Catamaran sail boat in Hawaii ocean waters with sunset in the horizon.

7 Best Kona Sunset Cruises in Big Island of Hawaii (2024)

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Are you looking for the best sunset cruise in Kona?

I hear you! There’s no better experience on the Big Island of Hawaii than a sunset cruise Kona side. 

It is an incredible way to slow down and enjoy the moment, and you’ll also make memories to last a lifetime. 

The best way to enjoy the sunset off of Kona and Waikoloa is during a sunset sail cruise. Head onto the glossy ocean water and see the sky change colors around you. 

Rated the third best place to view the sunset in Hawaii, Kailua-Kona won’t fail to impress. You’ll feel like you stepped into the past, with black volcanic rock juxtaposed against the dramatic skies. 

Plus, as an added bonus, the weather at sunset is generally calm and smooth. Glossy seas and gorgeous skies sound ideal to me!

Temperate weather and year-round warm seas mean it’ll be a pleasant experience any month you go. 

But how do you find the best Kona sunset cruise for you? Several options exist—from cocktail cruises to adventurous outings with manta rays. 

On my family trip to the Big Island, taking a sunset cruise was one of my best and most memorable experiences! The Big Island coast is so magical at sunset time!

I’ve chosen the top 7 best Sunset cruises in Kona, Hawaii, for you to help narrow down your search! Check out the best ones below. 

My Top 3 Picks: Best Kona Sunset Cruise

#1 Top Pick

Sailboat in ocean at sunset

Sunset Sail Experience at Kona
✔️ Catamaran boat, 1.5 hrs
✔️ Drinks and snacks

#2 Top Pick

Seeing Manta Rays underwater is one of the best Kona Snorkel Tours

Sunset and Manta Ray Snorkel Adventure
✔️ Sunset cruise and manta ray snorkeling combo tour
✔️ drinks, 2.5 hours

#3 Top Pick

cruise boat in ocean at sunset

Historical Dinner Cruise to Kealakekua Bay
✔️ Learn about Hawaii history
✔️watch sunset and enjoy dinner on board, 3 hrs

7 Best Kona Sunset Cruises on the Big Island of Hawaii

Check out the seven best sunset cruises from Kona below! The first three are my top recommendations— but everyone on this list is highly rated. You’re guaranteed to have a good time, no matter your choice.

1. Sunset Sail Experience at Kona from Honokohau

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Catamaran |   Group max: 49 people 

Food: drinks, snacks |  ⏳ Tour Length: 1.5 hours

Book it!

Passengers on a Kona sunset cruise - Catamaran sail boat in Hawaii ocean waters with sunset in the horizon.

Head out of Kona and enjoy this relaxing sunset cruise. You’ll sail along the Kona coastline in a fun catamaran boat. 

Two alcoholic drinks are included, along with snacks and soft drinks. The snacks are delicious (think teriyaki chicken and fresh fruit!). 

Whether you want to enjoy a romantic evening with your special partner or you’re heading out with a big group of friends. 

The crew for this tour is fantastic and knows how to safely and efficiently navigate the boat, so you don’t have to worry about anything. 

 Watch the sail get hoisted, the Big Island shrink on the horizon, and the sun set over the glorious ocean. 

This was the highlight of our trip. The entire crew was very friendly and made everyone laugh. The sunset was beautiful. I would highly recommend them.

– Luis (See more reviews)

Pro Tip: It can get chilly in the evening on the water, so bring an extra layer!

➡ Check rates and availability for the
Sunset Sail Experience at Kona from Honokohau

2. Sunset and Manta Ray Snorkel Adventure

Manta ray in water seen on a combo tour of sunset cruise in Kona and manta ray snorkeling

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Catamaran |   Group max: 36 people 

Food: Beverages |  ⏳ Tour Length: 2.5 hours

Book it!

This sunset and Manta ray snorkel adventure cruise is a must-do combo tour while on the Big Island. 

Step aboard a spacious catamaran for a glorious sunset cruise along the Kona coast. There’s no better way to enjoy the rugged beauty of the Kohala coastline than on the water!

Once the sun sets, you’ll head to manta ray village! Put on your snorkeling gear and then slip into the water to see the majestic manta rays swimming at night. 

Previous guests saw manta rays the entire time they were in the water. Guides will let you know how to get the manta rays to come closer to you while still making sure to protect these ocean creatures.

If you don’t see a manta ray on your cruise, you’ll be rebooked for free on another night.

Afterward, warm up with hot chocolate and cookies. You can also purchase wine, beer, or a cocktail if that’s more your speed.

Snorkeling gear, swim noodles, and wetsuits are all provided.

This was a fantastic and exciting experience. The staff was friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. We saw so many mantas, rolling in front of us, underneath us and even almost touching us. We loved every moment.

– Amanda (See more reviews)

➡ Check rates and availability for the
Sunset and Manta Ray Snorkel Adventure

3. Historical Dinner Cruise to Kealakekua Bay

Rating: 4.5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Catamaran |   Group max: 85 people 

Food: Dinner, beverages |  ⏳ Tour Length: 3 hours

Book it!

Catamaran boat in ocean at sunset

This Historical Dinner cruise from Kona is a glamorous way to explore the Big Island and learn about its history! 

Step aboard a sailboat or power catamaran and journey back to when ancient, powerful kings ruled the Hawaiian archipelago.

On this sunset dinner cruise you’ll travel 12 miles to the Captain Cook monument down the Kona coast. Learn all about the secrets of the big island. 

With over 50 points of interest and a local historian aboard, you will walk away with a deeper appreciation for the rich culture and history of the Hawaiian people. 

Live entertainment is also provided aboard the boat, and you’ll get both a complimentary cocktail and a delicious dinner.

This Kona dinner cruise is truly the best of both worlds. Learn all about Hawaii on the way to Kealakekua Bay. Then, watch the sunset while eating dinner aboard. 

To finish the perfect night off, you’ll listen to live music on the way back to the harbor. 

The trip was fabulous! Very modern and clean boat. Crew was professional, very attentive and fun. Historical information was very interesting. Meal was more than expected and drinks were good and served by the crew. View of the coast was beautiful and sunset was spectacular!

– Edward (See more reviews)

➡ Check rates and availability for the
Historical Dinner Cruise to Kealakekua Bay

4. Kona-Kohala Coast Sunset Sail by Catamaran from Waikoloa

Rating: 4.5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Catamaran |   Group max: 49 people 

Food: drinks, snacks |  ⏳ Tour Length: 1.5 hours

Book it!

Sailboat in ocean at sunset

Look no further than this Kona-Kohala Coast Sunset sail departing from Anaehoomalu Bay for an absolutely fantastic sunset sail. 

Typically beginning a little before sunset, you’ll step aboard a 53-foot catamaran. Slip your shoes off and enjoy a drink while the boat heads over the sea. 

The bar on board is fully stocked, and you get two drink coupons when you purchase your trip. Nonalcoholic beverages are unlimited throughout the evening. 

The boat will pause so you can soak in the full scope of the sunset. Keep an eye out for the super rare ‘green flash.’  

You’ll also get live commentary on board by a local guide and some snacks throughout the evening. 

It’s a wonderful way to get to know the Big Island and enjoy the beauty of Hawaii.

This was my favorite part of the trip, from the boat to the drinks to the music and views, we just had a blast. I would highly recommend.

– Kelli (See more reviews)

➡ Check rates and availability for the
Kona-Kohala Coast Sunset Sail by Catamaran from Waikoloa

5. Pau Hana Sunset Cocktail Cruise

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Catamaran |   Group max: 49 people 

Food: drinks, snacks |  ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours

Book it!

cruise boat in ocean at sunset

This Pau Hana Sunset cocktail cruise is the perfect opportunity to slow down, soak in a fresh ocean breeze, see a gorgeous sunset, and refresh your soul.

On board a comfortable catamaran, you’ll get to see the beautiful white sand beaches and volcanic landscapes of the Kohala Coast at golden hour.

A party on the water, the open bar is unlimited, and the pupu (Hawaiian for appetizer) bar will be fully stocked.  

Sip the drink you choose— with wines, beers, and soft drinks available, you’ll have plenty of options.

Make sure to bring a camera or phone with you to take pictures! There’s plenty of photo opportunities. 

Plus, you won’t want to forget what will be one of your favorite memories on the big island!

Typically, this tour is on a powered catamaran. However, if you head out on Monday or Friday from Anaeho’omalu Bay, you can have an authentic sailing experience. 

Beautiful ride with a great crew! Everyone was kind, helpful and so welcoming! We saw dolphins and a gorgeous sunset!

– Ashley (See more reviews)

➡ Check rates and availability for the
Pau Hana Sunset Cocktail Cruise

6. Pau Hana Sunset Cruise with the Whales

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Sailboat or Catamaran |   Group max: 49 people 

Food: drinks, snacks |  ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours

Book it!

Catamaran sail boat in Hawaii ocean waters with sunset in the horizon.

This Pau Hana sunset cruise with whale-watching combines two best boat activities into one incredible evening.

Set off the Kohala Coast and look for humpback whales as the sun casts a golden glow over the ocean.

Sip on tasty drinks as you cruise the ocean! You can get splashed on the netted trampoline or stay nice and dry on a bench.

Your crew will pop an underwater hydrophone into the ocean for you to hear the whales sing their song. It’s truly a magical experience!

If you’re lucky, you’ll see lots of whale activity! You’ll see anything from spouts blowing in the distance to breaches to spy-hopping (when they pop their heads out vertically and get a good look at you!).

Enjoy the onboard snacks and unlimited beverages. Bring plenty of questions, or just enjoy the live commentary by the onboard naturalist!

Beautiful boat with just the right amount of people on it. Staff were super nice and brought out drinks and snacks to guests throughout the whole ride. We saw a couple whale’s tails but mostly enjoyed the sunset, beautiful views and new friends! Would definitely recommend this company.

– Isabelle (See more reviews)

Please note that this is only an option during whale migration season, which spans the months of December to March.

➡ Check rates and availability for the
Pau Hana Sunset Cruise with the Whales

7. Private Sunset Cruise & Manta Night Snorkeling Charter

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: private charter |   Group max: 6 people 

Food: drinks, snacks |  ⏳ Tour Length: 3 hours

Book it!

powerboat in lake at sunset

You can’t do better than a luxurious private tour on this sunset cruise and Manta night snorkeling charter.

Head to sea on a beautiful luxury boat, sipping soda and munching delicious snacks. 

On board, you’ll be accompanied by a marine biologist as your snorkel guide. Learn about the underwater world and manta rays before you slide into the water. 

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! The Big Island is the only one of the Hawaiian islands you can snorkel with manta rays.  Watch them circle you, do belly rolls, and float in the water.

Since this is a private charter, you’ll have this unique experience with just your friends. Talk about a treat! 

Enjoy hot chocolate when you exit the water and cruise on home. 

Please note that this tour doesn’t provide dinner.

We had a once in a lifetime experience snorkeling with the manta rays and Aloha Kona Tours! Captain Koichiro was amazing. He has a beautiful luxury boat. Julia was our snorkel guide. She is a marine biologist and very knowledgeable. She shared lots of facts about the manta rays and other sea life. We saw tons of manta rays. It was spectacular!

– Anonymous (See more reviews)

➡ Check rates and availability for the
Private Sunset Cruise & Manta Night Snorkeling Charter

FAQs about going on a sunset cruise in Kona

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about taking a Kona sunset cruise:

sunset views from the oceanfront in Hawaii

What is a sunset cruise in Kona, Hawaii?

A sunset cruise in Kona, Hawaii, is a boat excursion that takes you along the stunning coastline of Kona while you enjoy the breathtaking sight of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. It’s a popular activity for tourists and locals alike.

Is a sunset cruise in Kona worth it?

A sunset cruise in Kona is definitely worth it, as it offers a unique and memorable experience. You get to witness the mesmerizing colors of the Hawaiian sunset while relaxing on the water. It’s a great way to unwind, enjoy the coastal scenery, and create lasting memories.

How long do sunset cruises typically last in Kona?

Sunset cruises in Kona can vary in duration, but most last around two to three hours. This allows you to enjoy the sunset without feeling rushed.

What can I expect to see during a sunset cruise in Kona?

During a sunset cruise in Kona, you can expect to see the beautiful Kona coastline, the vast Pacific Ocean, and, of course, the stunning sunset itself. You may also encounter marine life, such as dolphins, turtles, and, occasionally, whales (season-dependent).

Are food and drinks provided on sunset cruises?

Many sunset cruises in Kona offer complimentary snacks and drinks, which can include light appetizers, tropical fruits, and non-alcoholic beverages. Some cruises also provide alcoholic beverages, but it’s best to check with the specific tour operator regarding their offerings.

Do I need to make a reservation for a sunset cruise?

I highly recommend making a reservation for a sunset cruise, especially during the peak tourist season. Popular cruises can fill up quickly, so booking in advance ensures you secure your spot and can plan your evening accordingly.

What should I wear on a sunset cruise in Kona?

Dress comfortably and in layers. The ocean breeze can be cool, so it’s a good idea to bring a light jacket or sweater. Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses, as the sun can still be intense during the late afternoon.

Is it safe to take children on a sunset cruise?

Most sunset cruises in Kona are family-friendly, but it’s essential to check with the cruise operator about age restrictions and suitability for young children. Some cruises may have age limits for safety reasons.

Can I bring my own food or drinks on a sunset cruise?

Many cruise operators do not allow outside food or drinks, as they often provide refreshments onboard. Check with the specific cruise you choose for their policy on bringing your own refreshments.

What is the best time of year to take a sunset cruise in Kona?

Kona, Hawaii, enjoys beautiful sunsets year-round, but the best time to take a sunset cruise might depend on personal preference. The weather is generally pleasant, so you can enjoy a cruise at any time. Some people prefer the warmer summer months, while others enjoy the quieter atmosphere of the off-season. We took the sunset cruise in January, and it was amazing and not cold at all.

More things to do in Kona

Now that you have found the perfect sunset cruise from the list above make sure to check out some of the other unique activities in Kona:

Where to stay in Kona

Kona has a variety of accommodations to suit every budget, from brand-name Big Island family resorts to affordable hotels. Between Kona and Hilo, Kona has more accommodation options.

Hilton Waikoloa Village in North Kona is one of the best oceanfront resorts on the Big Island, with multiple pools and restaurants.

Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel is in a prime location on Alii Drive in Kona, with a beautiful beach right in front of the property. Plus, it’s only a short 15-minute drive from Kona International Airport.

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa is a splendid oceanfront resort just half an hour from Kona Airport. It’s famous for experiencing manta ray viewing from the hotel property.

Conclusion: Best Sunset Cruise in Kona

Hawaii is gorgeous, full of natural beauty, and unique things to do. Each of these sunset cruises is guaranteed to give you unforgettable memories. 

Your visit to the Big Island won’t be complete without a boat trip. You can choose to snorkel with manta rays, watch for humpback whales, listen to Hawaiian history, or enjoy being out on the ocean.

Take a break and see how beautiful this tropical paradise is from afar! Which sunset cruise in Kona are you going to book?

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