Maui’s Underwater World

If you’re visiting Maui for the first time, you’ve probably made plans to visit some of the Island’s most memorable spots. From our Kahanu Gardens and the Seven Sacred Pools, to Haleakala National Park, you’ll have plenty of places to go.

Maui's Underwater World

But when you’re planning your Maui trip, don’t forget to add some time to spend in Maui’s wide-open and vast underwater world, too. We’re is considered by many to be the best place in the world for snorkeling—would you want to miss out on it? There is so much to see in Maui, both on land and under the sea, including beautifully colored tropical fish and coral reefs under the crystal-clear blue waters.

Popular Underwater Places In Maui

Maui offers multiple spots for snorkeling. Here are just a few to consider.

  • Honolua Bay on the northwestern side of Maui, and includes a Marine Life Conservation District 
  • Molokini Island, a small, crescent-shaped islet that offers protection from waves and currents. The calm, ultra-clear water is home to more than 250 species of fish, and water depth from 20 to 50 feet in the allowed dive spots. Formed more than 150,000 years ago, it’s Maui’s only marine sanctuary.
  • Kapalua Bay, which is also blocked on two sides by reefs and keeping the water inside the bay calmer, making it ideal for families. 
  • Maluaka Beach, also called Turtle Town (Makena), this sandy, shallow beach has plenty of shade and great opportunities to see green and brown turtles, many varieties of fish and eels, and the occasional Humpback Whale during the season.
  • Napili Bay is another great place for families, with sandy beaches that offer easy entry into the water. You’ll see tropical fish and turtles here once you get into the clearer waters.

Maui’s Aquatic Wildlife

Some of the indigenous marine life you may encounter on your trip to Maui include:

  • Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, or honu in the ancient Hawaiian language, are protected under the Endangered Species Act. These ancient creatures are believed to be ancestors, so it’s important to respect them and observe from a short distance.
  • Hawaiian Monk Seals, warm-water mammals who love to hang out on the beach in the sun when they’re not nibbling on octopus, lobsters, eels and tropical fish. Keep your distance from these endangered animals if you encounter one. They are usually found in less-inhabited areas of Island atolls.
  • Spotted Moray Eels, 40-inch long spotted creatures who hang out on the ocean floor and hide most of the day inside coral reefs.
  • Sea cucumbers can be seen in several colors, and are visible while scuba diving or snorkeling in Maui. Cucumber shaped with large spines, it feeds on plankton, small ocean debris, and miniature ocean life.
  • Manta Rays have wingspans from 12-16 feet, and as large as 30 feet, making it the biggest winged creature on earth. They’re part of the same family as stingrays and sharks, but aren’t predatory and don’t have the sharp teeth of their cousins.
  • Raccoon Butterflyfish, a yellow fish with white and black stripes that grow to about eight inches, usually found swimming in shallow waters
  • Slate-pencil Sea Urchin, a red-spined creature that is non-poisonous and inhabits coral reefs
  • Parrotfish, whose round heads and parrot-like beaks give them their distinctive look. The younger ones are actually colorless, and their blue coloring develops as females transition into males, and are 12 to 20 inches in length.
  • Pincushion Sea Star, a starfish that resembles a pentagonal (five-point star) pincushion, one of four found around the Hawaiian Islands.

These are just some of the unique and colorful marine life you’ll encounter under the surface of Maui’s amazingly clear and beautiful waterscapes.

What’s The Best Time To Go Underwater?

While the weather is great all year long, the water is warmest during the summer months.

Plan to go snorkeling early in the morning, when visibility is at its best. It’s the time when the trade winds are very mild, and strengthen later in the day.

As always, our beautiful Island weather can be unpredictable, so observe warnings whenever they are available.

Book Your Trip To Hana Kai Maui

Hana Kai Maui offers unique beachfront condos with comfortable interiors, an outside lanai (balcony), and a full range of amenities.

Call to book your next reservations at 1-800-346-2772, or book directly online. We’re open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Hawaii time to answer all of your questions.