Although I would recommend a trip to Molokini crater,
I thought it would be good to show that on Maui you
definately don't need to go on a charter boat for a
good snorkeling experience. In my case, it would have
been more than a little challenging with our two year
old on a boat, so we opted for the shoreline. With a
little research and preparation I was pleasantly surprised
at the sights that could be seen within a short swim.
Please remember so good sense guidelines for safety
- Always snorkel with someone. You never know when
you may need help.
- Always pay attention to the ocean and the weather.
- Avoid water with low visibility. This would include
swiming near dusk or dawn when sharks are most active.
- Know if the beach you are at has lifegaurds
- Morning snorkeling is usually better (and calmer)
- Remember that coral is a living thing and don't
- Don't feed the fish! This may sound funny, but
I actually saw someone trying it one time out...
- Don't take any shells or rocks for momentos. Leave
them for someone else to enjoy.
- Give the animals space. Don't try to swim up to
them! The best way to get that perfect picture is
to stay still.
Ahihi bay (suggested)
This snorkeling area is outstanding. In the early morning
I saw multple schools of reef fish, eels, and a few
sea turtles among the abundant coral formations all
across the area. The entry here and at La Perouse Bay
a little farther down the road is pretty challenging.
At Ahihi bay there is a small calm lava rock pool which
is great for getting your gear on, but beware that once
you move out of that pool area the depth drops off quite
Situated near the Sheraton hotel, this is a nice area
if you can get to it. If you are not staying at the
hotel, then you sometimes have to search for parking.
The south end is pretty calm, however the north end
was pretty choppy when I was out in the late afternoon
and there was a storm offshore.
On the highway to Lahaina, about 1/2 mile past the
Pali tunnel is Coral Gardens. This one is a bit of a
pain to get to (you will see the cars parked after you
leave the tunnel) and the best areas I found were swimming
up from the beach area back towards the tunnel. At that
point I saw probably more eels than any place I went
On the far north of the western side of Maui, the road
is pretty narrow and winds around a lot. Go to the boat
ramp and swim out towards either the left or the right
outcroppings which contain pretty nice coral growths
and lots of fish.
This is a great place for learning to snorkel and to
still be able to see something. The beach is across
the highway from the Sugar Cane Train Stop just north
of Kaanapali. If you already know how to snorkel I would
suggest other places first.
Frankly, I didn't find snorkeling here that great.
I only mention it because it is a good place to go if
you want to snorkel and the rest of your family wants
to swim or sit on the beach. There are lifeguards on
There is a public parking area opposite the Napili
Kai Beach Resort. To the right of the beach you will
see a large outcrop of rock which harbors a nice array
of fish. This area was sometimes hard to access since
there was not much public parking at the site. The entry
from the beach was easier than most.
The entry here is a little challenging and I would
definately not recommend this one for the novice diver.
Numerous caves (that you shouldn't enter) and massive
coral heads in the area offshore support a large array
of marine life, including many turtles which are off
of the shore from the Makena Bay area down to Ahihi
Bay and La Perouse Bay to the south.
The best snorkeling here is to the left of the beach
by the four seasons hotel. The morning is a heck of
a lot easier here than the afternoon as the surf tends
to kick up a little bit and you have to swim quite a
ways to get around the point for the best areas where
I encountered a few sea turtles. In the afternoons,
this beach can be quite good for boogie boarding as