Going to Hawaii for my honeymoon next June and was wondering what the best snorkeling place is in the islands. We will be island hopping, so any island is okay with us. I heard that Molokai off of Maui was good but that's the only thing I've heard.
Are you referring to Molokini off the coast of Maui? That would be a recommended snorkelling excursion. Best done in the morning (before trade winds pick up), and best tour operaters are Four Winds II and Maui Prince.
What other islands are you visiting? Are you lookng for "walk in" snorkelling off a beach or excursions you can take?
Heather, Molokini off the coast of Maui is great. Actually, I did a snorkeling tour through the Pacific Whale Foundation on Maui this June. It was supposed to include Molokini and the area off Lanai. However, when we got to Molokini, the jellyfish had come in (it was right after the full moon), so they took us to another spot off the west coast of Maui that was WONDERFUL. It was an area that was not accessible from the beach so the coral was undamaged and the water was beautiful, clear and full of beautiful fish and turtles. The area off the coast of Lanai was also good, but a tiny bit surgy. Another area that offers great snorkeling is the Kona side of the Big Island. There are several great boat snorkel sights and also the beach next to the Outrigger Keahou Beach Resort is fantastic. I stayed in that hotel on the Big Island and the "walk-in" snorkeling on the public beach next door is great....lots of turtles and fish. It is also nice and calm as there is an old sea wall that blocks a lot of the strong current.
Kauai - Ke'e Beach; at the start of the Napali Coast Trail and at the end of the road on the north shore. Beautiful cove, usually with calm ocean conditions inside the reef and a large variety of fish.
Big Island - Honaunau Bay; about 1/2 hour drive south of Kona and the first cove west of Place of Refuge National Park. Dozens of large turtles hang out there on a regular basis. Honaunau Bay is also a short distance from Kealakekua Bay and Captain Cook Monument; another good spot for snorkeling, dolphin sightings and kayaking. I have heard on another forum that the State of Hawaii is thinking about closing Kealakekua Bay down to private kayaking and limiting snorkeling to authorized tour operators (apparently due to environmental concerns).
West Maui - Honoloa Bay; north on Hwy. 31, around mile marker #33. Large variety of fish and a very popular spot for tour operators. Got real lucky here once........a large group of dolphins decided to pay me and a handful of other snorkelers a visit. What an awesome experience!
West Maui - Kapalua Bay; north on Hwy 31 in the community of Napili. This is an excellent spot for beginners..........a gorgeous beach with calm ocean conditions. Snorkeling is just O.K. but the beach itself is worth a visit.
South Maui - Ulua Beach in Wailea. This is another good spot for novice snorkelers. Usually calm seas and fairly good variety and quantity of fish near the rocks on the west end of the beach.
South Maui - Ahihi Cove; off Makena Alanui Road and inside the Ahihi-Kina'u Reserve. Picturesque cove with interesting topography. Fairly good chance of spotting a turtle or two. I would consider this site more for the intermediate/experienced snorkler (have experienced moderate currents here and entry is not the easiest).
Congratulations, Heather............and have a great time in Hawaii!
Hey..... I live here and am both a diver a snorkeler and a naturalist
That said..... the very best snorkel in all the Hawiian island chain is Kaelakekua bay or CaptAIN COOK........ AND Place of refuge...... however the latter can be dangerous with swells and surge
Kealakekua is a marine reserve ..... reached only by boat tours the best being Dolphin DIscoveries., from Keauhou
How good....... well visability is about 150 to 200 feet, Water temp 80+, no current.,
surounded by 1000 ft cliffs, shallow shelf with a drop off , sheer to 150 ft you can cruise along....... The coral is plate, finger tower...... more variety and color than any other place......even Molokini........