Situated at the north of the island of Maui, this spot is particularly well adapted to beginners. The water is not deep (3 to 8 feet), visibility is excellent, and the surface of the water is generally calm. It is also an ideal place to take close-up photos of a large number of fish, but the seabed is limited to rocky coastal benches with little coral.
You reach Napili Bay from Napili Kai Beach Resort, where a parking lot is available to visitors (often full, so visitors park along the roads) with free access to the beach. From Kahului or Lahaina, take the road north towards Kapalua. Leave the main road and head for the beaches (Kapalua beach) where Napili Kai Beach Resort is then well signposted. Once you have parked, you continue on foot to the beach about 100 yards away, passing through a hotel complex.
The area to explore is at the north of the beach, along the rocky point enclosing the bay. You should be able to see the rocks emerging from the surface of the water less than 30 yards from the beach. This is the most interesting area. Enter the water opposite this point.
When you leave the beach and move along the coast, you will first cross sandy seabeds before arriving at the rocky areas (↕3-7ft/1-2m).
Your visit will be limited to swimming over the rocky coastal benches, on which only a little coral has taken up residence. Many fish swim in this area, pushed to and fro by the waves. Longnose butterflyfish and several other varieties of butterflyfish, as well as the highly colorful fantail filefish are always ready to have their photo taken, which is made easier by the clarity and luminosity of the water. Different varieties of sea urchin (including the bright red pencil urchin) also inhabit the depths.
Beginners will enjoy the spot, since it is well protected from the waves and fairly shallow.
There are several restaurants near the beach, but don’t expect to enjoy a discount meal at this spot. Water is available nearby. Don’t hesitate to take your own picnic.
Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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