La Perouse Bay
Beach Location: Past the resorts and Ahihi-Kinau Reserve on Makena Alanui Drive, Kihei HI 96753
Amenities: Portable toilets, trash and recycle bins
Time to Snorkel: Year round, in the early morning
Kid Friendly: No
Parking: Drive south on Makena Alanui Drive past the resorts, past Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, and past some absolutely tremendous lava fields. When the road ends, turn right to find the parking lot. La Perouse Bay is all along the coast here.
La Perouse Bay is one of the most interesting natural sites on Maui. The bay is located at the southernmost end of the road, past the resorts of Wailea. This is as far as you can travel south by car. The land is rugged, covered in crumbling lava rocks (a’a), and very hot. The region is a lot like some parts of Kona on the Big Island.
If you and your buddy are experienced snorkelers, you will enjoy exploring La Perouse Bay. It takes some time and swimming power to make it past the often wind-whipped waves to the reefs. Once you’re there, though, it is worth the effort. Go in the morning, when the wind is quietest. The visibility usually increases as you swim out. (If it doesn’t, come back in to avoid becoming shark bait.) There are large coral heads and large schools of fish to see. Because of the visibility issues when you first get in, and the energy required to get out there and back, we do not recommend this site for beginning or intermediate snorkelers.
For those with less experience in the water, may we suggest the La Perouse Bay coastal hike? This hike can go on for miles, and there is no shade, so it is very hot. Start as early as you can, and bring a whole lot of drinking water, sun protection, and your binoculars. It is possible to see spinner dolphins from the coast as you walk along, and whale season brings humpback whales! The lava fields you’ll walk through are beautiful and strange, and there are ancient paths that run through them toward the mountains. Take care to heed any signs reading “Kapu.” This word comes from the ancient Hawaiian system of laws and taboos. It has many meanings, including “Keep Out” and “Sacred,” so if you see a Kapu sign before an area, show respect and stay out. Mahalo nui loa.
Whether you snorkel, hike, or just watch the waves awhile, you will find La Perouse Bay to be a deeply special place. Enjoy your time there.
La Perouse Bay Rating by Boss Frog's
Water Clarity - 7/10
Wildlife Abundance - 9/10
Reef Abundance - 8.5/10
Ease of Beach Access - 4/10
Sandy Beach For Entertaining - 1/10
La Perouse Bay is located at the southwestern tip of Maui, where the road ends, past Makena. For those who choose to drive there, it can be some of the best snorkeling in Maui. If you are really lucky, you may even get to swim with dolphins! Check the ocean conditions before going in at La Perouse Bay; the winds pick up quickly on that part of the island, leading to rough waters and poor visibility. Even on land, however, La Perouse Bay is a beautiful and unusual place to see.
View Maui's quick beach guide and Maui's top 25 snorkeling beaches.
If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 1-808-661-3333.