The 3 Best Snorkel Tours in Maui

Nick A., Senior Traveler, US

10 July 2017

Have you ever thought about booking a snorkeling tour in Maui before?  I’m sure, if you’re like me, you’ve seen offers of holiday destinations to die for …

Watch the sun rise in the horizon, as you stare out into the clear blue ocean … see the gentle waves pass by as the boat goes further out into the water – and so on …

But is it all up to the promises?

The reality may not have been quite what you were told. So you look at everything with a cynical eye. And this was a bit of a problem when we wanted to write about Maui.

You see, Maui is one of the eight islands that make up the Hawaiian islands in the North pacific Ocean.

Here, you really can watch the sun rise in the horizon, as you stare out into the clear blue ocean … watching the gentle waves pass by as the boat carries you further out into the water.

With some of the best beaches in the world and amazingly clear water, holiday goers do say Maui offers some of the best destinations and snorkelling trips to die for.

Anyone who’s ever been will tell you they had so much fun they can’t wait to go back.

That’s all well and good, but it’s not easy to convince you unless we can drag you out here to see for yourself.

So let me tell you about our pick of the top three best snorkeling tours that make Maui so amazing. As you’ll see, the videos aren’t just shot anywhere – they’re all on location, the spots where you’ll actually go to.

Have you been to or heard of Molokini?

If this is your first trip to Maui – or even if you’ve already visited the other snorkeling hotspots of Maui, believe me, Molokini is going to stun you. In fact, even if you go to other snorkeling tours after you’ve been here, you might even be disappointed.

Most people consider it the best of all the snorkeling tours in Maui. A true paradise on earth.

Shaped like a half moon, Molokini is a volcanic crater that’s part submerged into the ocean. It’s actually an islet, which means it’s not small enough to be a rock, nor is it large enough for people to live on.But the beauty doesn’t stop at the surface. Under the gentle waves the water is teeming with wild-life, much of it still undiscovered to us. In fact, it’s estimated that about 90% of it still hasn’t been given a name.

The water is crystal clear – the clearest in all of Hawaii – which means you get to see it first-hand. Not to mention the coral reefs, which are among the most stunning you’ll see anywhere.

And the best time to see all this is early in the morning. But don’t worry if you’re a late sleeper because it’s worth it. In fact, some people will tell you it’s the only reason they’ll ever get up so early.

Anyway, you can always catch some extra shut-eye on the boat ride there.

With the Pacific Whale Foundation you get to travel on a 54′ single deck catamaran. Which means that, with a group of no more than 38 people on-board, there’s plenty of space for everyone.

“Ideal for snorkelers and divers of varying experience! The Molokini underwater landscape is simply stunning – even well-traveled guests were in awe.” – Aaron H.

Your trip includes:

Certified Marine Naturalists as your tour guide to educate you about things you’ll see:

In case you don’t know what that is, a Certified Marine Naturalist knows everything about geology, geography, natural history, ecology, culture, and all aspects of marine life. And by the end of the tour, you’ll know a lot about those things, too.

And there’s a class for kids, too. Let’s face it, adult classes can be so boring with all those big words. Right kids?

Premium snorkel gear, including optical masks for eyeglass wearers:

Believe me, premium quality makes all the difference. This way you know the fit will be perfect for you, so you go about without having to worry about anything not feeling quite right. And the optical masks ensure you can keep your glasses on, if you wear any, without any hindrance to your vision while underwater.

Flotation devices, snorkel instruction, fish identifying class:

Flotation devices make it easier to swim along without getting tired. especially if you’ve been underwater for a while. And once you’ve got all the instructions and learned the names of the fishes – in case you want to say hello – there’ll be no stopping you.

Two snorkel sites:
As if one site isn’t enough, you get two on this trip. So no chance of running out of things to see – as if.

Plus you get all the following:

Reef-safe sunscreen and filtered water available on-board.
Full-color marine wildlife poster.

Continental breakfast: bagels and cream cheese, assorted pastries, fruit platter – make sure you eat well. You’ll need the energy for all the snorkelling you’ll be doing.

Lunch: Grilled Chicken Wrap with spinach, tomato, carrots and cucumber (with condiments), Potato Mac Salad, Corn and Bean Salad and chocolate chip cookies for dessert

Refreshments: Unlimited soda and juice, plus one complimentary alcoholic beverage including Maui Brewing Co. beer, and wine for adults 21+ with valid picture ID (additional adult beverages and refills available for purchase)

And don’t worry if you don’t have a wetsuit, underwater camera or binoculars: you can rent them all from us at a very reasonable price.

When they leave: 7:30am each day

How long will the trip be: About 6 hours

When to check in: One hour before we leave

Where to check in: Pacific Whale Foundation Ocean Store, Ma’alaea Harbor Shops, next to Maui Ocean Center

This tour usually fills up fast, so we suggest booking at least a couple days in advance.  To make a reservation go here.

A word of warning:

This is quite a demanding adventure so you need to be able to swim and be in good health. If you’re pregnant, have heart problems, or problems with your back, neck or knees, this won’t be suitable for you.

No children under 7 allowed. Sorry, this is for your own safety.

  • 6 Hour Tour
  • Certified Marine Naturalists as your tour guide to educate you about things you’ll see
  • Premium snorkel gear and instruction including optical masks for eyeglass wearers
  • Flotation devices
  • Available wetsuit, underwater camera or binoculars for rental
  • Two snorkel sites
  • Continental breakfast provided
  • Lunch included
  • Unlimited soda and juice, plus one complimentary alcoholic beverage for those 21 and older with valid photo ID
  • Onboard Jr. Naturalist Program for kids
  • Reef-safe sunscreen and filtered water available onboard
  • Children must be a minimum of 8 years of age
  • Not recommended for guests who are pregnant, have heart problems, or problems with your back, neck or knees
  • Non-swimmers are not allowed in the water on this tour

When you go to see Maui with West Maui Snorkel, the adventure starts before you get there.

Check in at the easy to find location at The Whaler’s Village Shopping Center where the Sea Maui is the only boat with a physical location right on the beach. Called “Ocean Activities”, you can find their booth along the beach walk at Whaler’s Village between Leilani’s restaurant and The Westin resort.

If that’s not enough, they also have free parking validation, which means you get to save at least $20, if not more.

Once you’ve sorted out your parking and boarded the Sea Maui, also known as Ka’anapali’s “Fun boat” by the locals, you get to savor the mouth-watering food prepared by the famous Chef Joey Macadangdag of Joey’s Kitchen & Roy’s International.Got food allergy or special dietary needs? Maybe you need a vegetarian, vegan, low cholesterol or low salt diet?

Don’t worry. Give them just 24-hours notice and they’ll make sure there’s something for you.

Got everything you want?

Sit back, relax as you eat and watch the sea life, including dolphins. You’ve got a 360-degrees, unrestricted view, so make the most of it. If you’re lucky and it’s the right season, you might even get to see whales.

There’s plenty more to do onboard, of course, but that’s not why you’re there. The real fun starts when you get to your destination.

That starts when you walk – or jump – into the clear turquoise water of Lanai and West Maui.

In these two amazing snorkel locations you’ll see, first hand, the beautiful tropical fish, the famous turtles of Maui and of course, the coral reef.

But words simply can’t do justice to actually being there. You have to go and see for yourself (link).

Maybe you’re not an early riser and prefer to sleep in a little longer. I mean, why endure all that exhausting additional fun stuff, right? Well, you can go with the Mala Xpress. Just jump in and snorkel right there on Ka’anapali beach.

Want more?

Here are the extras, included in the price of course:

  1. Service that’s second to none, and certified naturalists for whale watchers, assuming it’s the right season.
  2. Certified lifeguards and CPR administrators – just in case.
  3. You get all the free juice, water, Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and lemonade on all sails.
  4. You get to use their masks, snorkels, fins, and floatation vests and/or pool noodles – all high-end products. (If you need prescription masks, you can rent one at

There are open bars on most sails (Cash bar on Mala Xpress).

If you prefer privacy, you can charter a private boat from them.If you’d like photo packages, you can buy them at preferable rates.

This is truly a great tour, giving you everything you need from start to finish.  Plus, at only $119, this tour is hard to pass up.  If you’re ready to get your underwater adventure kickstarted, you can book a reservation here.

  • 4.5 hour tour
  • Two snorkel locations
  • Mouth-watering food prepared by the famous Chef Joey Macadangdag of Joey’s Kitchen & Roy’s International
  • Options if you have food allergy or special dietary needs (24 hours notice)
  • You can charter a private boat from them if you prefer privacy
  • Breakfast, lunch, & open premium bar included
  • HD cameras to capture adventure throughout the trip
  • Free parking with validation
  • Certified naturalists for whale watchers, assuming it’s the right season.
  • Crew members are Certified lifeguards and CPR administrators
  • Beverages available including Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, lemonade, juice, and water
  • You get to use their masks, snorkels, fins, and floatation vests and/or pool noodles – all high-end products.
  • HD cameras on board will capture moments of the trip
  • Not available Tuesdays or Fridays
  • Video of experience available at additional cost
  • Sites visited will be determined by weather each day

The Hawaiian green sea turtle is an endangered species. Not only are you not allowed to catch them, you can’t even touch them.

But, on a Makena Turtle Town Eco Kayak Adventure you can snorkel alongside them in beautiful, crystal clear, turquoise water.

Kayak along the waters of South Maui to Makena Turtle Town and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing. They guarantee it.You may even see Manta & Eagle Rays, octopuses, eels and dolphins. And – if you happen to be there during the right season – whales.
Got kids over 5 years of age? Take them along with you. Make it a family outing. They’ll love it.

“The perfect day on the water for our first time snorkeling! We saw turtles and all kinds of beautiful fish.”

What’s included?

Two snorkel sites, all the kayaking and snorkel gear you’ll need, life jackets, a light snack and a bottle of water. And, of course, a guide to tell you what’s what.

Groups are small. Usually up to 8 people or less. So, you have the tour guide all to yourselves instead of having to wait in queue to get your questions answered.

Pleased with the tour guide? Go ahead and tip them if you want to.

As a cherry on top, the Turtle Town Eco Kayak Adventure was voted Maui’s favorite turtle tour…so, what are you waiting for? Book this awesome tour today here.

  • 3 hour tour
  • 1.5 to 2 hours of paddling and 45 – 60 minutes of snorkeling time
  • Small groups (up to 8 guests)
  • May see Manta & Eagle Rays, octopuses, eels and dolphin
  • Can see dozens of vibrant tropical species of fish
  • Guaranteed to see the Hawaiian Green sea turtle and snorkel with them
  • Kayak gear, Life jackets, and Snorkel gear included
  • Light snack and a bottled water are included
  • Not allowed to get too close or to touch the Hawaiian green sea turtle since it is an endangered species
  • Not guaranteed to see Whales (Seasonal from November through March)
  • Children must be 5 years or older to participate

“Decided to try this during our honeymoon – it was so amazing.”

Why a snorkeling tour in Maui is a must for any vacationer

Not everyone’s the same of course. So, as well as snorkeling, each of these destinations has a huge range of other activities. More than enough for one, two or even three weeks of holiday.

So, if you get bored easily and need constant change, you’ll always find something different to excite you.

Of course, there are plenty of snorkeling tours in Maui, but what makes these three special? What makes them my choice?

I really can’t tell you just how glorious they all are. They’re my personal favorites.

Whether you want to do one or all three, they really are unforgettable experiences. And, as I keep saying, it really isn’t easy to convince you unless I can drag you out there to see for yourself!

So why not click one of the above links and give yourself a treat – while it’s fresh in your mind? And even if you’re not ready to go on holiday soon, believe me, it’s well worth bookmarking this site and keeping these three places in mind.

Who knows? You might even see me when you get there, because I’m certainly going back again. and again.

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