Catching the Ferry from Maui to Lanai

By Kyle Ellison

Photo courtesy of sel

Photo courtesy of Andy Beal.

Even though Lāna‘i has bed and breakfasts, hotels, and five-star resorts, a large percentage of the island’s visitors take the ferry from neighboring Maui.

The ride from Lahaina to Manele Harbor costs $30, is an hour long and offers spectacular views of Lāna‘i’s rugged southern coastline. In winter it’s common to spot Humpback whales while seated on the outdoor deck, and pods of Hawaiian Spinner dolphins can often be spotted year round.

Renting a Jeep to Explore the Island

lanai islands in Hawaii

Photo: rickh710.

If you’re planning to spend a day on Lāna‘i, the first ferry departs Lahaina at 6:45 a.m. and arrives at Manele Harbor on Lāna‘i by 7:45am. From here you can walk to Hulopo‘e Beach to spend the day snorkeling and sunbathing. Or if you plan to explore the rest of the island with a Jeep from Dollar Lanai, you can catch the shuttle to Lāna‘i City for $10/person. To save on shuttle costs, however, there are some smaller operators with 4WD vehicles that will drop the Jeep at the harbor, so it’s already there when the ferry docks and you can start your adventure from there.

Last Ferry Back to Maui

The Garden of the Gods on Lanaʻi. Photo courtesy of Vadim Kurland.

The Garden of the Gods on Lanaʻi. Photo courtesy of Vadim Kurland.

The last ferry back to Maui is at 6:45 p.m., which allows for 10 hours of exploring the island if you arrive on the earliest ferry. If you’ve rented a Jeep from Dollar Lanai, the shuttle departs for Manele Harbor at around 6pm, so you should return the Jeep and be ready to go by just after 5:30pm.

Spending the Day at Hulopoe

If you plan to just spend the day at Hulopo‘e and don’t plan to rent a Jeep, the next departure from Lahaina to Lana‘i is 9:15am. This way you don’t have to wake up so early and can still be at rolling out your towel at Hulopo‘e by 10:45 am.

Golfing on Lanai Only for Four Seasons Resort Guests

For anyone hoping to golf on Lāna‘i, there once was a time when Maui-based golfers would catch the morning ferry, although now you can only golf on Lāna‘i if you’re staying at The Four Seasons Resort. If you do happen to be staying at the resort, you can ride the ferry from Maui to Lāna‘i where a resort shuttle will meet you at the harbor for a small additional fee.

Staying on Lanai and Traveling to Maui

If, on the other hand, you’re staying on Lāna‘i but plan to spend the day on Maui, the first ferry departs Lāna‘i at 8:00 a.m. in the morning. For the return journey back to Lāna‘i, the final ferry of the day from Lahaina is 5:45pm, which gives you right around eight and a half hours for exploring or shopping on Maui.

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