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Maalaea Harbor

Maalaea Harbor: Our most recommended tours and activities

Maui: Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkel with Deli Lunch

1. Maui: Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkel with Deli Lunch

See Maui from a new perspective as you swim and snorkel alongside its marine life at Molokini and Turtle Town. Cruise to these famous snorkeling destinations by catamaran, and enjoy breakfast and lunch onboard. Meet your captain and crew near Maalaea Harbor for your check-in. Board the comfortable catamaran and enjoy a continental breakfast of pastries, muffins, fresh fruits, coffee, tea, juice, soda, and water as you head towards Molokini. Arrive at Molokini and admire the scenery of the extinct volcanic cone, home to around 250 different local species. Jump into the water and snorkel with native wildlife such as black triggerfish, yellow tang, and parrotfish. Continue onto Turtle Town, where you’ll swim with protected Hawaiian green sea turtles among the underwater lava formations. Rest assured a lifeguard will be in the water at all times as you snorkel around the beautiful coral gardens. Enjoy a deli lunch with your choice of roast beef, chicken, or ham croissant sandwiches, or pulled pork and BBQ sauce on a bun, with chips, soft drinks, juice, and water. Choose to purchase beers or a Mai Tai, and relax in the shade of the cabin. Or top up your tan on the bow of the boat as you return to Maalaea Harbor, where your unforgettable activity will come to an end.

From Ma'alaea Harbor: Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Malolo

2. From Ma'alaea Harbor: Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Malolo

Depart from Maalaea Harbor, easily located off the highway with ample parking. This high-speed catamaran is located at Slip 87 near Coast Guard Station. While on board, enjoy complimentary juices and sodas, and a variety of alcoholic beverages. The optimal whale watching season starts in December and goes through April, during which thousands of humpback whales return to Hawaii for a few months each year to mate and give birth. Depending on the whales’ behavior during your two-hour whale watching trip, you may see any number of whale activity happening, from tail flapping to full body breaching. Keep your eyes peeled for whales slapping the surface with pectoral fins (their very long side fins), flukes (the tail), and the peduncle (the strong muscles attaching the tail to the rest of the body). Keep your fingers crossed for a breach - this is when a whale rises completely out of the water and crashes down again. And most importantly, don’t forget to bring your camera to capture a picture of these amazing animals.

Maui: Eco-Friendly Molokini and Turtle Town Tour with Lunch

3. Maui: Eco-Friendly Molokini and Turtle Town Tour with Lunch

Discover the underwater worlds of Molokini crater and Turtle Arches on this cruise from Maui. Get instruction on how to snorkel before exploring the reef. Learn about this biodiverse environment from professional naturalists. Eat a delicious breakfast before starting your trip. Enjoy a continental breakfast including pastries, fruit, and coffee before sailing out to Molokini. Molokini, Maui’s iconic crescent-shaped islet, is a beautiful reef known for its crystal clear waters, abundant coral, colorful fish, and resting seabirds. A protected marine conservation area, this volcanic crater is only accessible by boat with a certified tour operator and is the #1 snorkeling destination in Maui. Learn about the history and nature of your surroundings and the efforts being made to protect the ocean here.  Following your time at Molokini, head to Turtle Arches and enjoy a bonus snorkel site with its underwater lava formations and frequent turtle sightings. Watch for sea turtles, eels, octopi, and other reef fish. Once you are done snorkeling and have worked up an appetite, enjoy a freshly prepared lunch of grilled chicken, burgers, and salad before heading back to Ma'alaea Harbor.

Maui: Eco-Friendly Whale Watching Tour from Ma'alaea Harbor

4. Maui: Eco-Friendly Whale Watching Tour from Ma'alaea Harbor

Whale-watch with the experts on Maui's top-rated ecotour and see these amazing creatures in their natural wild habitat. Every excursion is led by certified Marine Naturalists for fun and informative interpretation of humpback whale behaviors and characteristics. Not only will you see these majestic creatures up close and personal, but your Marine Naturalist will provide an educational experience. Watch mothers and calves interact, see males compete for females, hear underwater whale songs – every trip is unique. Don't miss out on utilizing underwater hydrophones to hear whale songs. If you're bringing children, this family-friendly experience has onboard Jr. Naturalist Programs for kids. Don't forget to put on your Reef Safe Sunscreen, complimentary at check-in. For the more serious whale-watcher, this tour has affordable camera and binocular rentals. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to protecting our oceans through science and advocacy. All profits from these cruises support ocean research, education and conservation programs.

From Ma'alaea Harbor: Whale Watching Cruise

5. From Ma'alaea Harbor: Whale Watching Cruise

After boarding your whale-watching cruise, your onboard naturalist, captain, and crew will be just as excited as you are to see humpbacks. These 45-foot cetaceans inspire awe, delight, and excitement with their very existence.  As soon as the boat leaves Ma'alaea Harbor, keep your eyes peeled for any significant movement on the surface. Especially huge clouds of misty spray in the distance (that's how a whale exhales). The whale watch naturalist will give you an exciting play-by-play on the whale's "swimming commentary." Some of the more popular moves whales engage in are the tail slap, the pec slap, the peduncle throw, the spy hop, and the ever hoped-for "launch-of-an-entire-whale-from-the-water" full breach.  Go down to the underwater viewing room whenever the boat is stopped. If the whales swim beneath the vessel, you can see them through the glass panels at the bottom of the hull. It is rare for a whale-watching vessel to have a glass-bottomed seating area, so enjoy it on this triple-decker catamaran. From December to April, you can climb aboard the boat and make your way to the top. This is Maui’s only catamaran with three decks, so you cannot go higher on this island. The 360-degree ocean views are fantastic, even when you go inside for a bit to take a break from the sun.  The first and second decks have spacious cabins with tinted windows, making for excellent viewing through the water’s surface, regardless of the sun’s glare. Comfortable seating throughout this stable vessel ensures a relaxing time on the water while you look for these incredible marine mammals.  Take advantage of the bar and snack area while you check out the boat. The crew will be happy to mix up whatever you feel like.

Maui Ocean Center Full-Day Entrance Ticket

6. Maui Ocean Center Full-Day Entrance Ticket

Explore Maui Ocean Center, the Aquarium of Hawaiʻi, through its roots in conservation, education, and sustainability. See hundreds of underwater animals from the moment you walk through an acrylic tunnel to an enormous 750,000-gallon marine habitat once inside. Your full-day entrance ticket provides access to live coral and reef fishes, where you can learn about reef, blacktip, whitetip, hammerhead, and rare tiger sharks, considered the most dangerous sharks to inhabit tropical waters. Experience the gracefulness of sting rays and spotted eagle rays, and get up close to protected Hawaiian green sea turtles. Play with 40 interactive modules, video monitors, and narrative boards in the new Marine Mammal Discovery Center, focusing on the Hawaiian monk seal, dolphins, and humpback whales. Included with your general admission ticket is The Humpbacks of Hawai`i Sphere Experience where you can explore the kingdom of these incredible ocean mammals in a 3D Sphere experience. Aptly named "The Hawaiian Aquarium," the Maui Ocean Center is the only aquarium in the world dedicated to fostering understanding and respect for Hawaii's marine life. More than 60 self-paced interactive exhibits are joined by 2 restaurants and the Maui Ocean Treasures gift shop to complete your day.

Maui: Sunset Prime Rib or Mahi Mahi Dinner Cruise

7. Maui: Sunset Prime Rib or Mahi Mahi Dinner Cruise

Watch the glow of the sunset on the Kahalawai Mountains, Lanai Island, and the Molokini Crater on this sunset catamaran cruise from Ma’alaea. Keep an eye out for humpback whales while listening to Hawaiian music. Savor a gourmet dinner and relax with two drinks from the bar. Depart from the Ma’alaea Harbor and set off into the waves on a catamaran. After exiting the harbor, enjoy a complimentary drink before the dinner service kicks off. Explore the alcoves of the boat, gaze out over the ocean, and snap photos. While soaking up the tropical views, listen to island-style music. For dinner, chef Keoni will serve the succulent Hawaiian prime rib, Mahi Mahi, teriyaki chicken, ribs, steamed vegetables, white rice with soy sauce, and more. As you dine, take in views of Kaho’olawe and Lanai in the distance, as well as the top snorkeling location, Molokini Crater. Gaze out at the Kahalawai Mountains of Maui extending toward the sky. You are likely to see humpback whales visiting the islands from Alaska along with other marine mammals.

Maui: Molokini Snorkel & Performance Sail with Lunch

8. Maui: Molokini Snorkel & Performance Sail with Lunch

Discover Molokini aboard a fast-sailing catamaran, where your trip includes a continental breakfast on the leisurely sail across Ma’alaea Bay. Take in the stunning landscape that makes Maui special, and during whale season (December – May), spot the humpback whales as they swim nearby. While at Molokini, swim, snorkel, and rinse off with a freshwater shower. After snorkeling, indulge in a full lunch buffet and refresh with a variety of beverages, including wine and local beer. Maui’s afternoon trade winds can really get the boat going, so join the friendly crew at the helm and try your hand at sailing the high seas! 

From Ma'alaea Harbor: Molokini Snorkeling Adventure

9. From Ma'alaea Harbor: Molokini Snorkeling Adventure

Embark on a half-day snorkeling adventure on a glass-bottomed catamaran, with breakfast, lunch, and a professional crew included. Look out for all types of Pacific marine life, from dolphins to turtles and coral reefs, in 2 snorkeling spots — the Molokini Crater and Turtle Town.  Begin your tour at Maalaea Harbor to board your boat. Join the crew aboard the Calypso, Maui's newest addition to the fleet, where you can even view the ocean from its glass bottom. Calypso is the only 3-deck catamaran in Hawai'i. Benefit from an easy-to-use stairway in and out of the water, lots of shade, and plenty of Jimmy Buffet music.  Start the day off right with a hearty breakfast that includes scrambled eggs, Portuguese sausage and either turkey or chicken and mushroom sausage, mixed muffins, pastries, mixed fruit, coffee, tea, and juice. Next, be dazzled by Molokini Crater, located off the south shore of Kihei. Expect pristine conditions as Molokini is a protected marine preserve and bird sanctuary.  See how the extinct volcanic cone provides a home for native Hawaiian marine life such as manta rays, fish, urchins, and sharks, who all swim around the coral through the clear water year-round. Use the provided snorkeling equipment to explore the underwater world.  Take advantage of the 2 water slides to make it more fun, especially for kids. And fret not— a lifeguard is always in the water watching over the snorkelers to ensure their safety. After leaving Molokini, your second snorkeling spot of the day is Turtle Town, where you will swim with Hawaiian green sea turtles amid the calm water and coral. Then, return to the boat for a relaxing barbecue lunch buffet. Finally, enjoy a fun trivia game for the chance to win a crew T-shirt. Some of the tour’s top amenities include 2 slides, a jumping platform, 2 freshwater showers, use of snorkeling gear, flotation devices, and restrooms on the boat. There are 11 stair points to get into the water for easy and comfortable access. Hire everything you need on the day, with wetsuits, or underwater digital cameras available to rent.

Maui: Catamaran Whale Cruise from Lahaina or Māʻalaea Harbor

10. Maui: Catamaran Whale Cruise from Lahaina or Māʻalaea Harbor

Discover why Maui is the place to spot humpback whales during an exciting ocean adventure in peak migration season. Board a comfortable catamaran at either Māʻalaea or Lahaina Harbor and escape into the ‘Au ‘au channel which boasts the greatest number of whales near Maui. Venture out into the warm and protected ocean waters which make an ideal location for the humpbacks to mate and give birth to their calves. Known for their acrobatics, the whales are often seen fully breaching out of the ocean. Join the captain and crew in keeping a lookout as you stay refreshed with a variety of beverages, including wine and local beer. This trip is exclusively sailing, so relax onboard without the drone of a motor as you head to wherever the whales may be. Sailing out of Māʻalaea Bay and Lahaina can be quite exhilarating on a catamaran, so keep in mind that this trip can be more of an adventure if the winds are up.

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What people are saying about Maalaea Harbor

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,505 reviews

We booked this adventure at the last minute and could not be happier with what we got. It was my birthday and they treated us like royalty! I went with my husband and Son and daughter in-law. There were more whale sightings than they have seen in a VERY long time and more whales in each pod than ever before. Everyone was super friendly and knowledgeable and I would definitely recommend this adventure to all my friends. We will also be sure to check with you first for more adventures when we come back to beautiful Maui. Mahalo!

Loved the snorkeling, but there were a lot of people in the water which made it more difficult to swim without running into someone else. Staff and crew were excellent. Wish we could have Bonne to see the girls, but not the crews fault..... Murky water would not allow. And we were able to see a large group of humpbacks as we traveled back to the dock. Photographer did a phenomenal job of getting pictures of everyone, wildlife in the water, and whales on our return trip. Well worth the cost!

Made us appreciate how much the center does to educate others on pollution and the solutions available to assist in their mission.

Great experience! Nice, helpful, and friendly staff/crew. Highly recommended if visiting Maui.

Captain and crew were amazing. Very personable and helpful to make our excursion fun!