10 Best Snorkel Tours in Maui

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These are the 10 best snorkel tours in Maui.

Maui stands out as a highly coveted global vacation spot, drawing visitors repeatedly with its captivating atmosphere, inviting waters, and warm hospitality. While you may be familiar with Maui’s diverse climate zones, ranging from the snow-capped Haleakala volcano to verdant green rain forests, the primary allure is the turquoise Pacific, serving as the backdrop for remarkable snorkel tours.

For those seeking a tranquil beach retreat in Maui, remember that adventure also awaits. Embark on jungle exploration through hiking tours, witness the scenic Road to Hana on comfortable coach rides, or gain a fresh perspective on the landscape by opting for helicopter or horseback excursions. Yet, if your purpose is to explore the sea, snorkel tours are the ideal choice. The ocean, teeming with life forms—approximately 91% of which remain unnamed—is not only breathtaking but also a habitat for diverse marine life forms – an estimated 91% of which have not even been named yet!

Immersing yourself in Maui’s wonders is best experienced through snorkeling, especially Molokini Crater!  Over centuries, coral polyps have thrived in this ideal environment, making it a haven for beautiful fish. Designated as a Marine Life Conservation District, Molokini prohibits fishing, although local seabirds tend to ignore such regulations. Located just three miles off Maui’s coast, Molokini promises an unforgettable snorkeling experience, accessible via various exciting vessels, including those bound for Lanai’s enticing snorkeling sites!

Considering the likelihood that you’re interested in snorkeling (why else would you be reading this?), I must emphasize the need for caution. Snorkeling may seem simple, but it demands athleticism, energy, and coordination. If you lack swimming skills, it’s best to avoid snorkeling. However, if you’re a proficient swimmer, snorkel tours are awesome!

Always snorkel with a buddy, and listen to the safety tips provided by your boat crew. If you opt for coastal snorkeling, stay close to the shore as you explore, be mindful of changing wind and wave conditions, and prioritize your safety. Touching marine life, especially delicate reefs, is discouraged. Remember that disturbing turtles is not only disrespectful but may lead to fines, given their protected status.

With safety in mind, let’s explore the top 10 Maui snorkel tours, starting with the Malolo.

1 Malolo

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$79.95  Regularly $99.95. Save $20 per couple.
The Malolo, a 55-foot motorized catamaran, is fully equipped to provide an exceptional Molokini snorkeling experience. With an excellent crew at your service, enjoy a continental breakfast and delectable lunch served throughout the day, along with all the necessary gear and instructions for an enjoyable time on the water! This vessel even boasts a water slide for a refreshing splash directly into the ocean. For those who prefer to keep their faces above water during snorkel tours, kick boards with portholes are available. In the volcanic crescent of Molokini, the visibility can reach an incredible 150 feet, offering a spectacular underwater view. Snorkeling in the crater allows you to encounter a variety of marine life, including Moorish idols, red slate pencil urchins, parrotfish, and bluefin trevally. If luck is on your side, you may witness the graceful glide of a spotted eagle ray as you float on the water’s surface. Following the exploration of Molokini, the Malolo takes you to another breathtaking site known as Turtle Town —a submerged paradise for sea turtles that will undoubtedly feel like paradise for you as well. For those who prefer a later start, the Malolo also offers afternoon snorkel excursions to Molokini or Coral Gardens. While Molokini is the primary choice, the weather determines the optimal site. Rest assured, the Malolo is prepared and waiting for your snorkeling adventure!

2 Quicksilver

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$109.95 Regularly $129. Save $40 per couple.
The Quicksilver stands out as a high-speed, double-decker catamaran and an excellent choice for those heading to Lanai. Featuring a water slide for the adventurous, kick boards with built-in viewing portholes for those avoiding face contact with water, and an impressive glass-bottomed viewing room below deck for those who prefer to stay dry, the Quicksilver ensures that every family member can appreciate the captivating beauty of Lanai’s coral reefs. Notably, there’s a pod of spinner dolphins known to frequent the waters between Maui and Lanai, providing a potential sighting opportunity!

To fuel your snorkeling adventure, the day kicks off with a delicious hearty breakfast. The crew provides all the necessary snorkel equipment, including prescription masks and comfortable flotation aids, accompanied by a comprehensive explanation of their usage. The Quicksilver crew ensures you feel comfortable before you begin snorkeling, allowing you to focus on enjoying the underwater world. After your marine exploration, climb back aboard to find a delectable hot lunch awaiting you!

Following a well-deserved rest, your day on the Quicksilver continues with a return journey to Lahaina Harbor, where the search for spinner dolphins resumes. During whale season, there’s even the exciting possibility of an impromptu humpback whale watch as you make your way back. Truly an awesome experience!

3 Calypso

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$109.95 Regularly $129. Save $40 per couple.
Boasting cutting-edge technology, stability, and an abundance of excitement, the Calypso offers a seamless and enjoyable half-day journey to Molokini Crater and Turtle Town. This recently unveiled 69-foot catamaran stands as the Valley Isle’s sole triple-decker snorkeling vessel. Its broad staircases descend directly into the water, complemented by two water slides and a designated jump-off point for a swift entry, while built-in glass panels in one hull provide the option to stay completely dry. Opt for comfortable seating in the shade or bask in the sun – the choice is yours! The captain and crew of the Calypso are not only delightful and dynamic but also prioritize safety. They are eager to guide you in using the provided snorkel equipment, answer any questions that may come up, and keep a close watch while you and your family explore the crater and later – Turtle Town! With all that activity, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Fear not, as a nourishing breakfast, hearty BBQ lunch, and an ample supply of drinks are served throughout the day. For your convenience, three restrooms are available on board. The Calypso enhances the overall experience with an entertaining tropical playlist, adding to the enjoyment of the ocean, sunlight, wildlife, and snorkeling aboard this remarkable vessel. Sea you soon!

4 Blue Water Rafting

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$48 Regularly $55. Save $14 per couple.
For those seeking genuine adventure, Blue Water Rafting’s Molokini tour is the ideal choice. This exhilarating experience not only grants you access to the crater but also takes you on a journey to snorkel at Turtle Town, explore the Kanaio Coast, and visit La Perouse Bay. Essentially, it combines two snorkeling tours and two sightseeing tours into one comprehensive excursion. With a limited capacity of 24 passengers and 60% of the vessel shaded, hold on tight as you enjoy a continental breakfast and early morning dolphin spotting. The fabulous crew will guide you through the ins and outs of snorkeling, provide your gear, and usher you into the water to witness breathtaking underwater landscapes. The vibrant marine life at Molokini and the serene sea turtles at Turtle Town are bound to leave a lasting impression. A delightful deli-style lunch is served between snorkeling spots. As part of the extraordinary day with Blue Water Rafting, you’ll speed over to Maui’s south coast, where the Kanaio Coast and La Perouse Bay showcase captivating jagged lava formations for you to admire and photograph. If the water conditions permit, there may even be an opportunity for you to take a dip here as well!

5 Four Winds

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$94.95 Regularly $105. Save $20.10 per couple.
The Four Winds, a 55-foot motorized catamaran, offers a host of exciting amenities. Revel in the thrill of a water slide, discover the wonders of the ocean through the below-deck viewing room with a glass bottom, and set the mood with excellent tunes on the stereo sound system. Throughout your time on the water, savor a continental breakfast and a barbeque lunch. Your snorkel gear, including specialized prescription masks if needed, is conveniently delivered to you, ensuring a hassle-free experience. Haven’t snorkeled in a while, or ever? No problem! The proficient Four Winds crew has you covered. They provide a thorough orientation to ensure your comfort in the water, accompanying you and ensuring a fun experience. An underwater photographer captures your family’s adventure, with photos showcased in a slideshow during lunch, and you can buy them if you wish.  For inquiries about Molokini’s magnificent sea life, a marine naturalist is on board to provide valuable insights. If you’re not an early riser, the Four Winds offers trips in the afternoon to explore Molokini or Coral Gardens (another gorgeous site)! Regardless of the time or destination, a Maui snorkeling tour with Four Winds guarantees a fantastic and memorable experience!

6 Friendly Charters

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$89.95 Regularly $98. Save $16.10 per couple.
Each morning in Maui, the friendly and skilled crew of Friendly Charters eagerly awaits to whisk you away to Molokini! Welcoming you aboard the Lani Kai – their large motor catamaran – with aloha. Indulge in a delightful continental breakfast as you cruise towards the crater. All your snorkel gear is thoughtfully provided, and for those seeking an extra adventure, the option to upgrade to a snuba dive is available! The Lani Kai crew guides you in observing fish safely and comfortably, ensuring an enjoyable experience for both beginners and experienced individuals—swimming skills being the only prerequisite. After enjoying the beautiful reef tour of Molokini, you will motor over to see Turtle Town, a renowned sea turtle haven! Witnessing these magnificent creatures is virtually guaranteed at this popular rest stop. A satisfying lunch is served after your water adventures at this second site. After a well-deserved rest, you and your family return to Maui’s shores, brimming with excitement from your sun-soaked snorkeling escapade with Friendly Charters. If a leisurely morning is more to your liking during your vacation, rest assured, the Lani Kai also offers excursions in the afternoon to explore Molokini or the enchanting Coral Gardens!

7 Paragon

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$105 Regularly $120. Save $30 per couple.
Paragon invites you on a Molokini journey aboard their 47-foot catamaran, offering an intimate experience with a maximum of 38 passengers. Departing from the harbor, the spacious boat ensures ample room for you and your companions to explore. The incredible crew serves a delectable breakfast during the sail, and a deli-style lunch buffet awaits you after your snorkeling adventure.  Paragon’s commitment to the coral reef you’ll be exploring is evident in every aspect of their snorkel tours. They provide reef-safe sunscreen for your use throughout the day, demonstrating their dedication to environmental responsibility. Upon reaching Molokini, the crew ensures your enjoyment by offering comprehensive snorkel instruction and top-notch equipment, including fantastic flotation aids and exceptional optical masks!  As you marvel at the mesmerizing reef fish, keep an eye out for the majestic spotted eagle rays and intriguing eels. During humpback whale season in Maui, submerge your ears at Molokini to catch the enchanting melodies of their songs. For those who prefer an afternoon adventure or aren’t early risers, Paragon offers trips to Coral Gardens as well. No matter the time of day, Paragon guarantees an exceptional snorkeling experience filled with beauty and discovery. 🙂

8 Redline Rafting

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$135 Per Adult. 
For an exhilarating ocean adventure en route to Molokini, look no further than Redline Rafting! Their lively 35-foot rigid-hulled rafts swiftly transport you to Molokini, ensuring an early arrival ahead of most other snorkel tours. This advantageous timing allows you to be at the forefront for observing the vibrant marine life. Notably, Redline Rafting is the sole company guaranteeing your visit to Molokini, adapting their itinerary if water conditions inside the crater are less than ideal. In such cases, they take you to the open ocean side of Molokini, where both the inner crescent and the back side boast stunning coral reef habitats, promising a delightful snorkeling experience.  Redline Rafting prides itself on a fantastic crew, serving delicious breakfast and lunch, providing onboard restroom facilities, and furnishing all the necessary snorkel equipment. Beyond snorkeling at Molokini, the adventure includes a chance to explore the “Forbidden” south coast of Maui, featuring La Perouse Bay, where encountering spinner dolphins is a distinct possibility. Embark on a thrilling journey with Redline Rafting for an unforgettable Molokini experience and the discovery of Maui’s captivating south coast.

9 Trilogy

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$138.19 Per Adult.
Trilogy’s exceptional crew ensures a stylish journey to Molokini aboard their fantastic fleet of sailing catamarans. As the oldest family-owned excursion company on Maui, Trilogy brings a wealth of experience to your adventure. Picture starting your day with Mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast and relishing a barbeque teriyaki chicken lunch (with a vegetarian option, naturally) after your snorkeling escapade. Trilogy not only provides personalized service but also caters to all your snorkel gear needs. Recognizing the importance of stillness when observing fish at Molokini, Trilogy offers wetsuit tops to keep you warm, allowing for extended time in the water. For first-time snorkelers, the friendly crew is ready to impart knowledge and guide you through the process. If you’re feeling adventurous, Trilogy presents a snuba option as well. Whether you choose to snorkel or snuba, you’ll soon find yourself captivated by the underwater world, encountering butterflyfish, yellow tang, surgeonfish, and the famous humu-humu-nuku-nuku-a-pua’a. Trilogy’s exploration doesn’t end at Molokini; they also take you to Turtle Town. Living up to its exciting name, this second site is teeming with sea turtles. Your snorkel tours with Trilogy promise an unforgettable and thrilling aquatic experience!

10 Ocean Riders

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$129 Regularly $139. Save $20 per couple.
Last but certainly not least, Ocean Riders offers an exceptional rafting adventure to Lanai that promises a remarkable experience. Departing from Mala Wharf on the west side of Maui in the early morning, this 30-foot raft delivers an incredibly enjoyable ride. With its extra-heavy bottom ensuring a smooth journey, this raft is the same type utilized by the U.S. Coast Guard for search and rescue operations. Onboard, approximately 50% of the raft provides shade and features padded benches, ensuring ample comfort for the 18 passengers on each snorkel tour.

The unique advantage of choosing this raft lies in its ability to circumnavigate Lanai. With its shallow draft, the raft can approach various sites closely. Explore secluded beaches by disembarking the raft and witness sea caves, all while experiencing some of Lanai’s most stunning snorkel sites inaccessible to larger vessels. The journey encompasses a visit to a substantial shipwreck on the island’s back side, passing by sacred burial caves, tidepools, and blowholes.

Off the shores of Lanai with Ocean Riders, there’s a consistent opportunity to encounter pods of the acrobatic spinner dolphins, one of the three native mammals to the Hawaiian Islands. As you ponder the other two mammals, remember that the Hawaiian hoary bat and the Hawaiian monk seal join the spinner dolphin. A big mahalo to you for exploring the 10 Best Snorkel Tours on Maui. We eagerly anticipate your presence on the boats! 😉 Until next time, dear readers, Maui Amy signing off with aloha for now! (I might just have to join another one of those awesome snorkel tours soon!)