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Where to See Turtles on the Big Island of Hawaii

Where to See Turtles on the Big Island of Hawaii

A favorite Big Island thrill is the sight of wild green sea turtles popping their heads above the surface or swimming next to you underwater. Here are the best places to spot the inspiring shelled creatures, known locally as honu.

And wherever you go to spot turtles on the Big Island, remember to respect these wonderful, wild animals. It is illegal to touch a sea turtle in Hawaii. Also, be sure to avoid feeding turtles or swimming above above them, as this can prevent them from surfacing for air.

Kahaluu Beach Park

One of the Big Island’s most reliable turtle-spotting destinations, this beach park right in Kailua-Kona makes an easy pit stop during a day of sightseeing. While not an official marine sanctuary, the protected, shallow lagoon is a big draw for novice snorkelers as well as the sea turtles and fish they come to admire.

Kiholo Bay

Visitors who tackle the hike down from the highway to reach this rocky lagoon in Kohala are often rewarded with excellent, uncrowded views of sea turtles. Bring snorkeling gear, as you may be able to get a close look if water conditions are calm.

Honaunau Bay

Bordering a former place of refuge for ancient Hawaiians fleeing persecution, today this historic site south of Kailua-Kona offers shelter from sea swells. The protected, clear waters are a big draw for snorkelers, and sea turtles are often seen swimming in the bay. Try to arrive early to beat the crowds.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach

If you’d prefer to glimpse sea turtles without getting wet, try Punaluu Beach. Keep an eye out for turtles bobbing in the surf or sunning themselves on the distinctive black sand and lava rocks. No snorkeling mask or fins required.

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6 Tours and Activities

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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History

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1803
The Big Island of Hawaii has a diverse ecosystem unlike anywhere else on the planet, and on this day-long nature tour, experience the beauty of its black-sand beaches, thundering waterfalls, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. If you’re lucky, find Hawaiian green sea turtles basking on the coast. Since the tour only requires a moderate amount of walking, it's an educational adventure for travelers of all ages, with snacks and refreshments included.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$204.19
From
$204.19

Small-Group Big Island Tour: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kona Coffee Farm
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Small-Group Big Island Tour: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kona Coffee Farm

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144
On this tour from Kona to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, experience some of the Big Island’s best sights in a small group capped at 14 people. In addition to stopping at Punalu’u Beach Park to walk down a black-sand beach, you have the chance to sip Kona coffee on the plantation right where it’s grown, as well as hike through a lava tube that was formed by Kilauea volcano. What’s more, receive an iPad to use on the tour. Use it for photos, videos, and info, as well as playing games or watching movies while traveling between the sites.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$186.99
From
$186.99

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour

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53
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is unlike anywhere else on the planet, where one of the world’s most active volcanoes sends lava dripping towards the sea, and a towering mountain lies dormant and ready to pop. On this tour of the National Park, hear the legends of Madame Pele, the mythical Hawaiian fire goddess, a tour from Hilo to the eastern coastline and climb to the rim of Kilauea volcano. On this small group tour, your guide will customize the pace and number of sights.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$167.82
From
$167.82

Glass-Bottom Boat Cruise from Waikoloa

Glass-Bottom Boat Cruise from Waikoloa

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26
See the tropical fish, sea turtles, and coral of Anaeho’omalu Bay on a glass-bottom boat ride. Enjoy shaded seating and beautiful ocean panoramas aboard a 26-foot (7.9-meter) boat, departing from Waikoloa, close to Kona. Expert guides join you on board to discuss Hawaiian marine life and answer any questions as you examine the underwater world through the glass. This scenic cruise is engaging for travelers of all ages, and returns to your original departure point.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$29.00
From
$29.00

Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Tour - 4 hour Kona Zodiac Adventure
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Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Tour - 4 hour Kona Zodiac Adventure

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277
Splash into the crystal-clear waters of Kealakekua Bay on this Big Island snorkeling adventure! Dart in and out of sea caves and explore the gorgeous Kona coastline in an agile Zodiac raft. Snorkel among colorful tropical fish, and keep an eye out for other marine life like whales, dolphins and sea turtles. Along the way, learn about the island’s geologic history and local legends from your expert guide, and see the spot where Captain Cook first landed in Hawaii.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$135.11
From
$135.11

Big Island Snorkel Cruise Along Kohala Coast

Big Island Snorkel Cruise Along Kohala Coast

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37
Discover the best snorkeling off the Kohala Coast on this 3 hour Big Island snorkel cruise. Aboard a comfortable catamaran, admire Hawaii's postcard-worthy beaches, mountains and shoreline. Then, dive into the pristine Pacific waters for a chance to see beautiful tropical fish, acres of healthy coral reefs and maybe even a green sea turtle!. Marine life briefing, snorkel instruction (both onboard and in the water) and all snorkel gear and flotation devices are included too. Enjoy personalized service from your expert captain and crew and unlimited single-serve beers, wines and soft drinks as well as individually wrapped picnic sandwiches and snacks.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$159.00
From
$159.00