Molokini Crater

Snorkeling Molokini Crater

Molokini Crater – Snorkeling in a Unique, Adventurous, and Safe Environment

The Molokini Crater is one of the most popular snorkeling destinations in Maui, and Hawaii in general. The unique picturesque scenery combined with safe conditions and a vibrant ecosystem make this a must-snorkel destination. In this article we will describe the Molkini Crater in detail as it relates to snorkeling.

Where is the Molokini Crater?

The Molokini Crater is located off the southwest shore of Maui in the Alalakeiki Channel (between the islands of Maui and Kaho’olawe). It is located approximately 2.5 miles west of Makena State Park and south of Ma’alaea Bay.

What makes the Molokini Crater so unique?

The Molokini Crater is one of only three sheltered volcanic calderas in the world. It has been suggested that this is the most popular snorkeling destination in all of the Hawaiian islands; however, this does not mean it’s overcrowded.

Snorkeling Molokini Crater requires a little bit of effort, as you can only access the crater via boat, which also helps keeps the area natural and sustainable. Don’t worry though, there are lots of locations that you can book snorkeling trips from, so it shouldn’t be a problem finding a way to get there.

Another unique aspect of the crater is it’s crescent shape above water. This makes it an awesome spot for snorkeling, as wall of the crater will protect divers from waves and powerful currents. This serves an an additional level of safety, but also allows for enhanced visibility underwater, a perfect combination.

How can you get to the Molokini Crater?

The Molokini Crater is naturally more difficult to access, as it located off-shore. That being said, it’s such an awesome snorkeling destination that there are many different boats from numerous locations that you can take to the crater. This means that there are often snorkeling groups and tours present at the crater, but given the sensitive environment there is a cap on number of boats that can access the crater, so it should never be jammed. Here are some of the more popular tours that take people out for amazing snorkeling. Snorkel rental, instruction, lunch, and an open bar are available on all of the following boats.


    Maalaea Harbor Slip #51

    Phone: 1-866-472-2782

    Email: [email protected]



    Main loading dock at Maalaea Harbor

    Phone (toll free): 1-877-867-7433

    Phone (reservations and information): 1-808-242-0955



    Maalaea Harbor Slip #80

    Phone: 1-800-736-5740

    Email: [email protected]



    Maalaea Harbor Slip #55

    Phone: 1-800-736-5740

    Email: [email protected]



    Kihei small boat ramp (Kihei, Maui, HI 96753)

    * Good for those staying in resorts at Wailea, Makena, or Kihei.

    Phone: 1-808-879-7238

    Email: [email protected]


    Interesting Facts About the Molkini Crater

    – Ancient Hawaiians used to travel out to the Molokini Crater to fish.

    – In addition to incredible marine life, the Molokini Crater is home to at least two species of seabirds.

    – It has been estimated that the crater is about 230,000 years old.

    – The US Navy briefly used the crater for target practice during WWII, but this action was temporary and any damage has since fully recovered.