Bay Drive, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
| +1 800-464-2924
Photo by Dave Fleetham/age fotostock
Honolua BayThis northwestern marine sanctuary delights surfers and snorkelers, depending on the swells and seasons. Winter lines up some of Hawaii’s most beautiful barrel waves, giants that come peeling around the point (suitable only for experts). In summer, Honolua Bay shines for snorkeling and scuba diving. Sea turtles gather on the shallower left-hand side, which also has lava caves and archways to explore. But the dense showstopping corals thrive to the right, attracting vibrant fish. Note: fishing is forbidden and parking can be tricky. Watch for mile marker 32—just past it lie stairs to Mokulē‘ia Beach (aka “Slaughterhouse”). Visitors often have to park alongside the cliff’s red dirt road and hike down through a magical Robinson-Crusoe sort of forest to the rocky shoreline.
AFAR Local Expert
over 5 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.