Any Experience Snorkeling on Molokai?

By Val Vetter

Has anyone had any experience snorkeling on Molokai. Is it good snorkeling? Easy access? Safe? Should we go on a boat tour? Who should we use? We have had some wonderful snorkels on Maui (of course!), the Big Island (Kona side), and Kauai. Now, we are thinking of trying Molokai.

Thank you.


  1. My husband and I visited Molokai about 20 years ago and there was no shore snorkeling to speak of. The east end of the island (where we stayed) gets tremendous runoff when it rains and the water is murky brown (but calm). The west end has gorgeous beaches but they are fronted by iron shore so you can’t safely get into the water there. Maybe a boat snorkel is possible, but we didn’t look for that. Good luck!

  2. My wife and I are experienced snorkelers who have snorkeled in a few different oceans. We have also visited several Hawaiian islands (Maui is our favorite for beach-based snorkeling with Honolua Bay being our first choice in the summer.) On a few trips to Molokai, our favorite summertime snorkeling spot is “Make Horse” Beach. Here is what I have shared with a few friends who have traveled from the Midwest to snorkel:

    Make Horse Beach (AKA Pohaku Mauliuli Beach) – West End of Molokai
    DO NOT SNORKEL OR SWIM HERE IN THE WINTER MONTHS… I have only snorkeled here in June and July. Even the locals avoid this area in the winter. Wear shoes or reef slippers, because the white sand in the area can be white hot AND hide coral.

    This pretty, tiny white sand cove is a local favorite. However, currents at this beach can be rough, often making it less than ideal for swimming. Experienced snorkelers will be able to see many colorful reef fish in the meandering sections of reef (about 50 yards offshore) below the water’s surface. Sea turtles (honu), schools of tuna, friendly rays, not-so-hospitable barracuda, and more await.

    Description: A great spot for a summer get-away. Make, pronounced maw-kay, means dead in Hawaiian. There is a great story about how this beach got its name… check it out. This was also featured in a scene for one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

    -Dangerous when winter surf is up, usually safe for swimming in the summer.
    -The kiawe trees near the beach provide comfortable shade.
    -As always, leave your valuables behind, preferably where you are lodging.
    -As mentioned above, the white sand can burn your feet, and coral also lurks under the white sand. Be careful.
    -I saw jellyfish there on a few occasions.
    -Cell phones have little coverage there. You are on your own.

    Facilities: None. Bring water and whatever else you need. It is a bit of a walk. Please show aloha and carry out everything you bring with you.

    Location: Follow Kaluakoi Road to Kakaako Road. It’s the first available turn after you reach the bottom of the hill, turn makai (inland). Follow the road to Lio Place, turn left and drive past the Paniolo Hale condos. There is a short (100 yards) dirt road leading to a small parking place. Follow the path another 100 yards to and then across the golf course fairway to the beach.

    DESPITE ALL THE WARNINGS, this is a fun place to snorkel if you are willing to swim a bit from the beach. As my wife is fond of saying, “The juice is worth the squeeze.”


Leave a Comment