Snorkeling is some of the most fun you can have – even better if you’re in a breathtakingly beautiful place like Hawaii. Crystalline turquoise waters, exotic sea life aplenty, rich culture, and much more awaits you.
After you’ve decided to go on a Maui snorkeling tour, you’re going to need to figure out which one to go on. We are going to cover everything you need to know so you’ll have an unforgettable adventure on the best snorkeling tours in Maui!
However, you have probably noticed that there are many snorkeling tours to choose from, which can make your decision difficult. No need to worry, though, as we’ve taken our own experience along with that of others to bring our favorite tours. Be sure to see our reviews of Maui sunset dinner cruises and Maui whale watching tours.
Top Maui & Molokini Crater Snorkel Tours
The 7 Best Rated Snorkeling Tours in Maui for 2024
- Molokini Snorkeling Adventure From Ma’alaea Harbor
- Maui 5-Hour Snorkel to Molokini Crater and Turtle Town
- Maui Guided Sea Scooter Snorkeling Tour
- Ka’anapali Beach Express Snorkel Trip
- Maui Afternoon Snorkel to Coral Gardens or Molokini Crater
- Lana’i Coast Maui Sail and Snorkel Trip From Lahaina
- Maui Beginners Sea Scooter Snorkeling Experience
Now lets take a closer look at the Maui snorkeling tours so you can find the right one for you!
Maui Snorkel Tour Reviews
- Departure Point: Ma’alaea Harbor
- Duration: 6 hours
- Includes: Breakfast, lunch, lifeguard snorkeling tutorial, top-quality snorkel gear rental
- Tour Size: n/a
Who’s up for a load of fun and adventure? You definitely are if you decide to take this 6-hour tour, which is the best Molokini snorkel tour that is perfect for soaking up the sun all afternoon and exploring Mother Nature the way she deserves.
If you’re curious about getting up close and personal with marine life, this one should be at the top of your list.
This half-day adventure starts off in a glass-bottomed catamaran so you can see everything you’re passing over! Offering breakfast and lunch, you can feel confident that you’re all taken care of the entire time you’re out on the water. The professional crew is well-trained and even includes a lifeguard while you’re snorkeling.
Dolphins, turtles, and coral reefs, oh my! You’ll get to encounter them and even more beautiful creatures in 2 of Maui’s prime snorkeling locations: the Molokini Crater and the aptly-named Turtle Town.
Starting in Ma’alaea Harbor, you’ll board the Calypso, which offers a user-friendly stairway in and out of the water. Not only that, but it offers plenty of shade and festive music to make sure you’re never bored.
Consisting of cinnamon rolls, eggs, ham, donuts, coffee, fresh fruit, and more, you’ll be tempted to keep eating until you can’t anymore. While you definitely need to indulge, make sure you’re going to be comfortable out on the water too!
Next up is Molokini Crater – 300 feet of water right off the south shore of Kihei. The volcanic cone that makes up this area is incredibly rich in minerals which is no wonder why it’s home to native Hawaiian marine life.
- Manta rays, urchins, sharks, and various birds reside here. Aside from the bird sanctuary, you can catch a glance of them all underwater.
If that weren’t thrilling enough, you’ll have 2 water slides to go shooting down on!
Heading into Turtle Town, the rest of your day will involve you swimming with Hawaiian green sea turtles. This location is known for being calm and serene: setting the perfect vibe for relaxation. To end the day, you’ll return to the boat for a barbecue lunch buffet and partake in a trivia game to win a crew T-shirt!
- Departure Point: Slip #76 next to Brown Harbor offices
- Duration: 5 hours
- Includes: Meals, soft drinks, snorkeling equipment rental, SNUBA, instructions
- Tour Size: n/a
Similar to our last tour, this one also visits the Molokini Crater and Turtle Town. Due to Molokini’s unique crescent shape, it keeps waters calm and allows for a vibrant underwater life as the crescent blocks high winds. In fact, this area is home to over a whopping 250 different species!
You’ll meet next to the Brown Harbor offices where you’ll head to a roomy yacht. Who says you can’t snorkel in style? You’ll love how smooth the ride is and are sure to feel at peace, even if you’re someone who normally gets seasick.
During the ride there, the staff will teach you all about Maui and your snorkeling spots – some of the best in the world!
Once there, you’re sure to notice just how clear the water is. In fact, Molokini offers visibility of more than an impressive 150 feet!
For beginners, this is quite possibly the best Molokini crater snorkel tour as waters are so clear and calm.
- All snorkeling equipment rentals come included, and you can choose between a snorkel or a SNUBA, which is a beginner alternative.
Afterward, you can take advantage of the water toys, pool noodles, and 20-foot water slide which is a blast for everyone. If you choose to lounge on the boat, you can enjoy soft drinks and an al fresco lunch.
- Departure Point: Wailea Beach
- Duration: 1.5 hours
- Includes: Underwater sea scooter, boogie boards, life jacket, fins, snorkel, mask
- Tour Size: Up to 8 participants
Meaning “the water of Lea”, the goddess of canoe makers, it only makes sense that we set off on an adventure at Wailea Beach. The beach is known for being lively and full of activities like paddle boarding, kayaking, and of course, snorkeling!
If you are traveling with children or aren’t very experienced in traditional snorkeling, we have you covered!
Enter sea scooters.
These cool little devices let you zoom through the water, letting you see all kinds of reefs and underwater animals in a short period of time.
If you’ve been taking it easy at the gym and don’t feel you have the stamina for regular snorkeling, underwater scooters let you travel farther and dive deeper without exerting much energy. Plus, they’re just a blast to use!
The 1.5-hour tour begins right at the beach, where your group of up to 8 people will meet with 2 certified tour guides, who know just what they’re doing. Before you go out on your own, they’ll give you a quick, comprehensive training on how to use the scooters.
- You’ll also be provided with a mask, snorkel, fins, lifejacket, and boogie boards.
After everyone feels comfortable, your tour guides will lead you onto one of the most lively coral reefs. Here, you’ll see creatures native to Hawaii, such as green sea turtles, starfish, butterflyfish, octopi, rays, eels, and an array of brightly-hued fish!
However, each trip into the warm waters is different – you never know what you’re doing to come across!
One thing is for sure, though: you’ll be able to truly relax and enjoy yourself with the rest of your group. The location is nice and remote, so if you’re someone who gets overwhelmed with crowds, this is the perfect tour for you.
- Departure Point: Kiosk between Leilani’s and Hula Grill
- Duration: 2 hours
- Includes: Guide, drinks, Whaler’s Village parking validation for 4 hours, snorkel supplies
- Tour Size: Up to 8 participants
If your group consists of beginners and/or children, then chances are you aren’t going to want to go on an all-day tour. Sometimes just a taste of snorkeling is enough to satisfy that curiosity, and the 2-hour Ka’anapali Beach Express Snorkel Trip is just the ticket.
If you’d like to swim with beautiful fish, turtles, and more ant one of Maui’s most popular snorkeling locations, then this is the tour for you.
Rated as one of the best beaches in the world by various travel publications (including the notable Conde Nast), your tour starts right at the Ka’anapali beach, so make sure you’ve brought your sunscreen and proper swimwear!
A rash guard is optional, but if you have sensitive skin or simply find them more comfortable, bring them as they are not supplied. You’ll love the soft, powdery white sand which also makes it perfect for lounging around on before or after your snorkeling trip.
As we’re pretty short on time here, you’ll immediately board the boat and head towards Mala Wharf. Sometimes that spot is already taken or the guides may find another popular spot in West Maui preferable, so take this into consideration as well. This will largely depend on how the weather and water conditions are for that day.
Wherever you go though, you can expect clear, beautiful waters that allows for an unforgettable snorkeling experience.
- Visibility is great here, and you’re almost guaranteed to see various turtles who love to hang out over here.
It’s not only turtles though – you’ll also find butterflyfish, parrotfish, porcupinefish, surgeonfish, and so much more. The reef is full of life, and the reef itself is quite a sight to see.
Once you’re finished exploring the ocean, you’ll head back on deck with a drink from the open bar while letting the wind blow through your hair as you go back to the beach.
- Departure Point: Next to Beach Bum’s BBQ & Grill
- Duration: 3 hours
- Includes: Catamaran cruise, snorkeling gear rentals, flotation devices, captain, crew, lunch (if add-on selected)
- Tour Size: n/a
We’ve already talked a bit about Molokini Crater, which is absolutely legendary in the snorkeling world. Created by a volcanic eruption over 200,000 years ago, it is comprised of an incredibly mineral-rich volcanic rock. This attracts all kinds of creatures, and thanks to visibility up to 150 feet, you’ll be able to see them all.
Coral Gardens is a stunning, unique reef formation on the west side of Maui. This premier snorkeling destination is lush and thriving with colorful fish, Hawaiian green sea turtles, and more. With this tour, you’ll head to one of the two locations in one 3-hour adventure great for all experience levels
To start things off on the right foot, you’ll board a sleek catamaran and head to either Molokini Crater or Coral Gardens.
This is determined based off of the captain’s assessment of weather and sea conditions for that day. As you’re cruising around, you’ll have the option of indulging in some yummy $5 hot dogs and soft drinks – perfect for a hot day. Somehow everything just tastes better in Hawaii.
Snorkeling gear rentals and flotation devices are included, so you don’t have to worry about the essentials. Once you’ve reached your destination, you’ll receive brief instruction and be able to jump into the water that always seems to be at the perfect temperature. No shocking cold or shivering to speak of!
- Many tour participants have spotted yellow tang, cornet fish, and even a spotted eagle ray!
After you’re done swimming, you can go back to the catamaran and quench your thirst with some drinks which are available for purchase. Sure, free is always better, though we found the small expenses worth it.
- Departure Point: Lahaina Harbor, 675 Wharf St. Lahaina, HI 96761
- Duration: 5 hours
- Includes: Snorkel gear rentals, continental breakfast, deli-style lunch buffet, soft drinks, sodas, aloha juices, filtered water, champagne, beer, wine, cocktails, and reef-safe sunscreen.
- Tour Size: n/a
The Lana’i coast is world-famous for its beautiful sea cliffs, untouched reefs, uninterrupted island views, and warm waters. If you’re on the hunt for a snorkeling trip that comes with everything you could ever want for a day on (and in!) the water, then this may be just the trip for you.
To kick things off, you’ll board a sparkly new luxury catamaran at the Lahaina dock. Here, they’ll provide you with reef-safe, eco-friendly sunscreen and all the food and drink you could want!
- Once you board, you’ll be able to enjoy a continental breakfast consisting of fresh fruit, just-baked banana bread, and locally-roasted coffee from Maui’s Best Banana Bread & Coffee Co.
At this point, you may be feeling a bit lazy with a stomach full of delicious food but once you arrive to Lana’i’s south shores, it’s game time!
You’re sure to take note of the uncrowded snorkeling sites which will allow you, your group, and the sea creatures to hang out unbothered.
There isn’t a specific spot along the coastline where this tour goes each time. The crew is highly experienced and selects the best place depending on sea conditions and the time of day. However, no matter where they take you, you’ll get to discover a plethora of marine life species.
You’ll probably notice that this tour is a bit more laid-back than the shorter alternatives. This is because you have quite a bit of time to just take it all in, including the food. Speaking of which, when you’re finished up in the water, you’ll get to relax with a drink and a full-lunch buffet!
If you’re lucky, Lana’i’s spinner dolphins may just make an appearance!
- Departure Point: Wailea Service Parking
- Duration: 1.5 hours
- Includes: Underwater sea scooter rental, masks, snorkels, fins, lifejackets, and boogieboards
- Tour Size: Up to 10 participants
While the tours we’ve covered so far are definitely amazing choices, our guide wouldn’t be complete without the Maui Beginners Sea Scooter Snorkeling Experience.
Scooter snorkeling is exploding in popularity, and we couldn’t just include one tour with them. Perfect for participants between 8 and 55 years of age, it’s great for the whole family!
While sea scooters are definitely easier to use as they propel you essentially, your guides will still start off the tour explaining and demonstrating how to use them. These are pretty fun, and the training session will go by quickly.
You’ll spend about 15 minutes learning all about how to combine your swim skills with all the necessary equipment they provide you with. Following that up, you’ll spend around 30 minutes practicing what they’ve shown you, using flotation devices as backup.
Once you’re ready for the deep water, the fun will really begin. The guides will transport the group out to one of the top local coral reefs, which is filled with beautiful marine life, including the famous Hawaiian sea turtles.
Maui Snorkel Tour Guide
What Will I See Snorkeling in Maui?
Maui’s crystal-clear waters are home to an incredible diversity of marine life. You will find colorful tropical fish, dolphins and majestic sea turtles.
One of the most common sights you’ll see while snorkeling in Maui is the humuhumunukunukuapua’a, the state fish of Hawaii. This beautiful fish is also known as the rectangular triggerfish. Its distinct shape and color make it easy to find in the reefs.
If you’re lucky, you might also see the Hawaiian green sea turtle, also known to the locals as the honu. These giant turtles are protected as an endangered species. They can often be seen swimming in the shallow waters of Maui’s bays and beaches. It’s truly an amazing experience to watch them glide through the water.
One of my favorite sea creatures that you may come across is the octopus. These highly intelligent animals are masters of camouflage. They can change their color and texture to blend in perfectly with their surroundings. They can disappear in an instant! Keep an eye out for their distinctive shape as they swim and watch as they scuttle along the ocean floor.
Maui is also home to a large variety of colorful reef fish. Some of the more common include butterflyfish, angelfish, and parrotfish. These vibrant fish come in all shapes and sizes. Their brilliant colors will capture your attention.
Let’s not forget about the coral reefs! These underwater structures are like busy cities! They have diverse amount of inhabitants that range from tiny crustaceans to sharks. Take a moment to closely observe the coral reef and you will see a world of hidden wonders.
Tips on Maui Snorkeling
• Quality gear: Snorkeling requires very little equipment. Your tour guide will provide a mask, snorkel and fins. They may have a wetsuit you can rent as well. If they do you should opt for one as the water in Hawaii is cool at around 76 degrees. I would also suggest some type of flotation vest. If you are bringing your own gear, be sure its good quality gear that fits well and is comfortable.
• Practice in shallow water: If you have your own gear, you can practice in a pool. Start in the shallow water to get used to breathing through the snorkel and kicking with your fins. It can be uncomfortable at first but you will get used to it. Practice until you feel confident before going into deep water.
• Choose the right location: This is where going on a Maui snorkel tour is invaluable. Not all snorkeling spots are good. If you go on your own, look for areas with clear water, no currents, and plenty of marine life. Also very important, stay away from speed boats. The most popular snorkel spot in Maui is the Molikini Crater.
• Respect the marine life: While you are snorkeling, it’s important to remember that you’re a visitor in the marine creatures home. DON’T touch anything or disturb the fish or animals. Give them plenty of space.
• Protect your skin: Sunburn will be a painful reminder of a snorkel trip. Wear a high SPF waterproof sunscreen and wearing a rash guard or wetsuit to protect your skin is a good idea!
• Buddy up: Snorkeling with a buddy is not only safer but it’s more fun! Two pairs of eyes have a better chance of seeing something special. Stick together and watch out for each other while your exploring.