The Best Snorkeling in Maui – Molokini Crater with Redline Tours

The first time we went to Maui, we were convinced that we had found the most perfect island save for one thing; we are both avid snorkelers and the snorkeling seemed to be OK at best. A small price to pay for an island as magical as Maui in every other way.

Maui Sunrise Molokini Crater

This year we spent a morning with Redline Rafting to snorkel Molokini crater, and very happily learned how wrong we were about Maui snorkeling!

The Redline Raft

We knew we wanted to see Molokini crater and were set on going with Redline Rafting for a few reasons.

The first, and most obvious, is that zooming across the water on that speed raft letting the gorgeous coastline of Maui speed by in a blur of beauty looked like it would just be too much fun; and it was!

The second, is that Redline is one of the first boats in the morning to arrive at the crater to snorkel Molokini. Snorkeling is always better with less of a crowd, and we were the only snorkel boat there on the day that we went!

Though waking up and getting out early isn’t exactly our favorite way to start the day, we loved catching the beautiful sunrise in Kihei and seeing the sun break over Maui’s mountains as we boarded the raft. With a spot as popular as Molokini the earlier the better, and Redline seems to get there the earliest!

The third reason is that the Redline raft only takes out fairly small groups. We have been on snorkel boats before that are so packed that even with just one boat you still see more fins in the face than fish in the sea!

Small group Redline Tour Snorkel Molokini Crater

The day started with our two captains taking us out to Molokini and explaining what we would see when we arrived. When we got to the crater and the boat was tied up we were served cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit for breakfast and had more of the crater and it’s history explained to us.

Molokini is a submerged crater that is a protected wildlife and marine area, where visibility often exceeds 180ft. Needless to say, we were, even more, excited to jump in after hearing more about the site.

Snorkel Molokini Crater in Maui

We immediately saw how wrong we had been about Maui; it does have sensational snorkeling, it just takes a boat ride to get there!

Even the plastic bouys looked amazing and otherworldly in the clear ocean waters around the crater.

After snorkeling two spots at Molokini, we took a trip down the coastline to explore more of the sheer cliffs that make up Maui’s “forbidden coast.” Since we were there in the Winter, Hawaii’s whale season, this portion of the day became a whale watching tour. We were told by our captains that at times during whale season the water gets so full of leviathans that they have a hard time navigating the boat where it needs to go. Boats are required to stay a certain distance from each whale, which means that if you are surrounded you basically are stuck in one spot until all the whales decide to give you some more breathing room!

Whale tail in Maui

The last stop of the morning was to turtle town for some up close and personal encounters in the water with the protected Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. This is also where delicious deli sandwiches and pasta salad was served for lunch.

Hawaiian Sea Turtle with Redline Rafting Tour

All in all, we had an absolutely lovely morning out on the water with Redline. The captains were both knowledgeable about Maui and all of the ocean life and were very relaxed and easy to get along with. We loved snorkeling Molokini Crater and are pretty sure that it is not only the best snorkeling in Maui but probably the best snorkeling on all of the Hawaiian islands!

Redline Rafting Tour to Molokini Crater Maui

Do You Want To Do it Too?

The tour departs daily from Kihei Small Boat Ramp at 7:00 in the morning and returns at noon. The tour costs $124.95 from the Redline site and includes breakfast, lunch, wetsuits and all snorkel gear. They even provided a prescription mask for one of the people on our boat who wore glasses!

Snorkeling at Molokini Crater Maui

Thank you Redline Tours for our gorgeous morning on the water; as always all opinions are completely our own and we would never recommend something we didn’t love, no matter who pays the check.


I think of California as officially "home" but can usually be found a lot closer to the equatorial belt. After finishing a Masters program in 2011 I found myself trying to decide between a couple of different high-powered career options. I decided I wasn't quite ready to "grow up" and went with an entirely different plan which involved selling off everything I owned with my partner Tom and buying a one-way ticket to Colombia. Our plan was to travel "Till The Money Ran Out" and then go home to start our grown-up lives. Instead, we started our own app development company on the road and have been criss-crossing the globe, traveling, working, eating spicy food and refusing to "grow up" ever since. You can find me on Twitter, , Facebook or send me a message using our About Us page.

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7 Responses

  1. Ron says:

    Lovely photos! Made me want to hit the beach anytime soon. I am so in love with Maui right now.

  2. Oh wow- diving with turtles and whales! What a dream! Wonderful shots- thanks for sharing!

  3. What an incredible experience! I’ve only been snorkeling a handful of times and never saw any sealife as beautiful as that. I did see some sort of sea snake or eel that scared me right back onto the boat, though!

    • Jenny says:

      Thanks Heather, funny you mention that! On this day we say a moray eel swimming around for the first time in our lives. We had seen them in their hidey holes before but that day we saw it exploring the reef. They make me a little nervous too!

  4. Ryan says:

    Ah, I’ve been to Maui and I’m bummed I never snorkeled there! I didn’t actually do much since I was just at port usually while working on a cruise ship. Great photos!

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