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.
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 boats 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.
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 to.
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 all included.
Small-Group Molokini Rafting Tours info, price, reservations
For a deluxe Maui snorkeling experience, look no further than the Nova. This stunning 42′ Catalina MKII sailboat is operated by Maui Custom Charters, 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. Two private snorkel/sails are offered daily by way of 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This company has one large sailing catamaran, 65 feet long. Their 5-hour Maui snorkeling and scuba trip include 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.