When was the last time you had a snorkel adventure inside of a sunken Hawaiian volcano, or enjoyed a freshly cooked BBQ lunch on the deck of a sailing catamaran? Thanks to its calm, crystal clear waters, bright coral reef, and 250-plus species of tropical fish, Molokini Crater is the most popular spot for snorkeling tours on Maui. Spend a day on a snorkeling tour as you explore the protected marine preserve and come face to face with some of Hawaii's most colorful marine life.
Travelers can spend time swimming, snorkeling, and diving at the crescent-shaped caldera, where ocean depths range from 10 to 60 feet. All trips include snorkel gear as well as a scenic boat ride, and the chance to splash in the clear blue water at one of Maui's best snorkel sites. Sail and snorkel adventures generally last about five hours and offer roundtrip transportation from hotels in Lahaina and Makena. Some Molokini snorkeling tours also offer scuba diving for certified divers.
- Beat the crowds with an early Molokini tour.
- Be sure to bring sunscreen and a swimsuit.
- Snuba diving is available as an upgrade on many Molokini snorkeling tours.
- Private charters are available for personalized experiences.
How To Get There
Set off Maui's southern coastline, Molokini Crater is only accessible by boat, powerboat, or raft. Popular departure points include Maalaea Harbor and Kihei Boat Ramp. The Molokini snorkel tours that leave from Maalaea Harbor are on large, stable boats, whereas tours that leave from Kihei Boat Ramp are on small rafts that are faster and bumpier, shortening the overall travel distance.
When To Get There
Mornings offer the calmest conditions at this tropical caldera, and the earlier you get there the better. Tradewinds can be strong in summer, making for a thrilling ride back. Winter tends to have lighter winds, plus the added bonus of potentially spotting humpback whales.
Why Molokini Crater Offers the Best Snorkeling in Hawaii
Because Molokini is three miles offshore of Maui, you never know what you're going to find. Eagle rays, dolphins, and harmless reef sharks will frequently mingle with resident critters like parrotfish and octopus. In winter if you dive a few feet below water, or go on a scuba or snuba dive, the haunting song of humpback whales reverberates in the distance. Note that Hawaiian green sea turtles are rarely spotted at Molokini Crater, which is why many boats include a second snorkeling trip at "Turtle Town" off of Maui's southern coast.