Great Snorkeling at "End of the Road" Puako - Big Island

I found great snorkeling at the end of the road at Puako. The afternoon that I arrived back on the Big Island for a vacation, I was snorkeling-deprived. My friends (who were beginning snorkelers) and I (an experienced, "extreme" snorkeler) hurried to the first public access across from the Puako Beach Condos. What a disappointment! Difficult entry and not much, in my opinion, to see in the water.

The next day we drove to the end of the road and parked close to an entry where some divers were going in. Yeah! Some of the best underwater scenery I've seen! Clear water, lots of beautiful fish and deep canyons. My favorite kind of snorkeling. My friends and I did this site several times and loved it.

Beware of conditions, of course. One day local surfers and windsurfers were there for the waves and wind - not good for us snorkelers!

Comments for Great Snorkeling at "End of the Road" Puako - Big Island

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Apr 25, 2009
Great Big Island Snorkeling Tip
by: Galen & Nicole

Wow, that is a great tip. We have not had the best luck trying to snorkel at Puako, but we will definitely check out the end of the road on our next trip.

Sep 17, 2010
Wonderful scenery
by: Oliver Putz

My wife and I were snorkeling for two weeks at Makaiwa Bay and Wai'alea Bay (aka 69), simply because we knew the former from an earlier trip and had heard about the latter as a nice site for snorkeling and swimming. And yes, both sites are beautiful and once you go further out also offer some really nice snorkeling. At Wai'alea Bay we saw a great variety of species of fish, including Diodon hystrix, the porcupine fish. But End of the Road Puako is quite something else! Beautiful underwater canyons with 45-foot walls, clear water, caves! Quite a treat.

I think, though, "End of the Road" Puako is not for beginners unless they go with someone more experienced, nor for those who like to float rather than freedive. What makes this spot worthwhile is precisely the scenery and the canyons to dive, even if one does not necessarily go down all 45 feet...

Come in the mornings, because conditions are best. And make sure to leave something bright on the beach (e.g., pink towel) to mark where you went in. There are not too many good entry points, so make sure to find your way back.

Feb 12, 2011
All the previous statements are true
by: Grampa Lloyd

Last year the waves were too strong due to a tropical storm, plus we didn't go all the way to the end of the road (got some bad directions) and it was not a good snorkeling adventure.

This year we figured it out. If you go completely to the end of the road there is a private resort. But, about 1500 ft before the actual end of the road, on the right is a dirt parking lot for public access. Park there and walk about 50 yards south to just past the foliage and there is a tiny, two person mini-lagoon, launching spot. It's got a sandy shallow bottom with a narrow outlet to open water. You can sit or lay on your stomach while it fills up with an incoming swell and then just let it pull you out. Very tame and convenient.

While I am no extreme snorkeler (61 y.o. first snorkeled in 1982 at Kealakekua), I have snorkeled and scuba'd in Hawaii a few times. This is my new #1 place.

Nov 17, 2012
Full Description in our eBook
by: Galen & Nicole

We finally got to do this on our last trip to the Big Island. It was fantastic. We wrote a full description with pictures in our Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Guide eBook.

Mar 08, 2015
End of the road park
by: Liz

We snorkeled Puako this morning, leaving from the mini lagoon described above. Excellent snorkel, so many fish, one honu. As an intermediate snorkeler, the rocky entrance was a bit intimidating, but so glad we did it!

Mar 09, 2015
Going this winter
by: Grandpa Lloyd

Glad you all discovered this spot. I will be visiting that little mini-cove (described above in my post from 2011) again in November. I will always go to this spot every time I am on the Big Island. Grandpa Lloyd, or as my grandsons call me "Biggy G". LOL

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