterintuitive for a night-time snorkeling activity in the open ocean, we don’t allow life jackets for your safety & the safety of the manta rays. Snorkelers hold onto a floating raft during the entire manta snorkel. All snorkelers must keep their bodies flat at the surface so legs & fins do not kick mantas feeding close below. Life jackets keep snorkelers in an upright body position so that legs & fins accidentally kick mantas, potentially causing injury & scaring the animals away. We use wetsuits which keep your body extra buoyant. If you are concerned about your ability to swim or snorkel without a life jacket we advise renting a wetsuit & practicing snorkeling during the daytime. Please contact us with any questions!
Nope! Snorkelers stay flat on the surface, and divers hug the bottom. Divers descend and ascend near the boat, away from the animals. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Manta Rays (and all other marine life) are wild animals, and no guarantees can be made for their presence. If no Mantas are seen on a Manta Ray charter, Big Island Divers will offer EITHER a 50% discount to guests for a guaranteed seat on another manta charter, OR a 100% discount on standby availability seats for another one-tank manta charter. Standby availability is not guaranteed and is determined by management the day of the charter.
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.
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). Divers age 10-11 are not permitted on Long Range, Advanced, or Black Water charters.
Divers 12-17 years of age must be accompanied on the charter by their parent or guardian at all times. Any minor under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. 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.
For private charters, we can accommodate guests under the age of 10. Please contact us for more information.
Our #1 goal is to show you the mantas.
Manta rays are wild animals, and their presence isn't guaranteed. If you don't see mantas on your adventure, we'll take you back out for free*.
*Based on standby availability, or pay 50% for a guaranteed seat.Check manta sighting calendar
Manta Sighting Calendar
For more information about any given evening, click on the event for details. Manta sightings follow no specific pattern. The best way to see them is to get out there! You can find out more on our frequently asked questions page or by calling us at 808-329-6068.
All Big Island Divers’ crew are trained & practiced in Emergency First Response, AED, and emergency oxygen provision. Our captains are United States Coast Guard certified. All guides are lifeguard certified. All vessels are Coast Guard inspected & equipped with AEDs, emergency oxygen kits, EPIRBs, life jackets, throw rings & first aid kits.
We make every effort to run our fleet as efficiently as possible, and pay to offset our carbon emissions. When you book your charter you may contribute to our offset fund- help us protect our precious ocean ecosystem. Learn more about our carbon offset.
We do not allow touching or harassing wildlife on any of our charters. We do not use hull lights on our vessels to avoid harming manta rays. We adhere to community-established manta tour operator guidelines. We utilize the west Hawaii mooring system to avoid anchoring on the coral reef.
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Tipping is common in the recreational dive industry. Gratuities in appreciation for excellent service are greatly appreciated. The general recommended amount is 20% of your charter fee.Sport Diver: What To Tip Your Dive Guide
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