Snorkeling from Beach or Boat in Maui
If you go on your own, you will save some money, compared to going out on a snorkel boat cruise. But be sure you are a good swimmer, check current ocean conditions, go with a buddy, and find out where it is safest to go. Most importantly, check in advance to learn where to see the most fish, coral, and turtles, that is close to the area of Maui where you are staying. The best source I have found for that information is a downloadable eBook called Maui Snorkeling Guide available at this link. When renting your snorkel gear, it is a lot less expensive to rent at Maui Dive Shop or Boss Frog's or Snorkel Bob's in local shopping strips, than to rent from the booths right on the beach or in front of the big hotels. For an even better deal, there's a Snorkel Store in Lahaina and Kaanapali that rents you good quality snorkel gear at good prices with a 2 for the price of 1 special, so see their website at The Snorkel Store. (You can even rent a snorkel mask with a built-in still and video camera there.)
If you would like help with your snorkeling, plus a boat ride and food, you can take a snorkel boat cruise. These boats may bring you to Maui beaches you might otherwise not find without reading the above-mentioned e-book, or take you out to the tiny island of Molokini where there are even more fish to see. Boats leave from Lahaina Harbor (west side) and Maalaea Harbor (closer to Kihei & Wailea). Some boats even leave from beaches in Kaanapali or Makena. For discount prices on many choices of snorkel boat cruises click on Maui snorkel boats discounts.
See below for a discussion of some of the companies offering snorkel boat cruises daily from Maui. Or click for more things to do on Maui.
Maui Snorkeling Boat Trips - Details and differences to help you decide
This is the oldest sailing company on Maui and was voted #1 in a Maui News readers poll. Trilogy is a first-class company. Their boats are modern 50-foot catamarans and they limit snorkel trips to 50 passengers or less. Rates are seldom discounted. The west side trips depart from Kaanapali Beach and the Molokini trips depart from Maalaea Harbor.
Trilogy information, prices, reservations
Pacific Whale Foundation
This company is best known for its winter whale watch cruises, but they also do snorkel trips to Molokini year-round. Snorkel trips depart from Maalaea Harbor. Most of their boats are two-level, double-hull, very modern, and larger than boats from other companies. Most of their boats can carry up to 140 passengers. The four different snorkel tours described in the four links below vary in length of trip and where they go to.
Pacific Whale Molokini & Turtle Arches info, discount prices, reservations
Pacific Whale Molokini & Lanai info, discount prices, reservations
Pacific Whale Molokini Express info, discount prices, reservations
Pacific Whale Lanai wild dolphin info, discount prices, reservations
This is a unique snorkel cruise offering extras that are not on the others, both in the type of boat and in the places it goes. Quicksilver is a 55-foot double-deck relatively new power catamaran with a waterslide and glass bottom. It departs from Maalaea harbor and goes to three places (weather permitting): Molokini Crater, Turtle Town, and the south coast of Maui for dolphin encounters. Trips include continental breakfast, mid-morning snack, and BBQ lunch. The usual trip time is 7:15 AM to 1 PM. The boat can take up to 114 passengers.
Quicksilver details, discount prices, menu, and reservations
This is the most luxurious snorkel boat. They have scuba as well as snorkeling on each cruise. The go to Honolua Bay Marine Sanctuary or similar locations, and include whale watching during the winter whale season. A unique feature of the Hula Girl is a full galley kitchen and chef that provides an ala carte menu and cooked to order food. There are freshly baked goods, surf & turf, fish entrees, and many other choices. There's also a full bar. They even have wi-fi onboard. Maximum 49 passengers. The usual tour time is 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM.
Hula Girl details, discount prices, and reservations
Maui Classic Charters
This company has two catamarans that both do daily snorkel trips departing from Maalaea Harbor. The Four Winds II is a 55-foot double-wide that takes 130 passengers, boasts the longest stay at Molokini of any of the tour boats, and even has a glass-bottom viewing room. The Maui Magic is a 54-foot single-wide faster boat that takes 45 passengers, and snorkels along the south Maui coast in addition to Molokini. Both boats offer the option of snuba, as well as snorkeling, on all tours.
Maui Classic Charters Four Winds details, discount prices, reservations
Maui Classic Charters Maui Magic details, discount prices, reservations
Gemini's 64-foot catamaran is slightly larger than Trilogy's. Maximum 49 passengers. Their snorkel trips depart from Kaanapali Beach and go to Honolua Bay, Olowalu, or other nearby areas off of West Maui. You can often find a discounted price by shopping from various activity sellers.
Gemini details, discount prices, or reservations
The Kai Kanani is a 65 foot luxury sailing catamaran with room for 80 guests. They're the only boat allowed to moor in Makena, and they conveniently have beach-entry from in front of the Makena Beach & Golf Resort. This location is prime because they can get to Molokini Crater faster than anyone else. The Kai Kanani has tours to Molokini for snorkeling, to turtle town, sunset cocktail cruises, whale watching and private events. If you are staying at a hotel in Wailea, this is the closest boat to take. Snorkel trips are 2 or 4 hours.
Kai Kanani details, prices, or reservations
Pride of Maui
This company has one boat, a 65-foot catamaran that can hold up to 149 people, but they usually don't fill it that full. They do a 5-hour early-morning snorkel trip to Molokini, and a 3-hour afternoon snorkel that sticks closer to Maui. Discounts are available online and from sales booths on Maui.
Pride of Maui details, discount prices, or reservations
This company has one large sailing catamaran, 65 feet long. Their 5-hour snorkel and scuba trip includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks. They depart from Maalaea Harbor, but they offer free pickup at your hotel to get you to the harbor and back.
Alii Nui snokel & sailing details, price, reservations
This is another one-boat company, with a 53-foot double-deck catamaran, to which they have added a fun water slide. Maximum 59 passengers. They do two snorkel trips per day, morning 5 hours (from Maalaea to Molokini and Turtle Town) and afternoon 3 hours (Maalaea to offshore Maui).
Lani Kai details, discount prices, reservations
Photo courtesy of Kai Kanani Photo courtesy of The Snorkel Store Photo courtesy of The Snorkel Store
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