How do I get to Five Caves?
Five Caves is located on the southwest coast of Maui. If you are heading South to get there, a good route is South Kihei Rd to Wailea Alanui Dr. Once one Wailea Alanui Dr you will take Makena Rd at once you get to the Makena Surf Condos. Drive for a couple minutes until you can take a turn towards the ocean. Once you see two dirt parking lots on both sides of the road, you know you're there. Simply park, walk down the trail towards the ocean and you're there!
This is just one of the many possible routes. If you plan on taking a day to head to Five Caves, we would suggest taking a look at the map first, especially if you have to travel a ways to get there. There are coastal roads, other routes that take you to various shops, etc. Who knows, maybe you can structure your trip to make a few fun stops on the way there or back!
What should I expect at Five Caves?
Five Caves is recommended for those who are placing a high priority on snorkeling. We say this because there isn't much else in the way of family activities or amenities at Five Caves. The shoreline is quite rocky with small patches of beach.
Although this is not an area bustling with lots of different activities, it does have it's strengths. First, you won't be shoulder-to-shoulder with other groups. Second, f you think caves on land are cool, wait until you explore them underwater! Third, this area is known to be frequented by turtles, so there's a good chance you'll see some while you are there (not guaranteed).
Lastly, since Five Caves it is a little more tucked away, you may want to leave a bit of buffer time on each end of your journey. We say this for a couple reasons. 1) Who wants to stress out on their vacation? Plan for a wrong turn or two, and if you get there no problem, well at least you have some extra time! 2) You can drive coastal roads, explore smaller areas, visit some shops or interesting terrain along the way, stop for pictures, etc. Of course, these are all just suggestions.
Typical Conditions at Five Caves
First things first, as much of a cool area as this is to snorkel, it is one you may want to avoid on days with strong surf. It is a difficult area to put in and get out of to begin with, and days with big surf are extra dangerous. Especially considering you will be diving further than a beginner location, and you may be entering caves, you will want to be as careful as possible. With any underwater activity (or activity in general), it always better to be safe rather than sorry!
Moreover, this isn't really a beach you would want to go to just hang out at, especially considering all the other awesome beaches in Maui. Of course, you can always find a spot to hang out and relax, but if you're not here for snorkeling, you may be a little disappointed. If snorkeling is your priority and the surf isn't too crazy, you will likely be leaving with a smile on your face.
Five Caves Snorkel Rentals
BOSS FROG'S SNORKEL RENTALS
Snorkel sets average at ~$6/day or $20/week
* Often have a 2 for 1 deal with weekly snorkel set rentals
* Check their website for other deals and pricing info, as everything varies.
Numerous Locations: Please visit http://bossfrog.com/locations.php
Phone (General): 1-888-700-3764 ext. 3
Phone (In Hawaii): 1-808-661-3333 ext. 8
Amenities at Five Caves
In short, there are none. It's possible that something has been placed there since the last time we visited, but as far as we know, dirt parking lots are about it. This may appeal to some, as it really offers a remote feel, but please ensure you are well prepared for the day. If you're driving, you won't be far from civilization, so don't be overly worried.
Additionally, there are amenities at very nearby snorkeling spots. One of the closest is Makena Landing Beach Park, where they have restrooms and showers. Many people find it to be within walking/swimming distance, but for all intents and purposes, it's probably best to be prepared for an absence of facilities.
Marine Life at Five Caves
One of the coolest parts about Five Caves is the chance of seeing white tip sharks, which often take their naps in the caves. Although it's a good idea to practice caution and keep your distance, these sharks are generally more afraid of you than you are of them.
There's also a good chance you will spot some turtles, one of the more famous inhabitants of these waters. Again, by keeping your distance you are ensuring that you don't spook the turtles and allow them to remain comfortable in this totally unique environment.
Although not "marine life", some people report seeing scuba divers below them, which is pretty common at a lot of snorkeling destinations. Don't worry about this, you can both go about your exploration with disturbing each other or the marine life.
We recommend Five Caves for advanced snorkelers, and perhaps intermediate snorkelers on calm days. It's a tough spot to find, so plan more time than you think you need. Although getting lost can be frustrating, the area is absolutely beautiful, so make sure to bring along a camera. For beginner divers, we recommend checking out easier spots close by that you will be more comfortable with.