View Full Version : Snorkeling Hawaii

10-31-2011, 03:39 PM
Although Bonaire remains at the top of our list, my wife is very interested in snorkeling in the Pacific. We think we want to want to try Hawaii first. Please -- anybody who has done so, give us some insights. How does the snorkeling compare to Bonaire for accessibility to sites, especially right from shore. Most important, I suspect, is which island in Hawaii would be best?

Thanks in advance for some help...

10-31-2011, 03:45 PM
Jeff, traveled to Hawaii numerous times. Not a fan. Maui was my favorite but thats only because we holed up in a suite at the Grand Wailia (sp) I will pm you later....running out but it is only my personal opinion, others may have a different view. Snorkeling from shore is easy but to see cool stuff you need to head out to the reefs. Maui, Kuai, Oahu can't hold a candle to Bonaire in my book!

ABC Divers
10-31-2011, 04:01 PM
Like RosAnne, we prefer other places to dive than Hawaii. We are divers but do snorkel with our daughter on dive trips. As for the Pacific, we found Moorea, Bora Bora, and North Sulawesi to have much better conditions and marine diversity. Honaunau Bay on Ohau offers the best snorkeling that we found in Hawaii but read up on the hill down and up. It is quite steep but they do offer rides...for a price. Hawaii is beautiful but more commercial and touristy. PM me if you have any specific questions. Good luck!

10-31-2011, 05:46 PM
We snorkeled on the Big Island, Maui, and Lanai in past years and saw a considerable number of fish and turtles. Our favorite was a night snorkel with the Manta rays in Kona (before we were certified). We were on the Big Island in September but all of our water time was spent diving...never even unpacked the snorkels.

We love Bonaire and will be there again in January for two weeks, but in all honesty I doubt we would go if we were only planning to snorkel.

If you do choose to go to Hawaii, get a copy of the Revealed guidebook for the island(s) you plan to visit (Big Island Revealed, Maui Revealed).

If you need specifics on the islands I listed PM me.

george and judy
10-31-2011, 05:53 PM
If you want to snorkel in the Pacific the only place to go is Moorea and Bora-Bora. Both are beautiful and the snorkeling is superb. However, we are spoiled by Bonaire and still prefer it.

10-31-2011, 08:47 PM
I would rank Hawaii as one of the best snorkel destinations in the world , that is easily accessible .

You do not have to swim far , or go deep to enjoy the fringe reef .

I have seen more in the shallows of Hawaii than any Caribbean destination .
I am sure there are way better Pacific destinations to snorkel but you will pay big bucks .

11-01-2011, 08:29 AM
If you get to Oahu, Hanauma Bay is extraordinary for snorkeling !!

11-01-2011, 08:42 AM
Thank you all for your valuable commentary. Gives us much food for thought.

11-03-2011, 12:40 PM
We have snorkeled Hawaii extensively, on every island. In our minds the best islands are the Big Island and Maui for snorkeling. Oahu is very overfished and has almost no corals left. Kauai is better, but because of it's exposure to trade winds and rain, has little coral and is generally not as good as Maui or the Big island.

Go to the Big Island if you love hard corals. It is amazing for that, as well as a decent number of turtles and fish.

Go to Maui if you love turtles. On one trip we saw turtles, often several, at 24 locations in a row. The corals and fish quantities on Maui are not as good as the Big island, but the access from beaches is a little bit easier.

We like both Bonaire and the Hawaiin islands equally, for the easy access to snorkel spots from shore. They are very different, but both good.

If you want more info about snorkeling Hawaii check out our website tropicalsnorkeling.com.

Have fun!

02-26-2012, 06:32 PM
My husband and I are snorkeling fanatics. We spent 3 weeks last spring staying in Maui on Napili beach/Kapalua beach. Also took a wonderful trip to snorkel the Molokini Crater. Previously, we had snorkeled Bonaire for four years in a row, as well as Turks and Caicos, Cancun, and several trips to Andros, Bahamas and the Florida Keys. We loved the lushness of Maui and seeing whales migrate, snorkeling with the turtles and the different Pacific species. When determining our getaway this year, we just looked at each other and said: "We KNOW where the best snorkeling is on earth. Why not just go with a great thing?"

We are excited to return in April! We will continue to explore other island spots, but are finding that Bonaire is the snorkel capitol of the world for many reasons. The calm leeward water, the visibility, water temp, variety of shore spots, plus mulititudes of fish everywhere you look....can't be beat, especially since we don't enjoy high-rises or heavy traffic....And another big plus is the calmness of the water entry at most Bonaire shore spots. Most Maui beaches have a serious undertoe and wave action. You have to be very careful to time your entry and exit. If not for my husband hauling me out and up the steep beach....I might still be floating down there.

Hope this helps! Happy floating.....Joy

03-10-2012, 08:52 AM
Thank you.

Scuba Sheila
03-17-2012, 10:41 PM
Just in case another opinion helps, here's mine! We were in Maui last June and tried some snorkeling. We just didn't seem to have much luck, or else are too spoiled by Bonaire! We went to Honolua Bay, in the northwest which is supposed to be incredible. Our first try, the water was extremely murky because of mud run off. Our second time was better, but I would consider it okay snorkeling. We didn't see hardly any fish, but we did see LOTS of people (did I say LOTS??) So many you couldn't hardly snorkel for more than 10 seconds without someone coming into your path. We also went to a spot in the southern part, off Wailea Beach. It was incredibly rough water and was just too much work to enjoy! I also did not realize the water in Hawaii was (to me) pretty cold-I believe it was about 75. The other places we stopped at also had pretty rough water in Maui.

My experience so far would be to enjoy Bonaire for underwater adventures, and Maui for above-water adventures! Maui's "Road to Hana" was incredibly beautiful, though. I would do that again!

Whatever you do, just enjoy!!

11-23-2015, 05:41 PM
I have been to Hawaii twice, once to Maui and once to the Big Island. I thought both were nice, but the Big Island was great. I also did a night snorkel for manta rays. Talk about crazy. Those things were upwards of 20 foot span and they were literally brushing up against you. We snorkeled captain cook's monument and in addition to the great coral and fish we got surrounded by 50 or so dolphins at one point. Really an amazing experience.