Snorkeling Napili Bay, Maui, Hawaii
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Pacific Ocean
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Snorkeling Napili Bay, Maui, Hawaii

Napili Bay is known as the “secret spot” of Maui for some great snorkeling. Located between Kapalua and Kahana, Napili Bay is a quiet area with a combination of locals and vacation rentals that offers the chance to swim with turtles and massive tropical fish in a gorgeous reef. What could be better than that?

What to Expect for Napili Bay Snorkeling

The Napili Bay Beach is never too crowded. It is quiet and a great place for swimmers of any experience level. The depths are around 10 feet at the deepest points and the water is calm and very clear. You can enter the snorkeling area right from the sandy beach to explore the medium sized area, but note that while the entrance is sandy, it is also very steep.

Where to Snorkel at Napili Bay

There are two good spots for Napili Bay snorkeling. The first is to the very left of the beach, by the large black rocks. Here you can see many different types of fish, such as 18 inch long Spotted Boxfish, Bluestripe Butterflyfish, Raccoon Butterflyfish, Cornetfish, Barred Filefish and Yellowstripe Goatfish. They can all be found just offshore by snorkeling along the rocks. If you look close under the large rocks, you can also see a few Moray Eels, Needlefish and Puffer fish. Just be aware that the water can be a bit choppy here, so if the water looks too rough, it’s best to avoid snorkeling in this area.

napali bay snorkeling with green turtleAnother great area for Napili Bay snorkeling is along the far right side of the beach, as it tends to be more sheltered than the other side. Here you can find large gatherings of silver Needlefish, Hawaiian Sergeant, Threadfin Butterflyfish and a large array of other common Maui reef fish. You can also see some sea cucumbers and beautiful vibrant corals around this area. 

In both of these areas, and along the sandy middle of Napili Bay, you can also catch large sea turtles swimming about or sunbathing. Remember that they are protected marine animals so you aren’t allowed to touch them!

Best Time for Snorkeling at Napili Bay

Though it is usually prime tourist season in winter and spring, few know that the best time for Napili Bay Snorkeling is actually during the summer. During the summer, it is obviously more humid and a bit hotter, but the snorkeling conditions are far better. You will have average temperatures averaging +30C (86F) which means that the water will be warmer as well. You’ll also experience less wind in the summer, which means calmer waters.

How to Get to Napili Bay

When driving to Napili Bay, you will see a parking lot off the highway, but you will need to get there extremely early to get a parking space. You can also take a bus to Napili Bay from Whalers Village. The bus you take will be the “Napili Islander, Route 30” and you will need to get off at the stop in front of the Napili Village hotel. Walk down from the road to the public access path that is located between some condominiums. You’ll go past an outdoor shower and make your way straight to the beach.

snorkeling at napili bay

Whenever you happen to visit Maui, you definitely want to visit Napili Bay Beach for some fantastic snorkeling. This hidden gem of Maui gives you access to a diverse and abundant marine life in calm, shallow waters.

Underwater Life: 
Snorkeling with turtles
Coral reefs
Tropical fish
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