Aerial view of Molokini Crater off the coast of Maui.

Tips for Visiting Molokini Crater

A visit to Molokini Crater can be the best underwater experience you have in Maui… but if you’re not prepared, it could be disappointing, too. If you’re planning a trip to Molokini, here are the most important facts to keep in mind.

A kayak launches in the water in Makena Landing.

South Maui Kayaking and Canoe Paddling Tours

There’s a lot to take into consideration when choosing a kayaking or paddling tour: the best areas, local weather patterns, outfitters, tour length, and more. Our expert authors are here with everything you need to know to pick the best tour for you, including this key tip: don’t let the food be a deciding factor.

The northernmost beach in Kihei where you would want to snorkel is Charley Young beach, which is also known as the north end of Kamaole I.

Snorkeling in Kihei, Maui

Here’s everything you need to know about snorkeling in Kihei, including where and when to go, what you’ll sight, rental shops and outfitters, and which boat tours that focus on sightseeing and snorkeling.

Early mornings are the best time for snorkeling in La Perouse Bay.

Snorkeling South Maui: Makena and Beyond

Makena offers some of the south side’s best snorkeling, but sometimes the entry and exit points can be a little challenging. There are a few spots suitable for beginners, as well as a few hard-to-reach gems. Here’s where to go, what you’ll see, and seasonal tips.

Another nice shore dive is the Ahihi Kinau cove.

Dive Sites in Makena and Beyond

In addition to being one of the best shore dives in Makena, Nahuna/Makena Landing/5 Caves/5 Graves also takes the cake as the spot with the greatest number of names. Another nice shore dive is the Ahihi Kinau cove. Since this cove is protected from the wind, it offers pristine diving conditions as long as the surf isn’t up.

Of all the beaches in Wailea, the best for a morning shore dive is the point at Ulua Beach.

Wailea Dive Sites and Rentals

Wailea offers shore dives with shallow depths perfect for novices, with entry points that are sandy and easy. Expect to see a number of Hawaiian green sea turtles along with healthy coral formations, endemic reef fish, and perhaps a rare spotted eagle ray or spiny lobster.

Aerial view of Molokini Crater off the coast of Maui.

Snorkeling Charters from Ma‘alaea Bay

If you want to snorkel the amazing underwater world of Molokini Crater, you’ll need to charter a boat from Ma‘alaea Bay. You’ll have plenty of choice in your experience, from low to high-priced trips, snorkeling or snuba, sailing or power catamarans, and excursions that incorporate other good snorkeling sites.

Kamaole III Beach is home to ‘u‘au kani (wedge-tailed shearwaters).

Bird-Watching in South Maui

If there were a bird to be associated with South Maui it would be the Pacific golden plover, or kolea. For the opportunity to sight this migratory bird and other native species, there are a few locales to check out, some well-known and one often overlooked gem.