If you’ve been to Maui you know there are many great snorkel spots. You’ve probably seen the beautiful array of colorful fish among the reefs and maybe even a sea turtle. When we visited Maui I had never been snorkeling before. I couldn’t believe how amazing it was to see the reefs with all the fish, the eels, and be so close to so many sea turtles. It was also so relaxing. There is something special about the ocean in Maui, for me anyways, I could float forever, the salt content or something is just enough for my body weight to just float, no assistance needed from me. This was perfect for snorkeling, I could lay completely still right on the top of the water if I wanted to. My second favorite thing to do while we were there was to swim out past the break and just float. At Kanapali beach I was laying there, staring up at the sky and I could very faintly hear the whales in this distance through the water, it was pretty special.
Even if you’ve seen some special spots in Maui, there is nothing better than Honolua Bay for snorkeling. Honolua Bay is not a secret, there’s actually lots of clothing and souvineers you can buy that say Honolua Bay, but it is a magical spot for snorkeling. Once we discovered it we kept going back. There is no beach in the bay, it’s all large rocks, so it’s not a busy location with a bunch of families spending the day. Most of the visitors are going there to snorkel and then leave. The bay is fairly protected so there aren’t big waves crashing in that you have to navigate, it got a little choppy one day when we went out but nothing that caused us any concern, even with two little ones.
Both sides of the bay have big coral reefs, there are so many different fish of all colors, and I think one day we saw four different turtles. We were close enough to touch some of these turtles (which we didn’t because that’s a no-no). Our little ones had no problem swimming the distance from one side to the other, I think the buoyancy in the water helped a lot.
Honolua Bay is located on the north west side of Maui. It’s about as far north as you’d want to go on this side of the island. Although just past Honolua Bay is a great look-out spot on top of the cliffs, and at the bottom of those cliffs is a prime surf spot, it’s basically where the waves are breaking before the entrance to the bay. The waves were opening perfectly to the left every single time.
There are no signs or anything to indicate you’ve reached Honolua Bay (so I guess maybe it’s a bit of a secret). You will basically come across some parking at the entrance to a trail just on the side of the road. There’s maybe room for 6 cars on either side of the trail. The trail to the bay is also something special. It’s very lush, vines everywhere, and you can hear all the sounds of the creatures. Part of the beauty in Hawaii is the lush foliage. The trail is not long and it’s flat so it’s an easy walk in. When you get near the end there is a neighboring property with chickens running wild, I think they have the best spot on the island.
When you see the bay, honestly you won’t be awestruck. It’s just a very rocky beach in a secluded bay with cliffs all around. It’s actually mostly shaded, or it was at the times we were there, thanks to the surrounding cliffs. A plus so that you don’t have to worry about sunscreen, sunscreen actually damages the coral reefs. The magic comes once you’ve put on all your snorkel gear and swim out to those reefs. Make sure to bring an underwater camera with you to try and capture some of the beauty.
If you’re anything like us you will return every day during your stay in Maui for a quick snorkel at Honolua Bay. We will be back for sure!
Check out another amazing travel destination: Costa Rica!