Napili Bay

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.
How to get there?

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.

Water entrance

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.

Aerial view


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.

Snorkeling Report Napili Bay Maui Hawaii
Longnose butterflyfish at Napili Bay

Beginners will enjoy the spot, since it is well protected from the waves and fairly shallow.

Restaurants & accommodation

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 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
  • Maximum depth
    8ft (2.5m)
  • Water entrance
    Easy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential Dangers
    Usual precautions
  • Lifeguard
  • Visitor numbers
  • Access costs
  • Restaurants nearby
    Yes, moderately expensive
  • Public toilets & showers

Spot map

Spot photos

Underwater spot photos

Species you may spot while snorkeling Napili Bay

Common name Scientific name Abundance Fishbase Wikipedia
Millet butterflyfish
Chaetodon miliaris
Pebbled butterflyfish
Chaetodon multicinctus
Fourspot butterflyfish
Chaetodon quadrimaculatus
Moorish idol
Zanclus cornutus
Yellow longnose butterflyfish
Forcipiger flavissimus
Lagoon triggerfish
Rhinecanthus aculeatus
Reef triggerfish
Rhinecanthus rectangulus
Fantail filefish
Pervagor spilosoma
Barred filefish
Cantherhines dumerilii
Bluefin trevally
Caranx melampygus
Saddle wrasse
Thalassoma duperrey
Manybar goatfish
Parupeneus multifasciatus
Red pencil urchin
Heterocentrotus mamillatus
Double spined urchin
Echinothrix calamaris
Spider-eye puffer
Canthigaster amboinensis
Show all species
You encountered a specie at this spot that is not listed here?