Bay Drive, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Photo by Makena Stock Media/age fotostock
Honolua BayA marine sanctuary in northwest Maui, Honolua Bay delights snorkelers and surfers alike. The right side of the bay boasts dense, showstopping coral that attracts vibrant fish, while the shallower left-hand side features lava caves, archways, and sea turtles in the summer months. Come winter, some of Hawaii’s most beautiful barrel waves start peeling around the point, drawing only the most experienced daredevils. Note that fishing here is forbidden and parking can be tricky—visitors often have to park along the cliffs and hike down through a magical, Robinson Crusoe–type forest to the rocky shoreline. When approaching the bay, watch for mile marker 32. Just past it, you’ll find stairs down to Mokuleia Beach.
AFAR Local Expert
over 6 years ago
Snorkel the Waters of Honolua Bay
When it comes to snorkeling, no single place on the West Side of Maui can compare to Honolua Bay. This marine life conservation district offers a healthy reef with hundreds of fish and a large population of sea turtles. The catch, however, is that Honolua Bay can only be snorkeled during summer. In winter, the bay becomes prone to large surf, which comes peeling around the point. Seeing as it's one of the best waves in the world, winter is great for standing on the cliff and watching as surfers ride giants. That being said, there are still a handful of winter days when the bay can be calm enough for snorkeling. Before setting out for Honolua Bay (located three miles past Kapalua), ask a local or check the forecast to see if there are waves "up North." Usually summer is a safe bet. If you do venture north to Honolua, the adventure begins in the parking lot before you even get to the shoreline. To reach the rocky beach, you first must hike through a tropical valley, dripping every shade of green. Vines navigate their way around tree trunks, and the valley floor is a tangle of foliage. Make sure to bring a camera. When getting in the water, the best reef and greatest number of fish are found along the right side of the bay. Be sure to not venture into water that's too shallow as touching the coral will kill the reef. Honolua is truly one of Maui's special places, and you'll feel blessed if given the opportunity to experience it.