The Hawaiian Islands have no shortage of fantastic diving locations. In fact, many of the world’s top spots can be found there. But what if you want to dive the best of the best? In that case, the Big Island of Hawaii is where you need to go. There you’ll find a plethora of fantastic dive sites, including two that most divers agree are the best in the world. Here are the top location recommendations for diving Hawaii’s Big Island.
Manta Ray Night Dive
Just north of Kona, not far from the Big Island’s airport, sits a dive site called Garden Eel Cove. It’s an impressive enough site by day, but at night local dive tour operators drop bright lights along the floor of the cove to shine upwards. If you’re lucky enough to experience a night dive here you’ll simply sit on the ocean floor in about 35 feet of water as the Manta Rays show up to check out the lights. The photography opportunities at this location are phenomenal, and most serious divers agree that this is one of the top diving experiences in the world.
Not for the faint of heart, this dive location has divers suspended on hanging lines in about 40 to 50 feet of water, 3 miles off the shore of the Big Island. Below them is 3,000 to 5,000 feet of water. Once settled, divers are essentially surrounded by darkness and tiny pelagic organisms. This is another world-wide bucket list dive.
An excellent reef dive, the Golden Arches provides some of the best photo opportunities you’re likely to find under the water. Plenty of wildlife frequents the reef, too, including dolphins, eels, and whitetip reef sharks.
The Old Airport
This location is great for divers and snorkelers alike because it’s accessible from the shore. There’s plenty of coral to explore, and you’ll likely encounter a variety of wildlife like octopuses and nudibranchs.
Au Au Crater
This site is a submerged volcano with a steep wall that dips from 30 feet down to 200 feet. There’s a good chance you’ll see some of the larger species of fish here, but some are dangerous, like hammerhead and oceanic whitetip sharks.