Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Wailea-Makena
Ready to check out the best sites in Wailea-Makena for scuba diving, snorkeling, shore diving, free diving or other ocean activities? Zentacle has 14 dive sites, snorkel spots, beaches, and more. Discover hand-curated maps, along with reviews and photos from nature lovers like you. No matter what you're looking for, you can find a diverse range of the best ocean activities in Wailea-Makena to suit your needs.
#1 - Molokini Backwall
Molokini, Maui, Hawaii
An advanced dive, the Molokini Backwall is a world class wall and drift dive for certified divers only. The Wall is approximately 300ft in depth, however, divers will level off at 80 ft or less. You may see white tip, black tip, and gray reef sharks, manta rays, dolphins and schooling fish. If you travel in the winter months (Oct-Mar) you will most likely run across humpback whales. This can be a drift dives at times, but the current was almost undetectable when I went.
#2 - Wailea Beach
Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Wailea Beach is a great site for scuba. Full facilities, and a great beach for all ages. At the South End of Highway 31, bear right onto Wailea Iki. Continue to the T, turn left on Wailea Alanui. In .5 miles, turn right into the public access.
#3 - Ahihi Bay
Maui, Hawaiian Islands
For a more rugged adventure, try Ahihi Bay. You'll find no facilities here, but you will find a private beach some excellent snorkeling and diving. Water-shoe rubble & surge entry. Inflate BCD, and apply fins after swimming out to shoulder-level. Turtles, cleaning stations, large Sailfin Tangs, Yellow Tangs, triggerfish, large school of resident snapper, yellow & spotted moray eels, and Yellow Trumpetfish. At the South End of Highway 31, bear right onto Wailea Iki. Continue to the T, turn left on Wailea Alanui, which becomes Makena Alanui. After 5.5 miles, you'll see the parking to the right.
#4 - Ulua Beach
Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
Ulua Beach is one of the beaches in the Wailea resort complex development on Maui's south shore. The sandy beach is located between two rocky points. Ulua Beach is a bit more popular than neighboring Mokapu Beach, with which it shares a parking lot. When the surf is up, it is usually a little higher here than at other beaches in this area, attracting many bodyboarders who enjoy the waves. During calm days, the snorkeling and diving here is excellent. There are many colorful corals and fish. Ulua means `adult crevalle fish in the Hawaiian language.
#5 - Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve
Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
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.
#6 - Kamaole 2
Kihei, Maui, Hawaii
Another fairly wide sandy beach, the Maui Banyan sits on the end of this beach. While they like to tout it as “one of the finest beaches on Maui”, that claim is a bit exaggerated. What they don’t share in the glossy literature is that after large Kona storms, the sand can temporarily be removed by the ocean leaving rounded lava rock (resembling river rocks, except black.) In fact, the old-time Hawai’ian name for this beach (you know, from the folks that weren’t trying to sell you a condo) is “Ili’iliholo”, which literally means “running pebbles.” (Salesman bashing aside, most days of the year this is still a pretty nice beach!)
#7 - Molokini
Molokini, Maui, Hawaii
Molokini Crater in Maui boasts some of the most unique geological features in the world. Not only is it a marine preserve, it is also a federally owned and protected Seabird sanctuary. The two nesting birds that most frequent the area are the Wedge-Tailed Shearwater and the Bulwer’s Petrel. The visibility in this beautiful crater is often 150 feet deep and there are an estimated 250 species of fish and 38 hard coral species. The humuhumunukunukuapua’a, which is Hawai’is state fish, can often be spotted at the crater. You may even see moray eels, octopus and reef sharks. From the months of December-April our guests also frequently see majestic humpback whales on their boat ride to and from the crater. The waters surrounding the area are part of the Hawaiian Islands Humback Whale Marine Sanctuary. Considered to be an underwater paradise by many, it is no wonder that Molokini is one of the most popular dive and snorkel sites in Hawaii.
#8 - Middle Reef (Molokini)
USA, Hawaii, Maui, Molokini Island
In the middle of the bay Middle Reef is also known as Mid Reef.
#10 - St. Anthony Shipwreck
Kihei, Maui, HI
Location to tire reef and boat is approximately a 240 degree heading from bottom of stairs, about a .4 mile swim, 70 feet depth. Dive site is do-able from shore, with scooters or fairly long surface swim, many use kayaks to get there. Keep going South on S Kihei Road, do not veer left to go to Wailea, road dead ends, turn right at end, Park at Keawakapu Beach Parking. There is a beach shower near stairs, no fixed restroom facilities, porta-pottys only. Reef dive is very good here. St. Anthony is a 65-foot shrimp boat was intentionally sunk in October 1997, creating Maui’s most popular wreck dive and home to many Green Sea Turtles. The turtles can be seen on the decks, inside the V-berth and cabins. On occasion you even may encounter a turtle clinging on one of the horizontal or vertical bars while it rests. What a great dive! Along the sandy bottom next to the wreck, old tires and cement blocks are scattered, creating an artificial reef that is fun to explore. In addition to turtles, you may see Moray Eels, Trumpetfish, Batfish, reef sharks, and an abundant supply of curious Milletseed Butterflyfish.
#11 - St. Anthony Wreck
USA, Hawaii, Maui
Old 50 foot fishing trawler addition to the artificial reef (tires in-bedded in concrete), thus other name "Uniroyal Reef". Dive site is do-able from shore, with scooters or fairly long surface swim, many use kayaks to get there. Bottom is about 70 feet, top of boat around 55 feet. Hull is penetrable (try not to kick up the silt), pilot house cool place to check out as well. TURTLES hang out here a lot, resting in the hull and on the pilot house roof. Tires are also a great place to see eels, red soldier fish, trumpet fish, schools of goat fish, occasional frog fish, lobster, or octopus. Dive site is do-able from shore, with scooters or fairly long surface swim, many use kayaks to get there. Keep going South on So. Kihei Road, do not vear left to go to Wailea, road dead ends, turn right at end, Park at Keawakapu Beach Parking. There is a beach shower near stairs, no fixed restroom facilities, "porta-pottys" only. Reef dive is very good here. Location to tire reef & boat is approximately a 240 degree heading from bottom of stairs, about a .4 mile swim, 70 feet depth. Couple dive boats use site as 2nd dive, call the Kihei operations to verify. St. Anthony Wreck is also known as Uniroyal Reef.
#12 - Landing Craft and Tank
Kihei, Maui, HI
Remnants of World War II, the Tank and Landing Craft wrecks are in 60 feet of crystal clear water off the coast of the Makena Golf and Beach Resort. Still recognizable after 60+ years underwater, eels have taken up residency in the pipes and barrels. A strange mix of weaponry and old ammunition are interspersed with a plethora of sea life. Schools of Weke or goat fish swim around the wreck in synchronistic harmony. Octopus are regularly found here. The short swim from one wreck to the other over a sandy bottom, offers an opportunity to find shells. Fragile, but beautiful, Sea Biscuit’s litter the sandy bottom and challenge scuba divers to pick them up without breaking them.