If your main priority on your trip to Hawaii is to snorkel with a sea turtle, look no further than Maluaka.
Sometimes even referred to as “Turtle Town,” Maluaka is a relatively quiet beach with perfect conditions for swimming and snorkeling. The deep, sandy bottom protects feet from boulders (but they’re still out there). As an added bonus, this is one of the last beaches that are affected by the trade winds during the day, keeping the ocean calmer and sunsets quieter. Naturally, that makes it more ideal for evening weddings and events so expect to share.
Green sea turtles, or honu in the native language, are known for lethargically swimming and drifting around the warm, shallow, rocky waters of southern Maui feeding on crabs, jellyfish and other creatures. As adults, they become herbivores, primarily eating sea grasses and algae.They sometimes can travel hundreds of miles to return to their home beaches to lay eggs, burying 100 to 200 in the sand. The eggs sit for two months before they hatch and crawl straight to the sea. While egg harvesting has been contributing to their decreasing numbers, there are many other factors at play, keeping them on the endangered species list for a number of years. If you see them while you’re swimming or snorkeling, it’s highly illegal to touch them — a minimum distance of 6 feet is mandatory.
Maluaka also has a well-manicured grassy area replete with picnic tables, a clean bathroom, and a shower area. Keep in mind that there is no lifeguard on duty. If you have trouble finding a spot to park in the extremely small lot, consider parking at the Wailea Shopping Center.