10 Tips for the Perfect Molokini Snorkeling Experience

August 1, 2023

Molokini Snorkeling Tips


Nestled between the islands of Maui and Lanaʻi, Molokini is a small, crescent-shaped volcanic crater that’s home to some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. Thanks to its protected status as a marine reserve and bird sanctuary, the underwater ecosystem here is thriving; you’ll see everything from colorful coral gardens to eels gliding through the clear blue waters.


If you’re planning a trip to Molokini, here are a few tips to ensure that you have the best experience possible:

Molokini Snorkeling Tips Boat Wake


1. Choose your tour operator carefully. With so many companies offering tours to Molokini, it can be tough to decide which one to go with. Do your research and read reviews before booking—you want to make sure you’re going with a reputable company that will give you a safe and enjoyable experience.  We love all these Molokini Tour boats.  If you’re heading out from Kihei, Maui Snorkel Charters operates from Kihei Boat Ramp. Makena Coast Charters also operates a raft out of the boat ramp, but they also have a sailing boat for sunset trips, snorkeling, dinner cruises and more.


2. Arrive at the dock early. Most Molokini tours leave around sunrise, so you’ll want to make sure you get there ahead of time. This will give you time to check in, get briefed, and meet your guides before heading out.  Each tour will tell you to arrive a little early in order to check in.

Molokini Snorkeling Tips Sunrise


3. Listen to your guides. Once you’re out on the water, your guides will be your source of information about the area and what’s safe to do (and not do). Be sure to pay attention to their briefings and follow their instructions—they know what they’re doing!  Some areas of Molokini have currents you don’t want to be near. Also, some areas just don’t offer the same ocean life as others. If you decide to snorkel on your own, check the Maui Snorkel Report (updated daily) before you go out, for current conditions, recommendations, and ratings on snorkel spots around Maui.


4. Don’t touch anything. The rock and reefs that make up Molokini are incredibly sharp, so it’s important not to touch them (you don’t want any cuts!) Also, be careful to wear only reef-safe sunscreen —it can damage the delicate coral below.

Molokini Snorkeling Tips Dont Touch


5. Go with the flow. The currents around Molokini can be strong, so it’s important to keep clear of the edges of the inside crater. Instead, stay within the crater, where the waters are calmer and the fish like to hang out.


6. Keep an eye out for sea life. Molokini is home to over 250 different types of fish, so keep your eyes peeled for schools of fish, octopus, eels, sharks, and more!

Molokini Snorkeling Tips Sea Turtle


7. Don’t feed the fish (or anything else). It might be tempting to try and feed the fish you see swimming around you, but it’s actually against Hawaiian law. Plus, it’s not good for the fish or their environment—so just enjoy watching them instead!


8. Be aware of your surroundings. With all the excitement of seeing fish and other creatures, it’s easy to forget that you’re in their home—not vice versa! Be respectful of their space and beware of any areas that might be unsafe (like up against the inner wall). Also, watch out for other snorkelers.  It is easy to get distracted by fish, then swim right into another passenger.


9. Make sure you have enough energy (and sunscreen!) Snorkeling can be tiring, so make sure you eat a good breakfast beforehand and drink plenty of water throughout the day. And don’t forget the sunscreen! The sun reflecting off the water can be intense, even on cloudy days . . . trust us, we know from experience!

Molokini Snorkeling Tips Sunscreen


10. Have fun! Snorkeling offers a glimpse into nature that most will never see, so relax and take in all the beauty that Molokini Crater has to offer!


With its dramatic landscape and abundance of sea life, Molokini is truly a snorkeler’s paradise—but only if you know what you’re doing! By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your experience is safe and enjoyable . . . now go forth and explore!

Molokini Snorkeling Tips Dolphins


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