Scuba Diving Hawaii
Join a diving liveaboard in Hawaii to experience the unique manta and black water dives that have made scuba diving in Hawaii famous.
Located in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is more than 3200 km from the nearest continent. The situation of the islands makes it one of the most remote dive locations worldwide. Hawaii is 132 islands stretched over thousands of miles with only eight islands known for their tourism. But all the islands are ideal for scuba diving. The topography both underwater and above is regularly changing due to the island chains still active volcanos. Topside is white sand beaches, jungles and snow-capped mountains with waterfalls, and underwater diving is just as varied.
For divers, there are wrecks and reefs to explore in the warm waters. Together with the diverse pelagic, macro life and excellent visibility diving here is fantastic. Most dive sites in Hawaii are suitable for all levels of divers with some only open to those looking for more challenging experiences. Shark diving in Hawaii is available on many sites and the blackwater and manta night dives are a once in a lifetime experience.
Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.
Scuba Diving Hawaii - 1 LIVEABOARDS
Hawaii diving has been under marine park protection since it was created in 2006. This has allowed the environment and underwater species to thrive over the years. Shark diving in Hawaii is well known in Kona and Oahu. The best diving in Hawaii offers sightings of playful monk seals, dolphins, sailfish, and humpback whales singing. Hawaii's location and volcanic history have created some unique underwater topography with amazing lava tubes large enough to swim through creating cathedral-like picture windows.
Best Places to Dive in Hawaii
Scuba diving Hawaii is very remote which results in some of the most pristine scenery, cleanest air and unique marine creatures many endemic to the area.
Kona on the Big Island has one of the most amazing and unique night dives with manta rays.
The liveaboard trips offer cave dives off Lana'i, there are shipwrecks and shark diving in Oahu, reefs in Maui, drift dives from Moloka'i and so much more.
Best Dive Sites in Hawaii
Features lava arches with swim-throughs with the best lava flow structures on the Kona coast, the ‘golden arch’ is a swim-through of wide lava tubes.
Cathedrals I and II
The popular sites in Lana’i with many fish and invertebrates.
The Cathedrals are cavern dives with lava tubes, the top of the pinnacles have collapsed to allow light to penetrate through many holes creating a stained glass appearance. During the winter, humpback whales can be spotted from the surface.
Manta and “Blackwater” night dives
Two of best scuba diving in Hawaii experiences.
Both are unique worldwide and offered by Hawaii liveaboards.
The manta dive has enormous lights built into the ocean floor
The Blackwater dive is conducted in pitch black water with a bottom depth of over 100m. No lights are used so divers can see the bioluminescence from the ocean.
The YO-257 and San Pedro wrecks
These two wrecks lie just 50m apart from each other. They are a navy oil tanker sank in 1989 and a fishing vessel that caught fire in 1975 and sank 20 years later.
Hawaii Scuba Diving Highlights
- Common sightings - Manta rays, white tip reef sharks, turtles
- Special sightings - Monk seals, humpback whales, dolphins
- Topography - Wrecks, reefs, caverns, lava tubes, drop-offs
- Visibility - 10 to 30m
- General information - All level of divers can join the trips in Hawaii.
Best Time to Go
Hawaii is a year-round destination, but there is seasonal variation which leads to surface conditions changing and some dive sites being only open at certain times of the year.Peak season is classed as December to March, this is the winter months but the time the yearly migration of the humpback whales takes place, divers can often hear them singing underwater.
The winter months of December to March are peak season, which is the time of the yearly migration of the humpback whales.
Low Season is from April to mid-June then September to mid-December. This is when the water is calmest, good weather and best visibility.
Summer is Mid-June to August, offering a better pricing option and less crowded time for hotels.
The deep waters of the area do not allow the surface water temperatures to rise too much, the average temperature is 23 to 27C throughout the year, so a 5mm wetsuit is recommended. Currents are very predictable and well known.
How to Get There
Kona Airport on the Big Island is the required arrival point for the liveaboard in Hawaii. There is a 20-minute land transfer to reach the port where guests will embark.
Transfers are not provided from hotels or the airport to the liveaboards. Your hotel can assist you if you arrive early or there are many taxis availible at the airport if you arrive on embarkation day. It is a 20 min drive to the harbour.
There are two morning dives on the penultimate day of your cruise so guests can plan their onward travel allowing for no fly time.
Local time vs GMT
What to pack
Food and drink
Required for non-USA nationals
Kona International Airport (KOA)
Christian and local beliefs
Suncream, lightweight and beach apparel
26 - 29 C daytime, 20 - 24 C evenings
Fruits, taro, fish, rice, canned meat (Spam)