Snorkelling is the ultimate activity on a tropical vacation

Crystal clear, warm waters call out to be explored and for those visiting Hawaii, just under the surface is some of the most beautiful reefs and ecosystems in the world.

The ocean currents, land formations and location of the Hawaiian islands all come together to create world-class snorkelling year round. Families, solo travellers, couples and even residents can enjoy snorkelling daily for fun, education and inexpensive entertainment.

A trip to Hawaii wouldn’t be complete without some ocean exploring.

Before you hop into the water it’s important to keep a few key points in mind:

  • Everything you see is alive (even coral). It’s important to look but not touch anything when snorkelling. Some of the creatures under the ocean are very sensitive, and the human touch can harm them greatly. Another reason is that some of the organisms may be harmful to humans, such as fire coral, it’s best to keep your hands by your sides and enjoy the beautiful surroundings with your eyes only.
  • Leave only waves, take only photos. When snorkelling try not to leave anything behind, including garbage from your boat and personal belongings. Taking pictures with your underwater camera is a great idea, but taking things (such as shells or coral) from the ocean floor is not such a great idea.
  • Some of the things you will see under the water are extremely endangered. Be sure to soak up all the beauty of the ecosystems and take great care when exploring.

Best snorkelling in Hawaii

Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Hanauma Bay is one of the best-known snorkelling spots in Ohau and all of Hawaii. It has been a natural preserve since 1967 and boasts over 300 species of fish. In 2016, it was voted the Best Beach in the United States. Volunteers have done a great job of keeping this snorkelling haven in great condition by education visitors and limiting snorkellers to a maximum of 3000 per day. It’s advisable to arrive early, to be able to enjoy the day and avoid crowds. All levels will have a great time snorkelling at Hanauma Bay, the beach entry makes it very easy to access.

Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Molokini, Maui

Snorkelling at the Molokini Crater is a lifetime experience. You will need to get a boat to access the crater as it’s located about 14km offshore. Many tour companies offer 5hr tours including the boat trip, snorkel gear and lunch. During the one-hour boat trip keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales as this channel is a popular place to spot them. Once you arrive at the crater, you will hardly believe your eyes, beauty is everywhere here. Inside the crater, alongside the walls, is excellent snorkelling for all levels. Swim with turtles, fish, mantas and see healthy, colourful coral gardens. Be sure to bring an underwater camera as you will want memories of your time in this fantastic place.

Molokini, Maui

Kealakekua Bay, Big Island

Also known as “Capitan Cook” this bay is about 27 km south of Kona. If your dream is to swim with dolphins, then Kealakekua Bay may be your best bet. Early in the morning spinner dolphins are known to play in this spot. These friendly creatures are happy to swim close to humans, just be sure not to touch them, as their health and happiness is crucial to the popularity of this location. If you want to explore the other side of the bay (where the Capitan Cook monument is), you can kayak over or take a short 1.5km boat trip. On the other side of the bay, you will find colourful coral gardens and unlimited snorkelling.

Kealakekua Bay, Big Island

Poipu Beach Park, Kauai

The lagoon at Poipu Beach Park fluctuates with the tides, which brings nutrients to the flourishing marine life such as fish, sea cucumbers, turtles and coral. For those looking for a bit of added safety, there are lifeguards located at this beach year-round. Stay to the left of the side of the beach for calmers waters and ideal snorkelling. If there are members of your group who do not wish to snorkel, this beach also offers stand-up paddle and surfing on the outer break. Pack a picnic and enjoy both sunrise and sunset at this beautiful beach in Kauai.

Poipu Beach Park, Kauai

Which island will you choose to explore first?

If you are thinking about a trip to Hawaii, exploring some of its underwater magic is a must. Contact one of our experienced travel specialists to get personalized information on which island best suits your individual needs.

All of the Hawaiian islands are beautiful and offer something different, the trick is, knowing which one is best suited for you and your getaway.

“The worlds finest wilderness lies just beneath the waves” – Wyland

Travel Specialist