Maluaka Beach is a fantastic snorkeling spot in South Maui.

Maui's Best Snorkeling Beaches

If you enjoy snorkeling, Maui is a fantastic place to vacation. With an abundance of beautiful beaches you'd be hard pressed to run out of potential snorkeling adventures. And while it's easy to think every beach in Maui offers great snorkeling, in reality some beaches are much better than others. Reef health, fish counts, and water clarity can make the difference between a good snorkel spot and a great snorkeling spot. The key to snorkeling in Maui is not only knowing where to go, but "where to go" once you get there.

Our snorkeling guidebook provides full descriptions and candid advice for all of Maui's best spots. Each location has detailed snorkel maps to guide you to the best snorkeling at each beach. Take a Look Inside for a preview.   

Below are a few of our favorite snorkeling spots in West Maui and South Maui. Consult the Maui Snorkel Maps for their locations.

Best Spots to Snorkel in South Maui

Keawakapu Beach  -  Half-mile of sand with great snorkeling at each end
Ulua Beach  -  Nice reef that's popular with kids and beginners
Five Caves - Five Graves  -  Cool underwater caverns and arches
Maluaka Beach  -  Beautiful beach and an endless reef
Ahihi Bay  -  Big fish abound at this south coast marine preserve

Maui Snorkel Map - South Maui - Ulua Beach, Wailea Beach, Polo Beach, Makena Landing, Ahihi Bay

Best Spots to Snorkel in West Maui

Honolua Bay  -  A marine preserve with lots of sea creatures
Kapalua Bay  -  Voted one of Maui's most beautiful beaches  
Kahekili Beach  -  Great snorkeling with a full day of fun at the beach
Olowalu - MM14  -  Great place to kayak-snorkel
Coral Gardens  -  For the adventure seeker with strong swimming skills

Maui Snorkel Map - West Maui - Honolua Bay, Kapalua Bay, Black Rock, Olowalu, Coral Gardens

Discover great snorkeling and spectacular sunsets at Maluaka Beach, South Maui.

Spectacular Sunsets at Maui's Snorkeling Beaches

Not only are some of Maui’s best snorkeling spots found right off its sandy shoreline, but those same beaches offer beautiful evening sunsets. So after a fantastic day of snorkeling, one of our favorite ways to spend an evening is back at the beach watching the sun go down. Fortunately, both West and South Maui beaches face west, providing prime sunset viewing. And surprisingly, some of the best snorkeling beaches in Maui can be nearly deserted at sunset. So if you enjoy those quiet moments of solitude as the sun slips below the horizon, you may indeed have a popular day-time beach all to yourself.

Sunset Tips for Maui:  After viewing many sunsets in Maui, it’s true some are more memorable than others. Often the key to a spectacular sunset are clouds. Clouds add visual interest as they catch the light of the setting sun and reflect a variety of ever-changing colors. In particular, wispy Cirrus and Altocumulus clouds create gorgeous sunsets, so keep an eye out for those high feathery clouds in the late afternoon and evening hours. They're your clue that an "evening stunner" may be in the works!

If you enjoy taking pictures, making a few adjustments to your camera’s settings can vastly improve your sunset pictures.  If you’re able to set your camera’s white balance, try changing it from auto to “clouds” or “shade” and you’ll capture the sunset’s colors more accurately.  Adjusting your exposure to darker or lighter can also improve your chances of capturing an image that looks much closer to the beautiful sunset before you!  Also, take a look around for interesting foreground elements—a leaning palm or a stately Monkeypod tree can make great silhouettes against a colorful sky.  When you take your shot, remember to keep your horizon line level and lower than normal to let the sky take center stage.

End a great day of snorkeling with a beautiful sunset. Afterglow at Maluaka Beach in Makena, South Maui.

And finally, don’t run off as soon as the sun has set. Many think the show is over once the sun drops below the horizon. But if you’re patient and stay awhile you may be treated to an encore performance more dazzling than the first! These “second acts” during twilight are aptly named  “afterglow” and are not uncommon in the Hawaiian Islands. The shot above was taken about a half hour after the sunset shown in the first picture.  We call it, “Makena Afterglow.”

For more information on the best snorkeling spots in Maui and where to snorkel once you get there, pick up a copy of  Mask, Fins & Snorkel:  The Adventure Guide to Maui’s Best Snorkeling.  Happy Snorkeling!

Maluaka Beach South Maui

Maui's Best Snorkeling Beaches - Maluaka Beach

Maluaka is one of our favorite beaches in South Maui. It’s a peaceful spot in a beautiful setting and offers some of the best snor­keling on Maui. Its wide stretch of sand is bordered by the lush grounds of The Makena Beach and Golf Resort and is relatively uncrowded compared to many Maui beaches.

For a snorkeler, it's hard to get much better. There’s an abundance of great coral, a wide variety of fish, and dramatic underwater seascapes with ravines, arches, and hidden caverns. We think it's the perfect place for a morning snorkel followed by a day of picnicking, swimming, and enjoying the beach.

To top it off, Maluaka's expansive reef is home to one of Maui’s famed “Turtle Towns,” where excursion boats often bring paying customers —yes, it’s that good. If you decide to go, you'll also find Maluaka Beach offers showers, bathrooms, and a reasonable amount of parking.

For snorkel routes, candid advice, and detailed maps of Maluaka and all of Maui's best beaches, pick up a copy of Mask, Fins, & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling. If you're on the island, visit The Makena Mercantile. It's inside The Makena Beach and Golf Resort located just above Maluaka Beach. It's one of several island locations where you can buy our snorkel guidebook.

Maui's Premier Snorkeling Guidebook

Snorkeling Guide Book for Maui - Front Cover of Mask, Fins & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling

Look InsideOrder

Where to Buy on Maui:

Maui Dive Shop - 7 Locations

Makena Beach & Golf Resort

 

Maui Map

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