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Molokini Crater Snorkeling + Diving Tour

Molokini Shoal Marine Life Conservation Area

Maui, Hawai'i

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Molokini Crater Snorkeling + Diving Tour

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  • Aerial photo of Molokini Crater looking north. Photo by Bossfrog (CC BY-SA 4.0).- Molokini Crater Snorkeling + Diving Tour
  • View of Molokini Crater with Haleakalā in the background. Photo by Allie Caulfield (CC 2.0).- Molokini Crater Snorkeling + Diving Tour
  • Pennant butterflyfish (Heniochus acuminatus) at Molokini Crater. Photo by Snorkelingdives.com (CC 2.0).- Molokini Crater Snorkeling + Diving Tour
  • Bluefin trevally/'Omilu (Caranx melampygus) at Molokini Crater. Photo by Snorkelingdives.com (CC 2.0).- Molokini Crater Snorkeling + Diving Tour
  • Coral at Molokini Crater. Photo by Snorkelingdives.com (CC 2.0).- Molokini Crater Snorkeling + Diving Tour
  • Slate pencil urchin/Punahu (Eucidaris tribuloides) at Molokini Crater. Photo by Jason Raia (CC 2.0).- Molokini Crater Snorkeling + Diving Tour
  • Coral and marine life at Molokini Crater. Photo by Jason Raia (CC 2.0).- Molokini Crater Snorkeling + Diving Tour
  • Coral and marine life at Molokini Crater. Photo by Allie Caulfield (CC 2.0).- Molokini Crater Snorkeling + Diving Tour
  • A boat departing from Molokini Crater. Photo by Tony Webster (CC 2.0).- Molokini Crater Snorkeling + Diving Tour
  • - Molokini Crater Snorkeling + Diving Tour
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
One of Hawai'i's best snorkeling and diving locations.
Cons: 
One-hour boat ride required to reach crater.
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Region:
Maui, HI
Congestion: 
High
Location type: 
Rocky shore
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

One mention of Molokini to locals and tourists alike elicits thoughts of prolific sea and bird life, turquoise waters, and astoundingly good snorkeling and scuba diving. Situated 6 miles from the Kihei Boat Ramp and 10 miles from Ma’alaea, this spectacular geologic formation is called a tuff cone and was created when lava and ash blasted loose from an undersea vent held closed under pressure by the weight of the ocean above. 

Molokini was originally, as the name implies, shaped in a full cone, but over time the northern half has slowly eroded away under the relentless crashing of the waves. Likewise, the horizontal notch in the belly of the crater’s curve was eroded by wave cuts as well. In a fascinating look at the earth’s history, divers can descend to 250 feet below this notch and spy another similar wave cut, supporting evidence that sea level was once substantially lower. 

Molokini is a marine sanctuary, so walking on the crater or feeding fish is illegal. Snorkeling or diving over a colorful coral garden, being approached by many fish, and sharing the space with hundreds of other snorkelers is to be expected, but our best advice: disregard preconceptions, because actually experiencing Molokini will surpass them all.

Molokini Boat Tour + Snorkel Operators

To get to Molokini requires a motorboat—though 6 miles might seem doable to strong kayakers, trade winds and strong currents can easily get boaters in over their heads. Because it’s such a popular dive and snorkel spot, though, there are many tours daily, and we’ll wager that your experience will be much more enjoyable if you hop aboard. Most tours depart from Ma'alaea Harbor and Kihei. Expect that most tours will be a minimum of five to six hours round trip, and others may require a full day's commitment, which may include a visit to a number of other fabulous sites.

Departing from Ma'alaea Harbor:

Departing from Kihei:

 

​Cover photo by Bossfrog (CC BY-SA 4.0).
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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(60 within a 30 mile radius)

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