The tourism industry and the popularity of scuba diving in Hawaii provide an abundance of dive shops, restaurants, transportation and entertainment options on all the eight principal islands of the state.
There are five international airports in the Hawaiian Islands. The largest, most popular airport is Honolulu International on Oahu, in general, Honolulu offers the most affordable flights from Los Angeles, California and locations around the Pacific rim. The big island of Hawaii has two international airports; Hilo International on the eastern shore and Kona Keahou International on the western shore. Kahului International is located in the center of Maui. Lihue International on Kauai. The smaller islands of Molokai and Lanai off Maui are easily accessible by ferry boats from the town of Lahaina on Maui's northeast coast such as the fancy Lahaina Cruise Company.
The Big Island of Hawaii – Kailua Kona & Hilo
The resort and water sport centric town of Kailua Kona on the western shore on the big island of Hawaii has over 80 frequented scuba diving sites. Kona Diving Company offers multi-day and day trip dive boat excursions from town. The dive shop offers certification courses as well as “Discover SCUBA Dive Day” led by a PADI instructor. This day-trip does not require certification and offers a way for beginners to see if scuba diving is really for them. Kona Diving Company also features what it calls the Manta Ray Night Dive. Other excellent dive shops to check out in Kona; Jack's Diving Locker, Big Island Divers and Snorkel Bob's.
Hilo is the largest town on the big island of Hawaii and overlooks Hilo Bay. Resting on the volcanic flanks of both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, Hilo is home to the University of Hawai'i at Hil'o and the region is the world's leading producer of macadamia nuts. Hilo is also a great base to use for launching multi-day dive trips and day trips around the big island. Nautilus Dive Center is a small but well established ship in Hilo that offers training and guided charter trips.
Oahu, The Gathering Place – Honolulu
There are many many dive shops in and around the city of Honolulu. The metropolitan around of Honolulu has about 1 million residents and an estimated 4.5 million tourists pass through each year. The economy of tourism can not be underestimated on Oahu and the vast selection of dive shops and tour options is sometimes overwhelming. Some of the better known and highly rated dive shops are Reef Pirates Diving, Waikiki Dive Center, Inc., Surf-n-Sea and Alex's Aquatic Adventures to name a few. Most of not all of these shops offer charter boats and guided instruction. Many outfits in Honolulu offer extended dive excursions to other Hawaiian islands and some to very remote locations.
Maui, The Valley Isle – Kihei & Lahaina
Maui is a gorgeous island to rest and enjoy a much needed break in life, to explore and hike and also to dive. There are many dive shops that offer shore dives and charters from Kihei to the south and Lahaina to the north. Many shops offer trips to the nearby islands of Molokai and Lanai. Maui Dive Shop is one such shop that offers trips to the other islands, night dives, drift dives, a regularly scheduled trip to St. Anthony Wreck off Maui. Boss Frog's is a dive, surf and bike shop chain with eight stores in Maui, two on Kauai and one on the big island. While the Boss Frog's chain offers a lot of fun and recreation it is not geared toward serious scuba tours or state of the art gear.
Kauai, The Garden Isle – Koloa
Seasport Divers is a great dive shop is the town of Koloa on the southern coast of beautiful Kauai. This shop offers submarine rides it is tiny mini-submarines. They also specialize in fishing trips and dive excursions around Kauai and to the Forbidden Isle of Ni'ihau. Kauai Down Under Dive Team is a specialized, customized dive team of instructors and staff also centered out of Koloa. The shop offers morning, afternoon and night dive reservations most days of the year.
Terry Nooner (Owner) has a PhD in physiology for starters. 4 of us took a beginner course from him 29 years ago. We referred four other couples to him and two of those people were poor swimmers and frightened by the idea! He was so kind, reassuring and patient with them that they had no trouble certifying and are now avid divers. We've all been on multiple trips with him and his crew (organized by his shop) and everyone has nothing but great things to say about Terry and the arrangements made fo...