One very popular activity had been to visit Kealakekua Bay by kayak.  There are a number of rules in place regarding permits for landing kayaks at Ka'awaloa and the Captain Cook monument. Please respect these necessary rules   Kayaking in Kealakekua Bay should be avoided as there are many other equally as good sites where your adventure will not be damaging.  The bay and its life (the dolphin population that comes in to rest in the bay) has decreased 50% in but a few years).

If you do choose to kayak here, you MUST stay ay least 50 yards (150 feet) from any dolphins.

To report dolphin or whale harrassment, contact the NOAA Fisheries Service’s Office of Law Enforcement Hot Line at 800-853-1964.

Legal kayak rentals are currently still available only on Hwy 11  that line the road to kayak in other areas.   Kayaks are for rent at Keauhou and Anaeho'omalu bays that do not require you to transport the kayak on your car.  This is far better and easier to do and way more eco-sensitive.    

Renting kayaks from illegally operating individuals who are operating illegally without permits  ( ask to see their permit) should not be done.  Best bet is to arrange for a guided tour from one of the legitimate tour businesses .  You may wish to try Adventures in Paradise, Aloha Kayak  Pack and Paddle or Kona Boys -.   Ask if they have a permit for Kealakekua Bay tours, not all do - only 6 companies were granted tour permits.

NOTE: As of January 1, 2013, no pemits for Kealakekua Bay tour operators will be renewed, according to the DLNR.

The snorkel tours to this bay by motor boat are today the most eco-sensitive and practical : Fairwinds, Paradise, Sea Quest, and Capt Zodiac.  They cost at or below the current Kayak tour prices and your visit will do the least harm to the bay.  It will be far more informative and satisifying.   Another great area kayaking is the sea caves and lava tubes out of Keauhou Bay. There are many sites like Kiholo, Anaeho'omalu Bay, Puako and Hookena beach that are both fun and rewarding.

For years guides all focused on this one small bay with tragic results.  Please help restore the bay and enjoy the dozens of other good options.  For more information on  the issues, see the section on "Kayaking and Swimming with Dolphins: What's the Issue?" on the Big Island Snorkeling inside page:

If you take a swim at Ho'okena Beach, the green sea turtles may come right up to you in the surf. Please remember it is very harmful to touch the turtles or chase them in any way  But also be aware that there has been a rash of violent incidents focused on visitors by young Hawaiians at this beach.   This is a very remote beach  without phone communication, and is considered by many locals as " theirs."     Camping here is not wise.   If  there are a lot of locals present... it would be very prudent not to linger at this beach.   This is also true of Milolii beach and area.

An alternative to the "resort" experience is the Manago Hotel in Captain Cook. Yes, it's in a central location, but Captain Cook itself is small, and the hotel is rather small, and offers American and Japanese-style accommodations. Click here for TripAdvisor's listings of bed and breakfasts in Captain Cook.