There are so many things to love about Hawaii, but to me, one of the best things about a trip to America’s 50th state is the snorkeling. Even though I’m now a certified diver and can go cavort with the fishes deep under the sea, I still get really excited about snorkeling in Hawaii. Honestly, aside from large ocean animals like sharks, rays, and whales, you can see snorkeling almost everything you can see diving in Hawaii.
So what makes snorkeling in Hawaii so awesome? First, the waters are stocked with all kinds of sea life. You really do feel like you’re snorkeling in aquarium. This is not a case of oh look there’s a fish. Oh another one. This is a case of “Oh my God I am completely surrounded by fish. There is absolutely nowhere for me to look and not see a fish.” Second, the waters are amazingly clear. Visibility is awesome. Third, the water temperature, while not as warm as some tropical destinations, is plenty pleasant. And fourth, there are just so many places on the islands to go snorkeling.
Hanauma Bay is probably Hawaii’s most famous snorkeling spot, but it’s not my favorite. It can get pretty crowded, and with so many free places to snorkel, I have a hard time justifying paying to do it. On this trip, we skipped right past Hanauma Bay. The place I would not recommend skipping, however, is the Captain Cook Monument on the Big Island. Hands down, best snorkeling in my opinion. There are so many fish and so many types of fish here. The visibility is stellar, and the reef is pretty cool too. I’d also recommend Poipu Beach on Kauai for a good general assortment of sea life and Kahaulu’u Beach on the Big Island for turtles. But what are words when it comes to snorkeling? Definitely not as good as pictures. So without further ado, here’s some of the sea life we encountered while snorkeling in Hawaii.