Snorkeling off the coast of Lanai

Oct 30, 2019 | General Information

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Snorkeling off the coast of Maui is great in many places. One of the areas we always consider for great snorkeling is actually on the next island over, the island of Lanai. Lanai is still located in Maui County and the distance from Maui’s west shores at Lahaina or Kaanapali over to the Lanai coastline is just a bit further than the distance to Molokini from Maui. Often however this can be a much faster crossing due to the swift boats we have that traverse the distance.

Snorkeling tours to Lanai from Maui offer a couple of different profiles. We have half day trips (4 or 5 hours) and full day trips (7 to 8 hours) that visit the plentiful reef life along the Lanai coastlines. We also offer full day tours that actually take you to the island itself and in addition to snorkeling off the coast will actually take you on a land tour of the island.

Half and Full Day Snorkels off the Coast
The half day tours that take you to the reefs off Lanai will generally take you directly across the channel to the reef along its eastern coast which directly faces Maui’s western coast. The particular reef is the longest contiguous reef in the state. These tours will often take you to two of the best locations available on that particular day. You will have plenty of time to snorkel and see the vast array of sea life, magnificent coral formations and quite often dolphins. The full day tours are for the bit more adventurous who would like to circumnavigate the entire island and be taken to the far back side which is very rarely visited. On those tours you will visit sea wrecks, caves, cliffs and often have a greater opportunity to see a wider selection of sea life. It is not uncommon to see white tip reef sharks, manta rays, turtles, dolphins and certainly whales if you are visiting in the winter months.

Full Day Snorkels with Land Tour
The full day tours that actually visit the island itself are a completely different prospect. On most, you will head over to Lanai from Lahaina and veer to the left as you travel along the southern coastline. Perhaps 4 miles or so after you have reached the coastline you will come upon the major harbor on the island called Manele Harbor. You will anchor here and then your day will be divided into two sections. One section will involve a short walk from the harbor to Hulopoe Bay which is an underwater marine reserve. You will be issued snorkel gear and given lessons if needed and then you will be able to snorkel from the shoreline in this pristine environment. Secondly, you will jump on a small van to take a ride up to the top of the island at about 2000′. Here you will find the tiny hamlet of ‘Lanai City’ which was built as a plantation town in the days when the whole island was owned by the Dole Pineapple Company. The tour is like stepping back into a different time and place. It is very beautiful and time seems to move much slower in this small town environment. After a trip down the mountain again you will be treated to perhaps one of the very best luncheon feasts to be provided on any of our tours. This will be served in a purpose built pavilion and you will enjoy every minute of your meal.