4 Fantastic Best Maui Snorkeling Guide Stops

Maui Hawaii is such a gorgeous place to view fish and turtles among spectacular rocks and corals in warm crystal blue water! We took a family trip to explore this underwater world, and here are some great options for both the adventurous and non-swimmers! Our party was a mixed group of strong, medium, and non-swimmers, and we were all able to participate in the same activities with a little advance planning! Here are our picks for the best of Maui snorkeling guide.

Our accommodation was just west of the small town of Lahaina, in a very luxurious resort area which even featured its own shopping district and a wide variety of restaurant choices. The best part of the condo which we rented for the week was the gorgeous ocean views and the sound of the waves to rock you to sleep. It’s also a great location halfway from the snorkel location to the east at Black Rock and to the west for the surfing beach. https://www.thewhaler.com

Beaches are lovely clean sand with enough waves to be exciting, but not so wild that families with young children wouldn’t venture in. You can definitely get knocked down by a wave if you aren’t paying attention, and it can be a bit shocking to get rolled face first into the sand. (It’s also a bit exciting….)

We rented masks and fins at the resort’s beach vendor. Tip: rent them for the week, it’s the best deal, and then you can decide last minute if you want to jump in the water anytime! You definitely need fins, they make a HUGE difference maneuvering. Make sure to walk BACKWARDS into the water with them on or you’ll tip head over heels!

Our weather was a consistent 77F and sunny. It is SO easy to burn in Hawaii. The weather in late April was incredibly perfect and it was tempting to get a bit of a tan but don’t chance it. The sunscreen is a must if you don’t want to spend a week in paradise in pain. I used a ton of it, and don’t bother bringing it from the mainland as it has to be reef-safe. It’s for sale absolutely everywhere and many of the hotels have dispensers right as you leave the sidewalk for the beach. The Whaler didn’t provide it but there was plenty for purchase!

We spent most of the first day playing in the waves on the beach. The water is a really warm 75 degrees and it was quite a shock to this northern fish! It’s also fantastically clear and an uncanny aqua blue. For someone used to fresh water, I was shocked by how buoyant I was! It’s hard to dive down without bouncing back to the top, and there’s rather a lot to look at down there!!

I hope you enjoy our picks for a fantastic Maui Snorkeling Guide!

1. Black Rock

This local favorite became one of our favorites too! Due to some showers in the afternoon forecast, we spent morning on the beach at the Whaler to take advantage of the sunshine, and it’s only a short walk from there up the coast to the snorkel spot at Black Rock. This is very popular but sometimes visibility is down due to a lot of wave action. It’s very important to stay within the rocky point of Black Rock as there is a very strong current that can sweep you out quickly just beyond it. The waves into the shore rocks are pretty strong, so use caution while exploring this great stop on our Maui snorkeling guide!

Snorkeling here is unique and amazing. Bright fish and schools flock this area near the rocks and there’s a lot to see. Turtles love this spot, and I swam beside a huge male who calmly turned his head and looked at me with mild curiosity.

Turtles are very protected and it’s required to give them space and not crowd them, but they are also generally pretty unfussed by sharing the sea with humans. Once in awhile they will accidentally swim right into you in a “scuse me pardon me” sort of moment, so don’t panic if they do. They are HUGE, weighing hundreds of pounds, and a pure gentle miracle of creation.

2. Honuloa Bay

We drove up just north of the village of Kapalua to a small cove known for beautiful snorkeling. It was my first experience and I nearly hyperventilated at my first sight of Pretty Fishies. We walked about half a mile through a jaw-dropping jungle populated by—not kidding—wild chickens. The chickens have totally taken over the beach and will poach your food so mounting a Chicken Guard with one of your party isn’t a bad idea.

The rocky beach is a little challenging to enter with fins, and you really DO need them. The waves aren’t high here, but remember to walk backwards until you can start swimming. One of the party scraped feet on the exit and it was pretty painful. Make sure the non-swimmers have plenty of flotation here (we recommend a boogie board to hold onto) because things can get a bit rougher. Avoid getting too close to the rocky sides of the cove, but just a little out from there is pretty magical.

Honolua was a fantastic snorkel experience, with great visibility and very diverse wildlife darting in and out of the gorgeous corals. I had a wonderful time diving to the corals with my GoPro chasing fish I’ve only ever seen in aquariums. Maui hack: to dive with a snorkel, make sure to point your head straight down until your fins are underwater, and kick down hard. Otherwise you pop right back up like a bobber. Remember to blow out and clear the tube!! This is a slightly more advanced location than the snorkel tour boats on our Maui snorkeling guide, but with general caution it’s a life-changing memorable destination.


Pride of Maui Snorkel Tour

Snorkel Tour with Pride of Maui to Molokini Crater and Turtle Town was an absolutely epic adventure which we cannot recommend highly enough. We thought it was one of the best snorkel tours to see some beautiful coral reefs. This tour makes up two stops on our best Maui snorkeling guide.

Non swimmers, strong swimmers, old, and young, beginner snorkelers and experienced, all had fun on this well-run tour. They are well stocked with gear from flotation to snorkel to wetsuits, and even—for the adventurous—a Snuba Tour, which is a cross between snorkel and scuba in which you are attached to an air hose in a group and can go down about 12 ft (added $68 cost).

The basic tour is $198 and we didn’t regret any of it. WOW. The staff took good care of everyone and made sure it was a smooth and memorable experience. From continental breakfast to outstanding snorkeling at two amazing locations to grilled lunch on the boat and an open bar after, it was a wonderful way to experience the underwater world of Maui in a very safe and happy way.

3. Molokini Crater

The first stop with our Pride of Maui Tour was Molokini Crater. This is a big rock crescent of a dormant volcano in the middle of the ocean which has a most beautiful coral reef and crystal clear water. Conditions in the sheltering crater are very protected from waves and the crew defined a very safe spot for everyone to go out. It’s a hugely popular place to find all the colorful tropical fish, and visibility is spectacular. This spot wins for visibility in our Maui snorkeling guide.

Molokini Crater from the air

Decks and ladders on the boat made it really easy to go in and out in fins and snorkel gear, and we spent a relaxing hour cruising around the blue blue water and spying on the Secret Life of Fishies. There is such huge variety and at one point I found myself spiraling in a tornado of velvety black and white fish in a turquoise setting, definitely a surreal moment.

Tropical fish at Molokini Crater, one of the favorites in our Maui Snorkeling Guide

4. Turtle Town

Turtle Town is a popular spot to see the famous Hawaiian Sea Turtles and most of the tour got to see two incredible sea turtles just cruising around the rocks and coral. Other highlights were the towers of rocks covered with brilliant coral and populated like a high-rise apartment with all kinds of ocean dwellers from fish to urchins. It was tremendous fun to dive down and see them up close on our last stop on the Maui snorkeling guide.

Bonus!!!!! Late April is the very very end of the whale watching season but we had an incredibly rare sighting of a humpback whale and her calf doing a slow and synchronized dance to show off for us. It was pure delight.

We hope you enjoyed our favorite spots on the Maui Snorkeling Guide!! It’s such a gorgeous and magical and perfectly amazing place and we can’t wait to go back!

For some great Maui food adventures, check out our article on the best local places to eat in Maui! https://foodieontheroad.com/local-places-to-eat-in-maui-hawaii/

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