Maui Snorkeling

Updated on:
August 17, 2022

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Maui Snorkeling from Beach or Boat

You can do your Maui snorkeling and easily see many beautiful fish, whether you walk out into the water from a beach, or have a boat take you farther away from shore.

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 are close to the area of Maui where you are staying.  Ask about those Maui snorkeling tips where you rent your snorkel gear. When renting your snorkel gear, it is a lot less expensive to rent at Boss Frog’s in local shopping strips, than to rent from the booths right on the beach or in front of the big hotels. you might also want to try snuba diving in Maui.

If you would like help with your Maui 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, 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 great prices on many choices of snorkel boat cruises click on Maui snorkel boat discounts.

See below for a discussion of some of the companies offering Maui snorkeling on boat cruises daily, as well as a video of snorkeling on Maui.  Or click for more things to do on Maui.

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Maui Snorkeling Boat Trips

Details and differences to help you decide

Pacific Whale Foundation

This company is best known for its winter whale watch cruises, but they also do Maui snorkeling 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.

Pacific Whale Foundation Molokini Snorkel Tour info, price, reservations

Pacific Whale Foundation Molokini tours

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Redline Rafting

This snorkel adventure is different from all the others above. It is a much smaller group (maximum 24 people) and goes on an inflated raft instead of on the larger boats.  So the ride is bumpier but more exciting.  They take you to Molokini, La Perouse Bay, and Turtle Town. The morning tour is around 5 hours long with multiple snorkeling locations including the backwall of Molokini. They are usually one of the first boats to reach Molokini in the morning due to departing from the Kihei boat ramp. Because the boats depart from Kihei, if you are staying in Kihei or Wailea, then this boat is more convenient to get to than the others. Breakfast, lunch, snorkel equipment, and wetsuits are all included.
Small-Group Molokini Rafting Tours info, price, reservations

Redline Rafting Molokini Tours

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Maui Custom Charters

For a deluxe Maui snorkeling experience, look no further than Maui Custom Charters. Choose from the sporty S/V Artemis, a 47′ sailing catamaran, or the stunning S/V Nova, a 42′ Catalina MKII sailing yacht. Maui Custom Charters is a small, family-run charter company with decades of sailing and hospitality experience. In stark contrast to other snorkel companies, Maui Custom Charters only hosts private tours of up to six guests. Private snorkel/sails, sunset cruises, and, in season, whale watch tours are offered daily through Ma’alaea Harbor, visiting some of Maui’s most sequestered reefs (see the morning snorkel and afternoon snorkel tours). During the tour, guests are treated to delectable snacks, a deli lunch, and an in-water guided tour by the passionate crew. The crew provides snorkel gear and top-notch service, making for an epic day on the water. 

Maui Snorkeling Private Sailing

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Trilogy is one of Maui’s oldest and most reputable snorkel tour companies. This family-owned business offers top-rated snorkel tours to premier destinations like Lanai, Molokini, Olowalu, and West Maui. Trilogy utilizes a fleet of six elegant sailing catamarans and keeps tours well below capacity for the comfort of their guests. With Trilogy, visitors can expect great food, personalized service, and professionalism. Trilogy tours depart from Maalaea Harbor, Kaanapali Beach, and Lahaina Harbor.  

Trilogy snorkeling tours

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Maui Adventure Cruises

Based out of Lahaina Harbor, Maui Adventure Cruises offers snorkel tours to Lanai. This company boasts two large-hull 50-foot rafts with shaded seating, freshwater showers, and an onboard head— luxuries aboard a raft. The rafts can hold up to 42 passengers, but Maui Adventure Cruises limits trips to 36 guests. This company is all about escaping the crowds and visiting some of Lanai’s best, most secluded reefs.

Maui Adventure Cruises

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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.  Calypso Maui 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 snacks, and BBQ lunch.  The usual trip time is 7:15 AM to 1 PM.  The boat can take up to 114 passengers.

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Hula Girl

This is the most luxurious Maui snorkeling boat.  They have scuba as well as snorkeling on each cruise.  They go to Honolua Bay Marine Sanctuary or similar locations and include whale watching during the winter whale season.  The departure is from Kaanapali Beach.  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.

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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.

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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.

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Lahaina Cruise Company – Hawaii Ocean Project

The Lahaina Princess is the only boat that takes you for your Maui snorkeling at Molokini crater while departing from Lahaina Harbor, so it saves you from the long drive to Maalaea if you want a boat to Molokini.  But because of that, it takes the boat much longer to get to Molokini and back. They limit their 65-foot double-deck boat to 80 passengers.  Their free shuttle will pick you up at your West Maui hotel or condo and take you to and from Lahaina Harbor.

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Kai Kanani

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 and Turtle Town for snorkeling, 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.

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Alii Nui

This company has one large sailing catamaran, 65 feet long.  Their 5-hour Maui snorkeling 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.

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Kaanapali Ocean Adventures

Their snorkel boat is called Sanity and holds 32 passengers, with 24 of those seats in the shade. Beverages and food are provided on the half-day snorkel to Lanai. Departs from Kaanapali Beach.

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Lani Kai Friendly Charters

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).

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Ultimate Lanai Snorkeling

This snorkel adventure and the Redline one immediately above are different from the other ones on this page that go on larger boats.  Ultimate takes you in a small group (up to 16 people) on a low-inflated power raft.  You go across the channel from Maui to the area around the island of Lanai. You snorkel at three different locations.  The tour lasts 5 to 6 hours and includes breakfast, lunch, and snorkeling gear.

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See the page of Things To Do In Maui for luaus, whale watching, snorkeling, tours, helicopters, horseback riding, ATV, dinner cruises, parasailing, fishing, zipline, biking, golf, hiking, sightseeing, aquarium, the road to Hana, volcano, Lahaina, lavender farm, beaches, kids and family fun, and more.