Kauai Snorkel Tour

Reef Guides Hawaii – Snorkel Tour

Are you ready to snorkel? Do you have all the necessary equipment or knowledge of the area? If not, Reef Guides Hawaii is available to take you to the best spots on the island, and provide you with everything you need for a successful snorkeling journey.

Craig Hawkinson has lived on Kauai for 17 years and has been taking visitors out to snorkel for 13 of those years. His background in Marine Science gives him a unique understanding of the reefs, fish, and mammals of the sea. By taking a guided tour with him, you will learn more about our incredible marine life off the coast of Kauai.

Reef Guides Hawaii

Many visitors either bring or rent their snorkeling gear. But, that is generally just fins and a mask. Reef Guides Hawaii provides much more than that. Craig has rash guard shirts, wetsuits, fins, and professional masks with a dry top snorkel. This prevents water from entering the tube. He also has lightweight, blowup float vests to help with horizontal floating. When you meet up with Craig, he will fit you out with everything you need. Once in the water an oversized boogie board, with straps around the perimeter, is attached to Craig, allowing you to grab on to it any time you need to rest.

Shore Based Snorkel Tour

Once you have your equipment and are on the sand, Craig gives a brief, informative talk about where you will be going and what you might see. On this day, the snorkel tour was at Anini. He pointed out a rocky section where the “Turtle Cleaning Station” is located. While the honu (green sea turtles) are chowing down, small fish come and eat the algae off their shells (as documented in the featured photo). A second area for viewing the honu is at the “Turtle Feeding Station,” a sandy area where a particular sea grass grows which the honu LOVE to eat. In most places around the world, sea turtles tend to be very shy. But, off the coast of Hawaii, they are so used to having spectators that they generally do not swim off. Snorkelers need to respect them by staying at least 10 feet away.

Reef Guides Hawaii

A little further out, in deeper water, there is a coral reef with many tropical fish. While still on shore, Craig gives everyone a card featuring the most prevalent fish in Hawaii. He talks about the ones which you will most likely see. For the best viewing, he explains that it is important to look ahead of where you are, instead of straight down, in order to see the fish before they swim away. While snorkeling, Craig points out fish, and other marine life, that you might have missed on your own.

Kauai Snorkeling Tour
Reef Guides Hawaii

Once in the water, Craig makes sure everyone is comfortable, that their mask is secure, and they are ready for viewing. The adventure begins and lasts roughtly 1 hour.

Snorkeling Tour

On this morning, a mother and her daughter went exploring with Craig. I asked why they chose to go on a tour with Reef Guides Hawaii. Mom said her daughter is super interested in marine biology and loves to be in the water. She, on the other hand, is not a strong swimmer and therefore felt uncomfortable taking her daughter out to snorkel. Going with a professional gave her confidence, and enabled her to share an educational, and fun, activity with her daughter.

During the tour Craig takes lots of underwater photos, generally 80 to 90. Visitors are welcome to view, and then purchase the photos, as a reminder of their snorkeling adventure.

Reef Guides Hawaii is a great way to truly enjoy snorkeling on Kauai.

Reef Guides Hawaii

I asked Craig to give us some background as to how and why he became interested in giving snorkeling tours. Here is what he said:

“I grew up in the Midwest and knew when I was a little boy that I wanted to be a marine biologist and study whales. That passion led me to get a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science from the University of Tampa and also a master’s degree in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs in California.

I spent many years working as a research biologist studying the feeding ecology and bio-acoustics of many different whale species along the west coast. I am a rescue diver, an avid sailor, and also an accomplished underwater photographer.

I moved to Kauai from California 17 years ago. I have been running these snorkelig tours for 13 years, and have owned Reef Guides Hawaii for 8 years. I love sharing my fascination with marine biology with my guests on their snorkeling tours.”

Reef Guides Hawaii

Snorkeling locations vary, depending on the time of year and weather. In general, tours are on the south shore during the winter and on the north shore in the summer. Tours start at either 8:00 or 9:00 AM. Total tour time is 2 and 1/2 hours. There is a two person minimum. Private tours are also available.

If you plan to use sunscreen, make sure it is truly “reef safe.” Check the ingredients…do your research…a lot of common brands call their products “reef safe” when they are actually not. Avoid all of the benzones, salates and the oxylates…look for titanium dioxide or zinc oxide…our reefs need all the help they can get! Mahalo nui loa!!

Reef Guides Hawaii Pricing

Standard 2 1/2 hour tour:

Adults: $119 plus tax, Children (5-12): $109 plus tax

Private 2 1/2 hour tour:

Adults $135 plus tax, Children (5-12): $115 plus tax

Cancellation Policy

  • If you cancel more than 24 hours before your scheduled trip departure, a full refund will be issued.
  • If you cancel within 24 hours of your scheduled trip departure, no refund will be provided.
  • No-shows are responsible for 100% of trip fees.
  • Cancellations must be made over the phone. Email and texting cancellations are not accepted. 

Reviews (140 Five Star Reviews on Google)

This was a great experience! Craig is very knowledgeable, and we felt comfortable and safe with him on our private tour. We are senior citizens, so our comfort level was high on our list! My dream was to swim with the honus (green sea turtles) and my dream came true!

Megan P. (May 2024)

We recently had the pleasure of a private snorkeling tour with Craig, and it was nothing short of fantastic! It was just the four of us—myself, my husband, and my in-laws—and Craig did an exceptional job ensuring that each of us had a memorable experience.

Craig chose an amazing spot for us to explore, teeming with sea turtles, vibrant fish, and stunning coral. His knowledge of marine life and the area’s ecology enriched our adventure, making every moment educational and exciting.

What stood out most was Craig’s attentiveness, especially towards my in-laws who were less confident in the water. He provided top-notch equipment, including goggles with vision assistance which were a game changer for my father-in-law. This thoughtful touch allowed him to fully enjoy the beauty of the underwater world.

My husband and I, being more confident swimmers, appreciated the freedom Craig gave us to explore, while he expertly balanced this with the care he showed my in-laws. He also took photos during our excursion, and we can’t wait to see the underwater moments he captured!

If you’re considering a snorkeling trip, I highly recommend booking with Craig. His professionalism, expertise, and warm personality made our trip unforgettable. Craig is truly awesome!

Lisa (May 2024)

Craig expertly led us on an unforgettable adventure on Christmas day, guiding us to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of sea turtles. His extensive knowledge and passion for marine life transformed our snorkeling experience into an educational and mesmerizing journey. Craig’s skillful navigation and enthusiasm added a special touch to the excursion, making it a truly enriching encounter with these majestic creatures. We are grateful for Craig’s expertise, ensuring that our exploration of the underwater world was not only safe but also filled with wonder and appreciation for the marine wonders that surround us.

Nick X. (December 2023)

Contact Information

Craig Hawkinson

Cell: (808) 639-8534

Email: craig@reefguides.com

Reef Guides Hawaii Website

I hope you found this blog useful. For more of my blogs, or to subscribe, go to our Guides page in the menu, and scroll all the way to the bottom. For more information about Honu Point, our luxury vacation rental on the north shore of Kauai, go to any other page of this website. We would LOVE for you to follow us on Instagram (@honupoint). Mahalo!

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