Kahaluu Beach Park Snorkeling Rental. Kahaluu Beach Park is a tiny sheltered cove on the west side of the Big Island right in the town of Kailua Kona. It’s one of only a handful of beaches in Hawaii with such a large tame fish population. Kahaluu Beach is not a marine preserve, yet for having no fishing limitations, it rivals and sometimes surpasses the quantity of fish you’ll see at a dedicated marine sanctuary.
The fish here are unusually comfortable around snorkelers. Typically, schools of large surgeon fish will swim up and greet you as you wade in. I’ve even had them nibble on my fins while swimming.
The cove is almost completely surrounded by a partially submerged rock wall that keeps the larger waves out while still allowing the gentler ocean currents to flow in freely. These fresh currents carry life bringing nutrients, feeding and multiplying the marine life.
I really get a kick out of hearing the excitement of other snorkelers as they interact with Kahaluu’s fish and sea life. The water at Kahaluu Beach is so shallow and calm, it’s perfect for the first time snorkeler with Kahaluu Beach Park Snorkeling Rental
One of the reasons for Kahaluu’s abundant fish population is most of cove is less than neck deep. The deepest spot barely exceeds 10 feet even at high tide. The shallow water allows sunlight to penetrate all the way to the bottom growing lots of healthy coral. The coral, in turn, houses and feeds all the cove’s marine life. The bottom of the cove is made up of a base layer of lava rock and coral with scattered patches of sand.
Most of the shoreline at Kahaluu is lava rock flats with a couple of small sand ‘entries’. Enter the water via these small sand patches. You’ll have an easier time putting on your fins while sitting in the sand than trying to balance on the surrounding lava rocks.
When the tide goes out, the rock flats form shallow tide pools that are fun to explore. Please watch your step as you walk on the wet lava rock, the seaweed makes it very slippery.
Kahaluu Beach Park Snorkeling Rental Tips
There will be schools of fish congregating near the sandy entries hoping to catch the small bits of seaweed and food that’s kicked up by snorkelers entering the water. All the swirling sand here tends to make the water cloudy. When you’re done saying hello to the fish near the shore, be sure to swim out towards the center of the bay for the clearest water and great picture taking.
Speaking of picture taking… If you have kids, remember to pick up a disposable under water camera so they can take fun photos. The kids will have plenty to brag about when they get home.
Kahaluu Beach is also famous for it’s sea turtles, or Honu as Hawaiians call them. Of all the places in the ocean for a turtle to swim, for some reason they LOVE Kahaluu Beach. On any given day you’ll be able to see quite a few of them feeding on seaweed and sunning themselves on the warm rocks.
While sleeping on shore, their shells tend to have the color of the surrounding lava rock so keep your eyes open. Because of their shell color and because they lie so still, I have actually seen people almost trip over sleeping turtles.
Turtles are a protected marine species in Hawaii so remember to keep your distance while enjoying these beautiful creatures. A calm beach, warm sun, lots of seaweed to eat… I guess to them, Kahaluu Beach is kind of like turtle heaven.
Here’s some of the other marine life I’ve seen at Kahaluu Beach Kahaluu Beach Park Snorkeling Rental: Butterfly fish, parrot fish, damsel fish, surgeon fish, moorish idol, tang, wrasse, box fish, cardinal fish, squirrel fish, soldier fish, big eyes, perch, chub, trigger fish, the former Hawaii State Fish humuhumunukunukuapuaa, goat fish, porcupine fish, peacock bass, hawk fish, jacks, needle fish, eels, crustaceans, and invertebrates.
Kahaluu Beach Park Snorkeling
Would you like to get closer to the marine life while snorkeling? In Kahaluu Beach Park Snorkeling Rental Instead of swimming straight at them, try and swim parallel to them. As you can imagine, a tiny fish has no idea of your intentions and can get quite nervous when someone as large as yourself comes swimming right at them. Take a second to observe it’s general swimming direction. Then slowly swim parallel to it while gently drifting closer. No matter how slow fish may appear, you will never be able to catch up to them using sheer speed. Try cleverness instead.
Another point to keep in mind is that marine life can hear everything that happens underwater, especially your fins splashing on the surface. To a fish’s sensitive ears, all your splashing has the subtlety of a semi-truck. Try to keep your kicking slow and steady and below the surface of the water. The best way to get close to most marine life is to swim calmly and appear as least threatening as possible. Try it. You’ll be surprised at how close a relaxed fish will allow you to get.
Kahaluu Beach has restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and two large pavilions. It’s also one of the few beaches with a lifeguard on duty. The parking lot can get full quickly so the earlier you go the better.
Did you forget to bring you goodies to the beach? No need to panic, you will be in the town of Kailua Kona so everything is conveniently located nearby. Can’t say that about most snorkeling beaches.
Kahaluu Beach Park’s abundance of marine life, sheltered cove, great park facilities, and convenient location make it one of the top beaches on Kahaluu Beach Park Snorkeling Rental.
Kahalu’u Beach Park, Big Island
The Big Island has some outstanding underwater scenery, but Kahalu’u Beach Park on the island’s west coast just south of Kailua-Kona stands out in particular. The fish here aren’t at all wary of the swimmers, as they tend to be in other areas. Indeed, if you hang around long enough, some of them will come up to you and swim by your side.
Over 100 species of fish can be observed here. The beach is one of the best snorkeling spots on the Big Island. In fact, many tourist maps refer to Kahalu’u as “Snorkel Beach.” Not only humans and colorful tropical fish love Kahalu’u Beach, but sea turtles as well. You’ll probably be able to see some in the water here.
The cove is ideal for novice swimmer and snorkelers as the water is almost always calm (except when there’s a big storm or ocean swell coming in). That’s because the beach is protected by a partially submerged rock wall, which keeps strong currents and larger waves out.
Also, the water is very shallow in the cover, around neck deep in most spots and around 10 feet (3 m) in the deepest area. This is probably one of the reasons why the fish are so plentiful here. The sunlight can reach all the way to the bottom, which grows healthy corals and seaweed. The ocean bottom at Kahalu’u Beach Park has a mix of lava rock, corals and patches of sand. A little bit inland, many Hawaiian house ruins, heiaus and petroglyphs are located in the area, between the park and Keauhou Bay.
The shoreline consists of white sand speckled with black lava fragments. It’s best to get into the water via these sandy areas. During low tide, a few shallow tide pools surface, which can also be explored. During times of high surf, experienced bodyboarders and surfers venture out to the seaward edge of the reef in the outer area of the bay. A strong rip current may form during strong ocean swells in the area north from Kuemanu Heiau along the rugged shoreline rocks.
Kahalu’u Beach Park Overview
One of the best snorkeling beaches on the Big Island
Shallow, calm waters on most days of the year
Many colorful tropical fish and turtles can be ovserved
KONA SNORKELING Kahalu’u Beach Park
Kahalu’u Beach Park is our favorite snorkeling spot on the island of Hawai – actually in the entire State of Hawaiii. The bay is protected by a lava wall and has a huge array of colorful reef fish and turtles. The water is almost always clear, with colorful corals, rock formations, and hundreds of species of fish. Green sea turtles live there and you can see them feeding on algae in the morning. The park has great facilities with showers and covered picnic tables and lots of parking.
Some claim that King Kamehameha had his workers construct the lava seawall to create the beautiful cove so his family had a safe place to enjoy the ocean. The bay is completely surrounded except on the north side where surfers congregate to catch the waves. Kahalu’u is popular because of its calm, protected waters – perfect for kids and adults nervous about being in the ocean. You can see the white waves where they hit the lava wall below.
The beach has easy access for snorkeling. Though there is lava everywhere, a sandy path allows access into the water. Most of the enclosed area is shallow enough to stand up. There are places in the bay with white rocks where you can stand and safely adjust your snorkel without harming the coral.
My Best Snorkeling Hawaii Tips
Never snorkel alone. No matter how wonderful the ocean conditions may seem, always snorkel Hawaii with a buddy.
Never turn your back to the ocean. This is the first rule of the sea my father taught me. No matter how calm the ocean looks, it is always unpredictable. If you’ve spent enough time around the ocean you know that ‘freak waves’, despite the name, are common place. Here in Hawaii we are blessed with some of the best weather around, just be aware of the ever moving ocean, ok.
I know you’re in Hawaii on vacation… and I know you want to sleep in… but whenever possible snorkel in the morning. Fish are significantly more active in the morning so you’ll get to see a lot more of the marine life. Also the predictable afternoon winds make the water clarity less than ideal.
Most marine life congregate around structure. Whether it be coral, lava rock, or man-made objects, aquatic life find food and safety near structure. Most fish won’t venture far from the safety of the reef. When you see large expanses of sand think: Mojave Desert for Fish. Only the fastest or sneakiest of sea life make their homes out in the open. Neither of which is fun to look for when snorkeling. If you want to see the most sea life possible, snorkel around some kind of structure.
Whenever possible, inquire about the days beach conditions. Ask the life guard or just someone on the beach. Ocean conditions can change so quickly, it’s always a great idea to ask someone about the water visibility, current, waves, etc. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve gotten a tip from someone who just came out of the water about a beautiful school of fish, a feeding turtle, or spectacular hidden coral head. Make it easy on yourself, get the inside scoop before you jump in.
Snorkeling isn’t so much about swimming as it is about floating, stay relaxed. You’ll save a lot more energy if you just float, only kicking when needed. Think of yourself gliding rather than swimming. The extra oxygen you save will allow you to hold your breath longer when you decide to dive down for a closer look at the reef. The more relaxed you are in the water the more relaxed the fish will be too. Relaxed fish will allow you to swim much closer.
Be respectful of the ocean. Avoid standing on coral. Even though coral may feel like rock, it is not. Coral is the foundation of Hawaii’s reef environment and is a marine animal just like a fish or a turtle. All sea creatures rely on the reef for homes, protection, and food. Broken coral takes many years to grow back. Oh yeah, please remember to pick up your trash so everyone may enjoy snorkeling Hawaii for years to come.