Maui offers so many ocean treasures for our enjoyment and nothing is more enjoyable than getting to snorkel with turtles on Maui. Turtle Town is a general term used in Hawaii and on Maui to describe any area offshore where turtles gather. These Hawaiian Sea Turtles gather for a number of reasons, but one of the most significant reasons is to get their large shells cleaned by small cleaner wrasses. These wrasses eat the algae that accumulate upon the turtles’ shells and the turtles use the time to relax and enjoy some leisure. Lucky for us, snorkeling at any Turtle Town Maui is easy to do. Almost all of the Molokini Crater snorkeling tours make a second stop at Turtle Town. Usually, the turtle town they select is by Makena Landing as it is close to the first snorkel stop at Molokini. The Calypso, Pacific Whale Foundation, and Four Winds are three tours that can definitely get you snorkeling at turtle town Maui and make sure that you have an epic experience with these magnificent creatures.
Maui is known for many things – world-renowned beaches, humpback whale watching, delicious food, and unforgettable sunrises and sunsets. With so much to see and do, it’s easy for memorable destinations and experiences to pass right under your radar. Turtle town is Maui’s number two snorkeling destination, right after Molokini Crater. It’s a string of submerged rock formations that were created by ancient, underwater volcanoes. Today, the reefs along turtle town make the perfect habitat for green sea turtles.
When most people refer to turtle town, they mean the one off the coast of Makena on South Maui. Situated where it is, plenty of fresh ocean water comes in and removes sedimentation in the water, allowing the sun to penetrate more deeply. Underwater visibility in this area can easily reach between eighty and one hundred feet. And all that sunshine feeds algae that live among the coral. This algae, in turn, attracts hundreds of different varieties of fish – as well as sea turtles. There isn’t just one turtle town on Maui though, this is a general term used to describe any area where these huge sea turtles congregate.
The turtle towns of Maui is a complex ecosystem where algae grow on the turtles themselves and then are eaten by a particular breed of fish called the Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse. This intricate system of symbiotic relationships creates a beautiful and unforgettable experience for any snorkeler who makes his way to turtle town Maui. You’ll get the chance to see colorful, exotic-looking fish, ancient lava formations, intricately detailed coral reefs, and – of course – lots of green sea turtles. Though, it’s important to remember not to disturb the turtles. After all, they’re an endangered species protected by US law.
So, if you’re interested in visiting Turtle Town, how do you get there?
The main area knows as turtle town in Makena is only accessible via a boat captained by a certified tour operator. However, there are a number of different companies that provide tours. Before you plan your trip, you’ll want to check them all out so that you’ll be able to have the experience that you want for your trip!
So, what companies go to Turtle Town – and what are their tours like?
The Calypso Maui is a three-deck, motorized catamaran that has a design that allows it to smoothly cut through the ocean waves. And having three decks yields tremendous benefits for passengers, as they get a far better view than they would if they were stuck down at ocean level. And if you’re at the top of the boat and want to get to the lower level quickly, you can always use one of the two waterslides that are attached to the boat.
While on the first floor, you get the benefit of several glass panels which will allow you to have a clear view of the beautiful sea life below. So, whether you’re hoping to watch dolphins or want a view of the ocean floor before you dive, the Calypso is a great option. When you ride the Calypso to turtle town Maui, you’ll leave from Ma’alaea Harbor and be able to enjoy a continental breakfast while you ride. Once you get to your destination, you’ll be instructed by the crew on how to use your snorkeling equipment as well as how to make the most of your dive.
For those who aren’t able to dive – or who simply don’t want to – several glass panels are available to view friends and family as they make their way down to the reef. Remember, visibility can reach up to one hundred feet. So, even if you don’t go down, you’ll still be able to get a clear view of the fish, sea turtles, and more. Once the sun gets high, you can enjoy a BBQ lunch with friends and family. And yes, vegetarian options are available as well. Calypso offers a number of additional options and benefits for passengers, including wetsuit and underwater camera rentals, flotation devices, and hours of Jimmy Buffet music… this cruise lasts approximately 5 hours.
The Pacific Whale Foundation is a nonprofit that exists to “protect the ocean through science and advocacy, and to inspire environmental stewardship.” One of the ways that they raise awareness of oceanic needs and concerns is by conducting a wide variety of cruises, including whale watching, snorkeling, and more.
And since green sea turtles are endangered species, the Pacific Whale Foundation has a vested interest in people seeing and experiencing them in their natural habitats. This is why they offer an exhilarating adventure throughout Molokini crater and turtle town, or as they say, turtle arches. Like Calypso Maui, the Pacific Whale Foundation will take you to Turtle Town and provide a continental breakfast as well as a tasty BBQ lunch. But with the Pacific Whale Foundation, you’ll have a certified marine naturalist joining you who can give you detailed information about all the marine life that you’ll be encountering on your trip. And any children will get to participate in the onboard ‘Junior Naturalist Program.’ This makes the Pacific Whale Foundation’s cruise a particularly attractive one for families.
In addition to offering premium snorkel gear rentals and instructional time, the cruise with the Pacific Whale Foundation also offers the use of a fun ocean mat and free oversized postcards…this cruise lasts 5 hours. If you’re looking for an enjoyable cruise that will also leave you with a deeper understanding of the Pacific Ocean and its inhabitants, few options are better than the Pacific Whale Foundation Molokini & Turtle Arches Tour.