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Best Snorkeling Spots

MapBest Snorkeling Spots West Maui

Honolua Bay has great snorkeling that you can access from the shore. Some boats go here too, but you don't need to take one. The easiest way to get down to the water is walking through the jungle at the apex of the bay. This land is private property, so you may need to get permission. Once through the short trail to the shore, you can snorkel anywhere around. The best snorkeling is on the right side of the bay, the North side. Make certain that it hasn't rained recently because this is also an outlet. Being an outlet is good and bad. It attracts fish, but after heavy rain, it turns the water to a thick muddy brown. If large swells are present, don't snorkel here. Though it usually doesn't break inside, the water will be mixed up and difficult to see through. You'll most likely run into sea turtles here any day of the week.

Makulei'a Bay is located just South of Honolua Bay. This is a marine reserve and has a great beach. The snorkeling is good on each side of the bay with coral formations. You'll probably see turtles and a lot of tropical fish.

Kapalua Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in Maui. Just before the Napili Kai Beach Club, you'll find a parking lot and a tunnel. The best snorkeling is on the right towards the North side of the bay.

Black Rock in Ka'anapali is famous for it's cliff diving and torch lighting ceremony. The snorkeling around the rock wall is good too. Follow the wall to see plenty of coral, fish and turtles. Be careful of people jumping off the rocks. This is especially a concern for those who are scuba diving and are not seen by the cliff divers.

Wahikuli Park has showers, restrooms, parking, and is really easy access right on Highway 30. This is a good spot to snorkel and is really close to Lahaina.

Snorkel Gear Rentals

The best investment you can make in Maui is renting or buying snorkeling equipment. You can often get junky gear rented for close to or under a dollar, but a good set will cost you closer to 5 dollars a day. If you have a prescription, most snorkel shops in Maui have RX masks. Buying the gear will cost you close to $75 for everything for a good set. For those worried about germs, renting a mask is sanitary. Each mask is washed out well with soap, water, and sanitizing chemicals. If you decide to take a boat trip, most of the vendors will include snorkel gear rentals in the price. We recommend Boss Frog's Dive and Surf for good prices and quality gear.

Best Snorkeling Spots South Maui

North kihei usually has poor visibility and less marine life than South Kihei. To the South, rocky points covered in coral border all Kamaole I, II, and III. You'll often see turtles and humuhumunukunukuapua'a. The beaches here all are great for enjoying with friends and family. Kamaole I is the largest and a great location for beach activities. Kamaole is the most popular with locals.

Located between the Renaissance and the Wailea Marriott, both Ulua and Mokapu are popular places to snorkel and shore dive. This is Maui's South shore training area for many scuba school's beginner dives. There are two reefs found stringed between the two beaches. The first one is great for snorkeling, and scuba divers best access the second one. The second reef is deeper and has a turtle cleaning station.

Polo Beach is a beautiful spot next to the Kea Lani Resort. This is an excellent location for snorkeling. Go to the right to find perfect coral and large groups of fish. Like Ulua and Mokapu, this area has showers and restrooms.

Makena Landing, aka Five Caves aka Five Graves, is a wonderful spot to snorkel or dive. The topography here is diverse and sea caves plenty. This area is home to many small harmless reef sharks. Make sure to only snorkel here if there have been no rains or large surf due to the impairment of visibility. This area has plenty of parking and many entrance points.

Ahihi Keanau Reserve is located in Makena and one of the more serene and beautiful spots on the island. Parking is a challenge in this area though. The road is narrow which has only a few openings for a car. The reef is shallow and perfect for snorkeling. This isn't the best Maui scuba diving location because it's so shallow; you'd rather be snorkeling, unless you travel far out. The coral here is plentiful and comes in many brilliant colors. Keep in mind that this is reserve, which is why there are so many fish here. The fish are protected! If you want to do some Wailea fishing, charter a boat and stay out of this area.

La Perouse is where you'll get your best chance of seeing pods of spinner dolphins in Maui. Snorkeling all around this area is good. If you go early, you may find yourself in the midst of the pod. The rock around here is volcanic and very sharp, so be cautious where you step. If you snorkel here, do it early before the wind picks up. Park where the road ends and snorkel closer to the car for the best spots.

Best Boat Trips Seashore

The best snorkel boat trips to take on Maui are to the close by neighboring islands of Lanai and Molokai. Lanai has incredible snorkeling and scuba diving. The boat trip is shorter than you'd think to these incredible islands. Ask to go to the cathedrals if you plan on diving. Snorkeling Molokini Crater is the most popular destination for Maui snorkel trips. This crescent shaped tropical fish sanctuary, just off of the South shore of Maui, has good snorkeling because it almost always has clear visibility. It can get crowded and has very few turtles. The fish are abundant and not afraid of snorkelers due to the over feeding. The backside of Molokini Crater is home to some of the best scuba diving in the world. Its only for experienced divers and drops down 100's of feet with all kinds of sharks above and below you. Coral gardens is often traveled to, especially if the waters are rough. This sheltered West Maui snorkeling spot is protected from the wind and famous for it's turtle sightings. Coral Gardens is often referred to as Turtle Town Maui.

Molokini Crater

Maui's Molokini Crater is an ancient volcanic cinder cone atoll that has served well as a marine life conservation district and seabird sanctuary. The inside of the crater acts as a protective wall from currents, creating a hub of sea life. Molokini is renowned as one of the worlds best scuba diving locations. Diving off of the backside is incredible but only reserved for expert divers. The wall drops off to depths of over 300 feet. The snorkeling is good here too because of the clear visibility that usually exceeds 100 feet inside the crater. Once outside of the crater, the currents are swift and dangerous, so stay away from the edges. Snuba is also popular among the many boats that visit Molokini everyday. Snuba is a way to experience scuba diving without too much training. The tank floats above you as you swim below with an extra long air tube. With over 250 species of tropical fish, Maui makes for a great snorkeling, snuba, and scuba diving destination. Molokini crater is a perfect boat trip destination and only a 15-25 minute boat ride from the South side of Maui. It can get crowded during high season, but thankfully the crater is large enough to hold many boats and a lot of visitors.

Sea life

When exploring the underwater world of Maui, you can see green sea turtles, a variety of sharks, spinner dolphins, jellyfish, bright colorful coral reefs, humpback whales, tropical fish, octopus, manta rays, monk seals, spotted eagle rays, whale sharks and more! Some of these you're more likely to see than others, but all are present. Maui is really one of the best snorkeling spots on the planet. During whale season, you can hear the massive humpback whales singing underwater. The humpback's song carries through the water for miles and is different every year. To hear them, swim as deep as you can and stay still and quiet.

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