Activities

See and Swim With Manta Rays in Kona

January 20, 2015, 7:00 AM HST
* Updated January 20, 7:15 AM
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You may think that it’s just downright crazy to swim with Manta Rays in Hawai’i, but lots of people think it’s a good idea. In fact, it is said to be a life changing experience!

The curiously evasive Manta Ray is one of the largest fish in our Hawaiian oceans. They look prehistoric, and may actually be prehistoric with wingspans that can grow up to 20-feet long and larger. These mysterious underwater creatures are commonly found around the Kona Coast of the Big Island.

Unlike the related Stingrays and Eagle Rays, the Manta Ray does not have a stinger and is quite the friendly species. You do not have to worry about your toes getting nipped, because Manta Rays feed only on microscopic plankton, which is seen and illuminated by light, making the evening the best time to view them in their natural habitat. If you want to get up close and personal with these fantastical creatures, the ultimate time to do it is during the evening by moonlight. So, make sure check your lunar calendar before booking your date with the Manta Rays!

Spectators have the option to watch these Rays from the comfort of a boat, or if brave enough, they can join a guided evening tour and take a swim with some scuba diving guides and a snorkel set. Scuba divers must present certification, and pretty much everyone can swim with them. Check individual tour companies for restrictions. There is no peak season, so unlike other activities in Hawaii, swimming with the Manta Rays is an activity that you can do all year-round.

When swimming with Manta Rays in Hawaii, guests can expect to watch magical displays of grace and primal ocean beauty as these beasts glide and soar through the ocean. Searching for food, swimmers will be able to see the Manta Rays by false light projected on and under the ocean surface. Please do not touch, feed or pet the Manta Rays even if they come right up to you, which they definitely will!

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