Aloha fellow underwater adventurers!
My boyfriend and I recently delved into the magical world of scuba diving off the breathtaking shores of Maui. And let me tell ya, we were absolutely blown away by the sheer beauty and abundance of marine life we encountered. So naturally, I just had to share our experience and help all you lovely folks discover the best diving spots in Maui too!
You see, after countless hours spent researching, practicing, and exploring these enchanting underwater paradises together with my main squeeze, I’ve become quite the connoisseur when it comes to choosing prime dive locations. Trust me – whether you’re a seasoned diver or a newbie just getting your fins wet – you’ll be chomping at the bit by the time you finish reading this article.
Now listen up: To ensure you have an unforgettable diving experience in Maui’s crystal-clear waters, I’ve cherry-picked only the most jaw-dropping spots based on factors like difficulty level, visibility depth, and diverse marine life encounters. And boy-oh-boy are they somethin’ else!
Warning: Once you plunge into these awe-inspiring aquatic wonderlands (and possibly bump elbows with a friendly sea turtle or two), don’t be surprised if your heart swells with love for Mother Ocean herself…just like mine did.
Alrighty then! Let’s strap on those tanks and dive right into my top picks for scuba diving heaven in magnificent Maui!
If it’s your first-time scuba diving in Maui, the Makena Landing is a great place to start, as it offers beginner-friendly waters and good underwater visibility. This location also houses Turtle Town, a famous snorkeling site that attracts a ton of Hawaiian green sea turtles, which you can swim with.
Makena Landing is also a favorite scuba dive site for its numerous sea caves, lava formations, arches, and coral heads. Divers will especially enjoy exploring the Bubble Cave from his site, which is an underwater lava tube leading into a chamber where you can surface and remove your regulator.
My boyfriend and I tried scuba diving for the first time from Makena Landing and loved the easy experience and swimming with sea turtles and white tip reef sharks.
Here’s why Makena Landing is the best scuba diving spot in Maui:
- There are expert trainers and guides on this site who will teach you scuba diving and accompany you on the trip.
- The Bubble Cave has a depth of 45 feet which makes it ideal for scuba and shore diving.
- There are old World War II armored vehicles submerged near the Makena Landing, which you can explore.
A favorite snorkel and diving site in Maui is the Molokini Crater which houses hundreds of marine life species in its depths. This half-submerged volcanic crater has an incredible reef, multiple diving sites, and unmatched underwater visibility, which makes it a favorite site for experienced divers.
The Crater’s Back Wall is an excellent spot for advanced divers and is home to a manta ray and shark cleaning station, gray reef sharks, octopuses, blue dragon nudibranchs, harlequin shrimp, and many species of wrasse.
Beginners can also enjoy diving from Middle Reef, which has a depth of 20 m and allows divers to swim alongside pyramid butterflyfish, sergeant fish, and giant trevally, among many others.
We’ve tried diving in the Molokini Crater, and the underwater clarity combined with the stunning marine life makes it one of the best scuba diving spots in Maui.
- The visibility reaches 40 m at the Molokini Crater, so you can explore the reefs closely.
- The 8 dive sites at Molokini between the inner Crater and the back wall allow divers of all levels to scuba dive here.
- You may see rare fish species like the Hawaiian damselfish, raccoon butterfly fish, and the flame angelfish.
Consistently voted as the top diving site in the world for 25 years, the Lanai Cathedrals are a favorite spot for scuba divers worldwide for their deep caverns. What makes this location special are the ancient lava tubes and caverns whose tops and walls have cracked and collapsed, providing a stunning cathedral light show.
The marine life that frequents this location is incredible, from small nudibranchs to white tip reef sharks, sea turtles, and spinner dolphins.
You can take guided tours to explore these sites, which allow easy passage into the many cathedral-like caves, and witness the huge black coral which hangs from the ceiling of one cave.
My boyfriend and I had an incredible time diving at Lanai Cathedrals, as it felt like we were in an underwater city. Here’s why it’s the best scuba diving spot in Maui:
- The caves have a depth of 40 m which makes for incredible underwater visibility.
- The Lanai cathedrals house rare corals, which you can explore from a safe distance.
- The light rays focusing on the sea bed make for an incredible sight and photo op.
Another incredible diving spot for beginners in Maui is the Mala Wharf, where you can dive without a license or guide and explore the marine life in its depths. The location was once a pier that broke in 1992, and its remaining pillars have formed an incredible artificial reef underwater that attracts a ton of marine life.
You can swim with dozens of Hawaiian green sea turtles, frogfish, and white tip sharks from this spot, which are easy to spot from the great underwater visibility.
My boyfriend and I love diving from the Mala Wharf, as its easy access and incredible views make it one of the best scuba diving spots in Maui.
- You can try night dives from the Mala Wharf for beautiful evening views.
- The Mala Wharf has a depth of 25 m which makes it ideal for beginners to try.
- There’s a dive center nearby where you can rent tanks for solo dives.
The Airport Beach is near the Kaanapali shores and is a terrific site for beginner and experienced divers alike. It’s also known as the Kahekili beach park and promises depths of up to 40 feet, with clear waters and a ton of marine life. In addition, diving here doesn’t need any certification or prior experience.
You can spot unique coral and fish species like lemon butterflies, Moorish idols, yellowtail coris, needlefish, lionfish, and many more from the Airport beach, creating a colorful playground of fish for divers to enjoy.
We love diving from Airport beach, as its easy entry makes it one of the best scuba diving spots in Maui.
- You can take diving courses and tours from the beach park led by trained operators.
- The park has free parking, picnic tables, restrooms, and an outdoor shower.
- The best visibility at this location is from 20-30 feet depths, making it ideal for beginners.
A known spot for beginner divers to learn scuba diving in South Maui, Ulua Beach guarantees calm waters, great visibility from its 25 m depths, and sightings of rare marine life and corals.
Divers will enjoy exploring the corals from this location, such as antlers and finger coral reefs, with a maximum depth of 20 m. In addition, some great fish species like eels, triggerfish, and butterflyfish frequent this area, with unique sightings of moray eels, purple leaf scorpionfish, and red slate urchins.
My boyfriend and I always come to Ulua beach for a refresher course in diving, as it’s one of the best scuba diving spots in Maui.
- Spotting green sea turtles is common in this area owing to its closeness to Makena Landing.
- You can schedule night dives and formal dives through operators at Ulua beach.
- The beach is a family-friendly location and has well-maintained facilities.
Is there good scuba diving in Maui?
The scuba diving in Maui is some of the best in the world, owing to the island’s location in the heart of the Pacific Ocean and with many spectacular diving sites. You can dive at the world-famous dive spot Lanai Cathedral, the rustic Molokai island, and the Molokini Crater from Maui, which offers rare marine life sightings and explores unique corals.
Is diving Molokini Crater worth it?
Whether you’re a beginner or advanced diver, scuba diving at Molokini Crater is your best option, as it has unmatched underwater visibility and dive spots for all skill levels. You can swim with Maui’s native marine life, such as sharks, sea turtles, and a variety of fish, and explore the Crater’s stunning coral.
Where is the best diving in Hawaii?
Some of the best diving in Hawaii takes place in Maui, from locations like the Lanai Cathedrals, the Molokini Back Wall, and the Black Rock at Ka’anapali beach, which are favorites among beginner and advanced divers.
Winding Up the Best Scuba Diving Spots in Maui
Scuba diving is a favorite sport in Maui owing to the terrific diving sites found on the island, which house underwater wonderlands of coral, fish, sea caves, and lava tubes.
So you can find the best diving spots designed for each skill level in Maui, which includes learning this fun sport from the locations mentioned in this article.
Looking for the best beginner diving spot in Maui? Head to Ulua Beach and Airport beach.
Need a more advanced diving experience in Maui? Try diving from the back wall of Molokini Crater.
Want to see the most beautiful dive location in Maui? Dive from the Lanai Cathedrals.
The best diving spots in Maui have something for everyone!
Last Updated on April 3, 2023 by Brigitte