Manta Ray moonlight Swim

What You Need to Know Before Diving In

Congratulations, you’re about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime!

This page contains all the information you need when joining our moonlight manta swim at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

1. Where to meet

We meet at the Beach Activities Shack on the grounds of the legendary Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Dr, Waimea, HI 96743.

The Beach Shack is located ON THE BEACH, just past the Hau Tree restaurant – not in or at the hotel.

We do NOT meet at Manta Point (that’s the part of the viewing area where people go to see mantas from above/from the shore); we enter the water from the beach and therefore meet at the beach shack.

Beach Shack Meeting Point for Moonlight Manta Swim


  • Enter the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel resort property. A security guard will ask you for your name and compare it with the list of reservations.
  • Drive through the beautiful resort to the main lobby and use valet parking. It is free of charge for our participants after 5 pm; if you use it earlier, you have to pay $40.
  • Ask the hotel staff for the Hau Tree Restaurant, then walk past the outdoor bar and tables to the far side. We are in the second, small building.
meeting point moonlight manta swim


Please arrive about 5 minutes before the start time stated in the confirmation email. If you arrive earlier, we recommend you enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches on the island until we are ready to greet you. We may not be able to give you our full attention pre-activity as we are attending to other guests or setting up for the activity itself.

If you are not familiar with the property, it may take longer to navigate the resort, so give yourself plenty of time to valet park your car and get to the beach shack.


At certain times of the year, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is closed to the public – which means non-guests cannot make reservations for the on-property restaurants. Please plan your dining for that evening at another venue.

2. The manta ray activity, step by step

We aim for the manta ray moonlight swim to be educational, safe, and environmentally sensitive.

That is why we keep groups small and go directly into the water from the beach. This is not a quick “meet, greet, and go” activity.

When you meet us at the beach shack at the meeting time, we start with a baseline review of the equipment (10-15 minutes). It is imperative that everyone knows how to troubleshoot the tools you use to make the swim a safe and enjoyable activity.

This safety briefing is followed by an introduction to the beautiful yet still mysterious manta rays (10-15 minutes). We talk about the gentle giants and explain the best way to passively interact so we don’t injure or frighten them.

In conclusion, we will give you time to ask questions about the manta rays and our procedures.

It is an approximately 100-yard walk on the beach before we enter the water. We do not go on a boat.

We stay in the water for approximately 30-40 minutes.

After the activity, we provide towels for everyone – as well as access to restrooms, a changing room, and a freshwater shower.

3. What you need to know about manta rays

Manta rays are gentle and calm creatures, and our #1 mission is to protect them and other marine life.

You can learn all about them in different articles on our website:

We ask that you adhere to the guidelines for passively interacting with manta rays – click here to read through them. We will also walk you through these guidelines during the briefing before we go into the water.

4. What is provided VS what to bring


Read all about the equipment you need to swim with manta rays in this article.

You can bring your own equipment; however, we are happy to provide you with the following gear (*mandatory use):

  • Snorkel mask and snorkel (classic style)*
  • Fins*
  • De-fogging solution
  • Flotation vests with safety lights*
  • Towels

The gear we provide is always sanitized between uses.

We do not offer prescription masks (Rx masks) or wetsuits.
If you need either one, these are the two stores close to the Mauna Kea Beach Resort that rent them:

Equipment we provide for our guests
WHAT TO BRING for your snorkel adventureR OUR GUESTS


  • Swimsuit
  • Swim Shirt (optional)
  • Water bottle (optional)
  • Snorkel equipment (optional)
  • Payment: Pay your balance at the beach shack with a credit card, cash, or Apple Pay.
    If you are staying at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, please note we are unable to add the activity to your room charges, and payment needs to be made separately.

TIP: a clean-shaven face will make your mask seal much better!

Your valuables will be secure in the beach activities shack while we are in the water.

Please DO NOT BRING full-face snorkeling masks. Read more here about why we are not permitting full-face masks for our moonlight swims. Only the classic-style mask with a separate snorkel is allowed. The use of fins is a mandatory component of proper snorkeling.

Shop Our Swag / Pre-Order

After their swim, many have told us how they fell in love with the gentle giants and now truly see themselves as manta ray advocates.

We believe you will experience the same magic, and encourage you to check out our swag and pre-order your daily reminder of happy moments by clicking here!

All pre-ordered items will be ready for pickup on the night of your activity.

Is Swimming with Manta Rays Safe for Children? Why We Don’t Take Kids Under 12 Years Old

5. Safety & Precautions

Precautions, as mandated, will be followed during the meet, greet, and briefing time.

If you have concerns about COVID-19 and using our gear, then we recommend that you bring your own mask and snorkel as this is a sure way to put your mind at ease.

Read more about the precautions we took and are taking concerning COVID-19: click here

6. Cancellations & Right of Refusal


We do not allow children under 12, and an adult must accompany any children under 14 years old. Read more about why that is in this article.

While we do not have maximum age requirements, we ask that you are in sufficient physical health to walk 100 yards along the beach, have the flexibility to don fins in shallow water yourself and prevail in swimming and snorkeling for the duration of the activity.

Is Swimming with Manta Rays Safe for Children? Why We Don’t Take Kids Under 12 Years Old


Each participant MUST 1. be confident swimming in water too deep to stand in, 2. have basic ocean snorkel experience, 3. have refreshed snorkel skills within a year of booking (check for more details below), and 4. be able to converse in English to comprehend safety and snorkel briefings (no translator allowed).

This applies to all participants in your party.

If you are not an experienced snorkeler, we ask you to practice in your hotel’s swimming pool AND the ocean before joining us for the night swim.

Entering the ocean or a deep pool without the proper skills will transfer your life’s responsibility onto others. As professional guides, we appreciate this consideration.


We understand only some have access to the ocean and can’t snorkel all the time, so here are three options to prepare properly for our Moonlight Manta Swim:

  1. We offer a refresher to re-familiarize yourself with a mask, snorkel, and fins beforehand. The cost is $35/person and takes place at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel pool with one of our guides. We provide all the gear, review how to use it properly, troubleshoot any problems, and practice in the water. This lesson would be required to join our Moonlight Manta Swim if you cannot refresh your skills in the ocean beforehand. BOOK NOW!
  2. You can rent gear and do it yourself during the day (Click for a comprehensive local resource).
  3. You can also sign up for one of the beautiful day snorkel trips that boat companies offer before joining our night snorkel.

For safety reasons, it is imperative that you complete one of the three options above before joining us at the beach shack.

Snorkel and dive with manta rays in Kona/Hawaii/Big Island

To clarify the above:

  • It is not safe to join if you cannot swim.
  • Participation is unsafe if you have never snorkeled in the ocean.
  • A participant will be disqualified if prerequisite skills are not met.

We reserve the right to refuse participation to anyone who is unable to swim or snorkel, has not refreshed snorkel skills within one year, cannot speak English, or is too young.

No refunds will be issued in this case.


Depending on the phase of the moon, there can be a higher probability of encountering box jellyfish in the water. Read more about this here.

On those nights, we reach out to the guests beforehand to discuss the monthly phenomenon and ensure they bring adequate skin coverage.

Is Swimming with Manta Rays Safe for Children? Why We Don’t Take Kids Under 12 Years Old
Is Swimming with Manta Rays Safe for Children? Why We Don’t Take Kids Under 12 Years Old


Between mid-November to the end of March, winter swells will affect ocean conditions generating higher waves and lower visibility. We may need to walk through larger than normal surf to reach the manta viewing site.

Read more about the surf and swell (and how we make sure we can safely enter the ocean) in this article.

7. Get in touch with us

Feel free to contact us by calling 808-987-5580 or emailing

We encourage you to read through our frequently asked questions to clarify as much as possible before joining us.

If you’re looking to book a swim with us (or you’ve booked already), our team is best reached from 9 AM – 3 PM Hawaiian Standard Time.

We are happy to help Monday to Saturday – Closed on Sundays, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.

Click here for the World Clock to clarify time zones.

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