Best Time to Snorkel in Maui: Discover the Ultimate Season!

Welcome to your ultimate guide for discovering the best time and conditions to snorkel in Maui!

You know, there’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in the vibrant underwater world of Maui. But, have you ever wondered when the perfect time is to experience this aquatic paradise?

Well, you’re in luck:

Over the years, my boyfriend and I have made countless trips to Maui, exploring its crystal-clear waters filled with colorful fish, curious turtles, and mesmerizing coral reefs. We’ve become experts on not just where to snorkel but when – we planned our adventures during different seasons and times of day.

I remember one time; we snorkeled with a playful group of sea turtles that seemed to be just as curious about us as we were about them! It was a magical moment that left us wanting more.

So if you’re anything like us – looking for that unforgettable snorkeling adventure in Maui – then trust me when I say that timing is key.

Warning: Once you’ve experienced the best snorkeling conditions in Maui… well, let’s just say you might find yourself planning your next trip sooner than expected!

Now sit back and relax while I share all those hard-earned insider tips on how to make sure your next snorkeling session will be nothing short of spectacular. Dive right into this must-read guide before taking off on your splashing good time in beautiful Maui!

Water conditions in Maui

Water Temperature

I personally prefer snorkeling in warm water. It’s an important factor for me when deciding when to go snorkeling. Water temperatures in Maui mostly range from about 74°F in the winter months to around 82°F by the end of the summer. 

It’s good to keep in mind the morning temperatures of the water are also cooler than the afternoon. However, there is much more peace when snorkeling in the morning and fewer people. At the same time, the water is warmest in the afternoon. 

Wave size and strength

Maui has some great waves (up to 30 feet) for professional surfing, especially in the winter. But for snorkeling, there are so many spots that are calm, protected, and wave-free. Since good snorkeling depends in part on low wind and no waves, make sure to check out the daily report. Low wind and low swell are best in the summer months. 

Weather Conditions – Rain, Shine, and Air Temperature

The ideal time for swimming and snorkeling in Maui is between May and November, depending on your preferences. These months are the warmest and have the least wind, waves, and rain. Those who like colder waters (in the 70s degree range, will prefer the spring and winter months). I have analyzed the temperature and wave conditions, based on our experience, so that you can make the best decision for you. 

The rainy season

In general, Maui has great tropical weather. However, it does have a short rainy season. Maui’s rainy season is from November through March, and in these months the island receives the most rain. On average that’s about 30″ to 60″ inches per year. Upcountry (around Kula) receives the least rain, so this is a good hub for some activities during this season. 

March through May are much more pleasant. In these months there is a lot less rain and generally, the temperatures of the air and water are more comfortable for snorkeling (especially for us who love warmer water). In general, this period is a mix when it comes to the weather: sometimes it’s hot, and sometimes it’s cool. There are also a few rain showers now and then.

This said a short rain shower will not interrupt your snorkeling plans even in the rainy season (does not affect visibility much). There are still great spots to go snorkeling even if there is some rain, including Honolua Bay, Molokini, and Black Rock at Ka‘anapali Beach.

The warmest time of year and the most sunshine

Generally, the weather in Maui is tropical (rainforest-like). Over the course of the year, the temperature usually ranges between 65°F to 88°F. In extremely rare situations the temperatures move below 58°F or above 90°F.

As far as actual sunshine, the leeward side of West Maui and south Maui has the sunniest and driest climate with many sandy beaches for snorkeling. Snorkel lovers will agree it’s better than the rest of the island. 

For visitors outside of the winter season (from May to November) you can expect a comfortable air temperature moving from 60°F up to 88°F (depending on the month and time of day). Winter months bring other benefits like whale watching too. 

When to Snorkel Maui – Travel Season Considerations, Time of Day, and More

For many people, finances will have a great influence on when to visit (and snorkel in) Maui. So if you are looking for the best deals and cheap accommodations you should visit in the Spring and Fall. Visiting during this time has many benefits, like fewer tourists and crowds, lower demand, and more opportunities to explore great deals. Also, the water is great during this time for snorkeling.

As far as the time of day for snorkeling, it’s best to do it in the morning when there is less wind, and crowd and the water is peaceful. Going early will maximize the amount of marine life you see. The second best time is during the middle of the day (if you don’t mind the direct sun) because visibility is best due to the sun’s position. However, the waters in Maui are generally crystal clear.  

Conclusion on the Perfect Time to Snorkel in Maui

Maui is a paradise in every sense of the word. The island is especially rich in marine life, coral, natural reefs, nature preserves, and animals such as green turtles, whales, dolphins, seals, and more. 

That’s why it’s one of the best places in the world for snorkeling. No matter when you visit you will have a great experience, however water temperature, waves, and rain can noticeably shape your experience. 

So check out my guide and find your perfect time to snorkel in Maui. I have analyzed all the conditions such as water temperature, waves, rain, and even time of day, that will ensure the ideal conditions for you.

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What is the best month to snorkel in Maui?

For me the best month for snorkeling in Maui is September. At this time the waves are small or non-existent, the water is in the high 70 degrees, and low 80 degrees, and there is less rain than later on in the year. Since I don’t like the extremely high temperatures and too much sun, I avoid July and August. 

Where is the prettiest water in Maui for snorkeling?

Maui beaches are the prettiest and cleanest in Hawaii. For snorkeling, some of the best waters include Molokini Crater, Coral Gardens, and Turtle Town (which also has a huge green turtle population). Others include La Perouse Bay, Wailea Beach, and Black Rock at Ka’anapali Beach. All these locations have clear and pretty water that is easily navigated by both beginner snorkelers and pros. The waters are mostly calm and warm. 

Which side of Maui is best for snorkeling?

The west and south shores of Maui are known as the best spots for snorkeling. This side of the island is protected and calmer. Which also makes it packed full of tropical fish, and other marine life.  For those at the beginner level, or with children, this side of the island also provides some of the safest snorkeling in hidden and protected areas. 

In fact, the safest snorkeling spots in sheltered bays or shallow reefs can be found at Napili Bay, Ulua beach, Turtle Town, and Ahihi Cove. You won’t have to go far out to experience all the exotic marine life. Still. Everyone should wear a life vest. The ocean can always be unpredictable. 

Last Updated on April 30, 2023 by Brigitte