Molokini Crater Snorkeling

Molokini Crater Snorkeling Adventure: Dive into the Clear Waters of Hawaii (updated 2023)

Looking for a thrilling adventure in Hawaii? Look no further than the Molokini Crater Snorkeling tour! This excursion takes you on an unforgettable journey to one of the most sought-after snorkeling destinations in the world. Snorkeling at Molokini Crater in my experience is unique and a real underworld experience with amazing sealife.

Located off the coast of Maui, Molokini Crater is a partially submerged volcanic caldera that boasts crystal clear waters teeming with vibrant marine life. It’s a snorkeler’s paradise, offering an unparalleled underwater experience that’s sure to leave you breathless.

But the adventure doesn’t stop there. After exploring Molokini Crater, the tour takes you to another stunning snorkeling location, where you can swim among sea turtles and colorful fish.

Don’t worry if you’re new to snorkeling โ€“ the tour includes all the necessary equipment and a knowledgeable guide to help you get the most out of your experience. And if snorkeling isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy the thrill of the adventure by taking advantage of the tour’s glass-bottom boat option.

So, if you’re looking for an adventure that’s sure to make a splash, book the Molokini Crater Snorkeling tour today!

Designated a Marine Conservation Zone

To protect its fragile ecosystem and marine wildlife, Molokini was declared a Marine Conservation Zone in 1977. The region houses over 250 fish species, including many that are native to Hawaii, as well as corals, sea turtles, and other marine creatures.

Certain activities such as fishing and collecting marine organisms are prohibited in Molokini as a Marine Conservation Zone. Visitors must adhere to strict guidelines to safeguard the delicate marine environment, including avoiding touching or stepping on coral and refraining from feeding or disturbing marine wildlife.

Molokini’s designation as a Marine Conservation Zone has aided in preserving its unique ecosystem and ensuring that future generations can experience its natural splendor.

Its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life make it a famous destination for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Why do a snorkeling tour at Molokini?

Why do a snorkeling tour at Molokini?

Molokini Crater is a unique and stunning snorkeling destination located just off the coast of Maui. The crater’s crescent shape provides shelter from ocean swells, creating a calm and clear underwater environment that’s perfect for snorkeling. With visibility up to 150 feet, snorkelers can marvel at the colorful and diverse marine life, including hundreds of species of fish, vibrant coral, and even the occasional sea turtle or manta ray.

Snorkeling at Molokini Crater offers an unforgettable adventure, providing an opportunity to explore an underwater world unlike any other.

Here’s some of the best tours offered to Molokini Crater

Molokini and Turtle Town tour

Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkel

Treat yourself, your friends, and family to an unforgettable ocean getaway like no other on Maui. Molokini is the perfect location for snorkeling in the world’s clearest water, where you can witness hundreds of species of fish.

Your 4-hour excursion to Molokini Crater includes a visit to Turtle Town, home to the Hawaiian giant green sea turtles, Honu, Reef Triggerfish, Starfish, Butterfly Fish, Octopus, Rays, Eels, and more! Each trip is unique, as the marine life seen varies depending on weather conditions.

Throughout your excursion, our crew will be with you every step of the way, providing assistance and showing you the best each location has to offer. Our crew members are passionate about Maui and have extensive knowledge of the area.

Check-in begins at 6:30 am, and the boat leaves promptly at 7:00 am.

Snorkeling information:

  • On the way to each snorkel spot, our crew will prepare and adjust your gear making sure it fits correctly and you are comfortable.
  • We also offer flotation devices to enhance your swimming.

Physical and Age Restrictions:

  1. Snorkeler (5+ years old)
  2. Non-swimmers restricted to the boat.
  3. No Pregnant women.
  4. Participants must be capable of moderate-to-advanced physical activity.
  5. Persons with recent surgical procedures prohibited,
  6. Cannot book individuals with chronic, serious existing back or neck conditions.
  7. Guests must be able to climb a vertical boat ladder.
  8. No unaccompanied minors below the age of 15. No legal minors 17 or younger without legal guardian-signed waivers.

Tour Itinerary

Check-in for the excursion starts promptly at 6:30 a.m. at the Kihei Boat Ramp, located at 2800 S Kihei Rd, Kihei, HI 96753. All guests are required to sign in and complete a liability waiver before receiving an individual snorkel gear fitting. Guests then walk to the dock and board the boat.

The boat launches at 7 a.m. sharp with no exceptions. During the journey, the captain will provide a safety briefing for all passengers. The trip to Molokini Crater takes approximately 15-20 minutes, weather permitting.

At the first location, guests can enjoy snorkeling, free diving, or simply relax for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Our snack and beverage service is available during this time. The second location also offers 45 minutes to 1 hour for snorkeling, free diving, or relaxation, with our meal and beverage service available.

Finally, guests return to the Kihei Boat Ramp for the conclusion of the excursion.


$159Snorkelers Ages 5 and older

Book this Molokini and Turtle Town adventure

2 hour Molokini Crater cruise

2 Hour Molokini Crater snorkel cruise

Indulge in an unforgettable Ocean Getaway in Maui’s pristine Molokini, perfect for snorkeling with hundreds of fish species. Our knowledgeable crew will guide you to the best spots. This easy 2 hour morning tour will give you just the right amount of time to cruise and enjoy a snorkeling experience off Molokini Crater

Two Departure times every Thursday and Saturday

First Cruise

  • Check-in is at 6:30 a.m. (firm)
  • Departure is at 7 a.m. (no exceptions).
  • Return to dock 9 a.m. (weather permitting)

Second Cruise

  • Check-in is at 9 a.m. (firm)
  • Departure is at 9:30 a.m. (no exceptions).
  • Return to dock 11:30 a.m. (weather permitting)

Snorkeling information and restrictions

For snorkelers, our crew will prepare and adjust your gear to ensure it fits comfortably. We offer flotation devices to enhance swimming. Participants must be at least 5 years old, capable of moderate-to-advanced physical activity, and able to climb a vertical boat ladder. Non-swimmers are restricted to the boat. Pregnant women, recent surgical patients, and those with chronic back or neck conditions are prohibited. Unaccompanied minors below 15 and legal minors without signed waivers by a legal guardian are not allowed.


  • Location: Kihei Boat Ramp, 2800 S Kihei Rd, Kihei, HI 96753 (no exceptions)
  • Sign in and complete liability waiver
  • Individual snorkel gear fitting
  • Walk to the dock and board the boat

En Route:

  • Captain’s safety briefing
  • 15-20 minute trip to Molokini Crater (weather permitting)
  • 1 hour to 90 minute visit to snorkel, free dive or just relax
  • Snack and beverage service
  • Return trip to Kihei Boat Ramp


$99Snorkelers Ages 5 and older

Book this 2 Hour Molokini Crater snorkel

Molokini and performance sailing experience
drone angle, GoPro images of Paragon catamarans

Molokini and Performance Sailing Experience

Paragon Sailing Charters offers a unique snorkeling experience at Molokini, a natural marine preserve and bird sanctuary on Maui. Enjoy a continental breakfast and whale watching during the leisurely sail across Mฤ’alaea Bay. Swim, snorkel, and rinse off with our hot/cold water shower at Molokini, where you can see over 250 varieties of tropical fish. Indulge in a gourmet buffet lunch and icy cold beverages. Aboard Paragon II, experience the thrill of sailing and reaching speeds in excess of 20 knots with the afternoon trade winds.

Trip Details

  • Departure from Mฤ’alaea Harbor
  • 4.5 hours – Everyday (weather permitting)


Location: Mฤ’alaea Harbor Slip 72

  • 7:00 a.m.
  • Sometimes Molokini weather can be a bit unpredictable. If thatโ€™s the case, weโ€™ll sail to a snorkel destination that is more suitable to current conditions.


  • 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (5 Hours)

Trip Includes

  • Continental breakfast.
  • Buffet lunch & beverages including beer & wine.
  • Limited to 25 passengers per trip.
  • 24 hour cancellation policy on all tours.


$180Adults Ages 13+
$126Children Ages 3 – 12
FreeInfant Ages 2 and under

Book this Molokini and Performance Sail Experience

Molokini 2 tank dive

Molokini Crater 2 tank Dive

Our 2-tank trip to Molokini Crater Backwall and Carthaginian Wreck is suitable for experienced divers in good physical condition, with Advanced Certification, 25 logged dives, and a dive within the last 6 months. The first dive takes you to Backwall, a world-class wall and drift dive with a stunning vertical drop-off and clear blue water. Discover cool nudis, pipefish, and endemic reef fish, as well as pelagics. The second dive is at the Carthaginian, a semi-penetrable wreck at 100 feet, home to white tip reef sharks, frogfish, eels, and more, and a slice of whaling history.


$255Certified Diver Must be SCUBA certified โ€ข Ages 16+


6 Hours

Book this Molokini 2 tank dive

snorkeling-Molokini crater

Here’s some tips in visiting Molokini Crater

Here are some educational tips for visiting Molokini Crater:

  1. Protect the Marine Life: Molokini Crater is home to a variety of marine life, including many endangered species. While snorkeling, make sure to avoid touching the coral and other sea creatures. Keep a safe distance from them and avoid standing on the reef, as this can cause irreversible damage.
  2. Learn About the Geology: Molokini Crater is a unique geological formation, and learning about its history and formation can enhance your experience. The crater was formed by a volcanic eruption, and its crescent shape is due to the eruption’s direction and the movement of ocean currents.
  3. Bring Sun Protection: The sun can be intense out on the water, so make sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes. You may also want to wear a rash guard to protect against sunburn and jellyfish stings.
  4. Respect the Environment: When visiting Molokini Crater, make sure to follow the “leave no trace” principle. Do not litter, and make sure to dispose of any trash properly. Respect the environment and keep it pristine for future visitors.
  5. Find the best outfitter and Guide: If you want to get the most out of your Molokini Crater snorkeling experience, consider any of the tour outfitters we mentioned above. Many of these outfitters will have a knowledgeable guide who can help you identify different marine species, teach you about the geology of the area, and ensure that you stay safe while in the water.

Weather and best time to visit Maui

The best time to visit Maui, Hawaii, depends on your preferences, time off and what you want to experience. Here’s a breakdown of Maui’s weather and the best times to visit when you plan your trip:

Peak Season (Late December to Early April):

  • Weather: Maui experiences pleasant, dry, and warm weather during this period.
  • Pros: Clear skies, lower humidity, and warm temperatures make it an ideal time for beach activities, snorkeling, and exploring the island.
  • Cons: It’s also the most crowded and expensive time to visit, so book accommodations and activities in advance.

Shoulder Season (Late April to May and September to Early December):

  • Weather: These months offer pleasant temperatures and slightly fewer crowds.
  • Pros: You can still enjoy good weather for outdoor activities, and prices for accommodations and flights are often more reasonable than in peak season.
  • Cons: Availability and prices may vary depending on the exact dates and demand.

Off-Season (June to August):

  • Weather: Summer brings warmer temperatures and occasional rain, but it’s also hurricane season (though direct hits are rare).
  • Pros: Lower accommodation prices, fewer tourists, and great deals on activities can be found.
  • Cons: Heat and humidity can be high, and there’s a higher chance of brief rain showers. Be prepared for occasional tropical storms.

Whale-Watching Season (Mid-December to Early April):

  • If you’re interested in whale-watching, visit Maui during the winter months when humpback whales migrate to the warm waters of Hawaii.

In general, Maui offers pleasant weather year-round, so the best time to visit depends on your budget, preferences, and what activities you want to enjoy. To avoid crowds and higher prices, consider visiting during the shoulder or off-season, but be prepared for some weather variability during these times.

Looking for more fun tours in Maui?

Check out these other fun adventures and tours you can do on the island not.

Maui Sunset Tours

Road to Hana Tour

Maui adventure experiences

Maui Surfing Classes

Conclusion on Molokini Crater Snorkeling

Conclusion on Molokini Crater Snorkeling

Unleash your inner adventurer and dive into an underwater paradise with our Molokini Crater Snorkeling tour. Experience the thrill of swimming with tropical fish, exploring colorful coral reefs, and encountering amazing marine life. Book now and create unforgettable memories on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

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Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.