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 about swimming with manta rays with us from 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 which is the viewing area from above and on land (Manta Point); 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
    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.

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

Note: 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 to bring vs what is provided

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:

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

The gear we provide you with is always sanitized between uses.

We do not offer prescription masks (Rx masks). If you need 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)
  • If you have not paid online, please bring cash or a credit card. 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 from our moonlight swims. Only the classic style mask with the separate snorkel is allowed.

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 below the age of 12, and any children under 14 years old need to be accompanied by an adult. 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 go 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 be able to swim in water too deep to stand AND have basic OCEAN snorkel experience. If you are not an experienced snorkeler, we recommend you get some practice (in your hotel’s swimming pool first, but also the ocean) before joining us.

To clarify the above:

  • It is not safe to join if you cannot swim.
  • It is not safe to participate if you have never snorkeled in the ocean.

We reserve the right to refuse participation to anyone unable to swim or snorkel, and no refunds will be issued in this case.

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


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

On those nights, it is not possible to book online; guests need to call to book, so we can discuss the phenomenon with them and make sure they bring adequate skin coverage.

Featured image for jellyfish in Hawaii


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.

Featured image for jellyfish in Hawaii

7. Get in touch with us

Contact us by phone at 808-987-5580 or email us at

Our reservation team with Darlene,Lindsay, Janine and Martina is best reached from 9 AM – 3 PM Hawaiian Standard Time. Click here for the World Clock.

We are happy to help seven days a week.

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