Overview of Alua Beach

Alua Beach

The Big Island
Hawaiian Islands


Alua Beach is a pleasant little cove that has easy access to a popular boat diving site. Take water and a snack with you. There are facilities nearby (water, restrooms) in the harbor proper, but not at the beach. Watch for the boat traffic, as they may not be watching for you.

Directions: On Highway19, coming North from Kailua-Kona, the turn off will be 2.4 miles from the junction of 19 and 190


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Diver Reviews:    New diver reviews will continue with the Zentacle integration!
07/28/2019 Grant Wiscour (Avg: 3.75 Review) - The Tiger Sharks had been spotted earlier that week so we decided to see if we could find them. Carrying gear over the lava and rocks is the only down-side of this dive...just go slow and easy. Surface swim out of the cove towards the first buoy. Remember this is an active boat channel. Four dive boats were moored along the south side of the channel when we were there. Follow the channel towards the drop off and follow the drop off looking for something good. We came upon an Eagle Ray and then a 12' Tiger Shark. Working back up there is a collection of reef and rocks...look there for a scorpion or frog fish. We found the former. Good dive. Harbor House has cold refreshments and good food for after the dive.

06/20/2019 Sharon from LA (Avg: 4.32 Review) - We dove this site back in 2013 and again twice today. Hard sole booties are an absolute must (or wear tennis shoes and stash them on the beach). Gear up at your car and walk/climb out onto the lava rocks to the beach, where you'll find an easy entry and you'll feel refreshed getting into the water after that trek. There are a few sketchy areas of the hike where you have to scramble over uneven lava rocks and with all that gear on you'll be top heavy so take your time. Once in the water, you have to get past some shallow underwater boulders and then you can put your fins on. We kicked out a bit (didn't want to be on the surface for too long because of the boats) and then dropped down after the rocks gave way to the reef. Then we headed west toward the two moorings and then headed south once we reached the dropoff of the reef. We stayed around 50-70 feet on the way out and then came back on top of the reef. This is an amazing dive (or even snorkel). Abundant colorful fish and tons of schooling fish, great visibility and not a lot of other people around. We unfortunately didn't see the tiger shark or dolphins but we saw a huge hawksbill turtle, 4 morays, a trevally, several puffer fish, and a monk seal! We have four more days of diving ahead of us and we will definitely do this dive again!

05/11/2017 Oregon diver at Canby (Avg: 4.13 Review) - A great dive as always. We dove this site 2-times over the last couple of weeks in April/May. Dolphins if you go early in the am. No Tiger Sharks this time. Awesome videos and pics...I feel we always get plenty of big animals around to see every time we dive this area. See my previous posts for other information. A great shore dive for good divers that like to explore.

01/01/2017 Jim Bench (Avg: 3.51 Review) - Dove here with my wife. Great dive! Stayed to the left and followed the reef straight out towards the buoy to the sand at 70 ft. Followed an eagle ray for 5 minutes. As we turned to go back we encountered a Manta that swan within 15-20 ft of us. Absolutely spectacular! It slowed checked us out for 1-2 minutes then flew off into the deep. Lots of small fish. Coral was alive! Will do this again when we go back!

07/15/2016 Gabriel (Avg: 4.19 Review) - I did four dives here, the second week of July 2016. I thought this site was exceptional, but challenging. Over the course of four dives, I saw a 10 foot tiger shark, half a dozen eagle rays, several large turtles, and innumerable eels. There were also a lot of spinner dolphins around, though I did not see them underwater. I thought the reef was very healthy and alive. There were few shore divers around, and the ones around but they tended to be experienced, knowledgeable, and helpful. The challenges are several. First, the obvious: you have to lug your gear over a lava field. A lot of people seem to prefer to suit up fully and walk over the field with everything on. I tried that, and found it exhausting and dangerous. If you slip, you are toast. I found it much better to carry the tank first, by my side, and to use the tank as an aid in balancing on the rocks. If I had slipped, I would have just let go of the tank. And by carrying the tank by my side, I was able to take frequent breaks, so that I never got tired. Just went slow and steady. It was even better carrying two tanks at a time, because it gave me more balance, and I was able to use one for balance while moving the other. Again, slow but steady. The approach I used does mean making a second trip to get the rest of your gear, but I thought it was a good trade off. The other challenge is that you are going to be diving under a very busy channel out of the marina, and that makes it dangerous to come up to the surface for visual reference if you get disoriented. On several occasions I got turned around after spotting something interesting (eagle rays and turtles especially), and I was pretty sure that I was not returning the way I had gone out. On one dive, which I did solo, I got disoriented enough that I ended up on the other side of the channel (across the marina), and with only 500 psi left I felt I didn't have enough air left to try to chance getting across underwater, and I certainly was not going to try to snorkel across the active channel. So I just climbed out the rocks on the other side of the marina, and walked over to a local dive operator and asked for help. They were kind enough to give me a ride to my car on the other side of the marina, rather than making me take a walk of shame with all my gear on. (Thank you, Kona Diving Company!). Yes, I was an idiot for getting disoriented that much, but it happened very easily. In talking to other local divers, they told me that it was a fairly common occurrence, even among divers who do that site all the time. Another caution is that it is very tempting to try to head out to look for specific 'big things' -- namely the tiger sharks or the dolphins -- which tend to hang out around the drop off at 70 feet. I found that when I did that, I burned a lot of air trying to get to the drop off quickly, and when I got there, I didn't find what I was looking for. But on the dives where I moved slowly and appreciated everything else along the way, I enjoyed myself much more, and the big things tended to find me. So, I would suggest taking it easy, and enjoying the incredible diversity of life at this site. One final word: you are supposed to use a dive flag at this site, and I was told that the cops occasionally come out and fine divers who are not using one. I used a flag on my first dive, and it seemed to me that boats did not slow down one bit around the flag. If you were going to surface in the channel, it would have to be no more than a foot from the flag, and even that would be no guarantee of safety. Generally, I observed that local divers did not use flags, and only out of towners did. I also found that a lot of dive operators bring divers to this site on their boats -- rather sheepishly, I imagine, because it's less than a one minute ride from the marina, and they are charging $135 for a two tank dive. I didn't see the boat traffic slowing down much around the dive boats either. So, in summary, it's world class diving, but please be careful.

07/13/2015 Anonymous (Avg: 3.45 Review) - Great place to dive! Easy to find at the end of the harbor road, just past gas station/convenience store. Read the reviews- and gear up at your car, then climb the lava the 150ft to water. Great place to practice your navigation skills and reef and marine life is plentiful! No facilities and watch out for remnants from the puppies that play on the beach ; )

06/03/2013 Oregon Diver at Canby (Avg: 3.75 Review) - Our group read about this site and over the course of the last 2 weeks we dove this site 5 times. The walk is the big concern on this dive. About 150 yards over lava rock. We found it easiest to totally equip ourselves where we parked, and then made the long trek in full scuba, holding our masks and fins. Once we exited the dive, we walked immediately to the car from the beach. We also did the dive taking 2 to 3 trips back and forth to the car, but that seemed more wearing at the end of the day. Swim out of the little bay and swim left. Take an azimuth at the green buoy and descend. Follow the reef south to about 90 feet. The animals are huge. Many ocean going fish, We had the dolphins dive with us on one occasion, and saw numerous spotted eagle rays every dive some in groups of 3 or more. The reef is totally alive, and you will hear the dolphins the entire dive as they rest in the bay there. Watch for boat traffic. Basic divers might want to stay to the south reef in about 50 feet of water. Eels, octopus, and the best chance for a Tiger Shark encounter (but we never saw one). Probably our favorite dive site of the trip. The beach is a great place to hang out if you want to do multiple dives or to relax before the trek back (bring water to drink). Many people and dogs show up (as there is no leash law there) in the later morning (10-ish). Everyone was super friendly.

05/17/2012 Andrey S. (Avg: 3.26 Review) - Very nice site overall, also known as 'Crescent Beach'. We dove there twice in May 2012. First dive was with Kona Diving Co., diving from their boat and second time from the beach. As some reviews mentioned the site gets lots of traffic which seems to attract Spinner dolphins (flag float is probably a good idea here). We saw a bunch on the first dive at around 60ft and one from the group came down and circled around our group for 5 minutes or so, which is very unusual behavior I was told. We did not see them the second time but we did see an eagle ray, morays and lots of other life down at the site. Keep in mind that getting to the sandy beach entry point from the parking lot is not an easy hike at all (especially carrying all gear on the back), it was one of the hardest sites to get to - 30 meters or so of lava rocks piled together with no easy way across. Probably easier without the gear. Very close to Kona and the marina. Parking isn't a problem and the facilities are nearby.

04/16/2011 Paul D. (Avg: 4.05 Review) - What a spectacular dive site. Today we joined the already anchored Body Glove boat and Big Island Divers. We entered thru the beach, anchored our float and proceeded to go south past the boats and then west to about 90 feet. 2 white mouth morays greeted us on the way to the sandy flats. We joined the concert of garden eels and then we were surprised by 3 majestic eagle rays cruising just off the bottom. We decided to do this dive after we scrapped the north entry at the old airport due to excessive surf and what appeared as heavy washout current. Conditions at Alua beach were pristine. What a difference just few miles north makes on a dive. Aloha

06/17/2010 Chris Gee (Avg: 3.57 Review) - June 16,2010 Dove here at 9:00 am 3 dive boats were already in the water. Carried gear over lava rock and set up on beach, was not that bad, carried one bag and one tank on shoulder and it took only 2 trips. You could wear your gear and carry tank if you feel like it. Entry was easy, floated over just passed rocks from beach sank to 15 20 feet and followed the shore line to the left, spinner dolphins were every where. Boat traffic was no problem since you are at 50 to 60 feet. If you dive near the boat channel, depth goes to 120, however mostly sand at that depth, reef ends at about 60 feet and continues up to 10 feet. Saw: Dolphins, Eel, Octopus, and large schools of numerous fish. Would dive again, and did!!!

11/17/2009 Reggie (Avg: 3.17 Review) - The most challenging aspect of the site is walking over the lava rocks with your dive equipment to get to the beach. From the beach its a short walk over somewhat of a rocky and shallow bottom composition before you are able to descend to 15 feet. Initially visibility was disorienting, like diving through a thermocline or a salt/fresh water environment. This cleared shortly after reaching 15 feet and we followed the reef to the left at a depth of 35 feet. The marine life was awesome! We were diving beside a school of spinner dolphins and we saw a spotted eagle-ray that we followed down to 50 feet. And on our way back we met up with a large turtle.

11/09/2009 Debbie Rosa (Avg: 3.70 Review) - My husband and I dove here on November 8, 2009. There have been big swells on the island recently. We like diving in Puako but the wind hit. So, we tried diving at Alua Beach. We dove here last summer as well, but had problems with lots of boats going over head, which was a problem. However, today there wasn't much boat traffic. The dive was nice. We stayed along the left edge and went out around the buoy. There was lots of fish life and the visibility was fairly good.

05/27/2009 Jodi Morris (Avg: 3.78 Review) - Gorgeous dive, totally secluded. But there was a price to pay! You have to hike all your gear over a 50 yard stretch of lava rocks that are not the most friendly. If doing that sort of hike either holding your gear or with your gear on isn't your thing - I'd skip this dive. We are beginner divers though, and since we were there we decided to give it a go and we had a great dive. Just be forewarned about the little mountain climb :) involved!

05/15/2009 Jenn (Avg: 3.60 Review) - Dove here with my husband and another couple. Our first dive was awesome aw we saw much marine life. Green sea turtles, barracuda, moray eels, trumpet fish. Entry and Exit was very easy, just a little tricky walking over lava with gear but had a great time. Did 2 dives and both had wonderful things to see. Would highly recommend this dive site.

03/31/2008 Joe Foster (Avg: 3.70 Review) - This is a site that just saves you money! I dove here with my 2 boys. A short walk over the Lava field from where you park, and a short swim (about 100 feet out) and we had a one hour dive right under 3 dive boats, all with people who paid $85 each to dive this site from the harbour less than 1000 feet away! From 55 feet, we looked up and watched as the twin prop dive boats left to go back to ring up their VISA's. It didn't stand out as being the best dive site in Hawaii, but it was satisfing knowing that we didn't spend $175 for the 3 of us to dive it! Overall, a good dive for ease of entry and exit, and lots to see.

10/13/2007 Mohawk Diver (Avg: 4.63 Review) - Dove here 15 times in the last 2 months. Always something to see. Eagle rays, whitemouth morays, a resident undulated moray by the cove, yellowmargin morays, and sharks. Twilight dives are super. Garden eels galore. If it's in Hawaii, it's here. It's best to snorkel out to edge of sand and then drop in. Aloha!

08/15/2007 Anonymous (Avg: 3.31 Review) - Dove this site 4 times on recent trip. Always something different. Saw eagle rays, eels, etc. Nice cave out to left with sleeping turtles and other creatures. Be sure to wave to the people on the dive boats that anchor there, since they paid $125 for a 300 yard boat ride from the harbor to dive the same site you're shore diving. If you're renting tanks from Jack's, it's really easy to swap out at their harbor shop before or after your dive.

07/01/2007 Maria (Avg: 4.72 Review) - Lovely site! Dove here on 6.27.07. A bit shallow at the entry (you have to walk about 10 feet out in 1' of water) - we found it easier to enter on the left site of the beach. Parking and facilities are great (the beach is right at Honokohau harbor), very short easy walk to the shore. Boat traffic is intense near the harbor but is not a problem: you can always hear a boat approaching, so it's safe. Underwater life is outstanding in day time, and must be even better at night although we haven't done it! Moray eels are literally under every coral head + white mouth morays swimming around! Saw an octopus, a red-spotted nudibranch, several shell crabs! There were also two huge schools of goatfish hanging right around the left corner of the cove, maybe 100 fishes at once, totally unafraid: we almost had to push them out to make our way through them!

01/06/2007 Brian Xavier (Avg: 3.38 Review) - Alua Beach is a nice dive except for the boat traffic entering and leaving Honokohau Harbor. You need to make sure you don't pop up out in deep water because there are lots of boats here. The bottom is great with lots of fish. The beach is a very easy entry when the swell is not up. Some locals say this is their favorite dive spot on The Big Island, but I like Honaunau and Mahukona much better. Easy entry and lots of people on the beach.

04/12/2004 Anonymous (Avg: 3.69 Review) - Aloha, we went in the morning we were about 60ft when we encountered pods of spinner dolphins about 200 yards from entry. We saw a white tip shark and the rest of fish life was plentiful.

09/28/2002 The Crists (Avg: 3.44 Review) - We found this site by accident. Watch for red urchins in the shallow rocks ringing the beach. We enjoyed the lavender coral growth.

09/07/2002 Bill Stohler (Avg: 3.34 Review) - I've done this dive several times as a twilight/night dive, and it's a very mellow place with a great reef, and typical Kona drop-off to the abyss. There are some large fish that swim by, turtles, eels, lots of other critters. Sheltered bay/entry. Bit of a hike over the pahoehoe lava (ropey basalt), but it's worth it. Just watch out for the black sea urchins in the shallows (ouch).

08/06/2002 Kim (Avg: 3.63 Review) - Fantastic site - don't let the hike over the lava put you off. We went to 90' and found garden eels, an eagle ray swam past and there were lots of reef fish and white mouthed morays in the coral.

12/01/2001 Phil Garner (Avg: 3.74 Review) - One of the least crowded sites in Hawaii where you can see virtually everything on one dive. I've seen Manta Rays, many turtles and a large Marlin once. Nearly every coral head has a White-mouth Moray living inside. If you swim to the outside of the cove at 130 feet and lay motionless for a moment, you're in for a treat. The sand is full of Garden eels who will pop up until you move. Bring a bamboo mat, available at every store in Kona to keep sand out of your gear. The entry is very easy. Shallow sand gives way to coral at about four feet deep. From the beach, it is a short snorkel away from easy, relaxing diving Hawaiian style.

09/10/2001 Jim Goodenough (Avg: 3.59 Review) - I love this spot. The beach is totally uncrowded. The entry is via a small "lagoon" and even though you have to walk out from the parking area, I think this is one of the most relaxing shore entries around. Saw a big frog fish there. Won't disagree with the other reviewer, but the turtle pinnacle must be a heck of a kick to swim to in SCUBA gear!

07/20/2001 C Hepburn (Avg: 3.36 Review) - I was skeptical about this spot after watching all boats cruise by but was pleasantly surprised. When the surf was kicking up everywhere else, this spot has a good sheltered entry. We only went to about 40-50' but this was one of the better shore dive spots we dove. Don't let the boats scare you off, it pretty good diving. The hike from the car wasn't that bad and easily manageable.

07/11/2001 Roger Johnson (Avg: 3.25 Review) - Dived here several hundred times, never get bored. Lots of reef fish, you usually can spot an Eagle Ray or turtle. Nice gentle drop-off for a deep dive. Good divers can make it out and back to a turtle cleaning station. The only workout is the hike in and out over the lava rock.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: TB0601


Entrance at Alua Beach 

The entrance to Honokohau Harbor is well marked.


 Map     Sat
GPS: TB0602


Parking at Alua Beach 

Drive all the way to the end of the road keeping South of the harbor. You'll come to large dirt parking lot, where, if you are lucky, you can park in the shade of the single tree.




Overview at Alua Beach 
(click photo for details)

The site (to the left in the picture) requires a short hike over some rugged lava. Take your time, and make several trips if necessary


 Map     Sat
GPS: TB0604


Entry at Alua Beach 

The entry is an easy wade from the sandy beach. Hug the shore line while making your way out to sea.




Aerial at Alua Beach 

You can see in the distance the harbor entrance off the main road.




Aerial at Alua Beach 
(click photo for details)

Drop down and enjoy!

Last Verification: September, 2000  


Diver Averages for  Alua Beach  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  3.33
Bottom Conditions:  3.93
Reef Conditions:  4.19
Animal Life:  4.22
Plant Life:  3.22
Facilities:  2.30
Solitude 3.74
Roads:  3.59
*Site Average:  3.70

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.63
Beginner Scuba:  3.48
Intermediate Scuba:  4.07
Advanced Scuba:  4.07
Night diving Scuba:  3.19

Number of reviews for this site: 27


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