Coral Gardens is one of the best snorkeling spots on Maui. Hidden from view by the cliffs on the Pali, Coral Gardens is as inaccessible as it is pristine. There is no way to descend down to the water’s edge which makes the only access by boat. Colorful reef formations line the Pali walls under the water with brilliant colors that shade a rainbow. Stretching away from the cliffs the coral gardens are vibrant and teeming with marine life. There are no turtles at Coral Gardens, but there are thousands of colorful fish ranging from small aquarium size to larger than footballs. The water is calm, clear and warm.
Maui snorkeling tours to Coral Gardens are afternoon snorkel trips. They are 3 hours in length as it only takes a few minutes to reach the gardens from Maalaea Harbor. Once there, the fun begins. Lani Kai has been snorkeling Coral Gardens since its maiden voyage. It’s a perfect location to snorkel in the afternoon. You don’t have to rise at the crack of dawn to check in for a snorkel trip and it’s not crowded like Molokini. A few other noteworthy things to mention is that the water is warmer in the afternoon because the outside temperature is warmer. There is a slight breeze at Coral Gardens which is welcome as it cools down the heat of a tropical sun, unlike Molokini which is breezy all day and windblown in the afternoon. Most Maui charter boats that frequent Coral Gardens do so in the afternoon after they return from their morning snorkel trip to Molokini. The Lani Kai like all other snorkel boats who offer an afternoon snorkel charter would prefer to motor out to Molokini Crater. They know it would be a rough voyage with the tradewinds barreling through the isthmus of Central Maui. Both the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala rise so quickly above the sea that the winds are funneled through the isthmus gathering strength as they go. That is the reason you see a constant line of whitecaps all the way out to Molokini. If you look closely you will see that the waters in front of the Pali sea cliffs are calm. Yet out a little further, the white caps begin.
If afternoon charter boats took their guests out to Molokini, everyone would experience some kind of motion sickness discomfort. That is why Maui snorkel charters go to Coral Gardens instead of Molokini in the afternoon. What’s puzzling though, is why don’t they snorkel Coral Gardens in the morning? Because Coral Gardens is a shorter snorkel trip than the morning Molokini snorkel charters, the rate per ticket is also less expensive and it is a better snorkel site. Families that come to Maui with children often opt for the afternoon snorkel trips because of length of time, price and the shorter boat ride. Time also plays a significant role in selecting an afternoon Maui snorkel charter. Lani Kai: Is a 53-foot power catamaran. There are 3 access points into the water. Two are in the back of the boat descending from the twin hulls, one on each side. The third one is a set of stairs that lower down in the front. The Lani Kai is equipped with a fresh water shower and 2 restrooms. A large shaded main cabin is available to take a break from the sun. Lani Kai also features a water slide. Oh Yeah!
Tip of the Day: Bring a towel & sunscreen All gear provided. Snorkel 101 Boogie boards & noodles available
Food: Deli Style Lunch: Variety of lunch meat and cheese Fresh Maui vegetable tray Bread and taro rolls Delicious pasta salad Fresh baked macadamia nut chocolate chip cookies for desert Juice, soda and water Beer, Wine & Mai Tais
Terrific crew and boat; all equipment is in great, clean condition. Captain Marc has been doing this for a long time and went to great lengths to ensure...
This tour was awesome! The staff and captain were so helpful and so nice to be around. They even remembered our names and helped out with the little ones....
The staff, the boat, the food, the slide, and of course the coral and fish - a great experience all around. We opted for a 3 hour afternoon tour and SNUBA...
This was a great experience! We made it out to Molokini in about an hour. The captain stopped and did what he could to get us as close to the whales as...
Super friendly and knowledgeable crew. We felt totally with them and had such a great time! Gorgeous snorkeling and SNUBA. Saw several whales and got to...
I am updating my prior review that was negative. We had problems getting our money back on canceled tour. After quiet a few efforts the owner did get in...
We think Capt. Mark and his crew are awesome. They throughly explain all the aspects of our tour before we left the dock. Safety, what to expect, amenities...
Incredible day snorkeling with these guys! Everything was perfect. We saw sea turtles, Humpback Whales, and lots of other stuff. The Whales were from the boat, but we were in the water with the turtles. The captain and crew were all very friendly and informative. Definitely recommend this boat.
We had a great time on the morning snorkel cruise to Molokini and turtle town. Great staff and with the smaller boat lots of personal attention. On the way back from the second snorkelling location the captain went slow and we were greeted with a lot of whale activity. I would recommend this company for your Maui adventure.
Ruth Ann M.
We had an amazing experience - the staff was super friendly & provided a very personal service. We had an awesome time snorkelling & the whale watch on the way back was the icing on the cake. The food & drinks were also fabulous - great value & fun times!!!
We went a few days and 5 stars is not enough. Just wanted to let you know it was PERFECT. Snorkeling- maybe a B. But that is simply nothing the captain can...
We had a fantastic trip with Maui Snorkeling. The snorkeling sites were beautiful and most people in our group were lucky enough to see turtles at Turtle Town. What really made it special however was the captain and his crew who were super friendly. We probably weren't the easiest guests as we brought our baby and toddler. This wouldn't be for everyone but we were pretty confident our kids would handle it well, we had our own infant and toddler life preserves, and we alternated turns snorkeling. The crew were really accommodating, and brought out a boogie board for our toddler. There was great info on the whales too.
Crew was extremely helpful to all. The Captain was very knowledgeable about the whales, turtles and fish. A fun, relaxing day on the water. Had a great time and would choose the Lani Kai again!
I'll be honest, at morning check in I thought I'd made a bad decision but I was definitely wrong, going with these guys was a great decision. Captain was great and the crew was awesome. We were one of the first boats to arrive at the crater after watching wales along the way there. VERY COOL! After the crater he took us to another spot and we were snorkeling with sea turtles. EVEN COOLER! I'd recommend them for sure. The other boat might look impressive but I think you'd get lost in the crowd. Oh yeah, have a few free mai tais after you're done snorkeling on the ride back.
There are a lot of options for things to do in Maui, Hawaii. There are also a lot of snorkeling boat options. Our goal on our vacation to Maui was to find...
Had an absolute blast on the Friendly Charters tour to Molokini and TurtleTown with Captain Mike and the crew. We decided to try Snuba and had a blast...
We had an excellent day at the Molokini reef and "turtle town" on the Lani Kai. The captain and crew were great. Seeing the humpback whales breaching was the highlight of the 5-Hour tour. The captain knew where to find them and we stayed a hundred yards away as per the law. The deli lunch was good and we loved the open bar. I highly recommend this boat tour, although I imagine there are other good ones as well.