Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve

Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
map
Entry Map
directions
Directions
photos
Photos
Difficulty
beginner
Viz (last reported 2304h ago)
Max Depth
40ft (unconfirmed)

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve

The ‘Ahihi-Kina‘u reserve is located on the southwest corner of the island of Maui and was the first designated Natural Area Reserve in 1973. The 1,238 acres contain marine ecosystems (807 submereged acres), rare and fragile anchialine ponds, and lava fields from the last eruption of Haleakala 200-500 years ago. Native plant communities that include naio, wiliwili and native cotton exist in kipuka, or pockets, but are severly imperiled by the encroachment of weeds and feral ungulates such as goats. A coral reef survey done by the Division of Aquatic Resources in 2007 indicated that the reef community within the NAR boundary waters was the only reef from their test sites that was not declining overall. Preserving the integrity of the anchialine pools is a major management focus. All access to them is closed. Main threats to these wetlands include non-native invasives such as fish or prawns, algal mat formations, and human disturbance.
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Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve Tide Chart and Surf Report (Beta)

Tuesday
1:47 AM / 0.977ft
Tuesday
9:08 AM / 0.108ft
Tuesday
5:39 PM / 1.491ft
Wednesday
9:33 AM / 0.188ft
Wednesday
7:17 PM / 1.434ft

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Emily Arnold
Emily Arnold
Jul 21, 2021, 11:18 PM
snorkel
This was by the best snorkeling that we had in two week on maui. Not convenient but worth it! The water was a little bit cloudy but lots of fish. didn't see any turtles. It's $5 for parking with credit card only. Short walk to the cove, maybe 1/4 mile. Enter the water by the sign with the fish. Concrete pads make entry a little easier.
George Stephenson
George Stephenson
Jul 21, 2021, 11:18 PM
snorkel
Best place that we found to snorkel in Maui! Colorful coral. Lots of fish. A few turtles. Please read the signs on where to enter the water as to not step on the coral. (From the parking lot take the short trail to the water and look for the posted sign with the fish logo pointing to where to properly enter the water without stepping on coral). Please read the posted signs and either forgo sunscreen or know what the proper sunblock you can apply as to not damage this precious area. Enjoy!!!
Susan Landers
Susan Landers
Jul 21, 2021, 11:16 PM
snorkel
As good as Molokini Crater snorkeling. The sheer number of fish is incredible. Easy to access from shore and you don’t have to go out far to see a lot. The coral is gorgeous and in great shape. Don’t wear sunscreen!
Chris Larkby
Chris Larkby
Jun 22, 2018, 12:00 AM
scuba
Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve. Went on a relatively calm day. Best snorkeling session of the vacation so far! Put face in water and was astonished to see I was on top of a school of fish that was 20x30 yards in area. They were grey and had pronounced dorsal and pectoral fins and they weren't going anywhere. They stayed pretty close to the shore in around two feet of water, swimming over the lava pebbles and content to be admired. Lots of living, breathing hard coral. Lots of algae-encrusted structure that the reef fish were continuously eating. Biggest rainbow parrot fish I've ever seen. Longest needlefish I've ever seen. Saw a fish that was built like a rainbow parrot but it was mostly red like a snapper. Yellow tang plentiful. The ranger who met us in the water wanted to make sure we weren't wearing reef-killing sunscreen. He also wanted us to know that we shouldn't stand on the reef. After a quarter mile walk across the worn lava rock trail we got the beach area that is comprised of black and somewhat smooth lava rocks. A second ranger met us and made sure we entered the water in a particular clearly marked area that she nevertheless pointed out to us. The park doesn't have lifeguards for people but it has a bunch of park rangers and volunteers who are serving as lifeguards for the reef. I'm happy about that, and I'm thankful they were able to keep it alive long enough for my family to get out to Hawaii to see it.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Beatty
Beatty
Apr 11, 2012, 12:00 AM
scuba
Just dove this site at beginning of April. Good for snorkeling and beginning divers. Long way to haul dive gear and beach is rocky. Entry was easy. Did not consider this a great site for diving. Shallow - 20 feet maximum depth.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Dave from Snohomish
Dave from Snohomish
Jun 11, 2008, 12:00 AM
scuba
This is an awesome spot to snorkel. Follow a short trail from a large parking lot to the black sand beach. Enter the water on the very south end of the small beach for easy entry since there are a few rocks along the beach at the waterline. Snorkel to the north side and around the outcropping of lava rock that sticks up on the north end. There are huge old lava formations about 10 feet high that you can easily swim around with coral and fish everywhere. Mr. Turtle lives in the cave under the slab just on the other side of the outcroppings. Tell him I said hi!! Nice clean port-a-potties at the parking lot.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Al Mialkovsky
Al Mialkovsky
Dec 22, 2006, 12:00 AM
scuba
In the past we haven't had much luck diving here as conditions weren't right. But this year in November it was perfect. A little chop at shoreline where the rocks meet the water, so don't mess around going slow and it'll be easy enough. The coral is in great shape here and this site is now on my must-do list.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Julie
Julie
Aug 23, 2005, 12:00 AM
scuba
Snorkeled Ahihi Bay twice in August 2005. Visibility was great. Current was consistent & not a problem, though it picked up toward noon. Lots of coral & wide assortment of fish (& lots of them). I also saw four sea turtles, 2 spotted eels & 1 spotted eagle ray. Watch the undercarriage of your car as you pull into the parking "lot".
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Mike Lieberman
Mike Lieberman
Feb 2, 2005, 12:00 AM
scuba
Snorkeled here third week in January - high rough surf - murky conditions - with low visibility. Would love to return when conditions are better. Pull off on road shoulder, walk in - rocky entry.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
John Strang
John Strang
Jan 7, 2005, 12:00 AM
scuba
Took one dive here over Christmas. Nice to have something else to go with Makena and 5 Caves/Graves. Saw lots of eels and other critters. It's quite shallow, maybe 25 feet max, so the surge was consistent, but not uncomfortable. Three jacks followed us most of the dive, maybe waiting for us to scare up some grub. Heavily snorkeled, so some fish followed us, apparently waiting to be fed.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Malcom O'Brien
Malcom O'Brien
Jul 7, 2004, 12:00 AM
scuba
My family and I really enjoyed snorkeling at this site.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Kelley & Dan Holtman
Kelley & Dan Holtman
Oct 26, 2003, 12:00 AM
scuba
10/21/03-0745-Limited parking, get there early. Entered at Ahihi Cove as we didn't want to take the long hike from Ahihi Bay parking area. Easy sandy, pebble entry. Exited bay to the south and dropped required dive flag in 17' FSW. Followed the reef's edge south and saw many turtle cleaning stations. The coral looked like a scene from "Land of the Gnomes". Huge toadstool shaped coral heads held tons of creatures and we really liked this site. We found many gigantic Yellow Margin Moray eels and large parrotfish. On the return we found a live Triton Trumpet Shell moving along a sandbar. No facilities so take drinking water and fresh water to rinse with. We took 2 tanks and were glad we had our beach chairs to hang out in during the surface interval. Tank rental from Maui Dive Shop.
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Anonymous
Anonymous
Jun 1, 2003, 12:00 AM
scuba
(No Comment)
Originally posted on shorediving.com
Bill Stohler
Bill Stohler
Mar 30, 2002, 12:00 AM
scuba
After parking in the undeveloped lava lot, the walk to the entry is about a quarter mile. There's a narrow (8") wide black sandy beach that is an easy and steep entry. Snorkeling straight out, there are great shallow reefs to the left and right. For scuba, I go straight out and then around Cape Kinau to the south. The reef here is seldom dove, and is nearly pristine. In the past, I have seen spinner dolphins and eagle rays, but I haven't seen any dolphins since the eco kayak tours at La Perouse Bay took off a couple of years ago.
Originally posted on shorediving.com