Are Molokini & Lanai Snorkeling Boat Trips Worth It on Maui?

By Bruce – (Sacramento, CA)
I was wondering, are Molokini and Lanai snorkeling boat trips worth it on Maui? I have your eBook, and it seems that there are lots of sites to snorkel on Maui without getting on a boat. We are really interested in seeing fish most of all, in clear water. We are NOT into the BIG boat scene at all. As an aside, we went to Key West, Florida on a four person snorkel cruise. Not much to see on that trip, but at least with just a few people, it was really nice, so the small trips are for us.


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Galen & Nicole – Jan 3, 2012 – Molokini Snorkel Trip Worth the Price?

Hi Bruce, we are also generally not as into the big crowded boat trips and prefer beach access locations, although we do enjoy boating, and getting out for a half day snorkel trip can be really relaxing.

So are Molokini and Lanai worth it? If you really don’t like crowds, and you don’t want to spend the money, then you could easily skip it. Since you have our Maui Snorkeling Guide eBook then you know that we only rank Molokini a three out of five snorkels. There are other higher ranked spots available from the beach. It does on the other hand have some of the clearest water available in Maui. And you will see a good number of fish, although not really any more than some of the other spots around the island. And it will be crowded.

If you really are interested in it, and the biggest issue is a crowded boat, there are lots companies that run smaller boats out with just a handful of people, and some go earlier in the morning than the big boats so it is not as crowded.

As for Lanai, most of the trips are going to be bigger boats, so it may not be for you. There is plenty to see on Maui itself. Maybe someone else could comment on the Lanai trips, as we have not been on a ton of them.

I hope that helps a bit.

Doug – Feb 6, 2012 – Snorkeling Molokini

Can’t comment on Lanai. We went to Maui for 10 days and decided we’d book a Lanai trip at the end if we hadn’t found good shore snorkeling around Maui. Needless to say, we found plenty!

For us, seeing the Molokini crater was much more memorable than the snorkeling. We booked one of the earliest excursions we could find so it was nearly deserted when we arrived and just getting annoyingly crowded as we were leaving.

Our second stop at “Turtle Town” was mostly a waste of time. Too many people and not enough turtles in water that was too deep. I spent most of the time just drifting with a bit of plastic flotsam that harbored several tiny juvenile fish. And we saw many more turtles under much better conditions just snorkeling along the shoreline.

All that said, I do recommend snorkeling Molokini, just with the caveat that it’s not so much for the snorkeling itself as for seeing the cool crescent moon volcanic crater up close.

Lynn – Mar 25, 2013 – Love Lanai Snorkel Trip

Every year we take the snorkel trip to Lanai on the Paragon sailboat. Only 24 people on the boat, always a very congenial crowd and great captain and crew. Always see whales on the way over and back and often see spinner dolphins. Snorkeling Manele Bay is nice but this year they took us to Fish Rock, close by, for a new experience. Really great snorkeling there. Nice walk to the Lanai park for a picnic lunch and more snorkel opportunities from the beach there. We have tried a boat that circumnavigates Lanai, thinking that we would be taken to some wonderful remote snorkel spots, but were disappointed with the snorkeling.

Chas – Jun 24, 2014 – Color Me Sticking With Maui

We’ve been to Molokini twice and to Lanai twice. On the days we’ve been to Molokini we found the water to be pristine and clear but somewhat cooler than off the beach around Maui… and I was a bit underwhelmed by the number of fish. The tour packager was great (Pride of Maui if I recall correctly) but I will not allocate another half day in paradise to boating over to Molokini.

At Lanai you can walk into the water from the beach which is much more convenient and on the day we got to snorkel at Lanai there were lots more fish than Molokini. The tour packager was excellent but the boat was a raft and we got seasick as the dickens on the way back and it took 24 to 36 hours to reasonably recover. We took the ferry over to Lanai the second year which was more comfortable and gave us more control over the clock. But the weather was not our friend on the second day as there were 4-6 foot waves… so we enjoyed the waves with our grandsons.

It’s somewhat doubtful we’ll return either to Molokini or Lanai… we prefer the convenience of Kapalua as well as the number of fish… and, oh yeah, it’s free.

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