The 5 Best Maui Snorkeling Tours of 2023

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The Rundown

Best Molokini Crater Tour: Small-Group Molokini Snorkel

Small-Group Molokini Snorkel and Green Sea Turtle Adventure from Maui

The Molokini Crater—the crescent-shaped top edge of a long-extinct volcano off the western coast of Maui—is one of the world’s greatest snorkeling destinations. The shape of the old volcano crater creates a natural reef-filled lagoon, where the water is calm and clear and you can see hundreds of feet in each direction. This five-hour, small-group tour leaves at the crack of dawn from the Kihei Small Boat Ramp and zips passengers out to Molokini on a small, eco-friendly craft. Because of the early start time, participants are generally alone in the crater for their first snorkel. The boat makes three more snorkel stops, at the untouched back side of the Molokini Crater, at the dolphin-filled La Perouse Bay and at the aptly named Turtle Town. Light breakfast and lunch are served on board and snorkeling gear is provided.

Best South Side Tour: South Maui Kayak and Snorkel Tour with Turtles

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If you’re staying at one of the many resorts on Maui’s southern end, in the Wailea or Makena area, consider this small-group tour, which combines kayaking and snorkeling for a full morning of fun. The tour, which is appropriate for all levels of kayaker and snorkeler, leaves from Makena and explores the Turtle Town stretch of beach, known for its calm waters, teeming reefs and frequent visits by giant green sea turtles (sightings are guaranteed). Kayaks and snorkeling equipment are provided.

Best Maui-to-Lanai Tour: Lanai Island Dolphin and Snorkel Cruise From Maui

Lanai Island Dolphin and Snorkel Cruise from Maui

Departing from Lahaina harbor, this boat tour chugs across the short strait between Maui and the tiny island of Lanai. During the 45-minute crossing, guests dig into an island-style breakfast of pastries and fruit while watching for the dolphins and humpback whales that swim through these waters. Once at a coral reef-packed area of the untouched Lanai shoreline, the boat moors up and guests spend 2.5 hours swimming, snorkeling and even sliding down the boat’s onboard waterslide into the sparkling blue waters. On the ride back to the harbor, the crew breaks out the BBQ for a simple buffet lunch of burgers, hot dogs, salads and cookies. Post-snorkel cocktails are available, as well. Snorkeling equipment is provided.

Best Tour for Families: Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkeling Adventure

Molokini Crater
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If you have kids in tow, consider this tour, which specifically caters to all ages, providing all sizes of snorkeling equipment, plus flotation devices, instruction and even a lifeguard, so the whole family can relax and enjoy the breathtaking underwater views. The boat leaves early in the morning from the harbor at Ma’alaea and heads out to the spectacular Molokini Crater, where the whole family can enjoy swimming near turtles and hundreds of species of tropical fish. (Challenge your kids to spot Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a—or heck, just to say it!) The day’s second snorkeling stop is at either Turtle Town or, dependent on conditions, an area called Coral Gardens. At the end of the trip, enjoy a deli-style lunch while you cruise back to the harbor.

Best Eco Tour: Molokini Wild Side: Snorkel and Cruise from Maui

Molokini Wild Side: Snorkel And Cruise From Maui

A certified marine naturalist will be your tour guide on this freeform small-group eco-adventure that sails out of the Ma’alaea Harbor on a single-deck catamaran. The tour visits the inside of the Molokini Crater for a snorkel in its thriving reef and also swings around the less-visited backside of the crater’s wall, where your guide will point out seabirds and geological formations. Depending on conditions and seasonal migrations, the tour may also swing through La Pelouse Bay to search for spinner dolphins or humpback whales, Turtle Town for a snorkel with sea turtles, or a number of other sites for nature-spotting, above and below the water. A healthy continental breakfast and BBQ lunch with vegetarian options are provided, as are snorkeling gear and training.

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