Travelers can spend time swimming, snorkeling, and diving at the crescent-shaped caldera, where ocean depths range from 10 to 60 feet. All trips include snorkel gear as well as a scenic boat ride, and the chance to splash in the clear blue water at one of Maui's best snorkel sites. Sail and snorkel adventures generally last about five hours and offer roundtrip transportation from hotels in Lahaina and Makena. Some Molokini snorkeling tours also offer scuba diving for certified divers.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Beat the crowds with an early Molokini tour.
Be sure to bring sunscreen and a swimsuit.
Snuba diving (a kind of snorkeling-scuba diving hybrid) is available as an upgrade on many Molokini snorkeling tours.
Private charters are available for personalized experiences.
How To Get There
Set off Maui's southern coastline, Molokini Crater is only accessible by boat, powerboat, or raft. Popular departure points include Maalaea Harbor and Kihei Boat Ramp. The Molokini snorkel tours that leave from Maalaea Harbor are on large, stable boats, whereas tours that leave from Kihei Boat Ramp are on small rafts that are faster and bumpier, shortening the overall travel distance.
When To Get There
Mornings offer the calmest conditions at this tropical caldera, and the earlier you get there the better. Tradewinds can be strong in summer, making for a thrilling ride back. Winter tends to have lighter winds, plus the added bonus of potentially spotting humpback whales.
Why Molokini Crater is Hawaii's Best Snorkeling Spot
Because Molokini is three miles offshore of Maui, you never know what you're going to find. Eagle rays, dolphins, and harmless reef sharks will frequently mingle with resident critters like parrotfish and octopus. In winter if you dive a few feet below water, or go on a scuba or snuba dive, the haunting song of humpback whales reverberates in the distance. Note that Hawaiian green sea turtles are rarely spotted at Molokini Crater, which is why many boats include a second snorkeling trip at "Turtle Town" off of Maui's southern coast.