Scuba diving is a popular activity in Hawaii, with many sites to explore. Learn about the best scuba diving sites in Hawaii to suit all!
Hawaii is one of the greatest places in the world for scuba diving.
It’s a volcanic, tropic island full of wonder at every turn. On the surface, you can witness the emerald green mountains, luscious, full of magnificent wildlife and unbelievable hikes.
The sand is otherworldly. Where your toes are deep in a white-sand beach, amazed at the beauty of red sand, or gazing at the wonder of black sand beaches, you will be hypnotized.
That’s not even the best part, the ocean is magnificent, full of unbelievable marine life. The beauty is unparalleled. Whether you scuba dive to witness the immense coral reefs, to check out historic wrecks, you will be amazed.
The fishes are wonderful, full of personality and beauty. If you’re lucky enough to see dolphins and whales, it can make your whole trip. Also, Hawaii is home to the green-shelled turtles — marvelous creatures, who you could watch for hours.
Another great aspect of scuba diving in Hawaii is that it’s accessible to all levels.
While certain areas are closed off to serious scuba divers, and not at all safe for the average scuba diver, there are lots of dive sites for various levels to explore.
Whether it’s your first-time scuba diving, or you’re at an intermediate level, or even a professional — you’re going to be blown away by the beauty.
There are many diving schools to choose from, that will provide you with the equipment you need for your scuba diving session.
It’s best to go with professional divers, so if an accident does occur, you’re in safe hands. This is true for even the utmost professional — you shouldn’t scuba dive alone.
With that said, let me show you some of the best scuba diving sites in Hawaii.
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The Best Scuba Diving Sites In Hawaii
Below are some of the best scuba diving sites that Hawaii has to offer.
The Cathedrals Dive Sites, Lanai
My first scuba diving site recommendation is The Cathedral Dive Sites, in Lanai.
If you end up in Lanai, then you need to do this dive. Even if you’re not in Lanai, it’s well worth the trip.
The Cathedrals are caverns, formed by lava tubes that collapsed. There’s light in the cavern, it’s not overly dark, because rocks from the ceilings have fallen.
This, in return, has formed an utterly majestic cave. In the daytime, the sun shines through and illuminates the cave.
That’s how it earned its name of Cathedrals Dive because when the cavern is illuminated, it is so utterly gorgeous and otherworldly.
When it comes to marine life, you can see anything from fish, turtles, dolphins — and even sharks. It’s a beautiful sight, but like all the diving sites on the list, do ensure you, scuba dive, responsibly, with professionals.
Manta Ray Night Dive, Kona
My next scuba diving site recommendation is Manta Ray Night Dive, in Kona.
If you only scuba dive once during your trip to Hawaii, then I recommend going with Manta Ray Night Dive. It’s one of the most famous dives in Hawaii because it is insane.
As you’ve guessed, you visit at night — which makes the experience so much better.
The purpose of the dive is to see masses of manta rays. Sometimes, you end up seeing hundreds. You’ll probably watch them feeding on zooplankton, but it doesn’t matter — it’s fascinating watching them swim around.
Some people have had the manta rays swimming around them, which is incredible.
Sometimes when I tell people about the manta rays, they get scared. So, a heads-up — manta rays are not stingrays. Manta rays are nothing to worry about, they can’t hurt you. Stingrays, on the other hand, can be life-threatening.
Another impressive aspect of this trip is that most companies will give you a second trip, for free, if you don’t see any manta rays. That’s because it’s so incredibly rare that you won’t see any.
Three Fingers, Kauai
My next scuba diving site recommendation is Three Fingers, in Kauai.
So, if you’re looking for a bright diving spot, where you can spot a bunch of different marine life, then you should head to Three Fingers. It’s named Three Fingers due to the unique lava formation, where it looks like you can see ‘three fingers’.
It’s more magical than that, though, it’s an incredibly beautiful diving spot, which is a lovely reef.
You’ll likely see some wrasse, anthias, and dragon morays here. The water is usually pretty clean, and calm. There are some really shallow spots, so it’s ideal for beginners.
If you’re more advanced, there are still more complex locations to explore down there, so don’t worry about not being able to explore — there is lots to see.
Black Rock, Maui
My next scuba diving site recommendation is Black Rock, in Maui.
This is a shore dive, and one of the best. You can find Black Rock at Ka’anapali Beach, located at the north end. If you’re a beginner, then this will be a great spot for you.
It’s also a good spot for snorkeling if you want to try that first. The only issue is the current.
While it might be a good spot for beginners, you have to be a very strong swimmer, as the current can get strong. When it comes to marine life, you’ll get a good mixture here.
You’ll see some common fish, but you’ll also see some rays, and some turtles. If you’re lucky, you might come across a monk seal.
My next scuba diving site recommendation is Black Rock, in Maui.
If you want to see spinner dolphins, then you need to visit Naia. In fact, Naia means dolphins. Spinner dolphins visit this area frequently, so it’s one of the best locations to try and watch them.
There’s no guarantee that you will see any, but they are popular within the area.
If you don’t end up seeing dolphins, you’ll still have a great diving experience. You’ll likely come across some butterfish, and some tangs too.
Even frog fish and stonefish. In the summer, you may see some eagle rays, maybe some tiger sharks. Again, not always, but they are known to appear in the area.
Carthaginian II, Maui
My next scuba diving site recommendation is Carthaginian II, in Maui.
If you want to see any ruins, then check out Carthaginian II.
Okay, so it’s not technically an old ruin, but it does have history. It used to be a ship, and then it was converted into a model whaling ship. After that, it was a whaling medium.
Then, in 2005, the ship sank. Now, it works as an artificial reef. This ship, having played many roles, now acts as a home for marine life. Personally, I think that’s pretty cool in itself.
When you visit Carthaginian II, you’ll likely see some trumpetfish and frogfish. Amazingly, tip reef sharks are said to be common here.
Fish Rain, Molokai
My next scuba diving site recommendation is Fish Rain, in Molokai.
This is another diving site to visit if you want to see a huge range of marine life. This isn’t just one diving spot, it’s forty diving spots — yep, you could spend the whole day here. It’s 30 miles long, and it’s an outstanding reef.
In Molokai, Fish Rain has the highest population of sea life. You can see triggerfish and parrotfish here. More extremely, you can see Galapagos sharks — it’s not for the lighthearted.
You may even come across tiger sharks, whale sharks, and scalloped hammerhead sharks.
So, if you haven’t gathered already — this dive is pretty much reserved for very advanced divers. It’s incredibly difficult to get to, you’ll be traveling an hour by boat from Lahania Harbor, and the sea is often rough.
Don’t go here unless you’re incredibly advanced, there are lots of other great spots on the island, dive safety.
There are lots of amazing diving spots in Hawaii, all across the islands. Whatever part of the island you’re on, you can find some great locations to scuba dive.
Be safe, and take your journey with professionals. You never know what could happen, and it’s vital that you stay safe.
If you found this helpful, or know any other great scuba diving spots, comment below! I’d love to hear from you.