Kealakekua Bay

Kealakekua Bay is a conservation district where the diversity of marine life is absolutely phenomenal. Home to spinner dolphins, sharks and a wide array of reef fish, this conservation site is beyond breathtaking.  It is a popular destination for kayaking, scuba diving and snorkeling. Unlike unprotected snorkeling spots, the marine life at Kealakekua is abundant and curious. The crystal clear water and deep dark blue drop offs, perfectly contrast against each other. All of these unique characteristics make this experience both awe inspiring and a bit of an adrenaline rush. Settled over a thousand years ago, the surrounding area contains many archeological and historical sites such as religious temples.  Accessing this location really depends on how hard you want to work to get there. Below is a list of Kayaking outfits approved by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). For those that want an easy sip on a cocktail kind of adventure, we highly recommend the boat tours listed below, which are also recognized by DLNR. If you are fit, have no health conditions, are an avid hiker and experienced snorkeler, hiking may be a good option for you. However, this trail is difficult and is not for the faint of heart. 

Brief History of Kealakekua Bay – Settlement on Kealakekua Bay has a long history. The name of the bay comes from ke ala ke kua in the Hawaiian Language which means “the god’s pathway” because this area was the focus of extensive Makahiki (time set aside for tribute, harvest, sport, and play) celebrations in honor of Lono (the god of fertility, agriculture, rainfall, music and peace). Thousands of Native Hawaiian’s once populated this area, until the arrival of Captain James Cook. Arriving at the time of Makahiki, Cook was mistaken for the god Lono, who was prophesied to arrive during this festive time. Cook capitalized on this time of peace and prosperity, accepting gifts and overstaying his welcome.  Villagers quickly realized that Captain Cook was indeed not Lono and toward the end of Makahiki, Cook sailed away. Returning to Kealakekua, due to damage to his ship, Cook arrived during the time of Kū (named in honor of Kūkāʻilimoku, god of war and prosperity). Frustrated by his return, one of the villagers stole a small boat from Cook’s men. This resulted in the capture of Chief Kalaniʻōpuʻu and the death of his nephew, who was shot bya member of Cook’s crew. Miscalculating the reaction of Hawaiian’s, an all out battle occurred ending in the death of Captain Cook. Cook’s time in Hawai`i forever changed the history of the Hawaiian Islands and its people. Cook’s arrival brought not only worldwide interest in Hawai`i, but also diseases. These illnesses wreaked havoc on the Hawaiian Islands. By 1840, only 62 years after Cook brought the first diseases, the number of Native Hawaiians is estimated to have fallen by up to 84%. 

The sheer cliff face called Pali Kapu O Keōua overlooking the bay was the burial place of Hawaiian royalty. The name means “forbidden cliffs of Keōua “ in honor of Keōua Nui, sometimes known as the “father of kings” since many rulers were his descendants. The village of Kaʻawaloa was at the north end of the bay in ancient times, where the Puhina O Lono Heiau was built, along with some royal residences. 

 

Accessing Kealakekua Bay:

 

Kayaking:

 

Adventures in Paradise

75-5660 Kopiko Street C7-430

Kailua Kona, HI 96740

(808) 447-0080, (888) 210-5365

www.bigislandkayak.com

Aloha Kayak Co.

82-5674 Kahau Pl

Captain Cook, HI 96704

(808) 322-2868

www.alohakayak.com

Kona Boys, Inc.

79-7539 Mamalahoa Highway

Kealakekua, HI 96750

(808) 328-1234

www.konaboys.com

 

By Boat

Captain Cook Snorkel Cruises | Snorkeling Tours – Kona, Hawaii (captaincooksnorkelingcruises.com)

Kealakekua Bay Snorkel – Captain Cook Monument Snorkel (hawaiitourboat.com)

Kealakekua Snorkeling Tours | Kealakekua Bay Hawaii Snorkel Cruises (fair-wind.com)

Big Island Snorkel Tours, Sailing Tours in Kona – Sea Paradise

 

Hiking to Kealakekua Bay 

  • Length: 3.8 miles round trip
  • Duration: 1.5 hours round trip, if snorkeling plan for a 4 hour adventure.
  • Difficulty level: Difficult

Description: If you want a free adventure and are an avid hiker, and experienced ocean swimmer/ snorkeling then this might be a great option to access Kealakekua Bay. From the trailhead you will walk 1.9 miles downhill to the bay. The trail down is a breeze and the level of snorkeling you will experience is priceless. However, your return uphill after a couple hours of snorkeling can be brutal, especially if you are exposed to the mid-day sun. There is minimal to no shade on parts of the trail, making it a grueling uphill hike in the stagnant heat. Once you get to the ocean and Captain Cook Monument, evaluate the conditions, as there is no lifeguard or access to emergency services. There is no beach or easy access out of the ocean. We recommend that you jump into the water with your snorkel gear, in front of the monument. Before you start snorkeling, identify your exit plan. Most of the coastline is filled with wana (poisonous sea urchin), reef shoes are highly recommended. Please keep in mind that this is a marine conservation site, walking on any part of the reef is strictly prohibited. A few things to bring: food, water, reef safe sunscreen, comfortable closed toed shoes, large brimmed hat, reef shoes, swim fins and snorkel gear. For access to the trailhead click here: Trailhead Kealakekua Bay

Hiking Legend: Difficulties- Each hike listed below was ranked based on difficulty level. There are hikes at the park for people of all hiking experience and skill sets! Below explains how we ranked each hike’s difficulty level.

Easy– “A hike that is generally suitable for anyone who enjoys walking. Mostly level or with a slight incline. Generally less than 3 miles.”

Medium– “A hike that is generally suitable for novice hikers who want a bit of a challenge. The terrain will involve a moderate incline and may have some steeper sections. Generally 3 to 5 miles.”

Difficult– Difficult hikes will challenge most hikers. The hike will generally be longer and steeper, but may be deemed “Difficult” because of the elevation gain. Generally 7 to 10 miles.”

Citation: National Park Service (2017). How to Determine Hiking Difficulty. Website:  https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/how-to-determine-hiking-difficulty.htm

Related Articles

 

Whale Watching

Whale Watching

Offering private dolphin and whale watching experiences!

UFO Parasailing

UFO Parasailing

Since 1985, UFO Parasailing has been helping people create lasting memories while experiencing the adrenaline rush of a lifetime.

Kona Brewing Company

Kona Brewing Company

It might surprise you that Kona Brewery has a fantastic food menu in addition to their beer, which they are well known for.

Pure Kona Green Market

Pure Kona Green Market

This quickly growing farmers market showcases the best of South Kona’s fresh island produce, art, food and baked goods!

Late Night Dining

Late Night Dining

Whether you are just arriving after a long flight, or find yourself out for a night on the town, Big Island Reviews has compiled a list of restaurants and bars open until 10 PM or later for your convenience.

Two Step

Two Step

Its crystal waters are home to a wide variety of native marine wildlife and beautiful healthy coral.

Manta Ray Diving

Manta Ray Diving

Swim under the Hawaiian moonlight with the most graceful, gentle creatures in the ocean.

Ulu Ocean Grill

Ulu Ocean Grill

Ulu brings infuses Pacific rim inspirations that will enhance your senses and overall dining experience!

Kealakekua Bay

Kealakekua Bay is a conservation district where the diversity of marine life is absolutely phenomenal. Home to spinner dolphins, sharks and a wide array of reef fish, this conservation site is beyond breathtaking.  It is a popular destination for kayaking, scuba diving and snorkeling. Unlike unprotected snorkeling spots, the marine life at Kealakekua is abundant and curious. The crystal clear water and deep dark blue drop offs, perfectly contrast against each other. All of these unique characteristics make this experience both awe inspiring and a bit of an adrenaline rush. Settled over a thousand years ago, the surrounding area contains many archeological and historical sites such as religious temples. For a brief history of Kealakekua Bay please CLICK HERE. Accessing this location really depends on how hard you want to work to get there. Below is a list of Kayaking outfits approved by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). For those that want an easy sip on a cocktail kind of adventure, we highly recommend the boat tours listed below, which are also recognized by DLNR. If you are fit, have no health conditions, are an avid hiker and experienced snorkeler, hiking may be a good option for you. However, this trail is difficult

and is not for the faint of heart. 

Brief History of Kealakekua Bay: Settlement on Kealakekua Bay has a long history. The name of the bay comes from ke ala ke kua in the Hawaiian Language which means “the god’s pathway” because this area was the focus of extensive Makahiki (time set aside for tribute, harvest, sport, and play) celebrations in honor of Lono (the god of fertility, agriculture, rainfall, music and peace). Thousands of Native Hawaiian’s once populated this area, until the arrival of Captain James Cook. Arriving at the time of Makahiki, Cook was mistaken for the god Lono, who was prophesied to arrive during this festive time. Cook capitalized on this time of peace and prosperity, accepting gifts and overstaying his welcome.  Villagers quickly realized that Captain Cook was indeed not Lono and toward the end of Makahiki, Cook sailed away. Returning to Kealakekua, due to damage to his ship, Cook arrived during the time of Kū (named in honor of Kūkāʻilimoku, god of war and prosperity). Frustrated by his return, one of the villagers stole a small boat from Cook’s men. This resulted in the capture of Chief Kalaniʻōpuʻu and the death of his nephew, who was shot bya member of Cook’s crew. Miscalculating the reaction of Hawaiian’s, an all out battle occurred ending in the death of Captain Cook. Cook’s time in Hawai`i forever changed the history of the Hawaiian Islands and its people. Cook’s arrival brought not only worldwide interest in Hawai`i, but also diseases. These illnesses wreaked havoc on the Hawaiian Islands. By 1840, only 62 years after Cook brought the first diseases, the number of Native Hawaiians is estimated to have fallen by up to 84%. 

The sheer cliff face called Pali Kapu O Keōua overlooking the bay was the burial place of Hawaiian royalty. The name means “forbidden cliffs of Keōua “ in honor of Keōua Nui, sometimes known as the “father of kings” since many rulers were his descendants. The village of Kaʻawaloa was at the north end of the bay in ancient times, where the Puhina O Lono Heiau was built, along with some royal residences. 

 

Accessing Kealakekua Bay:

 

Kayaking:

 

Adventures in Paradise

75-5660 Kopiko Street C7-430

Kailua Kona, HI 96740

(808) 447-0080, (888) 210-5365

www.bigislandkayak.com

Aloha Kayak Co.

82-5674 Kahau Pl

Captain Cook, HI 96704

(808) 322-2868

www.alohakayak.com

Kona Boys, Inc.

79-7539 Mamalahoa Highway

Kealakekua, HI 96750

(808) 328-1234

www.konaboys.com

 

By Boat

Captain Cook Snorkel Cruises | Snorkeling Tours – Kona, Hawaii (captaincooksnorkelingcruises.com)

Kealakekua Bay Snorkel – Captain Cook Monument Snorkel (hawaiitourboat.com)

Kealakekua Snorkeling Tours | Kealakekua Bay Hawaii Snorkel Cruises (fair-wind.com)

Big Island Snorkel Tours, Sailing Tours in Kona – Sea Paradise

 

Hiking to Kealakekua Bay 

  • Length: 3.8 miles round trip
  • Duration: 1.5 hours round trip, if snorkeling plan for a 4 hour adventure.
  • Difficulty level: Difficult

Description: If you want a free adventure and are an avid hiker, and experienced ocean swimmer/ snorkeling then this might be a great option to access Kealakekua Bay. From the trailhead you will walk 1.9 miles downhill to the bay. The trail down is a breeze and the level of snorkeling you will experience is priceless. However, your return uphill after a couple hours of snorkeling can be brutal, especially if you are exposed to the mid-day sun. There is minimal to no shade on parts of the trail, making it a grueling uphill hike in the stagnant heat. Once you get to the ocean and Captain Cook Monument, evaluate the conditions, as there is no lifeguard or access to emergency services (ADD LINK SAFETY). There is no beach or easy access out of the ocean. We recommend that you jump into the water with your snorkel gear, in front of the monument. Before you start snorkeling, identify your exit plan. Most of the coastline is filled with wana (poisonous sea urchin), reef shoes are highly recommended. Please keep in mind that this is a marine conservation site, walking on any part of the reef is strictly prohibited. A few things to bring: food, water, reef safe sunscreen, comfortable closed toed shoes, large brimmed hat, reef shoes, swim fins and snorkel gear. For access to the trailhead click here: Trailhead Kealakekua Bay

Hiking Legend: Difficulties- Each hike listed below was ranked based on difficulty level. There are hikes at the park for people of all hiking experience and skill sets! Below explains how we ranked each hike’s difficulty level.

Easy– “A hike that is generally suitable for anyone who enjoys walking. Mostly level or with a slight incline. Generally less than 3 miles.”

Medium– “A hike that is generally suitable for novice hikers who want a bit of a challenge. The terrain will involve a moderate incline and may have some steeper sections. Generally 3 to 5 miles.”

Difficult– Difficult hikes will challenge most hikers. The hike will generally be longer and steeper, but may be deemed “Difficult” because of the elevation gain. Generally 7 to 10 miles.”

Citation: National Park Service (2017). How to Determine Hiking Difficulty. Website:  https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/how-to-determine-hiking-difficulty.htm

Related Articles

 

Whale Watching

Whale Watching

Offering private dolphin and whale watching experiences!

UFO Parasailing

UFO Parasailing

Since 1985, UFO Parasailing has been helping people create lasting memories while experiencing the adrenaline rush of a lifetime.

Kona Brewing Company

Kona Brewing Company

It might surprise you that Kona Brewery has a fantastic food menu in addition to their beer, which they are well known for.

Pure Kona Green Market

Pure Kona Green Market

This quickly growing farmers market showcases the best of South Kona’s fresh island produce, art, food and baked goods!

Late Night Dining

Late Night Dining

Whether you are just arriving after a long flight, or find yourself out for a night on the town, Big Island Reviews has compiled a list of restaurants and bars open until 10 PM or later for your convenience.

Two Step

Two Step

Its crystal waters are home to a wide variety of native marine wildlife and beautiful healthy coral.

Manta Ray Diving

Manta Ray Diving

Swim under the Hawaiian moonlight with the most graceful, gentle creatures in the ocean.

Ulu Ocean Grill

Ulu Ocean Grill

Ulu brings infuses Pacific rim inspirations that will enhance your senses and overall dining experience!