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Each year, more than 4,000 migrating humpback whales journey from chilly Alaska to frolic, mate, and give birth in the shallow, warm waters off Hawaii. Here's what you need to know to see the breaching beasts on whale-watching tours in Maui.

When to Go
Whale-watching season in the Hawaiian islands runs from early November until May, but your best chance of spotting whales is during the peak months of January to March. Each February, the Pacific Whale Foundation hosts the week-long Maui Whale Festival with a run/walk, film festival, parades, whale counts, and more celebrating the islands' most popular annual visitors.

What You'll See
The 45-foot-long (14-meter) Pacific humpback whales congregate in large numbers in the shallow Auau Channel between Maui, Molokai, and Lanai—making Maui whale-watching tours some of the best in Hawaii. Whale watchers typically see spouting and almost always catch breaching belly-flops, tail smacks, and fin-flapping behaviors. If you're lucky, you could also spot new mothers with their calves or get "mugged" by a whale that chooses to come in close for a cameo.

How to Go
While sightings are possible from land during whale season, many whale-watching tours feature marine naturalists well-versed in Hawaii's marine life (and often, traditional Hawaiian lore surrounding the whales) and captains able to maneuver for up-close experiences. Whale-watching tours depart from Lahaina Harbor, Kaanapali, Kihei, and Wailea and typically last two to five hours. Most whale-watching cruises depart in the morning when the ocean is calmest and conditions make it easier to spot whales.
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Maui Whale Watch Cruise from Lahaina Harbor

Maui Whale Watch Cruise from Lahaina Harbor

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506
Catch an exciting peek at the underwater world on this whale-watching cruise in Maui. Your excursion includes narration from your captain and crew, as you learn more about these majestic creatures. Enjoy stunning views and photo opportunities while traveling along Maui’s exquisite coastline. Your family-friendly cruise comes with a guarantee that you spot a whale during your adventure.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$74.25
From
$74.25
Taking safety measures

Up-Close Whale Watch Boat Tour from Lahaina

Up-Close Whale Watch Boat Tour from Lahaina

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247
This tour departs from the historic Lahaina Harbor to find the majestic humpback whales that frequent the waters surrounding Maui in the winter months. Traveling in a small raft creates an intimate whale watching experience not found on the larger vessels commonly used on whale watching tours. Plus, the raft travels quickly, letting you spend more time whale watching and less time in transit.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$49.04
From
$49.04
Taking safety measures

Lanai Snorkeling & Dolphin Encounter Aboard Quicksilver (MAUI / Lahaina Harbor)

Lanai Snorkeling & Dolphin Encounter Aboard Quicksilver (MAUI / Lahaina Harbor)

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179
Sail to one of Hawaii's less-frequented islands on this snorkeling tour form Lahaina to Lanai, or the Pineapple Island. Snorkel beneath 300-foot tall cliffs near Shark Fin and Manele Bay, and look out for sightings of Lanai's resident pod of Spinner dolphins. This tour also includes breakfast and lunch to fuel a full day of fun.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$129.95
From
$129.95
Taking safety measures

Four Winds II Molokini Snorkeling Tour from Maalaea Harbor
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Four Winds II Molokini Snorkeling Tour from Maalaea Harbor

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397
Snorkeling in Molokini Crater is undeniably one of the best parts about visiting Maui. Here in this crescent, submerged volcano off Maui’s southern coastline, over 250 species of fish inhabit a world-class reef. Experience water so exceptionally clear you can see down 75 feet, and swim with schools of tropical fish while cruising the vibrant reef. You can also just sit and suntan on the deck, with sweeping views of Haleakala set just off the back of the boat.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$149.67
From
$149.67
Taking safety measures

Maui Snorkeling To Molokini Tour - All-Inclusive 5-Hour - Morning Session
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Maui Snorkeling To Molokini Tour - All-Inclusive 5-Hour - Morning Session

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98
Breathtaking, Yet Relaxing is our goal.  Join us on our brand new 53-foot Lani Kai II, with 20-foot water slide. The Lani Kai II accommodates a maximum of 49 people per trip. Her ideal size makes it large enough to handle the seas, but small enough to provide a tranquil and relaxing experience for all. Our expert crew, veteran captains and our all-inclusive packaging, makes Maui Snorkeling one of the best experiences on Maui.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$152.78
From
$152.78

Discount Afternoon Whale Watch Tour from Lahaina Harbor

Discount Afternoon Whale Watch Tour from Lahaina Harbor

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43
Get a front-row spot on a whale watching tour by booking this small-group excursion off the coast of Lahaina. While larger whale watching boats are crowded and can make it difficult to get photos of whales, this inflatable raft-style boat gets all passengers close to the water’s surface for a prime vantage point. This makes the trip ideal for photographers and families with kids.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$52.51
From
$52.51
Taking safety measures

Kayak and Snorkel: Maui West Shore
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Kayak and Snorkel: Maui West Shore

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71
Explore Maui’s beautiful West Shore on this snorkeling and kayaking tour. Led by a professional guide, you’ll paddle past scenic views of the Ukumehame Valley and snorkel over bright schools of fish. This family-friendly excursion includes all equipment, along with your choice of single or tandem kayaks.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$84.00
From
$84.00
Taking safety measures

4-Hour Lanai Snorkel Dolphin Express Tour from Lahaina Harbor

4-Hour Lanai Snorkel Dolphin Express Tour from Lahaina Harbor

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230
Skip the overcrowded boat tours and enjoy a more intimate experience of Hawaii. Travel to the island of Lanai in the company of no more than 22 passengers. Make snorkeling stops off the island to see tropical fish, turtles, octopus, manta rays, and dolphins. This tour includes breakfast and snacks and your ticket supports active marine research and the work of Maui’s whale entanglement response team.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$144.68
From
$144.68
Taking safety measures

Kayak & Whale Watch Private Tour (7am-10am)

Kayak & Whale Watch Private Tour (7am-10am)

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28
We love winter on Maui, with the return of the Humpbacks we get just as excited as you to have those close encounters. That's what makes our private tours so special, is the connection to the whales. Chris your private guide who has spent years on the water with the humpbacks examines their behavior a puts you in the best location for that once in a lifetime encounter as if he understands them. So if you are serious about whale watching while here on Maui this is the tour for YOU! December 15 - May 15 Free Photos!!!
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$159.99
Price varies by group size
From
$159.99
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Molokini Snorkeling Adventure Aboard Calypso (MAUI / Ma'alaea Harbor)
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Molokini Snorkeling Adventure Aboard Calypso (MAUI / Ma'alaea Harbor)

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427
Over 200 different species of fish inhabit Molokini Crater, and you have the chance to search for them all aboard this Maui snorkeling tour. Inside this ancient volcanic caldera that rises up out of the sea, you might also find manta rays, sea urchins, eels, or even a harmless shark. This tour also stops at a spot called Turtle Town along the Maui coastline, where you have the chance to swim alongside enormous Hawaiian Green sea turtles. Enjoy amenities like a glass-bottom viewing room and snorkeling equipment as well as a buffet lunch on the triple-decker catamaran.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$149.95
From
$149.95
Taking safety measures

Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkeling Adventure Aboard Malolo from Ma'alaea Harbor

Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkeling Adventure Aboard Malolo from Ma'alaea Harbor

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637
Imagine swimming in a sunken volcano that teems with thousands of fish, while splashing in crystal clear water. On this Molokini snorkeling tour, cruise out to the crater, before jumping in the crystalline waters and scouring the colorful reef. Make a second stop dependent upon conditions, and search for turtles at Turtle Town or a spot named Coral Gardens. This family-friendly Maui activity is one of the island's most popular, and an unforgettable day of exploring the underwater world.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$119.95
From
$119.95
Taking safety measures

West Maui Whale Watching and Snorkeling Excursion

West Maui Whale Watching and Snorkeling Excursion

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10
Get a different perspective on Maui's whales on this kayak and snorkel adventure tour. Aboard a kayak, paddle through the calm Pacific waters, following your guide to the spots you're most likely to find humpback whales. Afterward jump into the ocean and snorkel the clear water amongst variety of colorful tropical fish, green sea turtles, and more. Throughout the day, get insights into the flora and fauna of West Maui from your guide.
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  • 3 hours
From
$80.81
From
$80.81

Ali'i VIP Whale Tour

Ali'i VIP Whale Tour

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26
VIP Whale Tour - limited to 12 passengers max. The Whales Love Us! Maybe it’s our Aloha? One thing is for sure, you will love getting up close and personal with the magical giants! You're experience will not just viewing whales, but listening live to the majestic whale songs through the use of our high performance Hydrophone Audio System which mixes the whale songs over gentle island tunes. Ali'i VIP Whale Tour Get the Royal treatment on our Ali'i VIP Whale Tour! We limit this tour to a maximum of 11 guests, so you have more opportunities to view the Humpback whales, and other sea life, in the most comfort possible. Our vessels are USCG rated to carry 26 guests, but this tour is all about you and your experience and is limited to 11 guests. The Ali'i VIP Whale Tour is only offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
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  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$99.99
From
$99.99

Kayak and Snorkel - South Shore Turtle
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Kayak and Snorkel - South Shore Turtle

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108
Discover Maui’s South Shore on a 2.5- or 4.5-hour snorkel and kayak tour. Led by a local guide, you’ll paddle through the scenic Makena Bay on your choice of single or tandem kayaks. Then, take a dip in the water and explore the underwater world on a snorkel tour. Keep your eyes peeled for green sea turtles and other bright marine life. This family-friendly excursion is suitable for all skill levels, and your guide will provide paddling instructions as needed. Lunch is also included on the 4.5-hour option.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$84.00
From
$84.00
Taking safety measures

6-Hour Lanai Snorkel Dolphin Extended Tour from Lahaina Harbor
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6-Hour Lanai Snorkel Dolphin Extended Tour from Lahaina Harbor

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Escape the crowds of Maui and embark on a half-day snorkel tour to Lanai. Leave from Lahaina Harbor and stop at a few snorkel spots for possible sightings of sea turtles, manta rays, wild dolphins, tropical fish and much more. Your tour also includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks to keep you fueled up as well as snorkeling equipment.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$187.54
From
$187.54
Taking safety measures

Afternoon Adventure Snorkel from Ka'anapali

Afternoon Adventure Snorkel from Ka'anapali

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33
Hawaii is one of the most stunning locations for snorkeling in the world, but if you’re not familiar with the area, it can be hard to find where to go. During this afternoon snorkel adventure, your guide takes you to two or three local-favorite spots for you to catch sight of ocean wildlife. Plus, your guide follows you into the water, so you can feel confident even as a beginner.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$148.96
From
$148.96

Dolphin, Snorkel, Shipwreck Tour around Lanai from Lahaina
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Dolphin, Snorkel, Shipwreck Tour around Lanai from Lahaina

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9
Skip the crowded boat tours and enjoy a snorkeling excursion to Lanai aboard a smaller, and more environmentally friendly, vessel than is typical. Travel around the entire island, taking in views of the rugged landscape and diverse marine life, such as dolphins, colorful fish, coral, and sea turtles. Includes a continental breakfast and a full deli lunch, as well as water, juice, and soda.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$153.85
From
$153.85
Taking safety measures

Private Stand Up Paddling Lesson in Makena
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Private Stand Up Paddling Lesson in Makena

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1
Makena Bay is one of the most popular launching points for so many water activities as it offers such a great experience. Calm waters over a shallow bay teeming with turtles and easy to access coral reef systems. Many sandy beaches hug this area making it a very special place for locals and visitors alike. The ease of access to the water combined with the spectacular bay make this the top spot and one you should visit and enjoy. The guest experience here is easy to tailor to meet what you'd like to see & do. We do privates here only as it provides the best experience - you are in total control and can have your say! Paddle more, rest more, spend more time at your new favorite spot, etc. Its you're private outing and that's what we do. You won't be disappointed in this decision!
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$198.93
From
$198.93

Maui Whale-Watching Tour by Raft from Kihei

Maui Whale-Watching Tour by Raft from Kihei

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153
Spot humpbacks as they travel through Maui’s warm waters on this 1.5-hour whale-watching excursion. Hop aboard a sturdy raft in Kihei with an expert naturalist as your guide, and jet to the southern coastline, which hosts one of the highest whale populations in Hawaii. Your guide will provide commentary about these fascinating creatures as you see them spout and slap the water. To keep this whale-watching tour intimate, your group is limited to 24 people.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$82.63
From
$82.63
Taking safety measures

6-Hour Lanai Snorkel & Dolphin Tour from Lahaina
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6-Hour Lanai Snorkel & Dolphin Tour from Lahaina

star-5
34
Skip the crowded boat tours and embark on a more personalized snorkeling adventure in the waters around Lahaina. Make multiple snorkel stops and explore the underwater world with your guide, as well as sea cliffs, blow holes, and offshore pinnacles. You may also encounter the resident pod of dolphins. Use of all snorkeling gear is included, as well as lunch onboard.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$195.59
From
$195.59
Taking safety measures

Makena Whale Watching and Snorkel

Makena Whale Watching and Snorkel

star-5
28
Hawaii is home to an underwater wonderland of diverse marine life including whales, green sea turtles, and tropical fish. Make sure you see the best of Maui’s nature on this 3-hour whale watching and snorkel tour from Makena. Paddle through the calm, clear water in a kayak and keep your eyes peeled for sightings of humpback whales. Then, don snorkeling equipment to plunge into the water and discover tropical fish that inhabit a protected reef. This small-group tour is limited to 10 to maintain an intimate atmosphere.
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  • 3 hours
From
$80.81
From
$80.81

Kayak and Turtle Reef Snorkel at Olowalu

Kayak and Turtle Reef Snorkel at Olowalu

star-4
77
Paddle out from the Maui beaches for a guided, 3.5-hour, small-group kayak and snorkeling adventure. Travel the calm, clear waters along the beautiful Olowalu coastline and enjoy spectacular views of the majestic West Maui Mountains. Then hop into the water and snorkel with endangered green sea turtles and colorful tropical fish. Basic swimming skills are required. All snorkeling gear plus refreshments and snacks are included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$99.00
From
$99.00

3 hour Makena Kayak Snorkel Tour w/Free Photos

3 hour Makena Kayak Snorkel Tour w/Free Photos

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25
The Sustainable choice! 1% for the Planet, Hawaii Ecotourism Association and B Corp Certified. Our certified Marine Naturalist Guides will personally take you on a guided reef tour and also provide FREE Digital Photography. No more than 10 guests per guide on our small group tours.
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  • 3 hours
From
$103.13
From
$103.13

2 Hour Whale Watch

2 Hour Whale Watch

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22
Head out to sea for the chance to see migrating whales with this two-hour excursion from Lahaina. Your group will sail off to the waters of the Maui Nui whale sanctuary, a mating and birthing destination for humpback whales. Best of all, you're guaranteed to see the gargantuan sea mammals or you'll get to go on another trip for free.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$55.71
From
$55.71

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What people are saying about Whale Watching in Maui

star-5
Maui Whale Watch Cruise from Lahaina Harbor
"Had a great time and very educational! Went out on the last trip of the season and was not disappointed! We were able to see a lot of activity and it was well narrated!"..."
star-5
Up-Close Whale Watch Boat Tour from Lahaina
"Our tour guides were awesome and very knowledgeable about sea creatures. We got a pretty nice view of some whales and even rode along side hundreds of dolphins. This was truly unforgettable. Thank you"..."
star-5
Lanai Snorkeling & Dolphin Encounter Aboard Quicksilver (MAUI / Lahaina Harbor)
"The boat crew was excellent when on the boat and off. We didn’t see turtles or many fish but we did see dolphins on our way back which was great."..."
star-5
Four Winds II Molokini Snorkeling Tour from Maalaea Harbor
"Best snorkel cruise ever! The boat crew is amazing, and the food delicious! Can’t recommend them enough!"..."
star-5
Maui Snorkeling To Molokini Tour - All-Inclusive 5-Hour - Morning Session
"Great tour! That staff was friendly and was pleasant to be around. The food was fresh and was able to have plenty to eat and drink. Would definitely go on Lani Kai II again!"..."
star-5
Discount Afternoon Whale Watch Tour from Lahaina Harbor
"We were incredibly lucky during the tour. We got to see a yearling, with mother and Escort whale. The yearling was repeatedly breaching, as did the male Escort whale. The staff was knowledgeable and friendly. Just a great tour!"..."
star-5
Kayak and Snorkel: Maui West Shore
"Our guide Cody was awesome. Totally chill, great vibes, water was so clear and we saw so many turtles. Definitely one of the best tours we have been on."..."
star-5
4-Hour Lanai Snorkel Dolphin Express Tour from Lahaina Harbor
"Awesome trip! First time snorkeling and already can’t wait to go back! What an amazing experience! We saw dolphins and turtles. Beautiful!"..."
star-5
Kayak & Whale Watch Private Tour (7am-10am)
"Absolutely incredible experience. You have to do this with a private tour and not one of the larger groups. We got out before everyone and had the whales to ourselves! Chris was absolutely wonderful."..."
star-5
Molokini Snorkeling Adventure Aboard Calypso (MAUI / Ma'alaea Harbor)
"Crew was awesome and snorkeling trip was a blast. Would highly recommend to couples or families as well."..."
star-5
Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkeling Adventure Aboard Malolo from Ma'alaea Harbor
"We loved this snorkeling trip! Breakfast and lunch were provided. Molokini Crater was a little choppy with the trade winds coming in but the crew were very good at communicating making us feel safe. Beautiful fish and scenery. Then at Turtle Town we got to see a few turtles and that was amazing!! Would definitely recommend this trip!"..."
star-5
Ali'i VIP Whale Tour
"Not only were the guides amazing, they were knowledgeable, responsible and we saw lots of whales and turtles!! I will never use another company for whale watching!"..."
star-5
Kayak and Snorkel - South Shore Turtle
"Best part of our trip! Tyler was a great instructor and taught us how to kayak and took us to the best snorkel areas! We saw so many sea turtles! Would definitely do it again!!!"..."
star-5
6-Hour Lanai Snorkel Dolphin Extended Tour from Lahaina Harbor
"We had an awesome trip. Captain and first had were top notch. Got to see a pod of 200+ dolphins. Will absolutely do this trip again!"..."
star-5
Afternoon Adventure Snorkel from Ka'anapali
"If you’re looking for a snorkeling cruise this is the one you want! The Mermen are the best! The boat is very comfortable. The snorkeling spots they stop at have all different kinds things to see. They serve wonderful snacks onboard between stops and they are as friendly and helpful as can be. We will definitely use this group the next time we go out snorkeling!"..."
star-5
Private Stand Up Paddling Lesson in Makena
"Brandon was amazing and great! He really catered to what we were looking for! The lessons were great and his experience was one of a kind!"..."
star-5
Maui Whale-Watching Tour by Raft from Kihei
"Even at the end of the whale watching season they had the whales perfectly trained to put on a show. Mahalo!"..."
star-5
6-Hour Lanai Snorkel & Dolphin Tour from Lahaina
"Great crew & locations we stopped at to snorkel. Lunch was provided and met the need. Boat ride on the way back was great"..."
star-5
Makena Whale Watching and Snorkel
"SO MUCH FUN! Saw so much! Swam with turtles, watched whales breach, heard whales sing, and kayaked through Maui!"..."
star-5
Kayak and Turtle Reef Snorkel at Olowalu
"My wife and I had a blast! Wes and Red were super nice and informative. Wes guided us in our trip and was really helpful, knowledgeable, and great to talk to. He helped us find turtles and tons of awesome fish. The fresh coconuts upon arrival were an added bonus! Would definitely book with them again."..."
star-5
3 hour Makena Kayak Snorkel Tour w/Free Photos
"Personal experience with small group and awesome guide. Snorkeling was great with two different experiences"..."
star-5
2 Hour Whale Watch
"Very intimate and personal trip. If I were you don’t bother with the big operators try dive Maui who are passionate and really give you an experience outta this world. The whales are incredible !"..."

Frequently Asked Questions