Big Island Snorkeling Beaches
Keone'ele Cove at the center of Pu'uhonua o Honaunau (refuge) is one of the best spots to turtle watch. The Honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) often heave themselves up on the soft sand for a nap, inspiring plenty of onlookers with cameras.
If you venture out a little further onto the pock-marked expanses of lava just past the cove, you also have a good chance of catching a honu or two. These easy-going creatures allow the tide to wash them in and out of the crevices while they graze on the plants clinging to the lava rock. Even if you don't see a hungry honu, there is some spectacular sea life hanging out in the crevices.
Snorkeling, sunbathing, and diving is strictly prohibited at the cove. There is a better place for snorkeling and diving just up the narrow, one-lane road near the exit of the parking lot. You can see it to your right when facing the ocean at the cove. It is marked with '15 mph' sign.
This area is called Two Step because the snorkelers enter the water off a naturally-formed lava step into 10 ft. of water. The next step drops off into 25 ft. of water.
The visitor center at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau is open 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. every day. For more information on the park visit the NPS website.
Kailua-Kona Sights & Things to Do
The Kailua-Kona region is a great place to explore, as there are plenty of sights and adventures: historic sites, parks, scenic overlooks, beaches, and so much more await you in this lovely area of the Big Island.