Hawaii · Islands · USA

Snorkeling in Molokini Crater, Is the hype worth it?

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Maui, snorkelling is probably on your list. The truth is, Maui offers a lot of awesome places for snorkelling, and Molokini is the most popular among tourists (not locals). Many Maui tours operate from Molokini, and there are articles on the internet that cite Molokini as the best snorkel spot, but if you ask a local, they’d probably not recommend snorkelling there. In my search for the best place to snorkel in Maui, I came across this post on Trip Advisor stating that it was once one of the best snorkel and scuba sites, but the fishes are now gone due to commercialization. Despite seeing similar reviews on Trip Advisor, I still decided to go with the Molokini tour because that was the most famous. I now realize I should have listened to TripAdvisor. 😀

We had booked our tour with Pacific Whale Foundation, which will take us snorkelling at Molokini Crater and Turtle Arches and serve lunch and breakfast on board. We started the tour at 8:00 AM, received some instructions, ate breakfast on board and arrived at the crater at 9:00 AM. A 45-minute snorkelling time was adequate for me, and I felt we had enough time to explore the area. As soon as I arrived at the crater, I saw 8-10 boats docked for snorkelling and if every boat had 100 visitors onboard (ours had 150), there were already 1000 people snorkelling. I was a little disappointed by the crowd (ironically I was also a part of that)but hoped to spot some good reefs and fishes. It was pretty clear weather and we could see the reefs and the underwater clarity was very good, but we couldn’t see any fish where our boat docked. As we snorkelled close to the crater, we started seeing fishes. A few schools of colourful fish were seen here and there, though not as many as I had hoped. There were some colourful fishes to see on the reefs, but we continuously tried to find a better spot where we could see more fish but were unable to. I found snorkelling at Molokini to be Okay but could not understand what the hype was all about.

Our second snorkelling spot was Turtle Arches, and although I had low hopes of seeing turtles after Molokini, there was a part of me that was still hopeful. Turtle Arches ended up being more disappointing than Molokini. There were not as many boats as I expected, and we did not see turtles there and the fishes were almost the same as ones we spotted on Molokini.

In general, I was a little disappointed with the whole tour, the snorkelling was okay but didn’t live up to the hype, and I would suggest picking a different spot. 

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