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Top 10 Best Things to Do in Maui

Snorkeling Tours

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Go on the best Maui snorkeling tours, and have a day of fun at top Maui snorkeling spots! Choose from a wide variety of different Maui snorkeling cruises that will take you to amazing locations where you can enjoy Molokini Crater snorkeling, Honolua Bay snorkeling, and Turtle Town Maui snorkeling, or even a full-day Lanai snorkeling tour from Maui. Explore the underwater paradise that surrounds Maui, and see colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, sea turtles, and in the winter, humpback whales!
Your Guide to Snorkel Tours in Maui
Maui stands out as the ultimate Hawaiian destination for snorkelers, swimmers, and ocean enthusiasts, and with its unique location just 10 miles from the island of Lanai, there are underwater volcanic craters, protected bays, and vast coral reef systems that are not only home to a wide array of marine life, but also provide Maui with the perfect environment for snorkeling. From fun family-friendly cruises to luxurious sails, there is something for everyone on Maui’s best snorkeling tours!

Maui Best Snorkeling Destinations
The island of Maui is lucky to be surrounded by some of the world’s best snorkeling locations, and each one offers a unique experience that sets it apart, and will make your time there truly extraordinary.
  • Coral Gardens: As the name suggests, this popular scuba diving and snorkeling location is known for its vibrant and diverse coral formations that provide a stunning backdrop for snorkelers to explore as they swim among the many tropical fish and turtles that find shelter in this beautiful underwater destination.
  • Honolua Bay: Located in the Honolua-Mokule'ia Bay Marine Life Conservation District, Honolua Bay is typically clear and calm, which makes it easy to see the marine life below the surface.
  • Kapalua Bay: Just a short drive from Lahaina, Kapalua Bay is located in a calm and sheltered area which helps to keep the bay waters calm and clear, and makes it an ideal spot for snorkeling, especially for beginners. The clean and clear ocean waters have an abundance of coral reef formations which are home to tropical fish, turtles, and many other marine creatures.
  • Lanai: Snorkeling in Lanai at Manele Bay and Hulopoe Bay is an amazing experience with clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and a variety of different species of marine life. The waters at Manele Bay are also relatively shallow, which makes it a great option for beginner snorkelers, and Hulopoe Bay is home to a unique underwater rock formation known as the "Cathedrals," which features towering rock walls that are covered in colorful coral and sponges.
  • Mala Wharf: Once a bustling pier for loading and unloading sugar and other goods into Maui, the remains of the pier have become a thriving coral reef with wooden pilings and concrete pillars covered in colorful corals and sponges, and a unique home for the areas tropical fish, eels, and other marine animals.
  • Maluaka Beach: With soft white sand, and crystal clear waters, Maluaka Beach in Makena is home to the popular Turtle Town off its scenic shores. Home to a number of Hawaiian green sea turtles, Turtle Town and Turtle Arches are some of the best areas in Hawaii to snorkel among green sea turtles.
  • Molokini Crater: This crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater is located off the west coast of Maui, and is popular snorkeling and scuba diving spot due to its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life that includes over 250 species of fish, the Hawaiian green sea turtle, and many others. The crater is protected as a marine sanctuary, and provided a unique and unforgettable underwater experience found nowhere else in the world.
  • Napili Bay: There are many rocky outcroppings at Napili Bay, as well as a variety of interesting underwater formations that are a favorite spot for sea turtles to rest and relax. Visitors to the area can swim and snorkel alongside these gentle creatures and observe them as they feed and sleep.
  • Olowalu Reef: Featuring a "turtle cleaning station," the name for an area where sea turtles gather to have their shells cleaned by tiny fish, Olowalu Reef is a great spot for snorkelers to observe these protected sea animals in their natural habitat.

Maui Snorkeling Harbor & Departure Information
The snorkeling tours in Maui depart from three major areas, all easily accessible from popular hotel and resort destinations on the island. Although transportation is not provided for the majority of Maui Hawaii snorkeling, each harbor and departure point is centrally located and can be reached by rental vehicle, taxi, or rideshare service.

Parking is available at all check-in locations, and depending on where you park, it will be either paid parking or complimentary. Be sure to double check parking fee requirements before parking your vehicle.
  • Kaanapali Beach (North West Maui): Located north of Lahaina, departure locations from Kaanapali are in easy walking and driving distance from most major hotels and resorts in the area. Tours departing from Kaanapali will be from the beach, so you should be prepared to remove your shoes before boarding.
  • Lahaina Harbor (North West Maui): This historic harbor was once a bustling port for whaling and trading ships in the 19th century, and is now a popular departure point for many of Maui’s best snorkeling tours. Guests can easily walk from the harbor to the town of Lahaina, where they can explore the many shops, restaurants, and museums in the area.
  • Maalaea Harbor (Central Maui): Centrally located between Kahului, Lahaina, and Kihei, Maalaea Harbor is also the closest option for guests staying in Wailea and Makena. The popular Maui Ocean Center, as well as a diverse shopping complex is located right across the street for you to enjoy before or after your tour.

What to Expect & Know Before You Go
  • The ocean conditions around Maui can vary wildly depending on the area of the tour, the wind, and the currents, and guests who are prone to seasickness should plan on taking a motion sickness preventative one hour prior to departure. Ginger tablets or chews are also handy to have with you, and should you start to feel woozy, head out for fresh air, and look at the horizon.
  • While we understand that the sea turtles are adorable, and the coral reefs are beautiful, you must not touch the marine life during your Maui snorkeling tour. Hawaiian green sea turtles are federally protected, and you should stay at least 10 feet away from them while snorkeling. The turtles need to come to the surface to breathe air, and they can injure themselves if snorkelers and swimmers block their path.
  • Many of the best snorkeling tours on Maui book up days or weeks in advance, so be sure to book your Molokini Crater snorkeling, Lanai snorkeling, and other Maui snorkel tours as soon as possible to make sure you get a spot.
  • If you are planning on bringing an underwater camera (GoPro, mobile phone with an underwater case, etc.) on your snorkel tour in Hawaii, also bring a red lens filter to get the best shots. As you go underwater, the color red becomes less pronounced, and having a red lens filter will ensure vibrant and beautiful photos and videos.
  • Between the months of November and March, the channel between Maui and Lanai becomes the designated Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and humpback whales can often be seen during boat cruises.
  • Although weather can be unpredictable, avoid booking your cruise after heavy rain or a storm since this can cause the ocean to become murky and will reduce visibility for snorkeling.
  • What to wear: Wear your swimsuit under your clothing so you do not have to worry about changing once you are on board. You will also want to bring a light jacket, sweater or hoodie in case it gets chilly after you come out of the water. While the weather is normally quite warm in Maui, the winds can often pick-up offshore.
  • What to bring: Do not forget the reef-safe sunscreen, as well as large towels, sunglasses, and waterproof cases or covers for your phone if you are planning on using them in the water.

FAQ
Q: How long are Maui snorkeling tours?
A: Depending on the snorkeling tour you choose in Maui, they can be anywhere from 3 to 8 hours in duration.

Q: What is the best month to go snorkeling in Maui?
A: There is no bad time to book a Maui snorkeling tour, but it is warmer during the summer months, and colder during the winter, but winter months are when you will often see humpback whales in the area.

Q: Are snorkeling tours in Maui worth it?
A: It is 100% worth it to book a Maui snorkeling tour or cruise since you will be able to visit areas that are normally difficult to access, and some areas that are completely impossible to reach without a boat. Having expert local guides on hand ensure a safe and exciting time in the ocean, and all of your snorkeling gear will be provided too.

Q: Is snorkeling better in Molokini or on Lanai?
A: Each location offers a different experience and it is hard to compare. Molokini crater is a protected marine sanctuary, and as an ancient sunken volcano, there are unique ocean seascapes that you will not see anywhere else. Snorkeling in Lanai on the other hand is a wonderful opportunity to visit a part of Hawaii that is normally not seen by many visitors, and with options for both shore snorkeling and openwater boat snorkeling, there are tours perfect for all ages and skill levels.

Q: Which side of Maui has the best snorkeling?
A: The west side of Maui offers the best snorkeling options with a variety of different tours and cruises that include the best snorkeling near Lahaina, Maui Turtle Town snorkeling cruises, and snorkeling in Lanai.

Q: What is the best snorkeling tour for beginners?
A: For guests who are new to snorkeling or even new to swimming, the easy water entry and beach facilities at Kahekili Beach and Olowalu make it the perfect spot for beginner snorkelers and swimmers in Maui.

Q: What is the best Maui snorkel area for advanced and expert snorkelers?
A: If you are an experienced snorkeler and swimmer, and are very comfortable in the open ocean, Five Graves, ‘Āhihi Bay, and La Perouse Bay are a must-do for anyone wanting to see incredible underwater views.

Q: Can I swim with turtles in Maui?
A: While you will often see Hawaiian green sea turtles at Maluaka Beach and Turtle Town, you must stay at least 10 feet back from the turtles both in the water and out on land.

Q: Can I swim with dolphins in Maui?
A: Although there are no wild dolphin swimming tours in Maui due to strict Federal laws prohibiting this type of activity, you will normally see Hawaiian spinner dolphins during cruises and tours from Maui to Lanai.

Q: Is it better to snorkel in the morning or afternoon in Maui?
A: Due to calmer wind and ocean conditions during the early portion of the day, morning tours are recommended for guests wanting to go to Lanai or Molokini. Afternoon tours are great options for short excursions going to Coral Gardens or Turtle Town.

Top-Rated Activities for Maui

Latest reviews of Snorkeling Tours

Afternoon Maui Snorkel Cruise & Turtle Watching Tour with BBQ Lunch - Four Winds

Wish I could be back!

2024/06/13 Families Kara

The clear water in Maui was so nice and we saw so many local island fishy!

Deluxe Molokini & Turtle Snorkel Tour with Breakfast, Lunch & Drinks - Trilogy

Outstanding snorkle/sail experience

2024/06/10 Couples Smith

I can't recommend this trip enough. We had a fantastic boating experience, the snorkeling was wonderful and the crew was the best. They went above and beyond and really worked to make the experience a special one. And th... more

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Lanai Snorkel Tour & Dolphin Watching Adventure with Meal - Hawaii Ocean Rafting

Amazing snorkeling near Lanai

2024/06/03 Families Jeannie T.

Captain Jill, Silas, and Jen provided an amazing trip, complete with hundreds of spinner dolphins passing the boat along the way to Lanai.
The snorkeling near Lanai was incredible, with crystal clear water, beautiful c... more

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Maui Kapalua Bay Snorkeling & Underwater Scooter Tour - Eco Sea Scooter

Fantastic Experience!

2024/05/23 Couples Christine and Jason

Barbie is an incredibly knowledgeable and experienced guide. She also makes sure you feel comfortable and prepared in the water. The scooters are easy to use, and I highly recommend paying a bit extra for the floatation... more

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Afternoon Maui Snorkel Cruise & Turtle Watching Tour with BBQ Lunch - Four Winds

Great experience

2024/05/11 Couples Amber

Food was great! They made enough for seconds for everyone. The boat ride and snorkeling experience was great. A lot of fun. I recommend this experience if you want to have a personalized trip with great people!

Maui Private Boat Charter Cruise from Maalaea Harbor - Aloha Blue Charters

Great team!

2024/04/19 Families Sheets family

All communications were clear and team was very helpful! Great guides! Beautiful views! Several whale sitings!

Maui Snorkeling Tours | Book Maui Tours, Activities & Things to Do with HawaiiActivities.com
Go on the best Maui snorkeling tours, and have a day of fun at top Maui snorkeling spots! Choose from a wide variety of different Maui snorkeling cruises that will take you to amazing locations where you can enjoy Molokini Crater snorkeling, Honolua Bay snorkeling, and Turtle Town Maui snorkeling, or even a full-day Lanai snorkeling tour from Maui. Explore the underwater paradise that surrounds Maui, and see colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, sea turtles, and in the winter, humpback whales!