Day 4 on Maui, let's get out and explore the ocean.
General: DIY / How-To
|Guide Series: Maui Vacation Itinerary
If you haven't tried snorkeling yet, you should really give it a go. There are plenty of beaches where you can hop in the water and snorkel close to shore. But to really experience the underwater world and all of its abundant marine life you should really go out on a boat and do a proper snorkeling tour.
Molokini Crater. Image credit: Forest Starr and Kim Starr.
When it comes to snorkeling tours, it's really tough to beat a trip out to Molokini Crater. What is Molokini Crater you ask? It's a crescent shaped and partially submerged volcanic crater located off the southwest coast of Maui. It's located between Maui island and Kaho'olawe island in the Alalakeiki Channel and is part of Maui county. Click here for a list of Molokini tour companies, which will launch from Kama'ole Harbor.
Humuhumunukunukuapuaa. Image Credit: MIKEMORRIS
Technical bits aside, Molokini is the premier spot for some amazing snorkeling and as well as scuba diving. But unless you're a certified diver you'll want to go the snorkeling route. The waters around Molokini are often very clear, making it easy to see all sorts of amazing marine life. Maybe you'll even spot the fun-to-say Humuhumu-nukunuku-apua'a - Reef Triggerfish.
Green sea turtle, or Honu in Hawaiian.
Most Molokini boat tours also take a trip to turtle town. Where exactly is this turtle town? Wherever the turtles happen to be! Most tour companies know the spots where turtles hang out and will take you there after your Molokini snorkel. You'll get to jump back in the water and swim around with the turtles. Note that turtles are a protected species so you need to keep your distance, never touch them, and generally observe from a distance while leaving them alone to do their various turtle related tasks. For more on turtles, see Honu - The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle.
The bottom line is that a Molokini snorkeling tour is bound to be a highlight of your entire Maui vacation and something you should do if at all possible. The tour companies keep professionals on the boat to make sure your safe and well taken care of. They'll even provide masks and snorkels, floaties and noodles to float on if you want, and often provide snacks and drinks.
Is it wrong to eat fish tacos now? Nope!
Now that you've had an incredible experience go grab some lunch and wind down. When you're in Maui, click on Maui Restaurants Nearby Me from your smartphone to find food options around you. Enjoy some tasty islands eats while talking story about the fish that got (swam) away.
Up close and personal!
Your day of marine education and entertainment doesn't have to stop there. Now that you've filled your belly, head over to the Maui Ocean Center. I know, you just saw fish so why a trip to an aquarium now? Simple, all of those fish you just swam with are still fresh in your mind. A walk through the Maui Ocean Center will help you put names to what you saw as well as learn more about our sealife. You'll also see a ton (give or take) of other marine life species that you didn't see on your Molokini tour.
The main area of Lahaina.
You're not far from the town of Lahaina so why not stop in and explore the small town. Find a spot to park in the town and you can walk to everything from there. Sure, it's full of shops and restaurants but it's also full of history. In fact, take a walk along the Lahaina Historic Trail for a complete education on this once popular whaling town.
The Banyan tree is worth seeing in person.
Of course, it won't be a complete trip to Lahaina without a visit to the famous Banyan Tree Park. What's so special about a tree you ask? Well, it's incredibly old and incredibly huge. Huge doesn't even cover it, it's basically a tree the size of a city block. It's a fun place to enjoy a shave ice and watch people walking by.
Another great option in this small town is Lahaina Harbor. Though you can take a boat tour from here, it's also just a fun place to hang out and watch the boats come and go. As the night settles in you can once again view Maui Restaurants Nearby Me, or consider making reservations for the popular Old Lahaina Luau.
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