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!

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