Molokini Crater

Suitable for:
Everyone, Active vacationer, Nature lover, Families, Couples
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Known and much going on
Insider Tip
Time needed: 1-2 hours
4 hours
Optimal arrival time:
Does not matter
Suitable for:
Everyone, Active vacationer, Nature lover, Families, Couples
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Known and much going on
Insider Tip
Time needed: 1-2 hours
4 hours
Optimal arrival time:
Does not matter

Molokini Crater - Description

Located between the south coast of Maui and the island of Kaho'olawe, a very small, unusually shaped island rises from the Pacific Ocean. Uninhabited by humans, it and the ocean around it are teeming with birds and colorful sea creatures. Molokini is the name of this famous volcanic atoll, and excursions here are only possible with booked (about half-day) tours. In many Hawaii travel guides Molokini is considered one of the top things to do during a Maui vacation.
However, the reports about trips to Molokini are very different. Many describe their trip there as one of the best of their vacation, others are disappointed because of the many other people or not optimal conditions. It is therefore all the more important to get a comprehensive overview in advance and to know what to expect there. For those who plan well, Molokini with its crystal clear water and rare, colorful biodiversity will remain unforgettable in your memory.

Good to know
Molokini is just seven hectares in size and about 50 meters high at its greatest elevation. Below the water surface, Molokini rises about 90 meters into the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

Also submerged in the water is one half of this former volcanic crater. What protrudes from the island resembles a crescent. Within this crescent are wonderful conditions for marine life: protected from the open ocean, natural enemies are kept away.

During the Second World War, bombs were dropped on Molokini for training purposes. Fortunately, in recent decades, many bird species have reestablished themselves here. The island is a State Seabird Sanctuary. It is not allowed to enter.

According to a Hawaiian legend, the fire goddess Pele is responsible for the creation of Molokini. She made a rival, who is said to have been in love with the same prince, turn to stone in anger. And as if that were not enough, the petrified Maui was then also crushed in two. Molokini is her body, the head hurled up to the main island and forms there Pu'u Olai, better known as the Little Beach.

Colorful underwater world
Snorkelers and scuba divers come for the clear water that provides wide and deep visibility in the earlier hours of the day. More than 30 species of corals live here, reef sharks, tube eels, octopuses, manta rays, colorful and strange fish like the Picasso triggerfish or the trumpet fish.

Snorkeling and diving tours
Many different providers drive to Molokini - whether for diving or snorkeling. And even if they promise you to start with a small group - at the latest when you arrive at Molokini, you will no longer be among yourselves.
Most tours also include a stop at another snorkeling spot called Turtle Town. Here the chance to see the famous green sea turtles is very high. They can also be found in other bays of Maui.

To book a great, custom-fit experience, here are a few tips for planning:

-Even if it is difficult: You should book one of the early tours (from 6 o'clock). In the morning the water is still particularly clear and the visibility is best.
-Tours depart from Maalae, Kihei, Lahaina or Makena.
-Equipment: You should take towels, a backpack, reef-friendly sunscreen, a shirt so as not to burn your back while snorkeling. Snorkeling and diving equipment is provided by the operators. A change of clothes (at least in the car) can't hurt.
-Very different boats go to Molokini, they differ in size, but also in equipment (showers, slides) and catering (breakfast, lunch drinks).

What is important to you? A family-friendly excursion, smaller groups, very good guides who explain Maui's underwater world to you in detail? We are happy to help you book a tailor-made tour that fits your ideas and needs!

View of Molokini
You can round off a trip to Molokini by taking another look at the crescent after snorkeling or diving. This is fantastic from Makena Beach (Big Beach). The 2.4 kilometer wide and up to 30 meter wide beach is a sight in itself anyway. It is often quiet here and there is more than enough space to relax, sunbathe and swim. The surf here can be dangerous! Signs and lifeguards indicate when swimming is not recommended. Molokini rises about four kilometers away.

What we say

Unfortunately, there are many tours to Molokini, so that every day there are lots of people and boats at the crater at the same time. Nevertheless, the small island and its underwater world are simply impressive.
Our checklist & tips:
  • There are tours between 2-6 hours (with food)
  • Pack underwater camera
  • Most vendors stop at Molokini Crater and Turtle Town for snorkeling
  • Different boats usually depart from Maalaea Harbor or Lahaina

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Map and contact data

Longitude: -156.496781
Latitude: 20.630949

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