There are plenty of fun and entertaining things to do while vacationing on Maui, but you really should carve out at least one day to do some snorkeling. How often do you get the chance to put your head in the ocean and explore all the underwater creatures? Hawaii is also home to a wide assortment of species found nowhere else on the planet. Here is our list of top snorkeling spots around the island.
Molokini: The crescent moon shaped island located off of Maui’s south shore is arguably the most popular snorkeling destination on the island. Most boat excursions will motor out to the island in the early morning when the winds are at their stillest. Sometimes the waves and winds are too strong to make the boat trip out to Molokini, but if this happens the boat captains always find an alternate spot that is just as great.
Old Airport Beach (Kahekili Beach): This spot is perfect for anyone vacationing on the west side of the island (Kaanapali or Lahaina). Located right next to the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, this beach has some of the best coral formations on Maui. Jump in the water and swim no more than 10 to 15 yards off shore and you will start to see the colorful coral. Then you can just float along the coastline exploring all the underwater treasures.
Ulua Beach: This sandy beach in Wailea has been hosting scuba diving certification classes for decades. The great thing is that you don’t really need dive equipment to enjoy the views at this beach. Head out in the morning (8 or 9 am) and the waters will most likely be crystal clear. You will probably be joined by other snorkelers and scuba classes, but it is always fun listening to what other swimmers saw out in the water once you are back on the sand.
Ahihi Kinau Natural Reserve: This memorable spot is a little hard to give directions to. Drive past Big Beach (Makena State Park) and keep heading south toward Le Parouse Bay. You will pass a little cove where you may see some people snorkeling. About 400 meters past the cove you will see a big metal yellow gate and gravel parking lot on the right (there is a research trailer also in the parking lot). Park the car and walk through the black lava field down to the coastline. What this snorkel spot lacks in coral formations, it makes up for in quantity of marine life. Swim among large schools of fish, watch yellow tang weave in and out of rocks, and keep an eye out for lobsters!
You really can’t go wrong at any of these snorkeling options. If you are staying in one of our condos, be sure to check the closet to see if there is any snorkeling equipment provided by the owner. Otherwise, you can rent snorkel equipment (mask, fins, etc.) from places like Maui Dive Shop or Snorkel Bobs for very reasonable prices. Have fun in the water!
[Image source: Flickr user gshowman]