Snorkeling Anaehoomalu Bay (A-Bay) is not as good as many other spots in the area, but it is an absolutely beautiful beach. We have enjoyed hanging out here many times. The sand is wonderful salt and pepper with lots of big green olivine crystals. One of the things that makes this beach so picturesque are the ancient Hawaiian fishponds behind the stunning palm tree studded beach (second picture below).
Note: This page is a sample from our popular Big Island Snorkeling Guide eBook available here.
But in the 2011 tsunami the beach here sustained some damage. It was torn in half and the fish pond walls were destroyed flooding them with ocean water. The picture to the right is of the damage. You can see how much erosion happened by the exposed roots of the palm trees. And notice that the fish pond walls are mostly gone.
Not too many months after the damage there was a temporary fix made to the beach. There is now a large sand bag tube through the middle of the beach restoring the barrier between the beach and the fish ponds. We understand that a more permanent restoration is in the permitting process.
We cannot recommend snorkeling Anaehoomalu Bay. The visibility is bad. There is some live coral reef and a few fish to see, but the thing is, you can’t really see them. In order to find somewhat better visibility, you must snorkel the north side and you must swim a very long way.
If you do snorkel A-Bay, straight out from the public parking lot trail and to the left near a small rocky point there are some areas to explore.
Make sure to check out some way better snorkeling spots on our Big Island main page.
1. Take highway 19 (Queen Kaahumanu Hwy) north out of Kona. Follow it north to the traffic light at Waikoloa Beach Drive and turn left.
2. Turn left again at the four-way stop after the 2 left turns for The Queen’s Shops, on Kuualii Pl (it may not be marked). The King’s Shops are on the right.
3. Stay on this road that skirts the resort areas. You can drive to the end and use the circle to unload, but you must park in the lot back a little way on the left. The walk to the beach is short.
This location has restrooms, showers, water, picnic tables, and lots of shade.