Heading to Maui and want to see some of the incredible Hawaiian sea life? Scroll to find exactly where to see Maui turtles on your next Hawaiian vacation!
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Whether you are planning a romantic gateway or a family vacation, Maui is the ideal destination that will never go out of fun and adventure. The beautiful island of Maui in Hawaii ensures a lot of water activities that are fun filled and thrilling.
When tourists visit Maui, the expect three important elements:
- Breathtaking ocean beaches
- Dancing palm trees
- Hawaiian sea turtles
Maui turtles, named “honu” in the Hawaiian language, have a vital role to play in the environment as well as the Hawaiian culture.
Out of all the land and water activities that are practiced in Maui, scuba diving or snorkeling seems to be the most popular one. Do you know the reason behind?
This is because while you undertake a snorkeling there is a greater probability that you can witness the sea turtles.
In case, you are immensely lucky, you can witness the turtles popping their heads up and down the sea on some of the Maui beaches.
What Kind of Turtles Can You Find on Maui?
If you start looking into Maui turtles, you’ll see that the sea turtles have been on the island for around 150 million years. The turtles have been one of the prime attractions among the snorkelers and divers on the sea beaches .
You will find five distinct species of turtles on Maui including:
- Green sea turtles (honu)
- Hawksbill sea turtles
- Olive Ridleys
The Green sea turtle or honu is the most common one, followed by the Hawsbill sea turtles found on the island.
If you want to witness the other three types as mentioned, you need to dive really deep into the sea. They won’t nest on the sea beaches making it a bit difficult to notice them.
Where Can You See Maui Turtles in Hawaii?
Where to see turtles in Maui? The West and the South coastlines of the Maui Island offers exceptional opportunities with some turtle seeing. In fact, you can also get the opportunity to swim with the sea creature as well.
Let us find out the places that offer the best opportunity to swim with turtles in Maui.
Maluaka Beach or Turtle Town
In case you are looking for the destination that offers the best place to snorkel with a huge population of honu turtles (Hawaiian Green sea turtles), Maluaka beach is ideal consideration.
Basically, Turtle Town, Maui is the pivotal location for sea turtles on the island.
Tourists from all over the world, and of different demographics find this spot appealing due to serene blue water and the beautiful underwater world full of colorful marine life.
Swimming with the turtles is one lifetime experience that very lucky people can undertake and feel it.
If you want to witness the maximum number of turtles, walk down the southern part of the Maluaka beach and reach at the end of the sand, where the coral reef begins.
Black Rock Beach or Kannapali
This is yet another excellent place to spot the sea turtles in Maui.
The area is quite popular for snorkeling and cliff diving. You will find tourists bustling all round the year not just for the beauty that the place has to offer, but for the turtle sightseeing.
The beach is considered as one of the best with gentle waves, and fun filled cliff jumping.
This is also where you can find the famous Volkswagen turtle, which weighs around 300 pounds. He is often found to be peeping up the seawater and munching on seaweed. He doesn’t seem to be really bothered by the presence of the humans.
It is best if you can enjoy his sight from a distance without causing any harm.
If you are not an experienced snorkeler, or a first time participant, the Keawakapu Beach or “Sidewalks” as often called is the best option to consider.
The sea waves are gentle, and you get to witness the magical coral reef that is full of fish, corals and turtles. The best part is that the sea water is clear, which allows you to enjoy the underwater world without straining your eyes.
Apart from the opportunity to swim with a Hawaiian sea turtle, there is a host of other water activities that you can get involved in. For instance, kayaking is an excellent option for those wanting an adventurous activity.
Moreover, the beach is not overcrowded like the usual popular beaches in Maui.
Kids can also have a good time watching the turtles, and having fun with boogie boarding and jumping on the small waves of the sea. Free parking, portable toilets, and restaurants make the beach a tourist friendly destination.
When you want to enjoy the sight of the sea turtles without really getting into the water, Hookipa Beach is the right spot for you.
Reaching the beach before the sunset assures a guaranteed sighting of the turtles. You will find that the turtles pull themselves up from the sea and onto the shore to sleep.
In fact, you can see turtles all through the day on the beach basking under the rays of the sun. The crowd is found engaged in taking selfies with the turtles.
Hookipa Beach is a picturesque spot with strong waves. It is ideal for kites surfing and windsurfing, and you can expect a large crowd here. The good part is that the free parking is limited here, hence you will find the crowd moving really fast.
Adjacent to Keawakapu Beach, Ulua beach is a popular spot for snorkeling, swimming and sightseeing turtles.
The spot is so recognized that it is advised to reach early morning for snorkeling or else you won’t get parking spaces. The good part about the beach is that the sea waves are calm and gentle, ideal for the amateur snorkelers and swimmers.
In fact, kids can handle the waves as well and swim easily with the turtles.
When you are looking for the perfect turtle beach, Maui offers you with a host of options.
Almost every beach that offers the turtle sightseeing opportunity along with the swimming chance is considered to be ideal.
But when you are looking for any privacy, the Polo Beach is considered as the best option. Not only is it a great spot for turtle watching, but it’s one of the best places to go in Wailea.
When you visit the beach, you will be swayed away with the beautiful view, but the winds are quite choppy. You will be amazed to find how the sea turtles hang close to the shore.
If you are confident enough to manage the waves, you can try your luck clicking pictures or even swimming if the weather permits.
When you want to want to enjoy the bird’s view of turtles, Five Caves is the popular destination that has emerged as a major attraction on Maui. You can easily find the sea turtles floating around or sleep around.
Initially, you might find it very difficult to identify the turtles as they look more or so like rocks.
When you spot them successfully, you will be surprised to find so many turtles right in front of you. It is a sight that will behold your breath for sure.
Kaeleku Point on the southwest side of Napili Bay attracts a large number of tourists because of the easily accessible and the calm water that is suitable for snorkeling. This is also the beach that is an abode for sea turtles.
You can swim with the turtles and have an experience of a lifetime. You can also witness the Hawaiian sea turtle in abundance in the spot, the reason for which it has become one of the important tourist spots on Maui.
What You Need to Know about Seeing Turtles in Maui
Sea Turtles Don’t Mind the Presence of People, But Be Respectful
It seems that the Maui turtles don’t mind the presence of people. This is the main reason why you will find that there are plenty of opportunities for people to swim with the turtles.
In fact, they don’t mind people clicking pictures with them, and some lucky ones even getting the opportunity to swim.
You will find the Hawaiian green sea turtles at times to swim to the shore, and bask under the sun on the beach.
The tourists visiting Maui beaches can come in close contact with the sea turtles and experience something which is almost not found anywhere across the globe.
Check out any ad for Maui holidays or vacations and you’ll see Hawaiian sea turtles in them.
Snorkeling through Turtle Town provides you with an excellent opportunity to view and even photograph the turtles in their natural environment.
Chasing, riding, or even touching the turtles is strictly prohibited and harassing the sea creature can land you in big trouble.
Turtle Town is the ideal location for snorkeling and encountering with the Hawaiian green sea turtles.
No Hawaiian vacation is complete without experiencing a turtle snorkel tour. This Maui turtle snorkeling tour will give you memories to cherish for life.
What is the Best Time of Day to See Turtles in Maui?
There is no such specific time to have a glimpse of the sea turtles.
You can see them almost throughout the day, peeping out the water, coming to shore, and sun basking on the beach. You can spot them swimming and even sleeping on the rocks.
But there are certain factors that must be kept in mind to experience the best of snorkeling. They include:
- Location of the sun
- The wind
- The height of the tide
- The tide flow amount
If you are thinking where to see turtles in Maui, you will have a host of beaches that gives you the opportunity to experience the beauty of turtle sightseeing.
Visiting the Maui Ocean Center is Worth It
Are you not really into snorkeling? Worried that your Maui vacation will remain incomplete as you don’t get the opportunity for turtle sightseeing?
Worry not, as the Maui Ocean Center will give you the excellent experience of witnessing the turtles without actually getting into the water or visiting the sea beaches.
Spend a day at the center and get to experience the underwater view and the famous Hawaiian green sea turtles.
The complete tour gives a very different feeling as you learn about the native ocean life of Hawaii from the experienced staff, who are ready to answer all your queries.
Snorkeling in Maui is Amazing
If you want to enjoy the best underwater experience of your life, perhaps there is no better place that Maui and its incredible beaches. This exotic tourist destination boasts about having a great barrier reef.
Turtle sightseeing is definitely one of the prime tourist attractions here in the region. If you want to witness the majestic Maui turtles, you will not be disappointed at all.
See Turtles in Maui While Scuba Diving
Join a Maui scuba tour and you’ll will be trained under the guidance of certified and professional scuba instructors.
Don’t worry about the risk factors because Maui dive masters have their watchful eyes on you constantly. In case of any troubles, you will be immediately provided with necessary services.
Check out the training centers and sign up for this wonderful activity.
Top Tours to See Turtles in Maui
Sometimes it’s easier to join a guided tour where a Maui local can take you to the right places to see sea turtles. These are some of the best snorkeling tours that feature turtles:
Maui Morning Snorkeling Tour to Molokini Crater & Turtle Town!
This family friendly Maui snorkeling tour takes you to a sunken volcano where you can see thousands of tropical fish in the crystal clear water.
It includes continental breakfast.
Book this Maui Morning Snorkeling Tour
In this full day tour, learn to kayak, surf, and snorkel off Maui’s coast, specifically Makena Bay, in search of fish and sea turtles.
Book this Paddle, Snorkel and Surfing Package
Join this small-group kayak and snorkel tour to maximize your chances of seeing Hawaiian green sea turtles on Maui.
Book this Makena Turtle Town Eco Adventure
What to Bring When Snorkeling to See Turtles in Maui
If you aren’t doing a tour that provides all your snorkeling gear, you’ll want to bring a snorkel set and fins so you can swim longer in search of sea turtles.
There has been a bit of a debate about the safety of these full face snorkel masks. It sounds like most people don’t have any issues, but there have been a few news articles about people having accidents while using them
Also, when the weather is colder (especially if you are going to Maui in the winter) I recommend wearing a wet suit top over your swimsuit for an extra layer.
Keep the above mentioned factors in mind and enjoy the colorful coral and marine life twelve months of the year on beautiful Maui.