Snorkeling is among the most popular outdoor activities in Maui for many good reasons. With an average temperature of between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, snorkelers can explore the ecosystem underneath the ocean surface all year round. Nicknamed, the Valley Isle, the pristine blue water off its shores offers many top snorkeling spots in Maui Hawaii.
The best spots to snorkel in this region are off the west and south facing shores. This is because these areas are sheltered from trade winds that blow from the northeast all year round. This means the water here is perpetually calm and clear making for ideal snorkeling conditions.
Molokini is only accessible by tour boat and is an ancient volcano that rises from the sea approximately three miles out from the southwest coast. The waters in the Alalakeiki Channel have eroded the northern rim of the tiny island of Molokini giving it is trademark crescent shape. The water here is clearer than anywhere else in this region with visibility of more than 100 feet, and at certain times of the year more than 200 feet.
The inner portion of this natural crater is protected from ocean swells making this a great location to take the whole family. The best place to snorkel is close to the shoreline. The shallow waters in this area allow sunlight to reach the bottom. Observant snorkelers have a chance to spot a variety of saltwater fish, whale sharks, Hawaiian monk seals, and humpback whales.
Picturesque Kapalua Bay is on the northwest side of Maui. The sheltered beach leads to a C-shaped cove with reefs extending out from both ends. When the weather is windy, the water at the center of the bay will be slightly cloudy. Swimming along the rocky edge at the north end of this beach allows for better visibility and a better opportunity to see more fish.
Turtle Town stretches out between Black Sand Beach and Nahuna Point in the southern area of Makena. This area is named for the abundance of green sea turtles inhabiting the water. Maluaka Beach lies in the shadow of Haleakala mountain, which offers it protection from the trade winds. The calm waters here make snorkeling simple and relaxed. The coral reef begins at the south end and the gentle slope makes it easy for anyone to find a comfortable swimming depth.
Honolua Bay is a designated Marine Life Conservation District meaning no fishing is allowed in this area. The result is the biggest diversity and density of sealife anywhere off the island. The water here is calm thanks to the rocky cliffs sheltering both sides from the wind. Water in the middle of this bay is between 15 and 20 feet deep with a white sandy bottom.
The pristine waters around Maui make for some of the best snorkeling adventures in the Hawaiian Islands. As beautiful as the weather is most of the time, snorkelers should remember that the weather in this region is quite unpredictable. Visitors should always take environmental and weather conditions into consideration when planning a snorkeling trip.