Ahihi Kinau Snorkeling
Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve is located on the southern coast of Maui just past Makena. It's a marine life conservation district, so no fishing of any kind is allowed.
One of the things I like most about snorkeling Ahihi Kinau is that the coast line is mostly made up of lava rock intermixed with coral. Lava rock is a major plus when it comes to snorkeling. The abrupt contours of the sea floor make perfect homes and hiding places for aquatic life to flourish.
You won’t have to swim far to find the fish either. Many of Ahihi Kinau's most beautiful marine life make their homes in the shallows. The water starts at about knee deep gradually getting deeper so there's a variety of depths for all skill levels.
The water will be clearest in the morning before the wind picks up. Because it’s so calm, Ahihi Kinau Reserve is also a great spot to snorkel with the kids.
Although the reserve covers quite a bit of coast line, most people snorkel from the small protected cove that's right next to the road. The most convenient place to enter the water is from the small patch of sand on the right hand corner (north side) of this small cove. But if the rocks don’t bother you, the water is calm enough to get in from just about anywhere. Just be careful to avoid stepping on any coral - it is a living animal and the foundation of the marine ecosystem.
Insider Tip: When you enter the water from the cove, swim to the right (north) and snorkel in front of the first rocky point with the house on it. Many turtles frequent this point and with a little luck you should be able to spot a few.
Here’s just some of the fish I’ve seen while snorkeling at Ahihi Kinau Reserve: butterfly fish, parrot fish, damsel fish, surgeon fish, moorish idol, tang, wrasse, squirrel fish, perch, chub, trigger fish, the former Hawaii State Fish Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, goat fish, snapper, hawk fish, jacks, needle fish, turtles, crustaceans, and invertebrates.
Driving time to Ahihi Kinau from Kahului Airport is approximately 35 minutes.
There is no parking lot so you're going to have to park along the street. Be sure you get there early to make sure you find a parking spot near the cove. There are no restrooms or showers and no lifeguard is on duty. There are also no stores nearby so remember to bring your own drinks and food.
Check out these other great Maui snorkeling beaches.
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