Maui is particularly famous as a spot for observing green turtles, many of which take shelter on its coastline. While Turtle Town (Maluaka Beach) is the ideal spot for swimming with these fascinating animals, you can come across them in many other spots. The reefs of Maui are rich in fish, and figure among the most spectacular and the best preserved of the archipelago.

Snorkeling Maui
South of Kihei, Ahihi Kinau (left) and Turtle Town (right) are some of the most beautiful snorkel spots in Maui.

Most of the snorkeling spots in Maui are concentrated on the west coast of the island, where they are sheltered from the wind and the sea is especially calm. So, like on Big Island, you can explore reefs that are completely open on to the ocean (neither situated in a sheltered bay nor protected by a coral barrier), which is not really possible in Oahu or Kauai. Another feature that will delight snorkelers who are looking to relax is that access to the water is often from sandy beaches, which is not often the case in Hawaii.

Snorkeling Maui
Molokini Crater (left) is Maui’s most iconic snorkeling spot. Right: the rectangular triggerfish is the state fish of Hawaii (picture taken in Napili Bay).

For the absolute snorkeling must in Maui, you should set off for Molokini Crater, about 30 minutes from the island by boat. This former volcanic crater is partly submerged and particularly photogenic, and is the home of a magnificent coral reef.

When to go snorkeling Maui?

There are two main seasons in Hawaii. The summer, from May to October, is the warmest, driest and sunniest season (with an average of 80°F/26.5°C, and maximum temperatures of 85°F/29.5°C). This is the hurricane season, but they are rare in the North Pacific. In winter, from November to April, the weather is wetter and more changeable (intermittent tropical rains and sunny spells), and the air is cooler (an average of 75°F/24°C, with maximum temperatures of 78°F/25.5°C).

As so often in tropical islands, the windward coast of Maui (the west) is dryer and more sheltered. Most of the snorkeling spots are concentrated there. The water temperature can fall to 73°F/23°C in winter, and reach a peak of 84°F/29°C at the heart of the summer (June to September).

Variable, high waves in some areas
Warm and sunny

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