Where To See Maui’s Turtles
Green Sea Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles Near the Shore or on the Beach
There are two kinds of turtles that live in shallow water near the shore on Maui, and so are easy to see in the water or on the beach. They are green sea turtles (honu) and hawksbill turtles (honu’ea). Here are four places for you to find them, with or without going into the water. IMPORTANT: It’s illegal to get too close to Hawaii’s sea turtles. That means, no touching, riding, or posing for pictures next to them. They can get easily stressed, and this goes the same for dolphins, whales, and monk seals.
- Snorkeling — The best place to see turtles while snorkeling is “Turtle Town” which is the coastline between Nahuna Point and Black Sand Beach in Makena (the south part of south Maui). If you are snorkeling from shore, go to Maluaka Beach (in front of what was the Makena Beach Resort). There are also often turtles in the bay in front of Napili Point condos. If you would like to snorkel from a boat, see the comparison of boat companies at Maui Snorkeling, and choose one that goes to the south side and mentions turtles. Here are some of the best Maui snorkeling tours.
- Kaanapali — Just south of the Hyatt Regency hotel (south end of Kaanapali Beach), many turtles swim around rocks close to shore at Hanakaoo Beach Park, so you can easily see them from the beach. Park near the old Chinese cemetery at Canoe Beach (you will see the canoe club there). Walk to the area of beach near the yellow lifeguard tower, and look for turtles in the rocky area of the ocean close to shore. They like rocky shorelines where algae and seaweed are present for them to eat. A few miles north of Kaanapali, you can also often see turtles from shore behind Noelani condos.
- Hookipa — On the north shore, east of the town of Paia, is a windsurfing area called Hookipa Beach, near Mile Marker 9 on the Hana Highway (Route 36). Around 3 to 5 PM in the afternoons, turtles often come ashore on this beach, near the vertical rock wall at the east end of the beach.
- Aquarium — The Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea (south part of Maui’s central valley) has honu (green sea turtles) that you can see up close in a pool. You can view them from above, or through glass below the water level.
If you see turtles in the ocean or on the beach, always stay at least 15 feet away from them, and absolutely never touch them or disturb them.
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Maui Turtle Honu Photos
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