Why is Maui snorkeling such a favorite vacation activity? Because it's so easy - if you can float, you can snorkel.
This page will help you make your most important decision - do you want to take yourself to one of the free Maui snorkeling beaches, or pay for a Maui snorkeling tour on a boat?
We like both - we book one snorkeling trip and usually visit a couple snorkeling beaches each time we visit Maui.
Maui Snorkeling Trips
In comparison to beach snorkeling, Maui snorkeling trips combine snorkeling with the fun of sailing or motoring on the ocean as well as upclose viewing of ocean creatures such as dolphins and, in season, humpback whales. Snorkeling tours are also a relatively inexpensive Maui activity, especially since they usually last from a half day to most of a day. Check the following when selecting your snorkeling trip:
• Where you depart - usually Lahaina Harbor, Kaanapali beach, Mala Wharf, or Maalaea Harbor
• How long you are out on the ocean - anywhere from two hours to all day
• Type of boat - large motorized boats or smaller sailing catamarans
• Snorkel destination - most common destinations are Honolua Bay or Lanai island from Lahaina and Kaanapali; and Molokini island from Maalaea.
• Cost - general rule: as the boat gets larger and carries more passengers, the price gets lower. Sometimes kids are free.
• Onboard meals - some boats offer burgers and hot dogs, while other boats offer more upscale fare
• Other activites - such as watching whales, dolphins, and sea turtles.
Several types of smaller boats, such as catamarans and power rafts, also offer snorkeling trips out of Lahaina Harbor, Kaanapali beach, and Maalaea Harbor. Catamaran sailboats motor right onto Kaanapali beach.
Consider what else you get to do (such as watching whales or sailing), cost differences between the different Maui snorkeling tours, how easy it is to find your own snorkeling beaches, and how much of a crowd is around you on the snorkeling boat or snorkeling beach.
Beach snorkeling in Maui doesn't cost much. For us, beach snorkeling is free because we bring our masks and snorkels from home, and skip swim fins and wet suits. There are many Maui dive shops where you can rent or purchase snorkel gear.
Although there are lots of Maui beaches, not all of them have the right conditions for snorkeling.