Ahihi Kinau

This small reserve, on the south-west coast of Maui, covers lava flows and surrounding sea beds. Fishing is forbidden, and the site is rich in fish. Its rich, colourful coral beds, visited by hundreds of tang swimming through the crystal-clear waters, make it one of the finest snorkeling spots in Maui.
How to get there

From Kahului or Makena, head south until you reach route 31 in Kihei. From there, continue south for about 12 miles (20km). The spot is a few hundred yards after the entrance to the reserve (Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve), which is well signposted. Park in the fenced car park which you will see on your right, and where some portacabins have been set up. Once parked, you can continue on foot along the small rocky path to the beach, about a hundred yards lower down.

Feel free to combine your visit to this spot with a trip to Maluaka (Turtle Town), less than 2.5 miles (4km) away.

Water entrance

Once you reach the sea, you will find yourself facing a small bay with generally calm waters. You enter the water from a short promontory of black rocks that can be clearly seen from the beach. Only enter the water where the sign with a yellow fish is located. Sit down on the rocks and jump into the water, taking care not to hurt yourself. Make a mental note of this spot to make it easier to get out of the water later (often acrobatically).

Ahihi Kinau is a protected area. Do not wear any chemical based sunscreen. Only use zinc oxide or titanium oxide sunscreens, or better still, wear a rashguard shirt.

Aerial view


The snorkeling area extends for a width of 200 yards along the beach. As soon as you are in the water, you will find the water level is high (↕7-14ft/2-4m).

In all the snorkeling area, you will see impressive coral formations. Multi-coloured coral (acropora, etc.) cover the often abrupt volcanic rocks. Everywhere, sea urchins (including the spectacular red pencil urchins) have made a home in the crevices.

Snorkeling Report Ahihi Kinau Maui Hawaii
Coral reef at Ahihi Kinau

Swim across the area following one of the many shoals of yellow tang and Indo-Pacific sergeants slipping through the rocks. Among the most colourful species in this spot, you are likely to come across Hawaiian cleaner wrasse, several species of butterflyfish and green birdmouth wrasse, with their characteristic "beak". You may see some green sea turtles, but to increase your chances, you should opt for the Turtle Town spot, a stone's throw away.

Although relatively isolated, this spot is very popular at certain times of year. The volcanic rocks are very sharp, so avoid putting your hands or feet on them, and stay away from the rocks altogether if the sea is rough.

Restaurants and accommodation

Ahihi Kinau is a natural site and has no restaurants. Take along at least some snacks and drinks.

Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.

Spot’s weather forecasts (°C)

Spot tips

  • Type of spot
  • Level of difficulty
    Intermediary level
  • Maximum depth
    20ft (6m)
  • Water entrance
    A little complicated, from lava rocks
  • Potential Dangers
    Shark attack on a snorkeler in 2015
  • Lifeguard
  • Visitor numbers
  • Access costs
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Public toilets & showers

Spot map

Spot photos

Underwater spot photos