Captain Zodiac in Kona

Captain Zodiac offers high adventure rafting tours in Kona

Captain Zodiac in Kona blowhole

Checking out a blowhole along an old lava flow

Captain Zodiac in Kona sea cave

Entering a lava tube sea cave

Captain Zodiac in Kona sea cave

Check out the turquoise color of this water

Captain Zodiac in Kona snorkeling at Captain Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay

Snorkeling is amazing at Captain Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay

Captain Zodiac in Kona yellow tangs

Large schools of yellow tangs frequent this area

Captain Zodiac in Kona dolphin encounter

Dolphins, pilot whales and other marine mammals are often seen

Captain Zodiac in Kona swimming with Hawaiian green sea turtle

Hawaiian green sea turtles thrive in the protected bay

Captain Zodiac in Kona award winning tour for cruise ships

Award winning service for cruise ship passengers with dock pickup

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Captain Zodiac Rafting is the original Big Island expedition. With their pirate theme and desire to entertain visitors, they have been “pillaging and plundering” the Kailua-Kona coastline for over 35 years and they have been having a blast doing it! Captain Zodiac operates a fleet of 16 passenger Hurricane 733′s … they are fast, powerful, highly maneuverable and very safe.

The adventure begins at either Honokohau Harbor which is just south of the Kona Airport … or on days when a cruise ship is in port they depart from the main pier in downtown Kailua-Kona. They start the adventure by pointing out historical sites of interest offshore from Kona. Then they zip south past miles of rocky shoreline, lava flows and sea caves. En route to and from the snorkel location they often encounter spinner and bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, sea turtles, and pilot whales (year round)  and humpback whales are seen in winter months.

The ultimate destination is the incredible snorkel experience at Kealakekua Bay, the historic scene of Captain Cook’s arrival and ultimate demise in Hawaii. The area is now a marine preserve and the high cliffs surrounding this spot make it inaccessible by land. The waters here are typically very clear and calm, with a host of sealife to enjoy as you snorkel the reef. The population of yellow tangs in this area is particularly impressive. Captain Zodiac will supply all snorkel gear, including prescription masks and flotation devices. The Zodiac drifts around the bay following the guests as they snorkel. You have up to 90 minutes to enjoy the snorkel spot, and you can climb back up the ladder anytime you are done. After snorkeling, the captain serves a tropical snack for you.

On the return trip the boat gets in close, hugging the rugged shorline and exploring sea caves and blowholes that only smaller zodiacs can go to. The captains are experts at what they do … they also are naturalists, geologists, historians, stand up comedians … but above all they are pirates!

4 Hour Tour

Schedule: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8am or 12:45pm

Tour Includes: Snacks and beverages

5 Hour Tour – “Beat the Crowd”

The timing of this mid-morning start allows them to visit Kealakekua Bay in btween the time that most of the morning boats have left and most of the afternoon boats have not yet arrived!

Schedule: Monday through Friday at 10am

Tour includes: Snacks, deli lunch, and beverages

General Information
Check In: Honokohau Harbor which is just south of the Kona Airport. Or on days when a cruise ship is in port they depart from Kona pier in downtown Kailua-Kona.

GPS: 74-380 Kealakehe Pkwy Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 Click to view map

Gear Provided: Snorkel gear

Restrictions: Minimum age is 5. Captain Zodiac is a thrilling high speed ride on the open ocean. Due to the bouncy nature of this event, they do not allow pregnant women, anyone with neck or back injuries or in poor health.

What to Bring & Wear: Swim wear, hat, sunglasses, sun-protection

Vessel:  24 foot Rigid Hull Inflatable Zodiac

Capacity: 16

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be made at least 48 hours before the start of the event. 72 hours for party of 6 or more.

captain zodiac
Guranteed adventure on these raft tours
lava tube sea cave
Explore lava tube sea caves

CCaptain Zodiac Raftingruise Ship Passengers

We are unable to accommodate cruise ship guests on these tours..

Activity Tips

Kevin Ditamore – Owner / Manager

Snorkeling along the Kona Coast is some of the best anywhere in Hawaii. Fish love lava rocks and coral … sand not so much. Because the Big Island is the youngest of the Hawaiian Islands, there has been less time for parrotfish to chomp on the coral and to … ummm .. excrete it out the other end. That’s where sand comes from you know … really! Remember that the next time you are walking down a beautiful white sand beach … it’s just a pile of parrotfish dung! Anyway, there is very little sand on the Big Island … it has a very rocky coastline and this makes for excellent snorkeling. Captain Zodiac Rafting is the best choice for snorkeling and sightseeing along the rocky, volcanic shores.

These tours aren’t for everyone … they aren’t really physically demanding but you do need to be free of any nagging injuries that could be aggravated by the bouncy nature of this ride. Kids need to be a minimum age of 5 … and ladies carrying the unborn can’t go as the unborn are definitely under the age of 5. But what about those of you who are prone to sea sickness??? We actually find that the motion of a high speed raft causes LESS seasickness than larger boats. Larger boats have more of a tendency to sway back and forth … while these rafts have more of a punching motion as they pierce the waves. It’s that rocking-swaying motion that disturbs the inner ear … the bouncing-pounding motion doesn’t bother most people.

If this is the right tour for you, the next choice is which tour time is right for you? The 5 hour tour is the best deal as it is longer and includes lunch for just $5 more! If you are doing the 4 hour tour, you have your choice between am and pm trips. Cost and length is the same either way. The general wisdom is that in the Hawaiian Islands the tradewinds kick up in the afternoon and the ocean gets rough. This is ESPECIALLY true on the island of Maui, but it isn’t as true for the Kona Coast of the Big Island. Kona is in the wind shadow of Mauna Loa, which is the TALLEST mountain on planet earth  - 33,000 feet when measured from its base on the ocean floor. Above sea level, the 13,796′ summit of Mauna Kea  is massively wide and broad … the ultimate example of a shield volcano. This shield volcano shields the Kona Coast from tradewinds, which means 2 things. #1- it is often just as calm in the afternoon as it is the morning out on the ocean and #2 –  without the tradewinds Kona can get just downright stuffy and hot onshore in the afternoon. Why not enjoy the island during the morning hours before things really heat up, then go out and do your Zodiac tour during the heat of the day?

Your tour will most likely depart from Honokohau Harbor, which is just south of the airport and about 10 minutes drive north of downtown Kona. But it IS possible that even though you are not on a cruise ship, you might be booking a tour for a day when a ship is in port. If that is the case, your email confirmation will direct you to the Kona Pier instead of the Captain Zodiac location at Honokohau.

For our clients staying in the Waikoloa area, including the Hilton, Marriott, Fairmont Orchid, Hapuna Prince, etc, the Waikoloa Snorkel Sail is an excellent choice. Since this tour departs from the Waikoloa area it saves you the 40-minute drive into Kona and the boat will take you to snorkel destinations that are difficult to access from shore.  Other snorkel options include Fairwind, Hula Kai, Dolphin Snorkel Swim, and Manta Ray Night Snorkel.