Monday, June 13, 2016

The Top Maui Snorkel Spots

There’s a myriad of options when it comes to recreational activities on Maui: parasailing, helicopter tours, hiking and surfing. For this week’s Maui Monday post, however, we’re taking a trip under the sea and diving into some of the Valley Isle’s best snorkeling spots!

1. Molokini Crater

This ancient volcano crater half submerged off the southern coast of the island offers an intimate glimpse into the majestic ocean ecosystem. The islet offers a large area to explore with a dense population of fish, sea turtles and coral at depths of 40 feet. Unless you’re an Olympic athlete, you’ll need a boat to make the 2.5 mile trip out to the crater.

2. Turtle Town

Conservation efforts in the region have caused the green sea turtle population in this patch of ocean to balloon. Between nine and a dozen nesting females are found on the island each season. About a half mile off the southern shore, toward Molokini, you’ll find Turtle Town. It is a relatively small area for snorkeling with depths down to 30 feet.

3. Honolua Bay

Rocky Honolua Bay just off the northwest coast of Maui boasts a large population of tropical fish. The surrounding scenery is also worth the trip north of Lahaina Town. It’s a large, popular spot with depths of 30 feet.

4. Coral Gardens

Head to the sandy shores of West Maui to do some snorkeling at Coral Gardens. Fans of the underwater flora should prioritize this location. The shallow depths of 12 feet or less make it a perfect spot for novice snorkelers.

5. Black Rock

One of the more easily accessed spots in this list, Black Rock sits on the sandy shores of West Maui’s resort corridor. You’ll find as many tourists as fish, but the plethora of nearby human watering holes make this a fun place for some snorkeling and afternoon Mai Tais.

6. Five Caves

More than 2 miles off the shoreline, just north of Turtle Town, Five Caves is a spot for the more experienced snorkelers due largely to the variable ocean conditions. The extra effort, however, is more than worth it. Intrepid sea goers will be rewarded with countless marine life, including sea turtles and reef sharks.

7. Kapalua Bay

Kapalua Bay is perfect for the family on vacation on Maui. It’s a large area with depths down to only about 20 feet. Peaceful waters and sandy beach make it a popular spot for picnics and sunny beach lazing.

8. Napili Bay

One of Maui’s best kept secrets, this beautiful location is the crown jewel of the sleepy seaside town nestled on its shores. Some coral and a large number of fish make these peaceful waters a deceptively exciting spot for novice snorkeling.

9. Ahihi Kinau

Believed to be one of the most delicate and youngest eco-reef zones, this nature reserve is brimming with aquatic life. Frolic with sea turtles and tropical fish aplenty. The shoreline is rocky, but the shallow waters make for easy-going snorkeling.

10. Ulua Beach

Avoid the crowded tourism districts and head to this peaceful reprieve just to the south of the resorts. The area features ample parking and restrooms, a convenient bonus. When the water is clear and calm, you’ll get plenty of opportunity to spy the state fish of Hawaii, the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

Be sure to come prepared when embarking on any snorkeling excursion. Never snorkel alone and double check local regulations regarding beach and ocean use. You wouldn’t want to disturb sea turtle nests. Did we miss any snorkeling spots? Add your favorites to the list in the comments section, and follow us on social media for more travel tips and Maui highlights.

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