Kahlu'u Bay is a popular local beach just a 5.5 miles south of Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. The beach park has covered picnic tables, washrooms, a conscession stand, a sandy beach and outdoor freshwater showers. Snorkel equipment can be rented at the beach. The snorkeling here is excellent. The coral reef is protected by a breakwater and a large assortment of tropical fish can be seen in the shallow waters near shore. This includes parrotfish, yellow tangs, reef triggers, black triggers, convict tangs, orange spine tangs, unicornfish, coris and butterflyfish.
I particularly enjoyed traveling with a school of racoon butterflyfish. They accepted me in the group and were so close that I nearly pushed them aside as I swam. There are sea turtles that can be seen without even entering the water too. In fact one of them came up on the beach daily among all the people to bask in the sun. The sea life was much more varied, enjoyable and easily accessible than the highly touted Captain Cook Monument snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay. I recommend this location instead. If you're on a cruise ship at Kona, take a short cab ride and spend the day at the beach here. This spot was my favorite part of my visit to Hawaii. I could spend endless days going to Kona in the morning for Kona coffee and the afternoon snorkeling and sunning at Kahalu'u.
- Green Sea Turtle in a murky mix of freshwater, saltwater and algae. They love to eat for hours here in less than 2 feet of water.
- Male Redlip Parrotfish
- School of Raccoon Butterflyfish rushing to meet me and go cruising the reef.
- Rockmover Wrasse
- ArcEye Hawkfish partially hiding in coral