Snorkeling in Hawaii

By Napua Heen

big island tours

Snorkeling in a pristine marine sanctuary. Photo courtesy of Wasabi Tours.

Ready for some underwater sightseeing? Rent a mask and snorkel and swim out from shore. Hawaiʻi’s reefs are teeming with sea life and you’re sure to spot some colorful new friends.

The two most popular spots to go snorkeling in Hawaiʻi are Hanauma Bay on Oʻahu and Molokini Crater off of Maui. But there are many more, less crowded spots with equally beautiful sights to see. Try Shark’s Cove on Oʻahu. (No, it’s not really sharkie.) Try Honolua Bay and Kāʻanapali Beach on Maui. Kauaʻi’s two best snorkeling spots are on the North Shore, Tunnels Beach and Keʻe Beach. However, the best time to go is during the summer. The winter months on Kauaʻi’s North Shore bring in massive waves. If this is the case, head over to Poʻipu Beach on the South Shore. On the Big Island, Kealakekua Bay is the favored snorkeling destination, and dolphins are often seen here.

The best conditions for snorkeling are calm seas and calm winds. The churning of the sea will stir up sand and sediment from the bottom and make visibility hard. See our tips on staying safe when snorkeling. Also watch out for heavy rains. Snorkeling after heavy rainfall is not a good idea, as runoff will make the water cloudy. If this is the case for you, try another water sport like standup paddle boarding.

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