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Snorkeling Molokini Crater
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Maui, snorkeling is probably on your list.
You probably already know that Maui has amazing snorkeling, but maybe you’re wondering if snorkeling Molokini Crater is worth it?
Sure, it takes a few hours out of your valuable Maui vacation time, but is the adventure worth it? In a word, yes!
No matter how long you’re going to be on the island of Maui, you should plan your days carefully to make sure you see as much as possible. Check out my 4-day Maui itinerary and 7-day Maui itinerary for some ideas.
I decided to start this series on some of my favorite things to do in Hawaii. First stop? Maui. Destination: Molokini Crater.
Do I need a rental car in Maui?
The best things to do in Maui are spread out. You’ll definitely need a rental car; I recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental. They offer the best prices on rental cars, and you can reserve now and pay upon arrival.
The best snorkeling in Maui
I already have a post about the 7 best things to do on Maui, but Molokini Crater deserves its own blog post. Is it worth it to snorkel Molokini Crater? In my opinion: YES.
Snorkeling Molokini Crater is my favorite thing to do on Maui and one of my top three in all of Hawaii. Please keep reading for my personal experience snorkeling Molokini Crater.
What is snorkeling Molokini Crater like?
I’ve done Molokini Crater tours with two different companies, and the day starts about the same. You’ll start at Maalaea Harbor.
A few tour operators depart from Makena and Kihei, but the majority depart from Maalaea Harbor.
Even if you’re staying in the Kihei/Wailea area, it isn’t far from Maalaea. There is at least one tour operator out of Lahaina Harbor, but I still recommend departing from Maalaea Harbor.
This is one of many reasons why you need a rental car in Hawaii. Again, I recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental for the best prices.
What is Molokini Crater?
Molokini is a crescent-shaped islet between Maui and Kaho’olawe. It is a sanctuary for seabirds, and you are not allowed on the land.
Molokini Crater is home to approximately 250 marine species, including black triggerfish, yellow tang, and Moorish idol.
You might even see moray eels or white-tip reef sharks. During our last trip to Molokini, a few people did spot a white-tip reef shark!
You can learn more about the animals in Hawaii in my ultimate guide to Hawaiian animals post.
Morning or evening tours of Molokini Crater
I recommend taking the morning tour of Molokini Crater. You’ll probably be up early anyway if you’re at the beginning of your trip, thanks to the time difference.
Most tours are around 5 hours and include breakfast and lunch. If you have dietary restrictions (as I do), many tour operators have gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.
For our tour, the crew kept us very entertained on the way out to the island. It was also a unique perspective to see Maui from Molokini, and it was very cool to get a closer look at Kaho’olawe too!
Snorkeling at Molokini Crater
Some of the best snorkeling in Maui is at Molokini Crater. We got out of the water for a little while to hang out on the boat but quickly got back in.
You can also Snuba, which is a fun option that is in between snorkeling and scuba for an extra cost. Some photographers will take photos and a video of you that you can purchase if you want.
We didn’t purchase any photos because we had a GoPro with us. The photographer held the GoPro for us, so we had a few shots of both of us on the GoPro!
You can also rent a GoPro for the trip, but if you’re going to Hawaii, buy one! You’ll have so many opportunities to use it since there are so many adventure activities in Hawaii where you can’t bring a normal camera.
You can check out more of my travel gear recommendations here.
The food on the Molokini was pretty good. We also went on a tour that had beer, wine, and mai tais. I opted out of any drinks due to feeling sick, but I did enjoy the fresh ginger ale.
The cost of the tour is pretty low if you factor in meals and beverages.
All you need to plan for the day is dinner. I recommend checking out a Maui Luau or Mama’s Fish House.
Before you head to Maui, make sure to check out what is included and what costs extra so that there will be no surprises. In most cases, drinks will be included, and things like snuba or a GoPro will be an additional fee.
Don’t forget to bring cash for tips! I have seen a few people in reviews complaining about tip jars, but I, for one, do not have a problem with them.
The crew works very hard to ensure that you have an awesome adventure, so don’t forget to tip them.
Many of the people who work in Maui tourism were out of work for the majority of 2020. So a good tip is appreciated now more than ever.
Who would enjoy snorkeling at Molokini Crater?
A boat tour to Molokini Crater is for everyone, families, couples, solo travelers. Even if you can’t swim or have young children, most companies have assisted swimming devices and even glass-bottom boats or portholes.
I want to stress again that you do not have to swim to visit Molokini Crater. You can stay on the boat if you desire, and there are plenty of assistive devices if you’d like to venture out but are not a confident swimmer.
I booked a Molokini snorkeling adventure for clients with two non-swimmers, and they reported back that they all had a blast!
Should you go on a snorkeling tour if you are prone to motion sickness?
I am very prone to motion sickness, and I will say that I noticed on the trip to Molokini Crater. Even with some medicine, I still wasn’t feeling 100%.
I also had a few special drinks made with real ginger that seemed to help too. I felt sicker on the Road to Hana than I did on the boat. That’s another story entirely!
As you can see, I highly recommend snorkeling at Molokini Crater to everyone who is visiting Maui.
I always recommend booking tours through Viator. Viator has a refund policy up to 24 hours before arrival and the best price guarantee. You can’t beat that! Check out the Molokini Snorkel Tours on Viator for yourself.
The best snorkeling on Maui
Although I think that Molokini Crater is one of the best places to snorkel on Maui, Maui has plenty of great snorkeling! Here are some of my favorites snorkeling beaches in Maui.
- Honolua Bay
- Napili Beach
- DT Fleming Beach
- Black Rock on Kaanapali Beach
- Kahekeli (Airport Beach)
- Baby Beach
- Kamaole Beach (1, 2, and 3)
- Polo Beach
- Wailea Beach
- Big Beach
- Turtle Town (boat or kayak access only)
If you want to see some of the Maui black sand beaches, check out my post about all of Maui’s black sand beaches.
More Maui Vacation Ideas
If you’re planning a Maui vacation, don’t miss more of my Maui travel tips.
- Maui vs. Kauai
- 50 things to do in Maui
- What is the best luau on Maui?
- 15 Free things to do on Maui
- The 10 best Maui tours
- What is Hawaii like right now?
- 100 things to do in Hawaii
- The 25 best restaurants in Wailea Maui
Although I am a Hawaii Travel Agent, I am only taking on a select number of clients per month. If you’re interested, contact me to check availability.
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***Since this is the time of bloggers and influencers, I do want to mention that I paid my way for our Molokini Crater snorkel tours and did not receive a discount.***
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Don’t go on a big boat. Can only see a few feet of the boat. They won’t let you swim far enough
Also don’tgo when choppy. So not worth the money!!!
Hi Deanna, going when it’s choppy would be tough! Definitely not good if you get seasick too. I’m not sure what you mean about the boat?
I’ve been to Maui so many times and haven’t done that snorkel tour yet! Just got back last week and now I want to go again. It sounds like so much fun!
You definitely need to check it out next time!
I finally went to Molokini last Christmas. It was so worth it. Though I would caution anyone interested in making the trip to monitor the weather and water conditions carefully. Bad conditions can totally ruin the experience.
I agree. Although most of the reputable tour companies will reschedule if there is bad weather.